Duppies and catboats liven up school time on Brac

| 10/04/2015
Cayman News Service

The first square stern fishing boat Jonny Scott ever built 40 years ago still being used today by Paul Ritch

(CNS): Children at Spot Bay Junior and West End primary schools on Cayman Brac have been immersing themselves in local culture recently with the help of both the Cayman Traditional Arts Heritage Arts programme and Brackers who are helping to keep heritage alive.  Coordinated by Simone Scott, the arts programme is in its second year and this year duppy stories, boat-making, traditional caboose kitchens and local trees have been livening things up during the school day.

“Last year we taught the old traditions of wattle and daub, thatch plaiting and so on,” said Scott.”This year we have fully embraced the local community into the programme to have them instruct the youngsters on vital aspects of their heritage. Renowned storyteller Quincy Brown came and gave duppy stories and the students were so inspired by his stories that they were eager to make up and share their own during the storytelling workshop.”

Decades ago Johnny Scott was one of the most important boat builders on Cayman Brac and his 40-year-old boat is still being used today. He enthralled the youngsters with his talk on catboats, schooners and other boats. Meanwhile, George and Lynn Walton, the owners of Mango Manor, who have an old caboose in their backyard took the students on a tour and showed them how to cook fish and fritters.

At the West End Community Park expert guides, Wallace Platts and Tenson Scott, took the kids around on a tour of the nature trails, helping students to identify the different trees.

“They noted which were safe and which were poisonous. The trees are labeled on the nature paths by numbers and a tree identification card is available at the Department of Tourism office on the grounds,” explained Scott. “Students were also shown how to build a calavan, or bird catcher, by Mr Sheldon Scott and then divided into teams to see which team could actually build one the fastest. They then tried to catch birds at the park.”

As well as helping the Brac’s younger generation learn about the islands past, the Heritage Arts Programme also runs a thatch class for grown-ups. Twice a month, every second and last Thursday at the Heritage House from 7pm to 9pm, for $5 per person for materials, Scott gives a short PowerPoint presentation of the Silver Thatch industries and her mother, Starrie Scott, teaches the group thatch plaiting.

“The attendees are mostly visitors and repeat visitors, but one or two residents do join in as well,” she said.

The Cayman Traditional Arts Heritage Arts programme is sponsored by the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport, the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Culture.

Cayman News Service

Students at Spot Bay Junior School learn to build a calavan

Cayman News Service

Brac primary students at Mango Manor with George and Lynne Walton

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Category: Arts, Community, Primary School, Schools

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