It's made of glass, two nipples were added to the ends and there are tablespoon and ounces measurement markers. This from a vintage era, the fifties ...... most likely.
Source: Virtual Museum of TT
By Angelo Bissessarsingh, Historian and Author (2014)
Old map showing the proximity of Trinidad to the Orinoco Delta
Sketchy school textbooks have taught generations of Caribbean children numerous myths about the region’s First Peoples such as the conflicts between the savage Caribs and peaceful Arawaks when in reality, there were many different cultures and languages. Around eight thousand years ago, a small band of Neolithic peoples crossed a narrow land bridge from the continental mainland of South America into Trinidad. They carried little, save perhaps a few treasured ceremonial artefacts made of greenstone that had been quarried from the misty heights of the Roraima Mountains. In the south-western part of Trinidad they founded two settlements on the fringe of a mangrove swamp which provided all the necessities of life
Banwari Man, the oldest human remains in the Caribbean.
These peoples were hunter-gatherers and lived off the bounty of nature- from the roots of the mangrove they plucked oysters whose discarded shells formed a great refuse heap that over a millennia of unchanged habitation grew to be a hill almost twenty feet high. The fruits of the wild and the starchy bulbs of water plants were their vegetables, pounded and processed with simple stone tools. Small land mammals were hunted for meat with bone-tipped spears. Bone was also used to make bi-pointed fishhooks. Crude stone axes felled small trees which were used to make round huts.
Cut off from the mainland by rising sea levels. This wave of hunter-gatherers eventually developed the technology to manufacture dugout canoes and may have reached Tobago. Their remains have recently been discovered in Barbados as well, but their presence in Trinidad makes this island the oldest inhabited place in the Caribbean. In the 1960s and 70s the shell mound , located in what was by then known as Banwari Trace in the sleepy village of San Francique, was excavated by the late Peter O’Brien Harris and yielded the remains of Trinidad’s oldest ‘resident’. Banwari Man (or woman) is a human skeleton approximately five thousand years old that was found buried in a foetal position. A tenuous cultural and anthropological connection has been established between Banwari Man and the present-day Warao First Peoples of the Orinoco Delta in Venezuela. It is now housed at the University of the West Indies Zoology Museum at St. Augustine. Persons wishing to view the skeleton and interesting specimen collection can contact curator Mike Rutherford at 1 (868) 662-2002 ext. 82231.
In the wake of the archaic hunter-gatherers came waves of pottery-making cultures beginning in 250 B.C
A man from the Warao people of the Orinoco Delta (1897). The Warao are believed to be related to the neolithic hunter-gatherers who inhabited Trinidad over 8,000 years ago
These were peoples from the Orinoco Delta and their ceramics were durable and highly decorated. The adornments were fanciful heads and shapes in clay which anthropologists have identified as an intense theological phenomenon rooted in religious practices that deified zoomorphic (animal) and anthropomorphic (human) spirits. The earliest pottery cultures are known as Saladoid because the ceramic style was first classified at Saladero in Venezuela. Later movements of first peoples came to Trinidad and brought with them new agriculture, lithics (stone-tool tech), and ceramics. Their refuse heaps or kitchen middens can be found throughout the island and several are very extensive indeed. One such discovery was recently made under the foundations of the Red House in Port-of-Spain which was erected in 1848 and until its recent renovation began, housed the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago. The find included potsherds and human remains.
Up until the 1930s, Warao peoples (seen here in 1912) from the Orinoco Delta visited coastal towns in Trinidad to trade parrots, hammocks and wild game for clothes and other merchandise.
