In Honor of My Ancestors in the Caribbean-an attempt at photojournalism
I can't say I practice either because I can't remember when last I set foot in any of their "hallowed halls". But,I am a proud member of both and I am proud of all that I have ever done and all that I do now. So I am also proud of not publicly practicing my "Faiths". That's the irony.
You see my parents and grand parents set me on a path(which is what parents aught to do)-I call that path "the path to self discovery". So ,at one time,they were in control with their guidance and insights and after -the proverbial rites of passage- I took over. So any thing I would have done as an adult I was responsible, nobody else but me. I was in control.
Back to religion now. I was always interested in religion. My parents , though poor and uneducated, according our circumstances and according to the world view, allowed their children my brothers and I, exposure and appreciation to all religions- non was clearly or publicly denounced. And that same approach , was shown with other aspects of culture. So my family appreciated and embraced almost everything that enrich our lives, although poor. In addition my maternal grand mother was an excellent seamstress( dress maker) and I was able to spend a considerable amount of time with her in "well to do people's homes" as a child when she had to make the clothing for these people's weddings.
In an earlier time I even wanted to be an Anglican Priest. But I decided against the idea early, before age 15 after giving it much thought. Nevertheless, at the University of the West Indies I did read of Religion in the Caribbean. I may not have done it as a course but I remembered reading a book by an anthropologist who did studies in the Caribbean on the subject.
So when I attempt to say or suggest things this is the kind of background from which I operate.
The more I "ground" (interact) with peoples of the Caribbean I know that when I get the opportunity to go to Kenya, I'll be just visiting like most tourists do when they come to the Caribbean- i.e.,exploring all I can, to get a comprehensive view of the country. So you see I am just digging up in me and my experiences and trying to completely comprehend them.
Appreciate others ,and their contributions to the world. But don't deny our own people's contributions -e.g., Bob Marley, The Mighty Shadow(this great artist was earlier seen as "dark and demonic"and push the concept to the max) , the Mighty Sparrow, Winston Spree, Kitchener. All these people are from the Caribbean ,outside of my family and are my influences -including the real father of my Nation-the ultimate historian. For it is he who pointed me to Cuba after reading one of his books that I got as a gift.
But what amazes me is that we still don't look inwardly for direction. This always seem to come from the outside. In my book if you continually want to have an identity crisis, keep looking outside for your answers. I learnt this early from my parents. So, as one who is mainly of African descent ( exclamations always ring out when I state this) I know that ,the name my mother gave me had meaning and significance . She named me John, my father's name and yes I am much like him-even this photography thing is "He" in me. And she named me Trevor, the more popular one . This is the one that "drives" me. She said that it meant " trivia, simplistic, simplicity, small things, detail, and possibly perfection". And if you know me you would know that "little" and "simple" things get my attention, first .
So I agree with the black power movement about in this respect "names influence your being". But I also learnt that you must consider "conditions and context" in your understanding of almost everything. You can imagine if my mother had decided to gave me a great "African name" what would possibly be my issues of identification, I don't speak any African languages. I know only some of the languages of the Caribbean. And I shudder to think if the name "Lyons" was part of my family name.
Others outside of my ethnicity have influenced me too. But ,here,I concentrate on the ones that look a bit, and more like me. Now take a look at the image again. If I did not mention in the keywords that these women were in Cuba. Check their outfits can you not mistake them as women of African religions in Trinidad and Tobago? Is this religious wear from Africa or from the Caribbean?
My ancestors in their past quest to "Liberate" themselves through their "blood, sweat and tears" can rest , quietly , very assured that they did not waste their time on me. To them I am eternally grateful.
Keywords: Africa, African, Caribbean, Santeria, attraction, calm, colors, from a distance, island, peaceful, red, religion, serene, spiritual, standing level, tourist, travel, tropical, water
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