Thursday, 2 January 2014

Where Are You From?

Where are you from? I’m frequently asked this question and I have various answers depending on where I am in the world. More recently, I have been sharing my Benin roots as well as my wish to visit Benin in 2015 with any native Africans who ask me where I’m from. However, their reaction is overwhelming negative to my desire to travel to Benin. Essentially, evil or harm will come to me and family; including not being allowed to leave Benin. It finally occurred to me that the response is similar to what others have heard or warned about entering our ‘Shango yard’ in Belmont.

I must admit that I was initially scared to go to Benin after hearing these stories. However, now I’m even more determined to finally finish the family journey.

We plan to be in Benin in January 2015 around January 10th to witness the voodoo festival and experience all that Benin has to offer. I’m particularly interested in seeing Cotonu where our Abojevi Zahwenu originated. Also, Savalu where his wife was captured, walked while chained at the ankle to Cotonu and boarded the slave ship to Trinidad. We’ll begin to work on the itinerary in the coming months.

There are currently nine Antoines who are hoping to experience Benin together. I hope you can join us as we trace our roots back to Benin. You have a year to prepare financially, psychologically and physically for the trip.

We’ll provide all updates here so at the very least you can live vicariously through us.  Stay tuned  ...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

More Rada Drumming

More Rada drumming to help you enjoy your Sunday! Rolling all the way to Belmont in July! Ready for the tent's red dirt!

Click here: Rada 1

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Want to Hike to Maracas Beach?

The RSVPs are slowly coming in for Maracas Beach on Sunday, July 29th and it looks like we’ll have a bunch of spicy Antoines at Maracas. One suggestion from Chris Starr is to walk over the hills to Maracas Beach, departing from Mt Zion above Loango Village. The trail starts at about 300 meters, ascends to about 750 meters and from there down to the sea. Apparently, walking back would not be fun but you can drive back. Who’s in?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Antoine Family Reunion: July 29 - August 3, 2012, RSVP by June 30

Come back to your roots in Belmont
and have
lots of fun in the sun
with all of the Antoines!

Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 9:00 am – Maracas Beach Pot Luck. Transportation will be arranged and will leave from Antoine Lane. RSVP and for further details contact Hester Millington by June 30th at

Monday, July 30, 2012 at 6:00 pm – Belmont Rada Community 157th Anniversary, Crowne Plaza, Wrightson Road. Tribute will be paid by special guests including Minister of The Arts and Multiculturalism, The Honourable Winston Peters and Dr. Hollis Liverpool. Cost: TT$300. Dress: Business formal. RSVP by June 30th

Thursday, August 2 and Friday, August 3, 2012 at 6:00 am -10:00 pm – Vodunu at Antoine Lane. Free. All are welcome.

We look forward to seeing you all in four months!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Great Gods Cannot Ride Little Horses

Great gods cannot ride little horses. This Haitian proverb means that a saint/deity/god will only descend to ride or possess the body of someone who is prepared to attain a ‘state of ecstatic union with the divine’. Similar to most spiritual practices such as becoming filled with the Holy Ghost, reaching the Buddhist state of nirvana or attaining the yogi's state of divine bliss, samadhi. The drumming and singing attempt to get the vodunsis (women who are possessed by saints) to reach higher levels of consciousness and invoke a spirit to descend and possess or ride them. But don't worry it seems that the majority of us are little horses.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Authentic African Names

If you're looking for an authentic African name for your soon-to-be-born baby (I know of at least 2 that are on the way) or in the future. Here are some names from earlier generations of Antoines or Rada community members. Male names: Abojevi, Kunu, Dewendo, Alokasu, Padonu, Achovi, Soobo, Zizu, Gangwede, Hoduno, Cocombre, Yewenu, Boko (Amora’s father and June Robinson's grandfather). Female names: Dovi, Ahoorloo, Sedende (Estalize’s aka Nennie G’s mother), Wovonde (2nd generation Baptiste).
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