Let me just reiterate how it was truly a blessing to be able to visit Barbados with Dr. Dennie and the young women of the Women and Slavery class. My trip to Barbados was the first time I traveled out of the country, and it was truly an exceptional experience. I have never had an educational excursion with such an excellent balance of work and play. Dr. Dennie truly planned this trip in a manner that not only allowed us to visit some of the most important historical aspects of Barbados, but also see some of the most beautiful attractions on the island. There were many parts of my Barbadian journey that are worth mentioning, but I will pinpoint the ones that were most endearing.
The first tour of Barbados the class embarked on, I was most intrigued. I learned about the religious dynamics of Barbados, visited one of the most significant churches of the country, and even encountered a man of Rastafarian faith who challenged who should be exalted in the country and for what reasons. What particularly made me emotional, and truly think about the privileges that my ancestors have made possible for me, is the instance the tour came to an unmarked spot (with the exception of one sign) that contained the burial sites of approximately 500 slaves. It was surprising to hear how people would drive on this site, not knowing that they were driving on a burial site of slaves. This tour guide was one aspect of my trip that made me evaluate the disrespect slaves encountered both in life and death.
Secondly, the lecture that Dr. Inniss gave at the University of West Indies was very helpful in my further understanding some of her literature that I read. What was particularly interesting about her lecture was her description of the apprenticeship period in Barbados. Slave women were adamant about releasing their children from apprenticeship contracts so that their children would not continue to function in another form of slavery.
Lastly, my encounters with Bajan natives were quite different than what I expected. Just from being immersed in my learning of different aspects of Barbadian slavery, I found myself asking Bajans what they thought about slavery. To somewhat of my dismay, several of them refused to speak about it. One man even asked me “why would you want to learn about that?” I immediately remembered that it is more necessary for me to confront my past in order to understand what I should do in the future. Others may not share the same sentiment. However, this trip taught me that I must remain cognizant of what others value as vital to understanding their cultures.
Once again, I am truly thankful for the learning experiences this Barbados trip provided. Because of this trip, I was able to share with friends and family history of Barbadian slavery that they were unaware. Thank you so much Dr. Dennie for planning this trip. I am undeniably grateful.