Nashauna Drummond, Lifestyle Coordinator
Though summer is out, 57-year-old teacher Eunice McNamee has continued teaching by showing her artefacts at the recently concluded Digicel-sponsored Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in May Pen, Clarendon.
For more than 14 years, McNamee, who is a teacher at the Greater Portmore Basic school, has been collecting Jamaican artefacts.
What was her motivation? "Our culture is dying, and someone needs to be sustaining it for our children, and as an early-childhood teacher, I want children to be aware of our great history. I have been collecting these items for 14 years and I am still collecting, because I know it is so important for us to know where we are coming from as a nation and as a people."
McNamee tells Outlook that she gets most of her items from rural Jamaica. "I am always on the 'hunt' for items to add to my collection. I have been blessed to have received a thimble and a hot-water bag from my great grandmother." Her role as cultural coordinator at her school also helps in her collection. "From time to time, parents will bring things to me and, on some rare occasions, I will see things that persons have thrown away and take them up."
McNamee currently has 57 items in her collection, and is still on the hunt. "I really want young people to be more aware of their culture and I want to remind and show them that these are some things that their forefathers used to use. We must instil culture in our youths. These items give them a chance to get a piece of their very important culture and history. As Marcus Garvey told us: "If you don't know where you are coming from, you won't know where you are."
McNamee keeps all the items carefully wrapped in cloth, safe and sound at her home. Her showing at Denbigh is very special to her. "I am dedicating this presentation in the Digicel booth at Denbigh to my great grandmother, born post-slavery 1888. I have her thimble and hot-water bag as a part of my collection, and my mother, Veta Hendricks, she was instrumental in imparting some of the knowledge and, therefore, my appreciation for the preservation of our culture. This is part of my history - the continuation of my culture."