Did you know that not far from Hornerman Lane is Pregnancy Lane? How about Buller Street or Pepper Sauce Road?
Here are 10 of the strangest names we've spotted along the roads of Trinidad and Tobago:
1. Pregnancy Lane/Horner Man Lane, Diego Martin
These famous (or infamous?) streets in Diego Martin have a sordid history. It is alleged that Hornerman Lane, formerly Trumpet Lane, was so named because the men from that street allegedly wandered over to Pregnancy Lane, formerly Wilson Lane, when the husbands on that street left for work.
The name stuck after eight women allegedly became pregnant around the same time about 30 years ago.
2. Buller Street, Port of Spain
Contrary to some dirty minds, Buller Street is actually named after General Sir Redvers Henry Buller, a British Army officer who was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for British and Commonwealth forces.
He served as Commander-in-Chief of British forces in South Africa during the early months of the Second Boer War and subsequently commanded the army in Natal until his return to England in November 1900.
Did you know? Six other streets bear names of members of the British Army who also performed admirably, including Roberts, Kitchener, Baden-Powell, Methuen, McDonald and Gatacre Streets.
3. Pepper Sauce Road, Endeavour, Chaguanas
Things must get spicy there.
4. Potato Trace, La Romaine
Located off the Southern Main Road, Potato Trace is actually close to Hosein's Meat Shop. You know what they say about meat and potatoes...
5. Sesame Street, Preysal
Can you tell us how to get there? Seriously, we don't know.
6. Concerned Citizen Street, Couva
It's a rough guess, but we think a concerned citizen decided to finally name this street.
7. Faecal Dump Road, Union Village
Located off Naparima Mayaro Road, it's a mystery as to how this street was named. LoopTThas reached out to the councillors for the area for more information on this
8. Mandingo Road, Princes Town
Located off Moruga Road, this road is so long there's actually a Mandingo Road Number One.
9. Soursop Crescent, Malabar
Did you know? There's also a Soursop Street in Nassau Bahamas, and a Soursop Lane in Florida, USA.
10. Punch Bowl Road, Mason Hall, Tobago
Located off Northside Road, this curious name fits its winding shape.
What strange road or place names do you know of in Trinidad and Tobago?
Source: The Loop, Feb. 5, 2018
Black Panther actor Winston Duke is not the only success story from his Tobago family. His sister, Cindy M. Duke, is an MD/PhD trained Physician Scientist working in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A Gynecology and Obstetrics (Gyn/Ob) specialist and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) sub-specialist, she is the founder and director of the Nevada Fertility Institute which provides diagnostic and treatment options for women and men.
In 1995, at age 17, Duke migrated to the United States with nine-year old Winston and their mother, Cora Pantin.
Their mother, in her desire for a better life for her family, sold everything she owned to invest in her children's dreams.
From a studio apartment in Brooklyn, Cora let Winston follow a creative path and Cindy persue her dream of becoming a doctor.
Winston attended the University of Buffalo and Yale School of Drama. He is today the breakout star in the historic blockbuster movie, Black Panther.
Cindy M. Duke earned her medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, Rochester, NY, where she also gained her PhD in Microbiology & Immunology. She now operates the Nevada Fertility Clinic.
Dr. Duke's Clinical and Research Interests include Oncofertility, Fertility Preservation, Investigating the Role of the Microbiome in Reproduction and Eliminating Disparities in Healthcare Access and Delivery for Treatment Infertility.
Trinidad and Tobago model Naomi Chin Wing continues to make waves in the fashion industry as she made an exclusive catwalk debut for Alexander Wang at NYFW Autumn/Winter 2018 collections on February 10.
She later walked for nine other brands including Calvin Klein Marc Jacobs Coach Victoria Beckham Prabal Gurung and closed Carolina Herrera's show.
Chin Wing was selected to showcase the iconic Venezuelan designer's finale garment as she closed an eponymous career spanning many decades.
