“Aye clear d road, look “Bamboo Chook Me” coming! If he touches you, bite yuh ten fingers and walk on the other side of the road”. “Bamboo Chook Me” was known as the village’s Soucouyant. He was said to have sucked the blood of many villagers in their sleep, who would often awake with bite marks on their necks. In order to prevent him from passing, at a crossroads, place many rice grains in which he would have to count all in order to pass.
“Each culture has its prevalent tradition, whether oral or written, in a given time” (Sindoni, 58). Thus, orality and superstition are embedded in many cultures. The preservation of this oral culture is largely due to generations upon generations, who wish to safeguard this tradition. It is not alien to the Caribbean as this region harnesses a distinct and unique culture that is very translucent, for example in works of literature by Olive Senior, who often incorporates the famous Anansi, in the telling of her stories. Tobago is no different. The isle though relatively small in populace, possesses an inimitable oral culture because of its French, Spanish, Dutch and African influences, just to name a few, as the island changed hands approximately 32 times under the colonial regime of slavery .
There are so many stories that I can relay. Firstly, do you know how to keep a man? I’m guessing that the cliché answer is mind blowing orgasmic sex, catering to his every needs, cooking, and buying expensive gifts. Hold up. No. Back then, these women did not know about that. The real deal is, if you want to ” trap” your man, you give him something called “sweat rice”. According to Page and Luven, ” it is made by a woman who wants to capture the attention of a man or a husband who is straying by standing over a bowl of rice in which her vagina juices fall into the rice”(95) http://thelovechronicles.blogspot.com/…/sweat-rice-voodoo-spells-love-potions. Ladies. You squat over a boiling pot of rice where you allow your bodily fluids, especially your panty juices “to sweat” into the rice. Give him that to eat, and he is all yours. But wait, if your man prefers dumpling over rice, no worries. There is also a remedy for that. Left Hand dumpling http://danainlondon.blogspot.com/2007/…/sweat-cake-left-hand-fruit-cake.htm. . Basically the dumpling is kneaded with the left hand and similar to the “sweat rice”, it is supposed to “bazodee” a man . Mind blowing sex, “sweat rice” or left hand dumpling? Which is a sure guarantee to “trap” your mister? One way to find out 🙂 If ever a child dies before they are baptized, they are what we call a” Douen” http://www.ttfilmfestival.com/film-synopsis/douen . They wander the earth especially forested areas. My grandmother always use to tell my mother, don’t call our names near dusk as the “Douens” would take our names and use it to call us and lure us away.
Maybe a damsel in distress? Pretty yet, scary, according to the “La Dablesse” ” appears as a young seductress. she conceals her feet ( cow, horse or goat) hooves beneath her dress, which she sometimes lifts in the heat of her excitement” (Pradel, 153). But in the distance, she is really pretty. She wanders in lonely areas in order to locate her victims, where she plays the role of the damsel in distress. But not so fast. As soon as the men are close in proximity, she disappears with them and kills them. However, in order to subvert her deadly charms, according to my grandmother, the men can remove their clothes, turn them inside out, and put them on again. This could have all been prevented back then if men thought with their heads and not their dicks.
There are many other stories that I can delve into about the oral traditions of Tobago. Orality still remains an integral part of Tobago’s culture and preservation is key in retaining and preventing it from becoming a dormant art form.
Page, Kathy, and Luven,Lynne. In the Flesh: Twenty Writers Explore the Body. Brindle & Glass Publishing, 2012. Print.
Pradel, Lucie. African Beliefs in the New World: Popular Literary Traditions of the Caribbean. Africa World Press, 2000. Print.
Sindoni, Maria Grazia. Creolizing Culture: A Study on Sam Selvon’s Work. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors (P) Ltd, 2006. Print.