I recently travelled to Barbados with my husband on a business/pleasure trip, to discover one of the jewels of the Caribbean. Barbados is 21 miles (34 km) by 14 miles (23 km), the population is about 300,000, with the residents residing throughout the eleven parishes on the island.
There are two seasons in Barbados; the wet season, which runs May thru December and the dry season, which runs December thru April. The average daytime high temperature in Barbados is 86 F (30 C). The temperature was definitely a welcome relief after leaving the stinging cold and feeling the warmth of the Bajan sun.
The currency in Barbados is the Barbadian dollar and the currency exchange is US$1 to BD2$.
Kelvin and I stayed with our relatives, the Grant/Kellman families on Bayley’s Plantation (this is a private residence and not available for public tours), it is located in St. Philip Parish, east on the island. Bayley’s Plantation was set up by Joseph Bayley, between 1719 – 1738. He owned 350 African slaves and by 1812 had expanded his plantation to 444 acres.
World renowned recording artist, Eddy Grant known for his hits Electric Avenue and Romancing The Stone, among many others, presently owns and resides on Bayleys Plantation, the largest former slave plantation in Barbados. The main plantation house still stands today; this is where Eddy Grant has his recording studio.
As I treaded on the sacred grounds, the experience was quite surreal sensing the curiosity, being given the authorization and feeling the warm welcome of the ancestral spirits. I felt hope and comfort as I stood next to the original slave chapel; I experienced a void as I sat under the massive tree where slaves were “hung like strange fruit.” And while sitting in original slave dwelling quarters, I was overwhelmed by the unrecorded stories of disappointments, the feelings of fear, sorrow, pain, loss and hopelessness. If only the walls would tell me the secrets!
The plantation is important in the history of Barbados because of the April 16, 1816 revolt in Barbados against the white plantation owners led by a slave named Bussa. He was taken out of Africa and brought to Bayley’s Plantation; Bussa led the largest slave uprising of 400 against troops of the First West India Regiment, which began at Bayley’s Plantation and spread to other neighbouring plantations. Bussa was killed in the revolt; however, he remains a hero in Barbados for his fight for the freedom of enslaved Africans (Bussa’s Rebellion).
Over 70,000 Barbadians of African descent took to the streets singing the Barbadian folk song:
“Lick an Lock-up Done Wid, Hurray fuh Jin-Jin (Queen Victoria). De Queen come from England to set we free Now Lick an Lock-up Done Wid, Hurray fuh Jin-Jin” (old.antislavery.org)
It was a privilege to spend time on sacred grounds, where freedom fighters once lived, and died fighting for what we take for granted today. I can say with assurance, their names have been recorded on the right side of history; for which we continue to salute and celebrate them.
“A people without knowledge of their history is like a tree without roots.” ~Marcus Garvey~
Thank you for stopping by the blog, I always enjoy sharing with you!
I want to thank you for a fun-filled journey; 2015 has been an amazing year. Thank you for your love and support, I sincerely appreciate it.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, safe and successful 2016! See you again in the new year! xox
Vanessa Ferguson Kellman, MBA, BSc. is President & Founder of Studio 67 Makeup Artistry & The Etiquette Society
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Photography by Kelvin Kellman.