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A gift to the future – Educator wants to establish heritage site in Linstead

Avis Harvey cannot be silenced about children and her immortal love for them.

“I worked with children all my life and I like children. I want them to be aware, to be informed, and to be educated,” she said.

Harvey, however, thinks too many children lack awareness of the island’s cultural heritage.

As a result, she has been collecting artifacts with an intention to one day establish a heritage site in her hometown of Linstead, St Catherine.

“When you go around and sometimes talk to the young people, they don’t even have the slightest idea of where we are coming from. What I have done is to present a gift to the younger people…” Harvey told The Beacon.

“I am trying to get a sponsor because I want to set up a heritage site so that the children can come and see my displays.”

Harvey was seen displaying a number of the artifacts at the Jamaica Linstead Ackee and Jerk Cultural Festival, which was held on October 21 at Dinthill Technical High School in Linstead.

The items included a coal stove, lantern, self-heater iron, mortar, coconut brush for the floor, cassette recorder, and an oil stove.

“A lot of these things are my collection; I have things here from my grandmother. I have a waiter from my grandmother, and it was my great-grandfather who made it from mahogany,” Harvey said while pointing at the different items.

She further stated that, although she has been collecting the artifacts for ‘a long time now,’ she has been doing it on a highly organized level for about four years.

It is not surprising that Harvey is still passionate about educating young people.

She spent some 25 years teaching at different infant schools in the Linstead area; she also started an infant school.

Furthermore, Harvey plays an important role in youth organizations attached to the Rotary Club in Linstead, and previously the Lions Club.

“I would like to be remembered as a person who loves children, takes care of children and have a big heart,” said the bubbly biological mother-of-three.

She told The Beacon that she does not consider herself a ‘retired’ teacher; she prefers to be called a lifelong educator.

Harvey also does not like to disclose her age. “It is not about the age; it’s about the heart,” she insisted.

Harvey, born and raised in Kingston, said she fell in love with Linstead when she first visited the area as a Girl Guides member when she was 12 years old.

Linstead, today, is her home.

By Horace Mills, Journalist

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