Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A Historical Perspective

Today was a day full of learning about the historical roots here at Green Castle. I'm Kristen, in the red, and I'm a fourth year Accounting student at Nipissing University. This is my fourth international trip, and definitely not my last!

I am part of the group researching farming projects here at Green Castle and today we interviewed Robin, a man who has been living on the estate longer than John Knox has been alive! (Maybe not that long, but close). Robin worked as the manager of the estate for 40 years, and is currently retired and living in a house right behind the estate house we are staying in. He provided us with a wealth of knowledge, telling us stories of the highs and lows of the land, including when they were the largest exporter of papaya, producing 12,000 boxes a week for 7 years. At this time there was a two year period where they were British Airway's largest cargo flight from Jamaica to Europe.
The Old Windmill

Robin also told us about the coconut, pimento, banana, and the recent production of cocoa throughout the 1,600 acres, as well as his fight with hurricanes (Gilbert and Sandy) and pests which set out to ruin all of the hard work in the fields.

As the ownership of the land changed, Robin's job here changed as well. When Robin was the manager, the owners were driven by the need for employment in Robins Bay and was focussed on the agriculture and export business. The current owner is more focussed on Eco-tourism and is developing an eco-village on the land. He made an agreement with Robin and the other workers who were farming the land and leases the land not being used by the eco-village to them. Robin leases much of the land and raises cattle and is working on growing peppers.

On top of Davey Hill Trail

After our interview with Robin, a few of us took advantage of the beautiful day (which have been few and far between here surprisingly) and took a hike up Davey Hill, a small mountain here on the estate. Elaine, the current manager, told us that there was a archaeological site up the trail so Tim, Marissa and I set out to find ourselves some bones!

Bones we did not find, but beauty we did. On top of Davey Hill there is a lookout, where we sat for around 20 minutes and just took in the view of the coastline. We also had a great view of the orchid greenhouses in the flatlands of Green Castle from the hill. However, nothing really prepared us for the strangest of discoveries at the top the hill.

What we assumed to be remnants of an archaeological dig, turned out to be four pools created by the previous owner where he allegedly "brought his girls". We tried to touch the bottom of these pools with stick we could find, but even when we used an 8 foot branch, we still could not touch the bottom.

Our discovery at the top of the trail
On this trail we also found some of the damage left from Hurricane Sandy. A large fig tree had fallen over the trail, and according to Elaine, is so large that the workers are having issues clearing it without causing drastic erosion of the trail.

One of the biggest things I have discovered on this trip is the impact that nature can have on the Earth. We hear in Canada about these hurricanes and then forget about them the next second, but people here are still trying to recover from the damage it caused. All along the coastline there is debris littering the beaches and the greenhouses on the estate which held a booming orchid farm were destroyed, and took the orchid production with them.

Thanks for reading through this long post! Hoped you learned something!

Jammin' in Jamaica,
            Kristen :)

1 comment:

  1. When you are bored, ask someone about the hurricane Gilbert song (if you haven't already). It will give you an interesting/funny perspective on that disaster.

    Interesting work you are all doing. Enjoy!