The National Committee On Ageing brought cheer to just over 100 senior citizens when it staged a Christmas party at the Living Water Community Hall in St David’s, Christ Church.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, deputy chairperson of the National Committee On Ageing, Marva Alleyne, said the senior citizens were drawn from the geriatric hospitals, polyclinics and the Soroptimist Village and Activities Centre at Eden Lodge in St Michael.
The celebration was attended by Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development Steve Blackett, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development Janet Phillips, former National Committee On Ageing chairman Dame Maisie Barker-Welch; National Committee On Ageing chairman Sylvester Niles and National Assistance Board deputy director Andrew Browne.
In a brief address, Blackett recalled the Christmas season of yesteryear pointing out that it was a season when every member of the household was assigned a specific chore in and around the house.
He further recalled that as a young boy growing up in Bank Hall, St Michael, at the home of his paternal grandmother, he was given such chores as varnishing the household furniture, collecting sand from the beach to spread around the house and assisting in scrubbing the pine floor.
Blackett told his elderly audience, who would have had similar experiences at Christmas: “I can clearly remember the aroma of the ham at this festive season. I can still see the ham hanging in the roof of the house with the children anxiously awaiting Christmas Day to have their share of it.
“To this day I still enjoy the excitement of decorating the house on Christmas Eve and then attending early morning Christmas Mass. My wife prefers to redecorate the house weeks before Christmas Day, but I have asked her to respect my allegiance to tradition and redecorate the house on Christmas Eve. I like the feeling to this day.”
The St Michael Central MP encouraged the more fortunate in attendance to share some of their Christmas delicacies with the less fortunate, even though over the years such food items as ham and turkey have become everyday dishes.
“There are still some elderly persons in Barbados who cannot enjoy ham and turkey throughout the year. Some of these persons would have contributed to the quality of life we currently enjoy,” Blackett said.
The senior citizens were treated to Christmas carols played by saxophonist Gerald Seaman Hunte and the beautiful singing of Ann Riley, as they enjoyed the traditional Christmas fare of green peas and rice, jug jug, sweet potato pie, macaroni pie, ham and turkey, and sorrel drink.