She debuted internationally in September 2017 at Paris Fashion Week for Yves Saint Laurent and is now based in London where she is represented by IMG Model Management.
Chris Nathan, founder of Coco Velvet, said secondary school students will have the opportunity to pursue international modelling careers this summer as CVI will host its annual fashion workshop from July 1 leading up to the Grand Finals of Top Model Trinidad and Tobago on October 14 at NAPA.
Source: The Loop, February 2018
The search for the missing grain led to Trinidad and Thomas
Jefferson, and now excitement among African-American chefs.
Upland red bearded rice, which grows in the Moruga district in Trinidad, turned out to be a missing culinary link between enslaved people in coastal Georgia and a group of slaves who were able to buy their freedom by fighting for the British in the War of 1812. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Among the biologists, geneticists and historians who use food as a lens to study the African diaspora, rice is a particularly deep rabbit hole. So much remains unknown about how millions of enslaved Africans used it in their kitchens and how it got to those kitchens to begin with.
That’s what made the hill rice in Trinidad such a find.
The fat, nutty grain, with its West African lineage and tender red hull, was a favored staple for Southern home cooks during much of the 19th century. Unlike Carolina Gold, the versatile rice that until the Civil War was America’s primary rice crop, the hill rice hadn’t made Lowcountry plantation owners rich off the backs of slaves.
It didn’t need to be planted in watery fields surrounded by dikes, which meant that those who grew it weren’t dogged by malaria. You could grow it in a garden patch, as did many of the slaves who had been taken from the rice-growing regions of West Africa. This was the rice of their ancestors, sustaining slaves and, later, generations of Southern cooks both black and white.
Even Thomas Jefferson was a fan. Some researchers think he is the one who helped spread hill rice throughout the South, giving gifts of the African seed from a 30-gallon cask a ship captain brought him from Africa in 1790. But by World War I, the rice had all but disappeared, a victim both of cheaper imports that were easier to produce and of the Great Migration, in which millions of African-Americans left the rural South.
That’s why B.J. Dennis, a Gullah chef from Charleston, was stunned to find the rice growing in a field in Trinidad, tended by a farmer descended from slaves who once lived in Georgia.
In fields dotting the Moruga Hills of southern Trinidad, growers tend rice plants that came from an African strain. It was carried there by slaves from coastal Georgia who had been granted land and freedom in exchange for joining the British military during the War of 1812.CreditCarolina Gold Rice Foundation
Mr. Dennis had heard about hill rice — also known as upland red bearded rice or Moruga Hill rice — through the culinary organization Slow Food USA and the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, the group that brought back Carolina Gold in the early 2000s. He’d also heard stories about it from elderly cooks in his community. Like everyone else, he thought the hill rice of the African diaspora was lost forever.
But then, on a rainy morning in the Trinidad hills in December 2016, he walked past coconut trees and towering okra plants to the edge of a field with ripe stalks of rice, each grain covered in a reddish husk and sprouting spiky tufts.
“Here I am looking at this rice and I said: ‘Wow. Wait a minute. This is that rice that’s missing,’” he said.
It is hard to overstate how shocked the people who study rice were to learn that the long-lost American hill rice was alive and growing in the Caribbean. Horticulturists at the Smithsonian Institution want to grow it, rice geneticists at New York University are testing it and the United States Department of Agriculture is reviewing it. If all goes well, it may become a commercial crop in America, and a menu staple as diners develop a deeper appreciation for African-American food.
“It’s the most historically significant African diaspora grain in the Western Hemisphere,” said David S. Shields, a professor at the University of South Carolina and chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, who works with Mr. Dennis on historical culinary projects and was with him that rainy day in Trinidad.
Mr. Dennis, 38, believes food is the living bearer of history. He has devoted himself to promoting the cooking of the Gullah-Geechee Nation, the descendants of West Africans who lived along the coast from North Carolina to North Florida. Their cooks created the peanut stews, okra-laced purloos and seafood that define Lowcountry cuisine.
