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Monday 9 December 2019
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Charlotteville shows off its Natural Treasures

Charlotteville's Natural Treasures Day procession makes it's way down from Fort Campbelton.  PHOTO BY DAVID REID
Charlotteville's Natural Treasures Day procession makes it's way down from Fort Campbelton. PHOTO BY DAVID REID

DESPITE occasional bad weather, a Carnivalesque atmosphere enveloped Charlotteville, on Monday, as the village hosted its presentation Natural Treasures for the 2019 Tobago Heritage Festival.

To the organisers, though, the event was much more than fun and revelry.

"This is about our history because we were always a fishing and agricultural village and being far from Scarborough, we had to depend on ourselves. This (presentation) is a reflection of that. We had to rely on the things around us to sustain us," one organiser said.

Moko jumbies made an appearance at the Charlotteville Treasures Day on Monday. PHOTO BY DAVID REID

One of the keenly-anticipated presentations of the two-week festival, Charlotteville's Natural Treasures Day began at around 10 am with a lively procession from historic Fort Campbleton, located on a hill along Campbleton Main Road, on the west side of Man of War Bay.

Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles and Secretary for Tourism, Culture and Transportation Nadine Stewart-Phillips, led the procession, which featured drummers, colourfully-dressed moko jumbies and a slew of costumed characters from various community groups, including Charlotteville's very own heritage performers.

Charlotteville women re-enact washing clothes by the river. PHOTO BY DAVID REID

Along the roadway, locals and tourists were invited to relive some of the village's traditions.

They first learnt the proper technique for roasting breadfruit and later, witnessed a re-enactment of the washing of the dead bed at Mouchez Cannes river.

The large crowd thoroughly enjoyed listening to the women gossiping about their counterparts in the village whilst performing rituals to the dead.

Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles (centre) dances the cocoa with members of the THA and Charlotteville villagers on Monday during Natural Treasures Day. PHOTO BY DAVID REID

From the Mouchez Cannes river, participants chipped along the roadway to an old cocoa house at the entrance of the village.

There, they learnt the art of dancing cocoa.

Charles could not resist the temptation to be a part of the activity as did Stewart-Phillips and Deputy Chief Secretary Joel Jack.

Keron Eastman (left) and Keith Johnson (right) prepares the cocoa seed to be dried in the sun at Charlotteville on Monday. PHOTO BY DAVID REID

During the village trek, tourists also tasted home-made bread from a dirt oven and witnessed the workings of the batty mill – a tool used in olden times to extract the juice from the sugar cane.

Charlotteville's production dealt with the efforts of an elderly woman, Ma SeSe to retain the African traditions of yesteryear. She felt the African traditions are not respected and feels her efforts to preserve the heritage have been ineffective.

Susan Moore-Turner portrayed Ma SeSe. The cast included Adi (Tekeisha Charles); Missi (Dahlia Caesar); Verita (Loudeen Dillon); Naiomi (Vita Dillon-Jack); and Miss Mercy (Brenda Dick).

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