'meditate on the blue'view: Westpunt/Curacao-StimaBoPais/youtube
A peaceful area. fisher place where you can swim as well.
Westpunt/Bandabou-Curacao/Duch Antilles
      Photographed by Asyla ten Holt

                                                                                       PRESERVE   BANDABOU

In the midst of all islands’ political turbulences, when thinking it’s going to have an end-well, mistakenly reaching that star will still allow  a far end-way  to go.  From daunting and misleading political slogan’s ‘ends away, but will come’. the ever-used and expressed ‘..’ some time ago on human psyche, this word ‘keda trankil’ (stay put and relax, everything is alright),till now, nothing so. Problems of all kind keep swaying to high tide but ‘stay put’. All remain in ‘aros I coco’- means rice and coconut or peas- the usual saying. Will all promises remain intact for Bandabou-my place ? Keep it clean and peaceful as the way we all longing for ? It’s a countryside with it’s flora and fauna and restful –recreational surroundings. Our beautiful beaches and underwater sceneries can’t keep being privatized or destroyed so oftenly !.  The ‘mirror ‘side to the story of this one- pretty island-side  is, that this particular country-side is about to lose its charm as the typical peaceful and important place inside greatly 62 km-island of Curacao. The beautiful mountainous surroundings, the natively friendly people in their peaceful neighborhoods with their tradition next to the breathtaking places to recreate with friends and families; the fine natural beaches and other outgoings will speak for itself.             I came to live in Bandabou 30 years ago and noticed the inlanders to be very clean, neat and humble. A Big part of the folks here are nowadays of high age and vulnerable for crime and slaughter. Youngsters ought to take over and care for their elder and re-build what they leave them behind, otherwise intruders….. They have land and custom and their diet rely on big part from fresh cattle-fishery/farm food or land. But lately set up green-house programs with political fund-interference had jeopardized [plans and stopped the whole set up one more time again.  
In Bandabou there is no hurry unless a far distance job into Willemstad demands on this. One thing, more people are habituating Bandabou which leads to stressful traffic-jam. These disastrous ongoing early the mornings happen on one main road which lead to all other direction leaving Bandabou.  Is there really no plan to have alternative road to alleviate this chaos!  Coming to the youth-population, a great percentage of the younger generation have abilities to work at the different resorts in the areas. Unfortunately each one big Resort about to close their doors. Shamefully enough many of small private resorts want cheap labor and take ‘latino’ employers or Dutch ones.  The biggest resorts we had ran out of business. I wonder if it concerned the number of visitors or tax-free privileges by time the date runs out!   About the labor-occupation,   I’ve experienced hard-working people. They’ll save their lunch for another time when need finish their work; they’ll overstress themselves  doing overtime, and if by any means a slight insult comes their direction, they’ll obey because most are humble without criticizing; they depend on their wages you see. But mind you, an everyday same meal offered to workers could heat up in some critic though!        The Bandabou inhabitants can create their own enjoyment, because they enjoy organize ‘their come together’, enjoy planting and feasting together; Organize traditional markets with music entertainment and so on. Soup festival- Feast of little corn-harvest and own Bandabou-Carnaval parade to mention the big events. The ‘tambu’ drum comes from the country plantages and ‘kunuku-houses since the slave-period and the best lyrics (protest, lament  songs or love ones) come from Bandabou- singers like other professions as well. Except  for the household professons, each neighborhood had their own tailor, baker and carpentor -providing their neighborhood.