But how did the rice travel to that field in Trinidad? Dr. Shields has a theory.
It begins during the War of 1812, when British soldiers promised land and freedom to a small group of West African slaves along the Eastern Seaboard if they would take up arms against their masters. They did, and each was given 16 acres of undeveloped land in southern Trinidad. They came to be called the Merikins, a Creole rendering of the word American.
One group was the Fourth British Marine Company, from the Georgia Sea Islands. The rice, which Dr. Shields believes can be traced to Jefferson’s barrel of seed, was among the crops the group brought with them to Trinidad.
The missing piece of the puzzle would have not been found if it hadn’t been for Trinidadian ethnobotanist Francis Morean, a man with Merikin roots who has recorded interviews with most of the 60 or so Merikins still growing hill rice on the island.
Mr. Morean had traveled to the American South in September 2015 as part of his exploration of African diaspora cooking. He had heard about Mr. Dennis, but wasn’t able to find him. Then, a few months later, Mr. Dennis reached out to him on Facebook, and the two bonded over their interest in using agriculture to keep their shared heritage alive.
Still, no one had made the connection between the rice in Trinidad and the rice that had been lost in the American South. Most students of Gullah-Geechee cuisine thought Carolina Gold was the only rice that enslaved Africans in the coastal South had cooked.
Mr. Morean organized a small rice symposium in Trinidad in the winter of 2016, and asked Dr. Shields to present a paper on the island’s hill rice. Also on the guest list were Mr. Dennis and Queen Quet Marquetta L. Goodwine, the elected leader and official spokeswoman of the Gullah-Geechee Nation, who often employs Mr. Dennis to cook for official events.
Dr. Shields, who is part of a global effort to find new ways to grow rice on dry land, began his research, and realized that the Trinidad hill rice might be linked to the missing American rice, which in turn could be traced all the way back to the West African rice fields.
On that wet morning in Moruga, Trinidad, he had his answer.
“When I got out of the car and walked toward the field and saw the rice just about to be harvested, I knew it had to be the real thing,” he said. “It was like you see the story made flesh. You see something that has existed as really an abstract possibility suddenly become real.”
Glenn Roberts, the founder of Anson Mills, immediately jumped on board. There is no one as fanatic about Southern heirloom grains as Mr. Roberts, whose South Carolina company led the revival of Carolina Gold rice and several other Southern heirloom grains.
Mr. Roberts arranged to have about 80 pounds of the Trinidad rice shipped to the United States. A few pounds made its way to Edouardo Jordan, the Southern chef who opened the restaurant Junebaby in Seattle last year. Mr. Jordan cooked with it and loved it.
The rice performs differently in the kitchen than Carolina Gold, which works best in wet or creamy recipes like Hoppin’ John or risotto. Hill rice is better dry, with an okra stew or a sauté or chutney piled on top.
Mr. Jordan is so enamored that he is trying to find farmers in the Northwest to grow it, once the seed is approved by the Agriculture Department.
“If we can bring this back,” he said, “the historical back story could deepen the development of African diaspora food in America and better tell the real story of Southern food.”
At another rice symposium held by the Carolina Rice Foundation in April, Mr. Dennis prepared hill rice for everyone. He cooked it the way he had learned to during his time in Trinidad, simmering it in coconut water until the rice became starchy. Then he covered the rice with chutney made from grinding toasted benne seeds; an herb called shadow benne that is similar to cilantro; some bird’s-eye peppers, and garlic with a little oil. It was delicious.
Like many a detective story, this one has some loose ends.
Michael Purugganan, a New York University biology professor, was at the Charleston event. He had been part of a team that in 2015 sequenced the genomes of Oryza glaberrima, the African crop now grown by descendants of escaped slaves in the South American country Suriname, and connected it to rice that grew in Ivory Coast.
That discovery was concrete evidence of the high level of rice-growing knowledge among African slaves, and marked the first time genetics had been used to pinpoint the origin of a slave crop in the Americas.
