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With Black History now an important part of the school curriculum, it has created the perfect opportunity for students to dig deep into their past, to learn about aspects of the Jamaican cultural heritage.

Visitors to the Charles Town Maroons’ Museum and Safu Yard in the Buff Bay Valley, Portland, can get the thrilling experience of tracing the footsteps of their ancestors into the hills, as they ascend the Sambo Hill Hiking Trail.

As a practical re-enactment of the Literature Text, ‘The Young Warriors’, a story depicting the struggles of some young maroons, approximately 200 students and teachers of Meadowbrook High School, Kingston, embarked on the historical adventure, as they grasped the opportunity to retrace a part of their history on Friday, February 11.

Excited about the journey to Sambo Hill, the students and their teachers, led by enthusiastic tour guides, carefully maneuvered the challenging terrain with its slippery rocks and damp vegetation.

Literature teacher at Meadowbrook High School, Trisan Brown, said it was a good practical experience for the students.

“It was designed to give them a direct purposeful experience, as they recounted the history of the maroons."

She said although the terrain was challenging, it was important for them to understand the struggles of their ancestors, as it taught them to be more appreciative of the sacrifices they made.

In recounting her experience after completing the three and a half hours trail, Neva Cameron-Edwards, who also teaches at the school, said the students were able to relate to the practical experience.

“The fight, the ambush, the survival, it was overall an interesting tour,” she added.

William Clarke and Delano Tracey, Grade 7 students at the school, felt it showed that the Maroons were determined, mighty and strong people.

Commenting on the operations of the Maroon Museum and Safu Yard,

Colonel Frank Lumsden, said it was their way of preserving the history of the Peace Treaty between Captain Quao, Nanny of the Maroons and the British, which was signed on June 23, 1739, as well as promoting their cultural identity.

Stating that the museum was established with assistance of a grant from the CHASE Fund, he said an additional grant from the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) has assisted in its expansion of the museum, as well as that of the stage area for displaying art work, the procuring of 253 Ghanian artifacts, which will be added to the museum shortly, as well as the organization of practical workshops.

“These workshops such as the one carried out today, are held in conjunction with the University of the West Indies, The Institute of Jamaica, the Jamaica National Heritage Trust and the Jamaica Conservation Development Trust, he stated, adding that the building of the Trail to Sambo Hill also resulted from a grant from the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica.

Outlining the activities at the facility, to include tours for visitors from as far as Holland, Switzerland, and the United States, Colonel Lumsden said persons visiting the Museum and Safu Yard can also experience drumming, dancing and socializing with locals at the end of the tour.

 

BY:  LORNA WILLIAMS