But talking about change at present, acres of land find their way more and more into foreign hands. Are the Dutch only the ones good in Real-Estate- business and only they have abilities to expand like they like ? And coming to Haitians, when they get land to work on, huge acres ground will suddenly get into their hands to keep. Construction-works mostly end up in hands of Columbians while a handful of locals work with them. Is it because of cheap labor or because they’re lazy? Wile this goes on, massive private–sector constructions are built un-plan-able , whereas flora/fauna get damaged. Our deer is endangered, rabbits and other species while older trees and other vegetation need be protected. And if even youth are not important anymore they can’t continue sitting under their tree doing nothing (sinta bou di palu), because there wouldn’t be any to sit under. Yiu di Korsow (son of the soil), you’re in big trouble with your ‘poor ‘appearance not judging, not focusing with low self-esteem!   All that businesses do is superficially go with the crowd when to gain financially on season- festivities like Carnival or Crop-feast and keep every body happy except giving jobs. Not forgetting the Chinese ‘Toko’s (not one local worker) only large ugly wood benches in front their stores to serve elder men their rum and beer till late in the night- like guards intoxicating themselves-spending money with Crumb-thieves looking for a chance! My only scary argue here is, when by-passing into these Toko’s, big macho-eyes will keep staring. I could talk about  ‘Happy’ Dominican sweethearts surfing Bandabou ‘ in need for pensionado’s but I wouldn’t go further ! Big burden would nevertheless be for neighborhoods listening to their loud Bachata-music. It’s quite a nuisance ! So you see, some are still lucky to know where their ‘marriage’ and ‘passport’ will travel to; a highly seen prosperity-idea to migration groups; And kids follow- proper education and proper health facilities. …no hard feelings.  I’ll bring my mind to searching the pleasant, not ignoring the still-life of Bandabou. The old tradition says that many neighbors love having ‘chit-chats’ talks at their garden-gate- enjoying the cool afternoon breeze that run through their powdered skin after a bath. They take a walk or jog. Many stroll pleasantly to the Toko’s; these used to be Portuguese grocery stores by  the way,  now Chinese small supermarkets like I mentioned before. this latter took over the so called ‘bakery ‘tradition. Just this-the local bakeries have diminished in great number same with the open air bread-ovens ( in the yard). But to continue with the pleasant things; the going out fishing, doing long walks by sunset- forgiving the barking dogs that walk outside their fence.  After a tropical warm day when the evening take over, little island of Curacao is ravishing, the outside world is living!  The little things like sitting in the balcony telling stories and other little bits of exciting everything are still happening in Bandabou-also the enthousiasm looking at a good soccer-match in the open air-field. We’re getting to it, finally having soccer-fields for our kids. The marijuana-man stays away watching, okay ?!  
Lastly our beaches are overcrowded and overwhelmed with burned skins, music, barbeques and playing games and afterwards many keep hanging at the ‘native’ snack houses. Celebrating Bandabou day will remind the importance of sweet natives want preserve their customs, maintain their lands, keep it peaceful and especially clean ! CLEAN BEACHES without used pampers-plastic and bottles!  Back to the youngsters; good schools and avoid lacking attention for contaminating leaking roofs all together is devastating.  On the other hand a library-building with internet facilities need  be there in Bandabou. With Bandabou’s tradition included homemade delicacy and delicious meals and pastries we ought to preserve the famous bread-baking (pan sera) in the traditional outside brick- oven to  finally prevent the uprising litter (bottles, plastics, snack-foams and ‘junk’ boxes) along the side-roads.  Shame when there is a wonderful sightseeing alongside the roads to admire ‘Kinikini’s/Warawara’s (families of Falcon – birds) exposing on the cacti and varieties of other tropical birds, iguanas, rabbits, deers/goats and the flamingoes-areas.  All together with the old traditional variety of botanical surroundings,   the Land houses with their exhibitions and activities and of course the clean natural beaches, our pride lies here to maintain. With drive down the lane, smell the vanilla and jasmin-blossom gives us a kick being present and picking cherries in their season while overlooking  the yellow bloom of the famous Kibra- Hacha tree from a distance on the hill steep. These are gifts of tranquilizers to us. Our  Bandabou is a quite fascinating big area with diverse of beautiful places. Let’s preserve what we’ve still left and for ‘Locals’ to participate.

Asyla ten Holt 2012 (Revised)18-12-2012/polished May 2013/polished August 2014


  1. true indeed, need to cherish the Banda Bou heritage. Would like to see young folks with ovens in their yard baking Pan Sera. Create self supportive systems via Krioyo agriculture. Less dependency of Pariba. Biba republika di Banda Bou*

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