Could the Trinidadian rice be another example? Dr. Purugganan took the rice to his laboratory in Greenwich Village and sequenced its genes.
It turned out not to be indigenous African glaberrima, but more likely a Japonica rice that made its way from Southeast Asia to West Africa between the 16th and 18th centuries.
Amy Lawton-Rauh, a Clemson University professor of genetics and biochemistry who is working on the genetics of hill rice, is using population genomics tools to test whether the hill rice has a more complex history. It could even be a hybrid, she said, and not necessarily linked to Jefferson’s rice.
So much rice may have been passed around among slave families and descendants that there is no way to be certain where the seed originated, said Christopher Wilson, director of experience design at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
“It might be too much to just give credit to Jefferson,” Mr. Wilson said. “We know about him because we have records. But people miss just how big rice was, and how much money was involved and how much history we have no written record of.”
Still, he is as excited as anyone about the hill rice. He has introduced Mr. Roberts to a horticulturist at the Smithsonian to grow and display some of the hill rice. Last summer, Mr. Wilson invited Mr. Roberts to discuss the rice alongside Michael Twitty, a culinary historian and the author of ”The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South” at a Smithsonian event.
Mr. Twitty, who first heard about the rice from Mr. Dennis, has embraced it. It fits in nicely with his work, which includes researching the links between Southern food and West African cooking.
For the event, Mr. Twitty used it as the base for a chicken stew, made in the style of the Mende people of Sierra Leone, that he cooked with palm oil, onions and garlic. “I don’t really like brown rice at all, but it’s not like that,” he said.
His appreciation goes beyond taste: The rice helps validate the African experience in America. “It’s another living artifact that automatically wipes out any nonsense about the earliest years of African-American food,” he said.
For now, no one is growing the rice commercially, but Dr. Shields and Mr. Roberts hope it will be embraced by Gullah farmers, and spread from there. In the meantime, they hope to find an economical way to import it from growers in Trinidad.
For Mr. Dennis, the chef, a steady supply would ensure that his purloos, like the rice-and-okra dish called Limpin’ Susan (often referred to as the cousin or wife of Hoppin’ John), would have a new dimension.
He also hopes that the rice will eventually sell at a price that most cooks can afford, and that African-American home cooks will come to see the hill rice and other traditional dishes as healthier alternatives to a popular perception of soul food.
“We’ve been warped into thinking it’s mac-and-cheese and collard greens,” he said.
African-American cooking, at least as defined in the Lowcountry, is about slow-cooked peas and vegetables and specific strains of rice, he said. “Culturally, this rice is a hidden story of the African-American and enslaved narrative,” he said. “A lot of our ancestors were not able to read or write, so a lot of stories aren’t able to be told. But we can cook this rice, and we can tell the story.”
Source: NY Times, Feb 13, 2018
Upland red bearded rice was once a household staple for enslaved people in the American South. The African rice was thought to be lost until Mr. Morean discovered fields of it being grown in Trinidad.CreditHunter McRae for The New York Times
B.J. Dennis, a chef in Charleston, S.C., has dedicated himself to tracing Gullah-Geechee heritage through food. He traveled to Trinidad and found rice that could be traced back to slaves in coastal Georgia.CreditHunter McRae for The New York Times
Conceived by rape, born on a cotton plantation, never certain who her father was, abandoned by her mother, abused as a child because she was "yaller" and was forced to live in the crawl space under the house with the cats.
She rose to become an internationally beloved singer, dancer, actor, and comedienne. She was an anti-war activist and member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, who gained the wrath of President Johnson and was harassed for years by the FBI. A vocal advocate of LGBT rights.
Asked about her following from and affinity for the gay community, she said, "We're all rejected people, we know what it is to be refused, we know what it is to be oppressed, depressed, and then, accused, and I am very much cognizant of that feeling. Nothing in the world is more painful than rejection."
Eartha Kitt. SHE PERSISTED.
