Last week I offered the opportunity for people to ask specific questions about Trinidad or our experience there.
Lime yuh really throw pictures on the ground like leaves?! LOL!!
Again I am surprised by the insects...ah feel allyuh shoulda live a lil closer to Town hehe
I have clicked around quite a bit but have never discovered HOW you got to Trinidad in the first place in terms of: were you sent there by some organisation, did you volunteer to go as part of a program, was there a choice of destinations and you thought hmm this might be interesting?Enlighten me.
First of all, yes, I really threw pictures around like leaves. As for the insects, gyul we lived by O'Meara road in Arima, not exactly out in the bush. Hahahaha
Mr. Lime and I are both certified as Special Education teachers and had gone to Trinidad in '89 and '91 on 2 week work trips, working mainly in Tacarigua. The first time we had just finished cross cultural training with about 12 other people and we had planned to spend the summer in China teaching English. A little incident at Tianamen Square in Beijing caused those plans to be scrapped entirely and we were scrambling for something else to do. One of our trainers suggested Trinidad because he had led teams there and knew the program was pretty flexible about taking folks at the last minute. We didn't want to waste all out training so that's how we got there the first time. We liked it so much we returned. During the second trip we were invited by a local fellow to return for a longer term to start a program to work with handicapped students through his organization.
The education system is based on the British system and at the time all students at about age 12 took what was called the Common Entrance Exam. Performance on this single test determined whether or not a student would continue onto secondary school and if so, at which school. Students with a lot of ability get an excellent education but students with even mild handicaps that would respond to very simple forms of remediation often failed. The system has since changed such that secondary education is now provided to every student but at the time it was not.
During our time we also found that economics were every bit as big a handicap for many students as any sort of learning disability. Although education is 'free' students have to purchase uniforms, all their textbooks and supplies, and provide their own transportation to school. For a family of squatters that may not have money for food every day it's a hell of a choice to have to make, feed the kids or pay for taxi fare to get them to school?
We were excited about the opportunity to use our training in a place where we could really make a difference and we were thrilled to be able to work for a Trinidadian organization as opposed to an American one. We liked the idea of supporting local ideas and goals rather than coming in and projecting our own ideas on how things should work. The intention was to be there for at least 4 years but unfortunately some very severe administrative problems made that impossible and we had to return to the US after a little over a year.
You capture the sound of the language very well in text, but how about an audio post?
Thanks, I had done an audio post over a year ago but unfortunately the service that hosted it is now defunct so I can't even give you the link. I haven't had the chance to but I will look around to see what I can find to let you hear a more authentic accent than what I can muster up.
If anyone else has questions feel free to leave them in comments.
Until next time, Happy Trini Tuesday.