Students in Prospect get traditional

Prospect Primary students help build a calavan. From left, Diamond White, Aiydan Webb, Kiefer Rodriguez, Ryan Jackson and Edmund Miguel Pileta.

Students from Prospect Primary combined learning with fun when they met up with some roving teachers from the Cayman Traditional Arts group.

Chefs for the day: Levi Rankine and Lauren Duty
Chefs for the day: Levi Rankine and Lauren Duty

Just before the Easter long weekend, the students spent an afternoon with Phil Sciamonte, who taught them the art of archery, and Blonde Uzzle, who had the children creating homemade kites and doing their best to fly them despite a lack of wind.

Students also got to make tasty local delicacies, such as fritters and coconut drops; had their faces painted; took part in a tug-of-war with Silver Thatch rope; enjoyed skipping rope; an egg and spoon race; and a potato sack race.

One project that was a particular success was the construction of a calavan, traditionally used in the Cayman Islands to catch small birds.

Students Diamond White, Aiydan Webb, Kiefer Rodriguez, Ryan Jackson and Edmund Miguel Pileta explained that creating this intricate item was pretty easy, saying it was like Jenga, placing one piece of wood on top of another.

Cayman Traditional Arts director Chris Christian said the aim of these half-day camps was to help immerse young people in some of Cayman’s important cultural elements that may otherwise go forgotten.

The camps are reaching to some 400 students in local schools and are government-sponsored through the Heritage Arts Programme.

Students take archery instruction from Phil Sciamonte.
Students take archery instruction from Phil Sciamonte.

“At Cayman Traditional Arts, we believe it’s essential that we pass down time-honored traditions to our young people to ensure that our past is not forgotten,” Mr. Christian said. “It’s too easy these days to become wrapped up in other cultures, so we are doing our very best to keep Cayman’s culture alive. This can be done simply by teaching young people how to cook traditional favorites, such as fritters and coconut drops, or how to construct and fly their own kite.

“But while these are relatively simple steps to take, it requires a consistent approach to ensure the message gets across to all our young people.

“That is why we all work so hard doing what we do, because we passionately believe in retaining Cayman’s cultural identity for the generations to come.”

Cayman Traditional Arts will be taking its mobile camps to schools in North Side, East End and West Bay in the weeks ahead.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I think that this is very important program for the kids so that the tradition and heritage is not forgotten . These kind of thing is also good parents and kids bonding , also financial benifical to parents when toys can be made with very little expense .

    I remember as a kid we made our own toys and mom and dad didn’t have to pay penny for our toys , but they taught us how to make it . For the sails on the sail boat we used flour sacks , for kite glue we used fig tree milk, marbles we used cockspur seeds and roled wet clay in our hands and let it dried in the sun . There are so many other toys that were made I am sure that the art teacher can do the rest , and parents that don’t know how to make those things should try to attend the class.

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