ALL AH WEE! // From "Backward" to Trending!

In my household growing up and in that of many of my relatives, there was a broom closet dedicated to the storage of what felt like hundreds of plastic and shopping bags. At the time, I didn’t understand why we held on to all of those bags. To me, it looked like something from that show Hoarders!

Culturally, it’s not uncommon for Caribbean folks (and those of African and Latino cultures) to reuse:

  • PAPER + PLASTIC BAGS:

    • to give people food to carry away

    • roll shoes in when travelling, and

    • to mask the smell of salt fish, mangoes and breadfruit in their suitcase!

  • BOTTLES + JARS:

    • for homemade pepper sauce, seasonings and preserves

    • to store old cooking grease, and

    • to keep ants outta your sugar, flour and rice!

  • METAL COOKIE TINS:

    • as baking pans for yellow and black cake

    • to store fudge, tablata and tamarind balls, and

    • to store up Holiday money!

Often times, these thrifty tactics were deemed “backwards” by those of other cultures who viewed this practice as unsophisticated and an indication of poverty.

For years, conservationists and environmentalists have been urging us [the global community] to reduce our waste footprint. Recent reports, coupled with the latest issue of National Geographic which examines the tons of plastic waste and how its affecting our land, oceans and planet, made me think about my Aunt Rose. She is the most THRIFTIEST person I know!

Click today’s video to hear a funny story how a trip to the mall with my Aunt Rose, which was a hella embarrassing experience at the time, planted the seed for the personal water bottle-reusable bamboo utensils- canvas tote carrying person that I am today :)

With this video, my intention is:

  1. to share thrifty-use everything practice that was once a huge part of Caribbean Culture,

  2. encourage us as community to revert to these practices as a way to reduce, reuse and recycle our global waste,

  3. embolden us to shake the many “backward”, “third world” stigmas often attached to cultures like ours who do things differently and

  4. celebrate yet a another aspect of our culture that has been embraced as a global trend!

If there are any eresources you would like to add to this list, please drop me a line.

Peace, Nia


BONUS: checkout this article.

Nia Fairweather