A Bajan's do's and don'ts
Photo by Jon-Ade Holter of Unsplash
Have you heard of the country Barbados? It’s an island in the Caribbean. When I say Caribbean island, what do you think of? Playing on the sandy beaches, having a fun time in the crystal-clear water, amazing food and upbeat music may come to mind. But, you should also think about getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, ants infesting your home and random stray cats asking for food at your doorsteps! If you ever plan on visiting Barbados, follow my tips on how to make the best out of your trip.
Things to do: 
  1. Visit in the summer 

If you’re going to Barbados, go during the party months of June, July and August because that's when Crop Over, also known as the Harvest Festival, happens. Crop Over is a 200-year-old tradition that celebrates the end of the sugar cane season. There is a lot of partying in the streets, parades and food. Crop Over ends with the biggest festival of them all, Kadooment, where people dress up in colorful and feathery, skimpy garments to march in the streets and party all day. 
  1. Hire a tour guide

It's easy to get lost in Barbados! The island has rocky, narrow roads and you have to drive on the left! But, if you get a tour guide, you can ask them to take you to places like Harrison Cave and beaches with pink sand and clear water, according to US News & World Report Travel Guide, which will make your trip more fun. My mother, Medina Jones, said, “It's best to get a tour guide. If you're really new, find a map or local.” 
  1. Carry bug spray

The bugs in Barbados are going to be wild! According to Barbados.org, there are flying cockroaches, ants, sandflies and the notorious mosquito, all which you can combat with the bug spray. Make sure to buy the bug spray in Barbados because the bug spray in America isn't strong enough to kill all of the bugs. Jones said it would be great to bring bug spray but don't expect it to work all the time. “Usually bugs come out at night, so be more careful then.” 
Pack accordingly 
When packing, the first thing you want to do is get proper summer clothes, the lighter the better. Another thing to do while you’re packing is to exchange your American money for Bajan dollars — the rate is approximately two Bajan dollars to every American dollar. Also, bring an umbrella because when noontime hits, the sun will be beaming and make you hot and sweaty. You also need the umbrella because it rains randomly and then stops at least 10 minutes later. Be sure to pack sunscreen to prevent sunburn and tan lines. 
  1. Eat the local food

When you go to Barbados, try the food. Cou cou and flying fish is the national dish. It's cornmeal with a side of tomato paste sauce with fish in it. You should also try macaroni pie. No, it’s not macaroni in a pie, it’s just baked macaroni and cheese. This is a big staple in the country’s diet. Another food you can try is a fried savory food called fish cakes. It's made with saltfish and dough batter, seasoned with scallions and other seasonings, then fried to a golden ball of perfection. According to Crane.com, it's the most popular food for tourists in Barbados. Other staple foods are rice and peas and a fruit called gineps, but in Barbados, they call them Bajan ackees. Not to be confused with the Jamaican ackee, it has the shape of a grape with a hard outer skin that you have to bite off. It's very sweet and sour. You can get them from street-side vendors in Barbados. “If you’re new to the island I really would recommend the food, there's a lot of flavor and spice that will make you feel very very excited,” Jones said. 
Things not to do:

Beware of the animals 
Barbados is full of animals like the green monkey, bats, lizards and rabbits. There are also animals like wild cats and dogs. To combat these tricky animals, don’t feed them! Yes, they may seem cute and cuddly, but they could have rabies, ticks or fleas and they could come back for more food if you feed them. I fed the cats and for sure they came back! Not sure about the dogs, but on the safe side don’t feed them either! If you see a monkey, don’t get too close. They can feel threatened and attack you, resulting in serious injuries. That said, animals aren't all that bad, but don't go out your way to bother them. If you bother them, they'll bother you. “Be careful too, and take awareness if you get bitten by an animal. Get medical treatment as fast as possible,” Jones said. 
Avoid poisonous trees 
In Barbados, there are many trees and fruits that look pretty and you may want to eat its fruit. However, you have to be aware of one tree in particular: the manchineel tree. Known to grow near coastal beaches, it is a poisonous tree that grows a deceiving fruit that looks edible, but could lead you to your short-timed death! 
Don’t wear camouflage 
When you get to Barbados, it's best that you keep your camouflage clothing at home! It’s the Bajan Law that you can’t wear camo clothing because it's only reserved for the Barbados Defense Force. This isn’t limited to just green camo, any color camouflage can get you detained!
Read more…
everything we do is a crime,
it’s been like that for a whole lifetime.

