We inherit all kinds of things. I treasure the bedcover my mother knitted for us when we were children (it is not beautiful enough for a photograph, but I cherish it anyway). Heritage holds history, and memories. It is also something we should never disrespect or destroy; sadly, though, we don’t seem to think of our natural environment as an inheritance that we should protect and hand down to future generations. We disrespect it every day.
However, I am sharing here some examples of a living heritage. We can still see it all around us, in Jamaica and elsewhere, if we look. Whether it is a set of old-fashioned enamel jugs – collector’s items; a new poetry book; a whimsical carving, in the Jamaican tradition; or food items laid out on a tablecloth – we are looking at heritage, there.
Poet Ann-Margaret Lim reads from her first book of poetry, Festival of the Wild Orchid, at the launch at Bookophilia, Kingston in 2012. Poets like her are Jamaica’s living heritage.
Painted enamel jugs – everyday items, part of our heritage.
Musicologist, folklorist, teacher Hon. Dr. Olive Lewin was our former neighbour. Now where her house once stood is a small restaurant complex and a school. This plaque commemorates Dr. Lewin’s life, dedicated to nurturing and teaching Jamaica’s cultural heritage.
This is the headquarters of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), a government agency, on Duke Street in downtown Kingston. Like much of downtown’s architectural heritage, it needs some loving care.
One of my treasured items is this carved wooden box by the highly creative carpenter, Mr. Gilbert Nicely. He inherits a tradition of Jamaican carpentry, with his own wonderful twist.
Food is our heritage too! During a visit to the beautiful island of Grenada, I took a photograph of this display of local food items. How many of them can you recognise?