Prime Minister announces that the Government of Canada will officially recognize the International Decade for People of African Descent
January 30, 2018The Government of Canada is committed to build a better, more inclusive country that recognizes the contributions of all, and creates better opportunities for more Canadians.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the Government of Canada will officially recognize the International Decade for People of African Descent. This Decade, which spans from 2015 to 2024, is an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the important contributions people of African descent have made to Canadian society. It also provides a framework for recognition, justice, and development to fight racism, discrimination, and the ongoing inequalities that Canadians of African descent face.
The Government of Canada has heard from concerned citizens and organizations from across Canada, including the Federation of Black Canadians, that we need to do more to work with and support Canadians of African descent.
In recognizing the International Decade, the Government of Canada commits to a better future for Black Canadians. This means learning more about the issues that affect Black Canadians, including improving research and data collection, so we can better understand the particular challenges they face. Mental health challenges and overrepresentation in the corrections system have been raised in particular by community leaders as barriers to Black Canadians experiencing full and equal participation across society.
Over the past two years, the Government of Canada has taken concrete measures to fight inequality and improve the lives of all Canadians, including those of African descent. We have helped parents with the high cost of raising kids through the Canada Child Benefit, and expanded the Canada Pension Plan so more people can retire with security and dignity. We have also made significant investments in student grant programs, mental health initiatives, and affordable child care, and introduced a National Housing Strategy that will solve housing security for many vulnerable Canadians.
The Government of Canada will continue to build on these efforts, and create a country where more Canadians have a real and fair chance at success.
“Today is an important day for Canada. Our commitment to the International Decade will help us better address the very real and unique challenges that Black Canadians face, and bring us closer to a more just and inclusive country.”
—The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Video footage of Trinidad and Tobago's pineapples and local farmers aired earlier this month on children's television programme Sesame Street, giving well-earned exposure to the country's agricultural industry.
The segment aired last month on the international children's show, which is seen in 140 countries.
The new segment, called “Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck” shows Cookie Monster and a new character called Gonger who attempt to make pizza, their favourite food.
However, Cookie Monster and Gonger soon find out that the pineapple chunks on their pizza come from Trinidad and Tobago, a tiny twin-island country in the Caribbean.
View the video below. (watch to the end to see how it was done)
Gina Parris is determined to become a Hollywood star.
But while she continues to seek that breakout role that will make her a household name, she is already making her mark as a producer.
Parris’s debut film,' A Twist of Life', was accepted into the Equality International Film Festival and Indie Night Film Festival and shown at Warner Brothers.
Indie Night is a festival founded by Dave Brown attended by celebrities and casting directors. Parris’ film was screened in TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood which is a historic theatre on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a former venue for three Academy Awards.
The short was actually Parris’ thesis for her Master’s degree in Film and was inspired by Vera Bhajan, the young lady with no arms who shot to national attention when she excelled at the SEA exam and is now an Attorney.
“I wanted to do my film on somebody who is disabled. The main character is Avyanna Wolfe who does everything with her feet, she has some misfortune and ends up on street. It couldn’t be more than ten minutes so I couldn’t show everything so I want to do a feature,” said Parris in an interview from Los Angeles.
The film, directed by Shashank Varma, is a story that shows regardless of how challenged you are you could overcome anything if you persevere said Parris.
In the movie, Wolfe is a talented, differently abled person, who suffers from low self- esteem and because of that, she tolerates Mercy's abuse. However, she does not let her unhappy experiences eclipse her love for drawing with her feet. Through Andrew Knight's encouragement, Wolfe finds the strength to stand up for herself.
After a nerve wrecking ordeal and with the help of the prostitute Bri, Wolfe finally takes the step to break free from her mental jail and embrace whatever help Andrew wants to give her. She leaves Mercy's house to begin a new life.
“In the short film you not only see the woman’s physical struggle you see that she is challenged in her way of thinking and you see her journey in overcoming that,” explained Parris who also holds a Master’s in Counselling.
