Barrouallie: Tales of different eras
April 5, 2013
Around the community of Barrouallie

The surrounding mountains which guard Barrouallie “smile” at me every day but, none moreso than Zion Hill. This lofty peak has been my “friend” for years. I recall the days when I sat at her feet and looked for the shady crevices or overhanging branches which became my shelter, while my maternal grandmother toiled on the soil at her base. Over the years its vegetation occupied quite a sizeable amount of lands.{{more}} However, humanity is encroaching and, in the not too distant future, I am sure houses will occupy its summit and the vegetation will ultimately disappear. So too, the encroachment has given rise to intermittent bush fires, which often rob her of her natural “clothing,” leaving her nakedness for all to behold. It is during those times that I would have seen “her” unleashing her anger, spewing boulders into the valley below. It has been quite a while since I’ve seen that scenario and, I can only surmise that a reduction of the fires is the reason why.

Zion is a must see for those who come here. It is nature’s gift to us; a gift which gives us a picturesque view of this town from above and at a different angle. I imagine that the view from Jacque (Jack) and Pere (Pierre) Hughes, the other mountain ranges, is just as beautiful. I am encouraging you to take a trek up there. The relevant authority has put in a trail for you to follow in order to view the wildlife.

From atop Zion, one can see the Barrouallie police station, which is in close proximity to the sea and which has a history of its own. At this height, you will be able to see the number of houses which spread out on the town’s “face” for miles, a change which the elderly folks marvel at. For sure, there was no electricity in their era. Lamps and flambeaux were the sources from which light was obtained. These elderly folks recall how there were iron lamp holders placed at strategic points around the town and it was the duty of one of the town’s folks, Mr Norman Findlay, to ensure that the lamps were lighted and in operation. They recalled that the glare from the lamps was not “bright” and they gave off a reddish glow. Can you visualize how dark it must have been in those eras? Thank God, the crime rate was nowhere where it is today. Many also remember that Mr Alexander, known to them as Gundo from Troumaca, made his regular treks into the town to sell lamps, in addition to tin cups, funnels, graters, wash pans and bread pans. Incidentally, he fathered one of my great aunts, Mathilda Alexander (Nen).

Let us remain on Zion for a few more hours, look down the valley into Pere/ Pierre Hughes and enter a time machine to that era when the youngster recounted his youthful days there… remember the one who lived in the rectory back in the 1800s? Well, in his writing, he claimed that the surrounding area was sheer virgin forest for miles and miles. He recalled that at that time there were numerous “fruit trees of every description” including mangoes and custard apples. In addition, he claimed that they kept horses, fowls, a cow, rabbits and guinea fowls. In his document, the writer recalls the rectory was the only building in sight, yet loneliness was not an issue, as some of his time was taken up hunting in the forest at Pere Hughes or playing tennis on a court, which they had built with assistance from the hired helpers!! He recalled doing lessons with his father in the church vestry and also in the school room. I am really going to explore Pere/Pierre Hughes. This section of the town which is in the early stages of development seems to hold a lot of untold stories. I need to make it up there into its interior, before “Mr Development” robs us of what was…

Of course, at the end of our hike we can take a ride in one of the few remaining row boats over to Keartons, then dock at Wallilabou Bay, before walking up to Wallilabou dam, where we can take a refreshing dip in the cool waters which flow downstream. This is the perfect picnic spot for you. We have so much to offer here in our hometown and I wish you could take the time to come and experience it for yourselves. For now, let’s stop exploring for a minute and get into another sub-theme next week.

Before I close, I wish through this medium to convey my deepest sympathy to Ms Jillian Lowmans (and by extension the Lowmans Family of Glebe Hill) on the passing of her father; Mr Alfred Lowmans. Mr Lowmans possessed a crystal clear memory and a wealth of knowledge about times gone by, especially as it pertained to estate life. I am grateful for the contributions he made in the earlier articles which were based on the estates. May he rest in peace.

Well, until next week, by God’s will.