Seniors hit the road on history tour

More than 120 Cayman seniors were treated to a bus tour this week in celebration of Older Persons Month.

The group of seniors, aged 60 to 94, enjoyed a day filled with laughter, reminiscing, exploring, food and drinks.

On Wednesday, seniors from George Town and West Bay visited historic sites, such as Pedro St. James Castle, Bodden Town Mission House and the Crystal Caves in North Side, before having lunch at the Kaibo Beach Restaurant. Earlier in the week, on Monday, seniors from the eastern districts visited the Cayman Islands National Museum, Tortuga Rum and the Cayman Turtle Centre.

Egbert Henry, 94, said what he never knew about Cayman before, he knows now. “It was beautiful for me; the experience was good,” he said.

Roy Bodden, 83, a former announcer at Radio Cayman, was just as excited. “I have never been to the Bodden Town Mission House before … it’s my very first time … it’s kind of nice getting round to see things that I never saw before,” he said. What he was most proud of, he said, was hearing himself playing the guitar in the visual display in the Pedro Castle theatre.

Stuart Wilson, National Trust historic programmes manager, welcomed the seniors to the Mission House. “Older Persons Month is a special time of the year because we get to celebrate people who came before us and made Cayman what it is today and it’s time to appreciate them,” he said.

At Pedro Castle, tour guide Stacy Eden Hurlstone shared the history of the old house and the occupants who lived there more than 200 years ago.

“It was where our first elections were held, in the dining room on the second floor,” Hurlstone told the visitors.

Inside an interactive room at the site, rainwater gushed from a drainpipe into an old barrel, thunder shook the walls, and sprays of water hit the seniors. “This reminds me of when they used to say ‘storm coming’,” said one senior as she experienced the re-enactment of Pedro Castle’s by-gone days.

Janilee Clifford recalled the castle being off-limits to children. “We were scared to come near because of its history. The story that’s told is true, it’s one I heard [as] a child,” she said.

The Department of Children and Family Services organised the tours. “The seniors were very excited and appreciative to see how the people and businesses of Cayman value them and is giving back to them for their contributions to the Cayman Islands,” said Delmira Kirchman- Bodden, DCFS community development officer.

On Monday, she said, seniors from the eastern districts enjoyed bulrush, cornmeal and bottler porridge prepared by Alvin McLaughlin at the museum. At Tortuga Rum, they were given rum cakes, patties and drinks before moving on to Hell and the Cayman Turtle Centre in West Bay.