San Sebastian - old houses, well and indigo tank

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

In the neighborhood of most country houses there was a small village with (slave) huts and other buildings. Most of these were still reasonably intact at the beginning of the 20th century according to the topographical map made by Werbata. The fact that these houses are shown as small orange (stone) or black (wooden) rectangles on the map means that the houses were still there in a recognisable form. Otherwise these would have been marked as ruins. Opposite the country house of San Sebastian such a village can be seen on the Werbata map. A ruin of a small building can be see from the road. Often this is denoted as the house of the vito (supervisor), but most probably this is a former milk house where the milk was placed for pickup for transport in the morning. It is too small for a house.

San Sebastiaan 20130808 004 smallOn Thursday August 8, 2013 we parked our cars in the yard of François's house. From there we walked to the ruin opposite the country house and entered the vegetation in search of remnants of other buildings in this area. Next to the milk house there is a large wall, probably a corral for the animals of the plantation. Soon we found the ruins of a first house. It had steps on both sides of the house; part of the floor is still visible and also some parts of the wall with plaster attached. In the immediate vicinity we found two more foundations. Apparently the houses were built very close to each other.

From there we went back in the direction of the milk house. Close to the current asphalt road we found the remnants of an old asphalt path. This path is not visible on the Werbata map, so it has to be from a later date. It is visible as a path on the 1993 Kadaster map. This path is next to the fence of Flamingo Park. We walked along this path till we saw on the GPS that there should be more houses to our left. Fred, Eddy and I went into the vegetation to search for these houses; the others continued along the path. They would go to the well that is visible on the Werbata map. 

Fred, Eddy and I entered an area full of candle cacti and Prickly pear. At some places these formed an impenetrable wall so we had no easy walk. It was also an area full of artifacts, case bottles, ceramic gin bottles and other glassware. Certainly an indication of former habitation. We found two more traces of foundations in this area. 
Under a large tamarind tree we took a rest and contacted the others to tell them what we had found and that our intention was to search a bit further in this area. This we did and at a certain point we decided that we wouldn't go anymore to the well. But just then François phoned Fred to tell him what his group had found. Indigo processing tanks close to the well. So we stopped our search and went in the direction of the well where we joined the others. There is a large circular well with a smaller shallow tank next to it. There was still water in the well. Close to the well the others had found the indigo tanks. These were overgrown by Wabis. They had already cleared the middle tank from most of the vegetation. The upper tank was still overgrown and the lower tank is mostly underground. Only the top of some of the walls of the lower tank is visible. Between the upper and middle tank there is a nicely visible drain surrounded by IJssel bricks. Indigo processing tanks are normally built at a rather large distance from the country house because of the nasty smell of the process. And these are mostly built in the vicinity of water because the process needs a lot of water.
Strangely enough these constructions are never shown on the Werbata map. The well is shown but these tanks, although certainly of a larger size, are not shown. Probably Werbata had no idea what these were and they had no significant value for him to mark them on the map. For us these are significant because they are part of our history.

After this very intense hike we went back to the home of François where we were treated by his wife Ai Wha on cool drinks and peanuts.

No rights can be derived from this report.