rain was crashing down and I was parking next to a kerb resembling an
overflowing drain, through which I attempted to negotiate, when a man
shouted out: “Just a little rain and so much flood.” No point.
shut the door and picked up a newspaper, muttering: “A little rain and I
can't get out of my car.”
smooth-faced young man rapped on my window. “Please, miss, I am sick.”
He sounded like he’d definitely passed his English CXC.
parents are dead from HIV/Aids. I lost my job when my employers found out.
I have to take care of my younger brother.”
ask for the money and spare me the story,” I said, feeling mean for
being suspicious, thinking is this a hold-up? I looked in his eyes, and
reached for my purse.
was for real. And even if he weren’t, whatever made him rap on my
window, uncaring that he was being soaked was something desperate. Some
place no one wanted to be.
took the money and disappeared into the rain. I sat in the car, overcome
with a sinking inertia. Something doesn’t add up.
rain drummed on. I returned to the newspaper reading of another child dead
from a landslide, (didn’t two children die in Tobago recently as well?)
and ten million precious dollars going on moulding and renovations in
Trinidad’s London Embassy.
picked up The Guardian Weekly that gives me my weekly dose of
international news from the US, UK and France, hoping to be diverted.
I read something that added up. It came from one of Blair’s most
critical of commentators who excoriated him over his foreign policy as
poodle to Bush, costing at least 100,000 Iraqis and scores of invading
troops’ lives, but had to concede this:
Blair, despite his blunders abroad, had performed spectacularly at home,
transforming public health care so every sick person, every person,
whether requiring a simple diagnosis, or treatment for chronic illnesses,
was being tended to.
much so that private health care practitioners are going out of business.
Blair’s beefed up education as well. More people than ever are going to
high school and university.
understands that First World status is measured by health care and
education, and he’s tackling both.
he’s a poodle, but he’s taking care of his people, has made the lives
of millions of Brits better. That adds up.
doesn’t add up is that the petro dollars from Bush’s war and his
bloated oil prices aren’t doing anything for us.
ten million to fix a house in London. Nothing for the poor here. They drip
like little drops of blood onto us “isolated cases”—two young
children dead in Tobago from a landslide, one dead in Trinidad, the
whispers about the mounting dead from HIV/Aids, half of us walking about
me, but did I imagine the funds dedicated to the HIV/Aids two budgets ago?
is it, dear Minister of Health? Did I miss something? And there was going
to be a law, wasn’t there enforcing building standards?
are squatters, and those living on hills and perpetually flooding areas,
and those already buried from HIV/Aids like Iraqis, non people?
why do we have the tiniest enrolment for university in all of the
doesn’t add up.
rain drummed on.
re-read an e-mail I’d printed from a reader:
is now threatening our community survival is the Cepep. This creature of
our present government doing has removed almost two generations of farm
disagree that the body of T&T is rotting. It is changing. What is
important is to understand those changes and intervene.”
happen. Something doesn’t add up.