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The Meaning of Basin Jamet

The Meaning of Basin Jamet

posted on Wednesday September 22, 2010 | in The Basin Jamet | 8 Comments

BASIN JAMET: In St.Lucian creole a basin means a pool of water particularly a natural pool in a river.  A jamet, the way I like to think of it is a very free, bordering on loose woman.  It has a sort of negative connotation but as  a child for some reason I liked the word and I liked the women that the word was associated with, I secretly wanted to be one.  They always seemed to laugh more heartily, dance ferociously and all around live like its no body’s business.  Now Basin Jamet is actually a physical place in my mother’s village.  It is a pool where all the girls would gather and and scream loudly and splash about, in the colonies a lady is seen but not heard, but not at Basin Jamet.  At Basin Jamet women were free! Hence it’s meaning; the pool where Jamets hang out.  As I came to discover Picasso’s paintings, I couldn’t help but make the association with “Demoiselles d’Avignon”, or Paul Cézanne’s “Les Grandes Baigneuses,” or Renoir’s “The Bathers”. See where I’m going here.  The idea is that women together can be loose and free and united, and in The Basin Jamet section of the blog I’d like to capture that spirit. The SOUSOU comes to mind and I will be posting about that soon.

Every woman fights a war.

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  1. pamela shepard (Reply) on Wednesday 22, 2010

    “i secretly wanted to be one”
    WHAT A TRIP!…literally, your opening
    words made me remember snippets of
    MY childhood.

    as a small girl, i would get ready for church on sunday
    mornings by hiking my slip up into a mini skirt and
    rolling under my undershirt to resemble a slither
    of a sports bra.

    after dancing around imitating a much cooler
    version of my teenage sister, i would properly
    adjust my undergarments. every length
    had to return to its original placement.
    for the touch of crinoline on my skin drove me nuts!

  2. shala (Reply) on Wednesday 22, 2010

    OMG. And I was the queen of twirling ring games, making sure that my school uniform was a full flared skirt so that when I spun around my the skirt would become a full circle in the air…

  3. Eunice (Reply) on Wednesday 22, 2010

    I love this post, it is so true. I am looking for my inner Jamet. I want to be loose and free but it seems like it is not as easy in our days…

  4. Islandista (Reply) on Wednesday 22, 2010

    Had to laugh at the part where you said you secretly wanted to be a jamet!

    Makes me think of Saucy Wow’s 2002 Carnival tune… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtQe9ztznkU


  5. shala (Reply) on Wednesday 22, 2010

    Islandista: I laughed the whole time. That’s really really good stuff. Makes me want to go to Trinidad for Carnival

  6. nb (Reply) on Wednesday 22, 2010

    And look at Saucy now with two more Jamettes:

    As for Carnival – everybody should go at least once, especially if you want to get on bad.
    2009 was amazing.

    Shala – I am loving this site!

  7. […] like me speaks creole and knows what a basin is, a river is, a banana […]

  8. SJW (Reply) on Wednesday 22, 2010

    Shala, my initial reaction the word Jamet in your blog was shock. Was it the same word I grew up with? As a child the word lashed at my soul, scaring my memory of growing up in St.Lucia. As I’ve grown older and embraced my spirit, I find solace in your use of the word so freely. Your explanation of the term is so liberating.

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