Though I was born in Birmingham England, Barbados is where I lived from just six months of age. It’s home to me. I have chosen to build a life here in the United States but not out of any loss of love for my home in Barbados. It would be remiss of me then not to take time to honor Barbados on this momentous occasion.
I grew up in the parish of Christ Church in the south of the island. My parents moved back to Barbados to escape the winters in England. In doing so they blessed me with the gift of island living.
Barbados has the most beautiful beaches and enjoying those beaches has always been a big part of my life. They made for perfect picnics, parties and quiet havens. It’s amazing just how much of the beauty of the island I took for granted as I grew, but there were times when it was impossible to ignore. When my family and friends from England and the United States came to visit, they gave me the opportunity to see my island through their eyes. My dad would often give visitors on his tour of the island. I loved those trips. Driving up to the east coast to Bathsheba and being awed by its beauty and somewhat rougher waters. Trips to Farley Hill National Park always rewarded us with striking views. The stop at Folkestone Marine Park and Museum was definitely a favorite as I loved the glass bottom boat rides and playing in the park with my sister. We’d sometimes visit Harrison’s Cave which is frankly stunning. If you are ever visiting, the Atlantis Submarine tour is a must. This is what tourist love about the island too. Its beauty – but that’s only a part of what makes Barbados great.
The singularly complicated, warm and welcoming people and their vibrant culture is the best thing about the island. That culture has built and sustained a wonderfully strong government and peaceful country. Barbadians are warm and friendly with a tell you like it is approach that is as refreshing as it is pure.
We know what our ancestors had to endure to give us the lives we are living and we are proud of them. What they had to survive for us to just be here is unthinkable, but they did survive. We are grateful to our ancestors and striving to honor them have become a proud and hardworking people. We are always looking ahead and working to stay a leaders in our Caribbean Community. There has been criticism by some tourists that we are too developed – a valid point for those on the island for a week our two expecting something more quaint. However, for those making a home and life on the island, it is to our benefit that we are so developed and keeping up with the world around us by maintaining a high quality of living. After all, Bajans are as deserving of the best the world has to offer.
Music and dance are a large part of what makes a Bajan a Bajan. Whether it is choir music at church, the Barbados Jazz Festival or Calypso during the Crop Over festival Bajans lift their voices and move their hips welcoming all to do the same. Then there’s the food! The national dish being Cou Cou and Flying fish. Macaroni pie, rice and peas and sweet bread are definite favorites. I missed Bajan Bakes so much I did a post all about them. I also miss fish cakes, black cake and mauby.
Barbados has come a long way in 50 years. We have a ways yet to go. I would love to see Barbadians reach greater heights and should we stay invested in each other’s success we will. It is the work of each Bajan to further the good standing of the country. Those like myself who have made home in other countries can continue to promote the island by being model citizens of their new home countries and sharing the Bajan culture where and when we can.
Now for my fellow Bajans overseas looking to celebrate our Independence from abroad I have had success viewing live streams of the 50th Independence Day Celebration events on CBC.bb
Happy Birthday Barbados. 50yrs! Well Done.