(CNS Local Life): The Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) recently completed its annual daytime restoration of Miss Lassie’s house, known as Mind’s Eye. Since 2009, traditional preparations of “Christmas of Yesteryears” at the house have been a cultural staple in the community. On Friday, 9 December, the CNCF staff and a few volunteers cleaned the 139-year-old wattle-and-daub home, made minor repairs and beautified the yard.
Activities included trimming the bush, cleaning the painted window shutters, dusting the ornaments and furniture, backing sand, sweeping sand with Rosemary bush brooms, painting the cisterns and planting a few periwinkle plants.
Historically, in order for traditional Caymanian families to prepare their homes for the return of seamen who may have been at sea for months or even years, these type of home preparations would be done shortly before Christmas. It was also an act of demonstrating pride in one’s home and community and “showing it off” for Christmas.
CNCF programmes manager, Patrice Beersingh, said, “It is a wonderful experience to tend to the home in this way as a team, as you work together, it begins to feel very much like a family with a sense of togetherness and teamwork.”
Traditional Caymanian music was played in the yard while cornmeal porridge was served in the early hours of the morning when the work began.
In addition to the active work day, approximately 135 students from grades two, three and four of Cayman International School (CIS), visited the heritage site to view the preparations and enjoy storytelling by Virginia ‘Auntie V’ Foster while learning more about the traditions. CIS students also tasted samples of swanky, the traditional Caymanian beverage.
In the new year, CNCF will repaint the walls of the house with a mixture made of white lime and “scrotchineal” or cochineal – a type of cactus used to prevent yellowing.