“When I went to the panel to defend the movie I went over the 30 minutes I was given. They drilled me. I find disabled people are overlooked, they are underestimated. To prepare for thesis you had to develop the script and I remember looking at the Elephant Man and My Left Foot and I was blown away by how talented these challenged people were and in Vera’s case still is.
The film featured four actors: Parris, who played the main protagonist, Natalie Whittle as Mercy, Mc Entire Chloe Paige Flowers as Brie and Parris’ friend Gerry Bednob, a Trinidadian actor known for his roles in '40-Year-Old Virgin' and 'Encino Man'.
“I knew Gerry for some years. The person I wanted to do his role as Andrew couldn’t so I called Gerry and I was so lucky he had time the day I needed him for and he said to send the script. I felt so honoured. He is the only male in the short,” she said.
Trinidadian artist Rebecca Foster did the drawings for the film.
Parris has plans to turn the short into a full-fledged film and plans to do some more filming in Trinidad and is looking for investors or funding to make that a reality.
The film was released by her own entertainment company Gina Parris Entertainment.
Parris plans to do more projects but her real love is acting.
“My main goal is acting, my main joy. I just do producing because it gets my story out but I love acting and writing. I want to excel as an actress. Being out here you have to be able to create your own content. You look at those famous stars and you realise a lot of them producing and acting or directing, they’re always doing something beyond acting. I want to continue doing all of them,” she said.
Her projects so far include 'BRAND', a web series created by Andrew Preston in which she plays Sasha, a series for Beverly Hills Hair Free, a series she co-produced called 'Gangsters', created by Freddie Basnight and Tiffany Lewis and the sizzle reel for a mystery- comedy named 'Housewives-R-Us' created and produced by Folake Kehinde.
“A documentary was done on me in the USA entitled 'The Honest Honestest truth: Gina Parris is extraordinary'. The show was created by Folake Kehinde. People enjoyed it and were inspired by it. One viewer after seeing it asked if he could help me find funding for my TV series 'The Honest Honestest Truth' which aired in Trinidad,” she said.
Parris is also in a web series named 'Amazing Soul Food' which introduces food from other countries on Youtube.
She also does voice-overs and is expected to voice Foxy the cat, a mafia boss for Las Vegas Animal World created by Rosa Falu- Carrion. She said the script got selected for the Oaxaxa Film Fest Official selection where it won best focus and perspective as well as Best Global Script.
She will be acting as a pirate in 'Paranormal Monster’s Society', a series which will show on Amazon and created by Alonso Dominguez aka Al Domino who is also the person that did the prosthetic hands for the main protagonist in her movie, 'A Twist of Life'.
She also has the opportunity to be an Executive Producer for a friend’s big-budget movie which began as a successful mini-series.
“No I can’t afford to give the money but if I get investors for the project I will get executive producer credit so again if anyone out there is interested in investing and want more information please contact me,” she appealed.
Parris honed her acting chops back home in T&T where she did comedy with Learie Joseph and appeared in 'A Story about Wendy', produced by Sean Hodgkinson.
“I acted in church and other small things and when I was young I would write monologues and poems. The turning point for me was when I was 23 years old working in T&TEC and I had a friend interested in poetry and he told me about a show he was going to have and I said if he could do it I could do it too. I am very persistent. I reached out to Errol Fabien for advice and he put me on to people and Learie Joseph taught me comedy acting and I was in Yangatang tent for Carnival,” she said.
Reflecting on everything she has accomplished in just over a year, Parris said it wasn’t all peaches and cream but she is persistent and willing to network her way into the bright lights.
Source: The Loop, Jan. 8, 2018
My name is Phool.
A single flower.
I have 100 years.
Dey ask me how ah feel bout plenty people coming to see me on meh bott-day (November 25th 1917) as if I not accustom having meh house full ah people.