Although Columbus stumbled upon the island in 1498, the waning of the Amerindian presence in Trinidad came in the wake of the first permanent Spaniard settlement at San Jose de Oruna (St. Joseph) in 1592. Those natives not killed off by disease or overwork were herded into small villages called Encomiendas which were little more than serfdoms under the control of a Spanish grandee. The alternative from 1687 was residence in one of the several missions established by Capuchin monks which were only mildly preferable to the Encomiendas. An uprising at the mission of San Francisco de los Arenales (near present-day San Rafael village) saw the Amerindians slaying three priests before being pursued and brutally punished. The missions were really the end of Amerindian culture since they adapted into the Spaniard mode of existence. The missions lasted after the British conquest of 1797 and were dissolved in 1840. The mission villages became desolate and the people in them resigned to their fate. In 1825 a rare diary entry gave a glimpse of what they had become:
“They seem to be the identical race of people whose forefather Columbus discovered, and the Spaniards worked to death in Hispaniola. They are short in stature, (none that I saw exceeding five feet and six inches,) yellow in complexion, their eyes dark, their hair long, lank, and glossy as a raven's wing ; they have a remarkable space between the nostrils and the upper lip, and a breadth and massiveness between the shoulders that would do credit to the Farnese Hercules.
A large stone axe discovered at Cedros in 2011 (Angelo Bissessarsingh Collection)
A clay zoomorphic artifact dated to an age of around 1500 years that was found at Erin Bay in 2009 (Angelo Bissessarsingh Collection)
Their hands and feet, however, are small-boned and delicately shaped. Nothing seems to affect themlike other men ; neither joy nor sorrow, anger nor curiosity, take any hold of them. Both mind and body are drenched in the deepest apathy; the children lie quietly on their mothers' bosoms; silence is in their dwellings.”
Arima was the largest and still retains vestiges of its past as well as a vibrant First Peoples group, the Santa Rosa Carib Community which dedicates itself to the preservation of native culture and championing indigenous affairs. Annaparima (San Fernando Hill) is a sacred site and is now visited annually by First Peoples including the Warao of the Orinoco Delta who perform religious ceremonies there. A slow but sure interest in the truths of our first settlers is now firmly rooted and hopefully will continue to grow.
Cassava bread was an essential part of indigenous diets in the West Indies. It is still made at the Santa Rosa Carib Community in Arima . This 19th century engraving shows the discs of bread hung out to dry after which it can be stored for months.
by Rudolph Bissessarsingh
Often the language of our European colonisers distort the truth of reality. When Columbus discovered the New World in 1492, the indigenous people were labelled Indians because he thought he had reached the East Indies by sailing west. The numerous tribes that were found in the islands of the Caribbean and the continent of South America in short time lost their distinctive individualities under the label of Amerindians. Even up to today, very little serious anthropological research has been done and the historical genocide of many of the first peoples have erased their record of existence.
All writers of the time however, testify to their intrepid spirit and their courage, sensitivity to nature and their hospitality. Their independence and love of liberty were equally marked. The myth of the languid and apathetic indian was never subscribed to by those who had first knowledge of them. Richard Schomburgk described in 1841 the Indians as a passionate race, vain, proud and ambitious with an intense love for family.
The Arawaks called themselves Lokono. The Caribs called themselves Carinya and the Akawois, Kapohn all meaning the People. It was written in 1841 that their pride was softened by their sense of humour and they indulged in practical jokes and gave nicknames to each other and foreign invaders. The tragedy of many first peoples were that they fell to the addiction of alcohol given freely to them by the colonisers for services rendered. Richard Schomburgk observed that it was “an uncontrollable passion in the Caribs.” It became the tool of demoralization and genocide more than the gun. Studies in Guyana where many of the Caribbean first peoples sought refuge list these other tribes. The Akawoi, the Wai Wai, the Warrau, the Maiongkongs, Maopityans, Drios and Pianoghottos. Many of these tribes were never assimilated but became extinct.
Their legacies however remain. The Warraus became noted as canoe builders. Another incorrect word was Caribisi. It was an Arawak word meaning 'Caribs live there'. Another explorer noted that the tribes of the True Carib Akawaoi, Macusi and Arecuna were the true names of the indigenous tribes.
First people's museum at Santa Rosa, Arima
W.H. Brett in his book 'The Indian Tribes' described the Caribs, 'the cloth which is worn by the Caribi men was secured around their loins by a cord and is of sufficient length to form a scarf. The coronal of feathers is sometimes worn around the head. The head is usually adorned by a large daub of arnotto and the forehead and cheeks are painted in the same vermillion colour. This makes them look ferocious.' “The women's dress was merely a narrow strip of blue cloth and their bodies were smeared red with the arnotto. Some painted blue spots on their bodies. They wore a tight strip of red cotton around the knee and ankle. This is called 'sapuru'. The most singular part of their appearance is the piercing of their lower lip adorned with either pins of thorns poking downwards. They have the ability to weave cotton cloth and have the technology of the spindle.” (1843)
There is still much to be written of these first peoples and much credit has to be given to that small group that survive in Arima' Ricardo Barath who has struggled to give them their place in the timeline in the history of not only Trinidad and Tobago but the Caribbean region. We salute these descendants of the first peoples.
