Guessing Someone's Age
Ponce's Architecture in 1870
Quenepas - Tasty but Dangerous
Ponce is famous for its quenepas, a very tasty fruit extremely rich in phosphorus and iron. In fact, it is the city’s official fruit and Ponce hosts an annual quenepa festival in the town plaza. Of course, I had to include something about them in Sebastián. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 19.
The Barrio of the Freed Slaves
The setting for Sebastián is in Ponce, Puerto Rico from September 1870 to September 1871. Even though slavery in the United States had been abolished since December 6, 1865, Puerto Rico was still a colony of Spain at that time. Under Spanish rule, slavery on the island still existed, although it was nearing its end. Sebastián Torres, born and raised in the mountains of Adjuntas, had never even seen a slave until moving to Ponce and visiting the barrio of San Antón.
Do You Know What These Are?
These are ditas, or traditional Puerto Rican bowls. The larger, oblong bowls are made from the gourd-like fruit of a calabash tree called the higüero. The smaller ones are made from the dried out shell of a coconut. The Taíno Indians constructed different types of domestic items, such as bowls and cups, and this practice survived well into the twentieth century, especially in rural areas of the island.