black is a color no one wants to see,
police are shooting so “quietly.”

once we die, no one hears a sound
whites on the news but blacks are nowhere to be found.

making it to 18 is a blessing,
in the life we’re living everyone’s stressing.

police make their way out of a crime,
whereas if blacks did they’d be facing time.

murder is a small six-letter word,
but we have to yell just to be heard.

tears running down mommas’ faces,
“those police took my baby now they need to be put in their places”

you have to stretch to make life out here livable, 
hoodrats on every corner yelling “we need a miracle”

working hard is something we all do,
we have to budge into places you guys just walk through.

no one cares enough,
everyone’s living alone.

you all persist, cuffs around our wrists,
while families are missed.
your fist in my lip,
remind me of when you guys used to whip.

if you put a c in front of opp you’ll know the biggest threat
 but the sad part is, you all have your own mindset.

a jail cell is where most of us are held,
behind bars, serving time, the judge compelled.

lack of opportunity has broke our unity,
defined our identity
and marginalized minorities.

black lives matter caused a whole lot of chatter,
so all lives matter 
was rathered.

sirens wailing,
blacks are failing.

i can’t believe you’d all have the tendency,
the answer is not white supremacy.

take a look in your rear-view, and all you see is the color

“keep your hands visible and make no sudden moves,”
police make the calls then say we’re all fools.

whites reach for the stars,
while blacks remain behind bars.

right before dinner some families pray,
wishing that they’ll live to see another day.

being black can sometimes get hard,
carrying the burden of all whites wanting you dead in a graveyard.

by the second more lives are being lost,
and those officers need to pay the cost.

if you flipped the script you’ll see what life is like,
waking up to a world where everyday you have to fight.

our ancestors were slaves,
beaten and abused
i’m conveyed that we’ll always lose.

what did they do to earn so much disrespect,
we’re always the number one suspects.

we all bleed the same blood,
so why can’t we all just equally love?

up to this day,
racism continues
i hope in the future this doesn’t cause any issues.

Read more…
Free Write
The body of a woman
My body, My power 
That’s what they say anyways 
Beauty like a sunflower 
No matter how much we weigh. 

Beautiful from our head to our toes 
Including our mismatched curves 
What we wear is a form of expression, a way of life, and showing growth
It does not matter what you think you deserve 

I can’t control the uncontrollable 
Like the size of my chest or the size of my figure 
Your opinions are disposable, unlovable, unknowable 
They should be reconsidered, ‘cause they just make you sound bitter.

I won’t dress to make you happy 
OR do what you want me to do 
If I don’t want to do my hair, who cares if it’s nappy! 
But I live in a society where none of these messages get through. 

The way I sit is none of your business
Whether my legs are crossed or not 
If I’m taking up space, I’m sorry but I’m not asking for your forgiveness. 
I’m not the woman of your imagination, But of course, that’s something you never thought. 

My body, My power
So I’m going to do what I want and wear what I please 
Through every day and every hour 
I am a woman, who else agrees?
Read more…
Free Write
What color am I
Behind the naked eye 
We are the same 
The way we cry 
It’s still the same because life is no game. 

Whether I am red, blue or black 
I am the exact same as you 

With that being said you are the same as me 
Beneath the flesh, you are no better 
So don’t pray on my downfall, cause I’m the best I can be 
So don’t be alarmed when I have on a dark sweater. 

We are built in the same skeleton 
Our veins carry the same blood 
The color of my skin is irrelevant
Just because I’m black, I get judged.

The color of my skin holds history 
People believing it's a sin to love someone who looks like me 
Certain features, Certain triggers, Certain chemistry 
People just like me always end “in memory…”
Read more…
Free Write
The love we possess
The people we grew up with 
The people you talk to happily 
The people who have loved you since birth. 

Love we grow up on 
Bonding awaiting to be learned 
The first portrait that you draw with those colorful crayons 
Unconditional love that comes unearned. 

A type of love that we possess 
A type of love that we inherit 
You will always have those people to caress 
And you don’t even have to declare it. 

The only people who will never leave your side 
The people who won’t turn their backs on you 
The grieving and pain TOGETHER when someone dies
The ones who entertain the fantasies we once knew.

The ones who have been there since the beginning of time 
Until the moment you close your colorful eyes.
Read more…