Healthy eating is a key factor in reducing the occurrences of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer.
This habit also contributes to increasing your overall quality of life. While many people struggle with finding healthy alternatives to problematic foods in their diets, one humble root has been rising in popularity with health gurus and culinary experts alike: dasheen.
Dasheen is an excellent source of many minerals including iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, manganese, copper and phosphorus. It also contains healthy doses of vitamins A, C, E and B6, and contains significant amounts of healthy dietary fibre. While most people in Trinidad and Tobago eat them boiled as a side dish, dasheen is incredibly versatile and presents a gluten free and fibre rich alternative to many dishes. The best part is dasheen is tasty, affordable, and can be grown in your own backyard (maybe not in Ottawa though)
Here are some proven health benefits of dasheen root, and some ideas for you to incorporate this delicious root vegetable into your diet and live a healthy, nutritious life free of NCDs.
Blood sugar managementAn important benefit of dietary fibre is its ability to regulate blood sugar levels and control insulin release. This is especially important in people with diabetes or those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A 100 gram serving of dasheen contains around 27 per cent of your recommended daily requirement of fibre.
Try it: Dasheen has about 30 percent less fat and more fibre than its cousin, the potato. Try substituting potato for dasheen in dishes like scalloped potato pie or Shepherds’ pie to cut down on fat, but not flavour.
Anti-cancer antioxidantsResearchers believe that our risk of developing serious illnesses like cancer can be greatly reduced by eating a healthy diet, ensuring that sufficient natural antioxidants are put into our system to protect our cells from damage.
Dasheen contains antioxidants in the form of vitamin A and C, as well as polyphenols. These can neutralise the damaging effect that free radicals have on our cells that may lead to mutations into cancer.
Try it: There are many creative ways to include dasheen in your diet, not just in foods, but also in drinks! Boiled dasheen makes a creamy, delicious punch, or even an exotic blended cocktail.
Improved heart health
A strong, healthy heart is key to avoiding instances of hypertension, heart attack and stroke. Dasheen is high in potassium which helps control the heart beat and also relieves stress and pressure on blood vessels and arteries. Potassium is also necessary for keeping blood pressure in check and reduces the effect of sodium on the body.
Try it: Obesity is a huge factor in decreased heart health. Try replacing refined carbohydrates such as white flour with healthy alternatives such as dasheen flour to help manage your weight and have a healthier heart. Dasheen flour tastes delicious in breads, biscuits, and even cakes! (not sure if it is available in Ottawa though - maybe at one of the local Caribbean stores? If you find it in the area, please note the name and location of the store in the comments section below).
Ted Lute recieving an award of honour from Naparima College principal Dr Michael Dowlath (right) on behalf of his father, the late Rev Edward Lute, during the Founders Day Function of 2010.
IN February 2010, the road leading off Independence Avenue, to Naparima College, at Paradise Hill, San Fernando, was officially renamed Lute Drive.
It was in honour of the service of Rev Edward T Lute, who was the last of the Canadian missionaries to hold the principal’s position at the Presbyterian secondary school between 1953 and 1961. Rev Lute’s son, Ted Lute, was there to receive the honour on behalf of his father, who died in 1963.
Stanley Algoo and Dr Brinsley Samaroo, who attended the school during Rev Lute’s tenure, attended the event, and Samaroo delivered the feature address. Algoo, who won an Island Scholarship, later researched and wrote of the impact and influence of Rev Lute. What follows is part of Algoo’s story.
Rev Edward T Lute, (MA, BD, from University of Toronto and graduate work at Union Seminary, New York) became principal in 1953. He resembled the movie star Kirk Douglas. Coming from the urban North American city of Toronto, with contemporary ideas of high school facilities, he set about rebuilding Naps from a wooden structure and primitive science labs to a modern concrete-and-steel structure and a modern science wing which allowed Sixth Formers to pursue Maths and Science curricula.
