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OAS/GNT Sustainable Heritage Endorsement Programme

PHOTOVOICE PROMPT #5: Lost & Found

What do you see here? (Addressed to the whole group)

A mongoose trap    –     A hinge    –     Grey and white

A box    –     Black rubber    –     Concrete squares

Wire mesh     –     Tarpaulin (flexible)    –     Brown

Long piece of wood    –     Board (baby blue color)

Why did you take this photo? (Addressed to the photographer)

The title of the “Ancient Tech” image brings into focus Grenada’s mongoose infestation problems. Ironically this infestation came about as a result of mongooses that were imported into Grenada from India to control the rapid growth of snakes. With reference to the social aspect of the mongoose invasion, it creates dangerous environments and health hazards for both humans and other animals and it destroys livestock and agricultural products. Similarly, the mongoose infiltration deduces monetary profits because less agricultural products are available.

What is really happening here? (Addressed to the whole group—alternatively what does the photograph represent?)

As a former indentured servant, the mongoose serves an intrinsic value relating to the extermination of snakes in Grenada. More telling is the fact that the mongoose is also equated to the role of a double-edged sword in that it is initially seen as a solution to the influx of snakes in Grenada and is released throughout the area to kill snakes, whereas years later the mongoose itself becomes a major problem and is captured by a mongoose trap and is destroyed to correct the overpopulation problem. This is a case of inversion where the hunter becomes the prey. Like two unlikely peas in the same pod, both the snake and the mongoose pose serious dangers to livestock and humans. Therefore, the snake and the mongoose exemplify the letting go of old ways (through discontinuity) while Grenada is allowed to transition to new ways (of stability). On the other hand, the mongoose box embodies a funeral to bury the past as well as it functions as a downsizing measure. With regards to the tarpaulin, its flexible and water-resistance features personify Grenada’s resilient, sheltered nature.

PHOTO Title: Ancient Tech

Photograph Location: Clozier, St. John’s

Photographer: Horace George

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