Soualichi Stories by Foresee Foundation

Since April 13th, Forese Foundation has been bringing you Soualichi Stories, an audio series of beloved Caribbean island folktales available on their website: https://www.foreseefoundation.com/

Press release :

Foresee Foundation Brings

Beloved Soualichi Sint Maarten Folk Tales to the Community –

Connecting through Our Culture

April 7, 2020 Philipsburg, Sint Maarten – During this period of isolation and uncertainty, the Foresee Foundation is spearheading a project designed to bring our Sint Maarten community a sense of connection through our shared heritage and culture. It is producing an audio series of beloved Caribbean island folktales, as retold by local Sint Maarteners. The first story will be premiered on Easter Monday, April 13th on St. Maarten radio stations. Additional exciting stories from several story tellers will follow.

While our current environment requires that Sint Maarteners isolate ourselves for our own safety, the project recognizes the critical importance of connections. Though the program is oriented toward the general public, Foresee Foundation President, Jose Sommers clarifies that “our pilot program also is concerned with those who may be most vulnerable during this period of separation – the elderly, who not only may be confined to isolation by social distancing, but who may live alone already. They also are far less likely to engage in social connections online through social media.” A decline in social interactions can result in depression and physical illness, which is even more dangerous during these high-risk periods.

For this project, Foresee Foundation has chosen the name Soualichi, which joins together two historical names for our land: Soualiga and Oualichi. Soualiga is a native word meaning land of salt, while Oualichi means land of brave women. By combining this ancient heritage, the project again builds on its theme of connections and unity.

Soualichi Project Coordinator Laura Hartman explains that One-Tété Lohkay represents the first audio story of a larger project. “We look forward to providing Sint Maarten with the rest of the series over the coming weeks and months, as a welcome link, both to each other and to Sint Maarten’s community and history.” Depending on funding, Foresee Foundation also anticipates adding a visual element to these stories.

Papa Umpo telling the story of One-Tété Lohkay, photo credit: Tim Van Dijk

The first recording of well-known legend “One-Tété Lohkay” features storytelling by Papa Umpo. The story honors the voice and spirited rebellion of a young woman who was kept as a slave on a Sint Maarten plantation. Her eventual escape offers inspiration, representing freedom to generations of Sint Maarteners. There are other stories which will be released weekly, and will include “The Salt Pond Goddess,” “Mr. Lalaman, Leave de Graveyard Alone!”, “Bro Monkey” and more to come.

This project under 4C was initiated by a group of dedicated volunteers, consisting of Tim van Dijk-Radio host at Oasis 96.3, Kevin ‘Suppa’ Petrona of the Suppa Duppa morning show at Laser 101, Soualichi Project Coordinator Laura Hartman, story tellers Papa Umpo and Clara Reyes, Alston Lourens, Marketing Director, Foresee Foundation, Cassandra Richardson, NPOwer Coordinator, Jose Sommers, Foresee Foundation General Director and Sjorensly Valies, Foresee Foundation President. Special thanks go to Philipsburg Broadcasting (Mr. Francis Carty), Island 92 (Dr. Soc) and MIX 94.7.

For inquiries and to suggest additional St. Maarten folk stories and story tellers, please contact Soualichi Project Coordinator, Laura Hartman, LHartman@depaul.edu, or contact a member of the Project Team.

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