Meh Nana was Mahadeo Sadhu. He was a big man. He come from Punjab and today still in St Mary's in ah lil mandir he de bill, it ha de sword and Granth Sahab. Meh Nana was a Sikh and he never eat meat in he life.
Meh fadda name was Ganesha and he too born in India, in Mathura an come as a lil baby wid he sister and married meh modda Soogie. Nana de bill ah house fuh dem rite next to he own in Moruga dey. Ah was bout three years wen meh mother passed away. I din no she but ah always say is better a child doh born at all dan ha to live without mother.
Ah long for ah modder til de day I get meh own chirren. Me and dem chirren puppa wok we liver string out to mine we twelve chirren. An we had was to mind next chirren to but ah never mind dat. Ah never want no child to ketch ass like me and meh sister Jassodra. We ah play we suffer nah.
Boh meh Nana was a good man and he try he best to keep we safe.
He was a strict vegetarian and every night de people was toh come to read and sing Ramayan by we house. I had was to keep the place clean. Ah sweep, den ah lepay the place and pick flowers to char-ha-way. Ah never get ah minute to rest.
Daytime come and ah had was to go wid de wokman dem in the forest. Wen night come we gone back to bun coal.
Alyuh chirren today cyar imagine dem kinda life. Wen de night get cole and jumbie bud bawling an wen yuh jes jes kech a sleep ah explosion make yuh jump up high. We had was to run quick quick and tro tree branch and dutt to cover the pit back.
Ah had was to lef de blazing fire toh run and full buket by buket ah water from de ravine toh put out de fire. Den wen de log and dem bunn out, it tun to coal. Long time was coal dey using for everythin.
Dem men and dem was to bag up de coal and tote it by the roadside and fo-day morning wen de donkey cart passing dey use to carry the coal to sell in Princes Town. In dem dase dey used to call the place the Mission.
Meh sister Jassod, she two years bigger dan me. She get married and gone to live in Debe. I tell Nana doh look fuh no boy fuh me. Nana de well like me and meh sister, eh. Well one day, Sadakalli, ah ole Muslim man come and ask Nana fuh me to married. Meh chirren puppa de see me wen he de come by eh sister. She de name Dollia and she de living rite over de road by we house.
Meh fadda-in la de come from Juanpur and he was ah sadhu too. So we marrid and ah gone to live in dis same house wey ah living now.
(120 Mandingo Road in Princes Town).
Nana de buy ah blue dress fuh me to marrid. It had rhinestone and ah had it put away till meh big daughter dem wear it out. Ah come here in ah car. Dat time din ha plenty car and ting. It de have only one. Bhownath Maharaj was to drive it and so he de like meh chirren father.
Yuh shudda see dis place wen ah marrid and come here. Ah had three bredda-in-law and dem boys aint know bout cleaning and ting boh wot break meh heart was how wen ah cook dey was toh come and sit rong meh and ah had was to feed dem.
Ah start to wok and in no time at all, dis place turn like a lil heven.
Dem boys din ha modder jes like me an dem treat me like a modder.
Ah had was to care fuh dem wen dey get de typhoid fever. Oh God, dat was a time in meh life, eh.
Ah had was to kerry meh two chirren by Nana an walk from St Mary's to de hospital in de Mission an sometime ah kech de bus toh come back. Ah use toh leave a bottle ah porrige fuh de small child and beg meh bougie to feed de chile boh wen ah reach back big night the bottle de rite wey ah leff it and meh chirren starvin.
Den wen the chirren puppa start to get better he bredda one by one take in. He de feelin better wen one ah he bredda dead and wen he hear dat he get a relapse. Two ah de breddas dead. De chirren fadda and me son come out de hospital and ah take care ah dem while ah mind de cattle and plant all rong de house and see bout de cane land to.
If yuh de see dem boy dem wen dey come out de hospital eh. Dem was looking jes like walking skeleton. I had was to mine dem till dey ga back strong.
Too much trouble in dem days.
