Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Monday 2/3/2014 Coffin Point Praise Houses

     It was an overcast day on St. Helena Island.  This island has perhaps the most "southern feel" of anywhere I have been yet.  Tomorrow I am interviewing several of the long term residents, so a bit on the history then.

     The houses above sit on the beach at Coffin Point.  The first is a plantation style house built by Ebeneezer Coffin in 1801 (born in Boston in 1763.)  It is a private residence.  Both of the pictured houses look out over the sound that lies between Edisto and Hunting Islands.  

     The second house has just been built - and looking through the windows, it has all the amenities a house this small can have.  It is perhaps inspired by the local "Praise" or "Prays" Houses, small mini-churches that dot the landscape in this area.

     Praise houses were small places of worship built on the plantations for the Gullah slaves.  The second one pictured had a well weathered five dollar bill tucked under the entrance mat - perhaps waiting for some wayward traveler who desperately needed it.

     Then I had the opportunity to spend a bit of time with Ifetayo, a local Gullah woman I had met some years back.  People come to her from miles around for help.  She practices the ancient Reiki art of healing, a tradition that was obtained by the Japanese from Tibetans many years ago.  When asked how a Gullah girl like her got involved in a Japanese healing art, Ifetayo said that she didn't find Reiki, it found her.  It seems that in the early 1980's she met a Japanese practitioner in Washington DC, and has pursued learning the art in the decades since.  She has a beautiful place complete with an old horse stable nestled amongst huge grand oaks on Coffin Point.

     Then last evening, my host here took me over to Coosaw Island to meet Rocco and Olga.  I have to return to their place when I have a chance - they have so much going on.  Suffice it to say they built (themselves) a compound of Quonset huts that are heated and cooled using geothermal energy, they grow and prepare the bulk of their food - and they are involved in so many things I cannot do them justice here.

     Rocco is an amazing cook, and he prepared some of the sword fish and mahi mahi I was given the other day.  Home-made bread made with flour he milled himself, numerous awesome dishes - great company and much laughter.  I will be back to visit Rocco and Olga.  

     Busy day tomorrow - but for now, 

Have a great Tuesday !!

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