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Jul 31, 2014

Flowers Bank Residents Learn Drum-Making…

Flowers Bank is a remote village located in the Belize River Valley; while small it is rich with history and culture. Earlier today, we headed to the village for the close of a program that sought to preserve the richness of the village’s cultural heritage.  Drum making is an integral part of community life; Duane Moody and Chelsea Wagner got into the groove and learnt a thing or two about the sambai.

 

Chelsea Wagner, Reporting

A three-week initiative by the Institute for Social and Cultural Research to preserve the cultural heritage of the Creole population in Belize concluded today. It featured storytelling and drum making in the remote and historic village of Flowers Bank. The purpose of the program was to instill cultural values and folklore that are at risk of being lost.

 

Giovanni Pinelo

Giovanni Pinelo, Institute for Social and Cultural Research

“We have children ranging from eight to sixteen. The ideal situation would have been to have more and those who would have a background in music and for us at ISCR, at NICH, we find that it doesn’t matter; as long as the community wants to work along, we are willing to come in and assist in whatever way possible.”

 

Various instructors were brought in to facilitate the program. Emmeth Young, one of Belize’s expert Creole drum-makers and players guided the children. Young taught them about the various types of drums including the Gimbei to the Segundo and the Sambai.

 

Emmeth Young

Emmeth Young, Instructor

“They asked me to pre-make the drum and after I finish pre-make the drum, we set them up together: finish sanding them up, do the rings, lacing them up and then put on the head which we call the crown of the drum.”

 

Chelsea Wagner

“What was your experience like with the children getting them familiar with the drums?”

 

Emmeth Young

“Well because they didn’t know nothing about the drums, it was a good experience for them and also for me because as I am teaching them, I am learning as well how to better work with the youths as I go along.”

 

Kelsey Robinson

Kelsey Robinson, Participant

“I liked it most because it was a new experience into the village.”

 

Chelsea Wagner

“What did you learn from the summer camp, anything that was like a significant experience for you?”

 

Kelsey Robinson

“I learned new rhythms and I learned how to play the drums well.”

 

Chad Flowers

Chad Flowers, Participant

“I learn how to play drums that Mister Emmeth thought us, how to move out hands and to beat drums at the correct mood.”

 

Chelsea Wagner

“Was this something you always liked, playing the drums?”

 

Chad Flowers

“Yes ma’am.”

 

Music and folklore stories are at the heart of community life; one of the eldest residents of Flowers Bank, Egbert Robinson taught the youths the popular story of Anansi and Tiger.

 

Egbert Robinson

Egbert Robinson, Storyteller

“To make them happy and know about old time things.”

 

Reporter

“Now Mister Egbert would you say that knowing all of this about this village and knowing all these stories…that it is being lost by this generation?”

 

Egbert Robinson

“Well if the older heads don’t keep it up, the younger ones wouldn’t know. So that is the beauty of the thing.”

 

Clinton Rhaburn

The village of Flowers Bank is one of the oldest communities in Rural Belize District. It currently has a population of one hundred and forty five residents including children and adults. But while employment is relatively poor, the village is rich in cultural heritage. This project, according to Village Chairman, Clinton Rhaburn, helps with the move to attract tourists to the village.

 

Clinton Rhaburn, Chairman, Flowers Bank Village

“We are trying to put together a packet in the community to see if we can bring in tourist to the community. We have almost completed our trails, we have a small museum in the center, we have a landing raft at the riverside and this is our park which we are hoping to improve on it so that whenever people come in, they have where to relax and spend hours with us. So this is just a beginning for this community. We are trying hard to see if we can put this community on the map.”

 

Chelsea Wagner

The program, which was funded through a grant from Central American Integration System, SICA, is part of a larger regional initiative to safeguard tangible and intangible cultural skills.

 

Chelsea Wagner

“Reporting for News Five from Flowers Bank, I am Chelsea Wagner.”

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