|Joan Andrea Hutchinson 'Kin Teet Kibba Heart Bun'|
Joan Andrea Hutchinson has done it again, documenting and preserving aspects of Jamaican life and culture with her new book and CD, Kin Teet Kibba Heart Bun.
Both book and CD document the creative and resourceful practices of not-so-well-off Jamaicans who found interesting ways to survive and raise families on shoe-string budgets. The book and CD will be released soon.
Many Jamaicans who grew up poor did not realise they were, until later in life. The experience of growing up with people who knew how to 'tun yuh han meck fashion' and 'tan pon crooked cut straight', taught us all how to survive hard times - skills which are proving very useful in these times.
Jamaican parents wasted nothing and were guided by the principle that everything has a second purpose. We carried halved exercise books and halved pencils to school; used newspaper to stuff shoes which were too big and cut out the toe section when they became tight; used and reused tea bags; converted butter tubs and plastic containers to dishes; ate condensed milk and bread; and learnt, very early, to make our own toys. Girls whose parents could not afford dolls converted a coconut, an ear of corn, a tuft of grass, or a mango seed, into dolls; and boys made fish tanks from old car batteries; raced 'board horses' in dirty water; and played cricket with coconut bough and 'green' orange.
Celebrating jamaican culture
Practices such as peeling pineapples and using the skin to make juice; using the coconut milk then making gizzada and grater cake from the trash; converting overnight rice to rice porridge; and frying overnight dumplins for breakfast; bleaching white clothes on a zinc with lime and salt; and turning the collar on a shirt to extend the wear; are celebrated in the book.
According to Hutchinson, "It was not 'til I was an adult that I knew that you could use fresh bread to make bread pudding, because we all saw our mothers save the stale bread, even with the 'green flowers', and convert it to bread pudding." We were also creative in solving disputes, so instead of DNA evidence and lie detectors, we relied on 'Bible and key'."
A self-proclaimed "rural-minded city girl", Hutchinson, well known in Jamaica and the Diaspora for her work in the preservation of Jamaican language and culture, felt compelled to do Kin Teet Kibba Heart Bun because, "If we don't document these creative practices, how will the next generation know? It is part of ourhistory and heritage."
The book is the culmination of four years of research with Jamaicans from every stratum of society, some of whom have renounced their poverty and prefer not to be reminded. However, it represents a delightfully presented, composite mix of information spanning decades of Jamaican life and is sure to find favour with Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora.
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