He added classroom lockers for books, a boon to students’ aching arms. With the recovered lumber, he added a gymnasium to the premises and physical training to the curriculum.
He also began the expansion of Presbyterian secondary school education to Tunapuna and to Siparia. The schools were originally called Naparima North and Naparima South. Eventually they became autonomous and were renamed Hillview College and Iere High School, respectively.
Iere gave the country its first female Prime Minister.
Initially both schools sent their graduates to Naps for the Higher School Certificate (HC) classes which gave Naps a unique blend of HC students of both genders.
He introduced a public-address system for announcements and daily morning meditations and eventually it turned into an in-house “radio station” (Blue Circle Network-BCN) every Friday afternoon for 15 minutes, heralded by the sound of Hugo Alfven’s “Swedish Rhapsody”, as enterprising boys learnt the radio arts, and broadcast news and music to the enthralled classes.
A house system dividing the student body into six groups enabled intra-divisional competition and the award of points for academic, sporting and other notable achievements upon which an annual winner was declared at Speech Day.
A uniform of grey pants and white shirts with a college badge for everyday use was introduced. A dark-blue tie with diagonal white stripes was added for formal occasions.
The playing fields at the bottom of the hill and at Lewis Street were upgraded and the access road (since named Lute Drive) from Independence Avenue (then called Broadway) to the school was straightened and rebuilt.
One of the earliest images of Naparima College, Paradise Hill, San Fernando.
The First Naparima Scout Troop was started under Scout Master SK Ramsingh, aided by students from First Gasparillo Scout Troop, which gave us the Baden-Powell experience of living the Scout oath of duty to Queen and country, helpfulness and obedience while acquiring expertise in camp lore and craft. Overtaken by his busy schedule, which included teaching, Rev Lute added a school chaplain to fill the spiritual needs of students.
Rev Lawrence Purdy was much appreciated for his guidance, wit and cartooning skills. The introduction of Home Room double periods at Sixth Forms encouraged students to discuss topics outside the curriculum, sharpen intellectual curiosity and acquire a love of life-long learning.
Our Masters and the Academic Ethos
The masters were a diverse group of university grads, HC-certified, or recipients of degrees or licentiates obtained through correspondence courses. All wore ties and some wore jackets and ties. Some had been imported from Codrington College, Barbados, during the war when there was a shortage of degreed masters. One who was from Guyana and a graduate of McGill practised the formality of Victorian social mores and soothed his voice with Zubes lozenges, for which he was nicknamed to his chagrin. He ran the bookstore.
Another was a Bajan whose teaching techniques included addressing recalcitrant boys as “my dear darling goat/jackass” to their humiliation and the hilarity of their colleagues.
James Lee Wah taught literature at Naps and was an indefatigable proponent of the dramatic arts. Many students fell under his spell and followed him after graduation into stage and media careers. He initiated the South Secondary Schools Drama Festival to much acclaim.
Julius Hamilton Maurice was an urbane literary savant and educationist and former director of education in Dominica, who left to become President of the Senate under the PNM government.
Scofield Pilgrim, sports master, introduced jazz to the boys through concerts featuring top island performers.
Dr Ishmael Jim Baksh would publish two Caribbean-themed novels in Canada: Black Light and Out of Darkness. Dr Allan McKenzie would become the second local and first lay principal of Naps and transform the school into a premier boys’ college in the island for both academic and sporting achievements.
The year Rev Lute started, the undercurrent of political independence began to manifest itself and a Naps graduate and legendary teacher of literature who expected the principalship resigned and went to teach at Queen’s Royal College, where he later became principal.
This left a disgruntled staff component and the academic success of the school began slipping until only a few of the brightest boys were able to secure Grade I certificates in the Senior Cambridge Examinations. While the school rebuilding proceeded apace, with Rev Lute marshalling considerable fund-raising skills in Trinidad and Canada, including assistance from the authorities at Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, where he was occasional minister to the expatriates at the St Peter’s camp church, the academic and sporting programmes under the tutelage of the masters slipped into mediocrity.
