On October 14, one hundred and twenty-nine (129) students from Bridgeport High School visited the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank (ACIJ/JMB) on a field trip, as part of the school’s Heritage Week celebrations. Drawn from Grades 7 – 10, the students came in two groups – one in the morning and another in the afternoon session, accompanied by their teacher Mr. Malcolm Nelson. As a token of appreciation for the visit, Mr. Nelson collected $5,000 from the students and donated it to the ACIJ/JMB.

The group viewed the Intangible Cultural Heritage display in the ACIJ/JMB’s Library, featuring musical instruments including a variety of drums; grater and fork; tambourine and shaker, as well as pottery, woodcarvings, straw craft, fish pots, calabashes, a gig, cacoon nut doll, tinder box, an abeng, a revival table, etc. In addition, they were treated to video recordings on the musical heritage of the Moore Town Maroons; Revival church services; Rastafarian Ethiopian Orthodox Church services, watched a video clip on the Ettu group (a Maroon community in Hanover), and listened to Anancy stories.

Mr. Nelson, who teaches History and Social Studies, said he and the group found the trip “very enlightening”. For the students, the artifacts on display in the Library were interesting, the poster boards informative and the Anancy stories entertaining.

“The exposure was relevant to the Grade 7 curriculum and for those doing Religious Education, History and Social Studies across the school, but mainly for the Grade 7 and Grade 10 students who are taught these areas in the curriculum,” Mr. Nelson said.

“Overall, it was a very instructive trip. A lot of the students did not know what a calabash or a gig looks like or their purpose. The videos, especially on Kumina and Ettu, were very interesting. Trips like these are necessary to throw light on our culture, if not our culture will die out. It would be a nice gesture for the ACIJ/JMB to give mobile presentations on these topics to the wider community, he added.”