We must learn from our past, or weíll be doomed to repeat it. Itís always food to leave a legacy behind for future generations to come
. For us growing up on the Islands we were never told about the consequences of inviting outsiders into our world, but itís a lesson weíve learn the hard way. I could remember it as if it was yesterday. It was the day our once peaceful village was turn upside down by the arrival of unusual strangers.
On this particular day every huts and fishing village was closed because everyone was headed down to the ball court. My best friend Tainaoh and I would take part in this sport it was our favorite sport, a ball game called Batos, it was a cross between volleyball and foot ball. This sport was a very important part of our traditions, seeing that it was organized by our Chief (Cacique), who would usually watched from the seat of honor on the sidelines. As we were playing batos, Tainoah and I were also making plans about what we would do at the festival party for the inauguration of the new Cacique, during this ceremony we would take part in the singing and dancing called (Areitos). To us children this was the most anticipation of our island life. Everyday Tainaoh and I would always pray to the gods that something exhilarating would happen, but after awhile we just give up hope of that ever happening
However, all that was about to change. We were just about to finish the game when a cry was made from one of the Metayano (headman) of the village. Everyone abandoned the ball court and race towards the beach where the men from the tribe was already gathered and looking towards the ocean as a big boat came near to our land. Tainoah and I hard-pressed our way to get a closer look at the boat, but my Toa (mother) grabbed us back onto the shore. As everyone stood embedded to the spot, I was staring in disbelief at what my eyes was seeing, as if it was all a dream or hallucination of some kind. As several small boats with peculiar looking men paddle there way ashore, I saw the horror mixed with uncertainty in eyes of everyone not sure about what would take place, seeing that nothing like this has ever happen to us before, and these men coming towards us was absolutely not Indians or from around these parts. They looked different from us with their pale skins and wacky looking clothes that covered all their body parts, something Iíve never see before at all. The warriors said that all the women and children should return to the huts and not come down to the shore unless it was safe. Yet Tainoah and I managed to escape from our Toas and hid in the bushes as the strangers talk to our chief. The men were talking in a weird and wonderful unknown language which we did not understand, yet our chief seemed to understand every word they were saying perfectly. After hours of talking our chief decided they were not a risk to our people and village and invited them to the ceremony party which was a great tribute to someone who weíve never met before.
The strangers arrived at the ceremony festival with mysterious gifts which they give to our chief as thanks for allowing them the privilege of being a part of our feast. My people were still terrified of the strange men, but our chief told us not to fear them, because they were peaceful sailors in search of finding gold and silver, and they believe that our village was India. Some of the Metayanos(headmen) were laughing because our island was without doubt not the place they seek, and we was just a farming and fishing village. While the ceremony was taking place the chief also presented them with welcome gifts from the Bohio, such as sweet potatoes, cassava, sucker fish and the tobacco plants which they seem to enjoy. The strangers made cigars and smoked it in a pipe and where very contented after that.
These men were in our village for some days, when the chief called a meeting and made an appalling announcement that was the down fall of our village. He told us that some of our people would accompany these men as guide to our neighboring island Hispaniola, and promise they would bring them back at the end of their journey. People in our tribe were delighted with joy of being giving such great honor of traveling with these men, but that was a severe mistake, we would later realize.
Among the selected was one of my brothers and Tainoah sister was also among those as well. It was the hardest thing I ever had done when my brother departed the island, but I was left with the hope that I would see him again. Yet as time went by my hope begin to wavier. Day after day Tainaoh and I would sit on the beach looking out towards the ocean in wait of the return of our love ones .I was cleaning my hammock when Tainaoh came running and shouting that some boats were coming towards the shore, I dropped what I was doing and ran to the beach where everyone was cheering and smiling with each other knowing we would soon be reunited with our families once again.
How we were sadly mistaken as the men came ashore, instead of greeting us as usual the strangers started to grab and drag some of our people into their boats, I stood in awe and skepticism as to what was talking place, and later react as someone shouted for us to run and hide. As I turned to run, I scream because I saw Tainoah was snatched and carried off by one of the men. I tripped, and felt when someone grabbed me from behind as I lose consciousness, but when I came to I was in a cave with those who manage to escape captivity. From that day our island was visited by those men and each time someone was taken away from us. As I sat in the cave I thought about the time Tainoah and I prayed to the gods for something exciting to happen to our village, and never realized that the worst could have happen. I now know what it means, to be careful what you wish for. To this day I never saw or heard from my parents, families, or Tainoah again and doubt I ever will.
After being on this boat for several months now not knowing what would become of me, I decided it would be best to leave this story behind for someone out there, someone just like me who was never told about the end result of talking or welcoming a stranger into your home, but itís a lesson our people have learn, a lesson to late. It was late for my people, but it doesnít have to be the same for you.
My name is Yocana an Arawak boy living on the once peaceful Island of the Bahamas called (Guanahani). I was one of the last people of my village to be capture by these strangers to our island. This here is my story. Remember itís best to learn from your past or youíll surly be doomed to repeat it...