Jerrycan di kerozin

With this tin jerry can, participant Ilona’s mother bought kerosene. That was a tough job. Ilona: “My mother was skinny and short, she couldn’t carry 5 liters. So they would fill the jerrycan half way.”

Even before oil company Shell settled on Curaçao, islanders imported petroleum and kerosene. This was done in square kerosene cans. Today, such square cans are used for salad and cooking oil. Curaçaoans were used to improvising. They often built their houses from the wood of the crates and boxes used to ship goods from Europe to the Caribbean. The kerosene cans were also given a second life. People covered wooden houses with them. The wood lasted longer that way.

The surplus of empty kerosene cans even gave way to a new profession. The blekero, the tinsmith, used the tin from the kerosene to make all kinds of household products. From buckets to whole dinnerware. And perhaps the jerrycan owned by Ilona’s mother (we don’t know for sure).

“Curaçaoans were used to improvising.”