Pòpchi

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The special thing about this doll is that it has been baptized. It also has a name, a godfather and a godmother. The tradition of baptizing dolls shows that in Curaçao foreign influences develop their own characteristics over time. This Roman Catholic ritual has become fully Curaçaoan.

The doll is baptized in the name of the needle, the thread and the safety pin. The Roman Catholic church has always had a lot of influence on the island and actively fought against Afro Curaçaoan culture. This doll shows they did not completely succeed.

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2:27 min

"The tradition of baptizing a doll just suits me because I never gave birth - and now I can be the godmother of a doll"

- Ersilia Pietersz-Martina

My name is Ersilia Pietersz-Martina – but everybody knows me as Chila. The tradition of baptizing dolls is an old one. Women who couldn’t have children of their own could baptize a doll and that way they could become godmother of the doll. Like in my case: I have two children but I didn’t give birth to them. I have two daughters, one is 35 and one is 41 years old and I’m so happy with them, I love them dearly. The tradition of baptizing a doll just suits me because I never gave birth – and now I can be the godmother of a doll. That way I can relate to our traditions. I am very proud every time they ask me to be the godmother of a doll. In this case my brother actually made this doll, he made it from cloth. I like it when they’re made of cloth because it makes it more traditional, more real, more authentic. I have a doll that has my skin color so I really feel like I’m part of the doll. His name is Chófilo. I gave him an old name . It’s an old name but we have to go back to the old days so I can’t give him a modern name – so I called him Chófilo.


Yabinan

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This tin box with keys in it was a precious possession of the grandmother of Michèle Russel-Capriles. The Capriles, Henriquez, Alvarez Correa families are of Sephardic Jewish descent, and represent one of the many population groups that settled on the island throughout the centuries.

The roots of the Jewish community of Curacao lie in Spain and Portugal. After having fled the Spanish inquisition in 1492 they ended up in Curaçao after wandering through the Netherlands and Brazil.

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2:27 min

"The reason they took their keys was either because they had hopes that they would come back and they would be able to reclaim their homes"

- Michèle Russel-Capriles

My name is Michèle Russel-Capriles, I brought today a small tin box full of keys. This is a tin box that I found in my grandmother’s belongings and I kept because there’s a legend behind her collection of keys. It’s a worldwide legend that the people in Spain when they were ousted before 1499 – they were ousted by the Inquisition, they were told to either convert to Catholicism or leave the country – the Jewish people in Salamanca, in Toledo, in various other cities in Spain decided to close up their houses and take their keys along with them. And the reason they took their keys was either because they had hopes that they would come back and they would be able to reclaim their homes or in any case if they were leaving they weren’t going to leave their keys for their oppressors to just take over their homes. So they took these keys with them and the feeling that I got after that was that my grandmother decided to take this to another level and kept all keys of all family members of all homes and everything that she could find throughout the years because I found hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of keys..


Penha

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Eunice Coffie has worked for local company “Penha” for 55 years, mostly in their historical shop in the Punda neighborhood. Her life is intertwined with this shop. The tiny house she holds in her hands is a replica of the monumental building made of Delft Blue pottery. KLM Airlines launched this collector’s item in 2004, to mark the 70th anniversary of the airlift between Amsterdam and Curaçao. The “Penha” building is one of the most striking monuments of Curaçao.

One of its most intriguing aspects is not visible at first sight. The bricks that were used for this building in the early 18th century came to Curaçao as ballast in slave ships. In the 17th century Curaçao had become an important hub in the worldwide slave trade under Dutch rule. Traces of this history can be found everywhere, even in mundane objects such as a brick.

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2:27 min

"What always fascinated me the most is the fact that the building is located at the entrance of our harbor"

- Eunice Coffie

My name is Eunice Coffie. I was born and raised here in Curaçao. I am 72 years old and I just celebrated my 55th anniversary working for Penha. I am happy to work for this company, I’ve always enjoyed my work. I’ve met a lot of people throughout the years, many tourists, many people from abroad. What always fascinated me the most is the fact that the building is located at the entrance of our harbor, our beautiful, splendid harbor. Even the tourists like it! I started working at Penha at a very young age, even before the revolt of May 30th. And another thing that I like is that you can see the floating bridge, the pontoon bridge. This building is really the face of Curaçao. As soon as you enter the harbor you see it. It’s great to go on a boat trip through the harbor and just watch our beautiful Penha building.