Buenos Ayres is not just the capital of Argentina. It is a rural district just north of Erin in South Trinidad. It came to be simply as an amalgam of cocoa estates which in the 19th century was owned by French Creoles ( Ambard, Agostini , De Verteuil and De Montbrun) as well as smallholdings of cocoa panyols ( mixed Amerindian and Spanish) who came from Venezuela as labour for the larger estates in the period 1840-1950. Some of the old estate names survive in the village today such as La Union, La Ressource and Santa Isabella. As could be imagined the population was Catholic to a man ( there being an ancient chapel on Santa Isabella Estate which survived from 1760-1876) and spoke Spanish. In 1907 a local woman took in a few children and founded a primary school. Her hand-tinted photo is lovingly preserved in the present schoolhouse. In 1910, the Colonial Goverment built a structure which still survives as the Buenos Ayres Government School. The old building was severely damaged by a hurricane in 1933 which caused much devastation from Erin to Icacos, and was modified somewhat in the repair process. It is a quintessentially rural school, and is managed by Mr. Vallence Rambharat, a Principal who appreciates the history of the school and has wonderfully preserved its heritage. There exists in the Nat. Archives, a diary kept by a Bajan headmaster named James Rawlins who was stationed at this school in 1915. Mr. Rawlins writes" the great work of forming nascent intellects is severely hampered by the inability of the pupils to comprehend lessons in English. As I myself am a stranger to the tongue of the Spanish main, I am at a loss as to how exactly the education of the mites shall be undertaken." This photo shows the headmaster's quarters which is one of the few to survive and which was a fixture of almost every rural school.
Source: Virtual Museum of T&T
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