Naps never won the South InterCol championship during my years of attendance.
The HC classes were still performing well and many students were runners-up for the Modern Studies scholarship each year.
In 1957, Dr Larry Lutchmansingh finally made the break-through and won the first Island Scholarship by a boy at a South school.
Two boys from Naps, Jacob Laltoo (1913) and Dr Winston Mahabir (1940), had won scholarships after transferring to QRC thereby confirming the superiority of the Port of Spain schools.
An interesting historic footnote: three sons of Rev Dr John Morton, the first Canadian missionary, won Island Scholarships from QRC: AS Morton in 1887; Harvey H Morton in 1890 and WC Morton in 1892 before Naps was founded in 1894).
According to a report in the 1946 Olympian: “Outstanding among the graduates was Premchand Ratan, who led the island in the School Certificate Examination, making distinction in every subject. Ratan won not only the Hon T Roodal’s Medal, but also the Jerningham Silver medal, the only Naparima student to do this since Scott Fraser in 1913.”
It appears Scott Fraser made Naps the first South school to win this medal in 1913. Sylvia Ramcharan then put Naps on the map by winning its first Island Scholarship in 1943. Kathleen Smith followed by winning the first girls’ scholarship offered by the Government in 1946 and Alma Lum Ser reprised in 1954. The girls had set the scholarship pace after which the boys followed. Finding accounts of these achievers in old library copies of the school magazine, the Olympian, started by Ralph Laltoo in 1945, encouraged me to think I, too, might be able to emulate them. With focused and determined effort, in 1961 I became only the second boy in attendance at a South school to win an Island Scholarship (Modern Studies). The other three scholarships, Languages, Mathematics and Science, were won by St Mary’s and I was told many years later by the Languages scholar who had become a close friend in Canada, that I had prevented a St Mary’s clean sweep, which may have been a kind of poetic justice after the soccer InterCol debacle of 1953. My scholarship confirmed that South schools were capable of outperforming the North schools. The psychological barrier was broken for good. The next year Presentation won the Jerningham Gold Medal for first place in the island scholarships, and the Language and Modern Studies scholarships.
Source: Trinidad Express
When NASA’s Langley Research Center built its newest, state-of-the-art research facility in Hampton, Va., it was only right that they named it after Katherine Johnson, the NASA engineer and subject of the book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.
“You want my honest answer? I think they’re crazy,” the 99-year-old math genius said when she heard about the naming of the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility. The building was dedicated on Sept. 22 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and students from Black Girls Code and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.
The $23 million, 37,000-square-foot data center is named after Johnson, who broke the glass ceiling for black women in the space program. In 2015 Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a trailblazer in the space program.
When NASA began calculating their orbital missions using electronic computers in 1962, astronauts were wary of the technology. To make sure he would be safe, John Glenn instructed scientists to “get the girl,” referring to his trust in the hand calculations by Johnson, NASA’s “human computer.”
Margot Lee Shetterly, the author of the book that inspired the movie, was the keynote speaker at the event. “Telling your story has been an honor,” she said. “Your work changed our history and your history has changed our future.”
Read more at NASA.gov.
There is a photo online, in the sea of billions of photos, where a few dozen white men, stand or sit, some with smiles, some serious, with a few darker faces sprinkled in between.
It’s a photo of the leadership team of a New York plumbers’ union, the Staten Island Plumbers’ Local 371 and among the four brown faces is one smiling woman, Judaline Cassidy, a pint-sized T&T national who has been making waves since she left these shores more than 25 years ago.
Cassidy, an immigrant in the United State who lived in Trinidad up the age of 19, has spent her life hearing the word “no” and responding with a resolute “yes.”
The first black woman to be allowed entry into the Plumbers’ Union, and one of the few women, in general, to make it to a leadership position in the body, Cassidy embodies the success story that forms part of the American dream.
But Cassidy’s dreams began at Covigne Road, Diego Martin, in T&T. She grew up with her grandmother, recalling that her mother didn’t want the responsibility of a child and she didn’t know her father.
“I didn’t have a lot of self-esteem, not growing up with my mother and not knowing my father, that little girl who was timid and did not want to be alive,” Cassidy recalled.
