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AS BAJAN AS FLYING FISH: Best home in the world


rhondathompson, [email protected]

AS BAJAN AS FLYING FISH: Best home in the world

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My name is Binghi and I make leather shoes. Let’s say I was born and grew up in Barbados. I’ve lived in St Michael from the time I was a teenager but I really come from St Peter side. I went to CP. Coleridge Parry. I was a school person. In a kind of a way.  History was my favourite subject. And then Scripture. That kind of thing.  I had some church life and broughtupcy in the Anglican Church. But that wasn’t for too long. As a male, I was watching my peers and going with their flow; so they led me away from church. I had a little bit of cigarettes, but I finish with that ever since. I don’t smoke nothing now. Period.  I don’t just wear locks, I’m a Rastafarian. But I don’t smoke nothing. I just quit it only last year. We go through different phases. Give the stomach a rest. I drink water. From about 16, 17, so, I used to drink a bit, but I quickly realise that wasn’t the thing for me. I was never a fond lover of alcohol. Boy days was in St Peter. I lived near the sea so I used to go to the beach, do fishing, all the usual things boys used to do. Cricket, build scooter and so on. I played a little bit of cricket at school, but never played for the school. I just tried to be a little piece of batsman, a little piece of bowler. I can’t remember my highest score. So it obviously couldn’t have been that high. I follow cricket still because I have some relatives who even represented the West Indies. Pedro Collins and Fidel Edwards. Them is my first cousins and so on. It was something that was probably in the genes. It reach me in the playing-around form, but it reach them at the serious form. Round ’bout 15 or so I left the Anglican Church and went round the Adventists, but that was basically chasing girls scenes. Where the girls was, I did want to be. I went to church to meet girls, as opposed to the “Christ’s sake” thing. Right-right-right. I met girls.  I have one son. He’s about 19. My son and I get along very smooth. Right now, I’m a full-time spiritualist, but in a cultural way. Being a Rasta, you seek your identity and your culture. Live up and so on. You can’t say some Rastas are African-focused and some are Selassie-I focused because Selassie-I is an African so everything comes into one. If you don’t believe in the divinity, what is it you believe in? I accept things I cannot change. That was something that was ordained and you got to accept it, even if you don’t believe it. It is reality that Selassie-I was God made man. I listen to all kind of music because music is music. Within reggae, I’ll listen to Bob and the likes of Bob first. People who give you the spiritual, conscious lyrics. I ain’t lie to you: I like conscious lyrics.  Barbados is basically black and white. It was an English kind of settlement and the English didn’t mix much with the Blacks. That’s why you probably don’t see much racial mixing in Barbados. When I want to chill out, I reach for a good book and do some good reading. A good book like Sex And Races. Books by C.L.R. James, Cheshire McIntyre. I don’t go for the fiction thing. I like cultural historical books. I’m a fact-finding kind of person. I work out and do a little instructing in the gym. All of that is different forms of keeping the mind at ease. I don’t eat nothing with scales, fur or feather. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a teenager, which is when I became a Rastafarian. Basically, I was self-taught as a shoemaker, along with improving it with a few classes and seminars and so on and so on. I’ve been doing this since way back in the seventies. In this trade, you move from one location to a next, different days, different locations sometimes. I do festivals like Holetown and Spring Garden. Displays and what not. I do my own designing, assembling, everything from start to finish. I work at home and at my stall. I work at night, work at all kind of hours because is work, is production.  For ages I been walking the streets and seeing people wearing my shoes. I’s get praises for the work I do. Up to this morning, I saw a guy with a pair of my shoes. I got a lot of nice stuff. I try to give the public my best at all times. The best thing about the job is production. And sales. Because one end meet the next. I enjoy making and selling. The bad thing about the job is not getting any sales. You investing with the hope it will turn out bright, but then it isn’t. You’s got to live with all those consequences as a self-employed person. Money tie up. You got to cope with all that. I see myself as a more cultural person, but I hold a Barbados Passport so I would say a Bajan is somebody born and bred in Barbados.  I travel all over the Caribbean, Europe. But, hey, the best place in the world is home. And Barbados is my home. A place you can look around and see everybody you know and everybody that know you.

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