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No sign, but village still there


HEATHER-LYNN EVANSON, [email protected]

No sign, but village still there

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Just before the annual harvest of the sugar cane crop in Barbados, the village of Dayrells Hill is hidden by tall canes which surround it.

THE CAST-OFF TRASH from harvested canes carpet the fields, turning them golden brown under the harsh afternoon sun.

The village of Dayrells Hill, Christ Church, has re-emerged from among the tall grasses after another sugar harvest.

But if you are looking for some sign to guide you there, you would be looking in vain.

In fact, said long-time resident Elvira Prescod with a laugh, you might even end up in St George.

Forty years ago, when the NATION’s Bajan Folkways visited the neighbourhood, there was a sign that pointed the traveller to the small community.

But it’s no longer there. It might have succumbed to age and the elements, or it simply could be that someone realised the name had been spelt wrong – Daryells – and had taken it down.

Whatever the reason, the name lives on only on the century-old Christian Mission Church which has provided the spiritual grounding for many a Dayrells Hill child.

Constituency boundary lines have also changed. No longer is Dayrells Hill divided between Christ Church South Central and Christ Church North Central – constituencies which no longer exist. It is now part of St George South.

In fact, said Prescod, who was born and bred in the rural district, the traveller is even more confused since her house is deemed to be in Skeene Hill.

“The thing about this district is it had so many stories to it, because I ask a great cousin of mine a couple months ago and he is one that born on this spot. I am the only one that carrying the name Skeene Hill while the rest using Searles.

“Dayrells was part of Searles Plantation so somewhere down between the hill area, this Dayrells come in.”

Prescod comes from a long line of Dayrells Hill residents.

Her mother, grandmother and her great-grandmother who lived to the ripe old age of 103 were from the area and her children were born there as well.

And she is quite candid as to why many of the villagers are related.

“We had a lot of inbreeding. It was a small area so you had nowhere to go. So between Edey Village, and St David’s and Lower Greys – walking distance for the fellas – a lot of we is family to one another that some o’ we don’t even know.”

And they walked everywhere.

“Everything was walking. We used to walk two and a half miles to school and back. We went to school at St Patrick’s, my older brother went to St David’s,” she said.

“We had to catch a bus, a Yorkshire bus or a Boarded Hall bus, and get off by Lower Greys and we had to walk from there to home.

“We would catch the 6 o’clock Yorkshire bus that would be coming down to go to Scantlebury Supermarket in Roebuck Street to get the groceries, to come back to catch the 10 o’clock bus. We wouldn’t want the schoolchildren that gine Town see we with the boxes on we head. And believe me, that box we had to bring from down there so, you putting down and you tekking up, you putting down and you tekking up.”

The one major change is the road. It has allowed more traffic to traverse the area.

“The vehicles; the road is what really got it transform. People would notice it now because of the road, especially since they do the road from Newton and come ’cross. So it would be well known now than then, ’cause you woulda know the six people that pass through here that had cars. You woulda more find the donkey carts.” (HLE)

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