As a teenager, she dreamed of being a lawyer, but when her grandmother died, taking away her only source of financial support as a teenager, Cassidy adjusted her plans.
At the time, the government had introduced a plan for free access to education for tradespeople, with classes taking place at the John Donaldson Technical Institute in Port-of-Spain. Cassidy applied and went to the interview with the board.
“They took a look at me. I’m less than five feet now, so I could have been shorter then and I was 110 pounds so they questioned me on whether I could even lift the tools. I told them I wanted to learn a craft because I had no way of paying for university and I really liked fixing stuff.
“I ended up getting into the plumbing course, one of three girls in a school full of men.”
She recalled dressing for school in Diego Martin and leaving home with no money hoping to get a drop to the capital by a kind driver. Sometimes she walked.
“I was motivated to be better than my circumstances.”
At 19, after completing the first year of a two-year course, Cassidy got married and at the insistence of her husband moved to New York, where for the first few months she did jobs as a baby-sitter, house-keeper or nanny, the type of work typically available to immigrants at the time.
She talked about her studies to be a plumber and her dreams with family, friends, and neighbours. It was a neighbour, who was part of a pro-black employment coalition at the time, who got her the first plumbing job in the city.
“The coalition went to a job site and told the owners they had a plumber. They didn’t tell them it was a woman. I showed up at the construction site in my jeep. I looked really tall in the jeep because of how high the seats were. I got out of the jeep and they started snickering. They said there was no way this woman was the plumber,” she recalled.
She said the supervisor told her to leave but she had no intention of walking away. She returned the next day and the day after that.
At first, she would be sent for coffee, although she was just as skilled and in many cases more skilled than her male counterparts.
“All the guys were green, they didn’t know anything about construction or any particular trade. You are considered green when you don’t know anything. But I had training. They would send me for stuff like an elbow, a cast iron and I could bring it back. Some of the men didn’t have a clue.
“I kept showing up and I think the consistency of always showing up, when it was freezing or when it was hot, I went to work still, that consistency changed the way a lot of the men started treating me. I was meticulous about my job. I really loved plumbing and I was really good at it.”
After a year of working on that construction site as a non-union worker, the company decided to hire some of the workers. Cassidy was one of the plumbers hired. After a year, the company sent the workers to be unionised, Cassidy included.
“I was the only woman and when I went to the office they said go do the dishes, get out of here. I didn’t cry there but I cried in my truck. I went home then I sucked it up and went back to work. One of the guys who I was working with took me under his wing and said he would get me into the union.”
For Cassidy, being a unionised plumber meant better salaries, medical and dental insurance and a change in lifestyle for her family. It was something she really wanted.
“It gives you a sense of security. Unions create the middle class. Without the unions there would be no middle class,” she told the Sunday Guardian.
“A black woman in America, we get 65 cents to the dollar for what a man gets but not in construction and not in the union. As a plumber, I get equal play. I was the first black woman to join the union a year later.”
She added: “The same person who laughed in my face and told me to go do dishes became my biggest advocate. He would always tell people that girl was one of the best plumbers we had.” Today, Cassidy is the only woman officer in the union’s leadership team.
“When I started I would be the only woman on the construction site and no one would talk to me. Now it’s the best feeling to be on a job and you aren’t the only one. I’ve been in jobs with other female plumbers like apprentices and helpers. I’ve been able to teach other women the craft as apprentices.”
Cassidy also recently started a non-profit organisation called Tools and Tiara’s (T&T for short) and teaches young women trade work.
“I was trying to do this a long time. God was pushing me to do it. If you give a woman tools and a tiara you give her confidence,” she said.
“I’m a girly girl. A lot of people have an image of construction women as being manly. I wear construction boots on a site and love to dress up when I go out.
“I do monthly workshops where we teach women plumbing, electrical and carpentry. We have a strong team who volunteers their services to teach women and girls the craft.
“I think women should learn a trade. I started feeling empowered. I felt like I could do anything. I know without a shadow of a doubt I am a very good plumber. My life changed when I started owning my own power and walking on the job like I belong.The minute I got tools in my hand I felt empowered.” Source: Trinidad Guardian
T&T news blog
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