In meh lil piece ah house, ah keep it clean and me too, was a strict vegetarian. Ah never go near meat or fish or eggs self and all meh family know this and respect me for it. The chirren fadda stop all eh meat eating and drinking rum and he too tun sadhu long long time before he pass away.
We was to wok hard. We had cattle, cane and lagoon to plant rice. De chirren fadder never siddon like some odder man. He gone forest and cut tree and build de biggest house in we village and we was to have people come and stay wid we. Is how we live long time an how ah grow up wid meh Nana.
Takechand Baba was the chirren fadda godfadda. He was toh come and stay here. And wen he come all the people all aroung was to leave dey wok and come. Dey go siddon like a bhagwat and talk hole hole day and night till Baba go. He was to live Los Lomas.
Ah de make meh house jes like Nana had he house; a place wey sadhus, pundits and other people from India and odder far far place was to come.
We arganize Ramayan jag. We was de foss people to ha jag down here eh, an dat was long, long time since de chirren little and some ah dem ah born yet.
Ah teach meh chirren how to live and by God grace all ah dem dey awrite.
Nowadays, ah does need halp to walk. Ah get sick. Wen ah walk ah lil bit so ah does blow. Ah ha toh ha de inhaler all de time. Ah miss having ah house full ah people and ah does wait fuh meh chirren to come one by one to see me. Ah still love meh flowers too bad. Ah used to buy plants and meh yard was full ah all kin ah flowers boh we bill up ah shed rong de mandir and de plants doh come so good any more. Ah doh go St Mary's any more. Ah doh like to see dat place at all at all.
Wey ah need in meh life now. Like God forget meh. In meh dream, ah don gone Ayodha an in de forest to see Sewarie. Hanooman carry meh and ah see de hole woll. Now ah dey. Ah never hot no body feelin and if by chance ah do it ah does pray God fuh forgiveness.
God bless all ah alyou who does come to see me. If ah was well ah wodda cook some good food for alyou. Boh meh son Karan and Jassod daughter Tara and dem well cook so alyou come and enjoy alyou self.
Dis is life.
Source: Virtual Museum of T&T
What she means to me : Ariti Jankie
Ma has been a picture of serenity in my mind, living a clean life with a sense of purity and dignity.
Mahadeo Sadhu may have been an ordinary man but not to Ma. He was royalty and she walked in his footsteps giving her children a sense of pride in their heritage.
My father never raised his voice at her and in my perfect childhood I never heard them quarrel.
The other children, grandchildren and great grand have their own thoughts of Ma and come November 25th when she becomes a Centurion Sadhvi, they would be here to speak words of thankfulness to her as Jairaj Singh takes the lead in a concert held in her honour.
(Sadhvi is a woman who has renounced worldy possessions and chose to focus on spirituality. The name for a man who has chosen this life is called a sadhu.) Compiled by Ariti Jankie Jagirdar.
As a child growing up in the early 1960s I vividly remembered the fake snow covered Christmas Tree my father made. Just a coffee branch covered with cotton wool. An activity that included everyone in the family . Decorations were expensive so my father being a creative man would use pine cone ornaments or handcrafted minature toys which he carved himself out of pieces of wood , my mother would have us cover match boxes using red crepe paper tied with thread and hung from the branches. Paper garlands were made from red and green crepe paper. Christmas wreath was made from vines , shaped into an open circular frame and covered with moss collected from the cocoa trees growing behind our house. All siblings looked forward to going to the cocoa field to collect moss for our Chritmas Holly. Christmas held its own magic. Each child in family got only one toy each year. So we cherished what we got and was happy.
Christmas eve the smell of home made bread , and black fruit cake baking in the aluminum oven placed on the stove filled the air. Ham was brought from the village shop This was eaten with bread on Christmas morning.
(Source: Patricia Bissessarsingh - Virtual Museum of Trinidad and Tobago)
Traditions have changed over the years but memories of Christmas of long ago remain etched in my memory. What do you remember about Christmas when you were a child? Tell us about your memories in the comments below.
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