Gertrude Mundy, a Spiritual Baptist has lived and worked among the poor
for over thirty years. Along with thousands of her faith she has also
struggled and triumphed against prejudice encountered by Spiritual
Baptists as early as 1917 when the religion was banned.
was born in Guanapo in Arima in 1938. My mother was 20 when she had me. I
was eight months when my father died. I was baptized as a Catholic. My
mother worked in Arena in San Raphael and Valencia in the in the coal pits
for $1.50 a day, for over ten years between 1940 and the early 50’s.
I was 14, my mother took sick. I was in fourth standard. We were poor. I
left school and went to the forest in Arena in the coal pits to work as a
labourer. We had to tote logs to the coal pit. Then we bagged the coals
and took them to trucks which were far off. There were times when we had
nothing to eat. I was 16 when I had my only baby.
town, I did servant work. I remember working in Queens Park West. You
washing, cooking and cleaning and you getting 30-40 dollars a month. They
never consider us as people because the madam knew we had nowhere else to
go. Today when we see pictures about slavery, we say to each other,
“Girl, last night I watch a picture and it make me remember how we was
never care about people of African descent. The Spritual Baptists suffered
because we are black. If this faith had white people in it, people in the
society would have considered us. Whatever we get is our due.
was 24 when I became a Baptist. I was working at the Wharf for 12 dollars
a week and living in John John. It was Lent. One night I hear some
singing. When I heard the bell, I come out of my house and followed a
procession going up the hill in St Marks church. When we reached the
church, I started to feel needles in my legs and feel cold cold. Something
happened to me. I don’t know what.
I ketch myself, I was kneeling at the corner of Laventille Road and St
Marks Road and the first thing I hear is a pastor say, “We have send out
the life line and we have caught a fish.” I get frighten. I had on a
tight dress and the dress split on two sides from my shaking. When I open
my eye, I see they tie up my head. On that day I had a manifestation. I
get the power and was baptized in 1962.
Baptist faith is a Christian religion which comes from John the Baptist,
who was baptized in the river Jordan. People who want to stain the faith
say its Obeah, but it is based on the bible.
years later, I was sent to the mourning room. You can’t take people into
wilderness as Jesus did for 40 days, so we have the mourning room, where
in seclusion, you fast, you travel, you catch the spirit, you gain
strength to overcome trials. You lie on the ground in the room but your
spirit travels. The bible says the spirit of God comes and makes
intercession with your spirit and show you things of God and bring you
my first travel I was given ten children and a shepherd rod and sent to
teach them under a mango tree. That’s how I became a teacher in the
church. I met my present husband in the church. I was the youngest person
to be ordained in 1965, as a Deaconess by Archbishop Griffith. I have a
church in Never Dirty, one in Morinbay road, and one in Chin Chin Kanaham
start doing charitable work. I get thousands of dollars to help the poor,
from people who don’t want their names mentioned. I build a home for the
needy in Manzanilla and am building a few rooms in Never Dirty, Morvant
and I am hoping to get land for a lovely structure I design.
are thousands of women out there with eight and nine children and no bread
to eat. Single mothers. People don’t have food or place to live,
children on the road with nowhere to live, so they buy a piece of board
and live in it. They sleep by a friend one night, a next friend another,
and sometimes in the street. That hurt me.
you was never poor you would never know what poverty is about. I always
say God bless Stollmeyer. We used to go on his land in Laventille to get
breadfruit and yam and he never lock up a man. He let the poor people eat
their fill. Lord bless him.
so hard. The School Feeding programme helps but not much. We need work to
help unwed mothers. But don’t blame no government for hunger and
poverty, blame sin. A woman tell you she have eight different children for
eight different men. She say “if you don’t make a child for the man he
will leave you.”
may be poor but instead of going with a next man, take some flour and make
sugar cake and sell something. You could open a good business with only
that. When I tell women that they schoops.
speak plain. It’s only in our African race that you have all these
bastard children. I believe our people still have a slave mentality. The
Africans were always oppressed at work, at home, in their religion and in
society, and up to today they oppressed.
God for Eric Williams because through him black people rise. Dr Williams
provide amenities for the African and if the children don’t learn, that
not his fault. He helped the poor man educate his children, give him work
in banks and position in the police service. He give us good homes. That
is why people of African descent love Dr Williams.
put Panday as the Prime Minister and we have to accept that. I am happy
for the holiday. Now Baptists have to come together as a people to get