Beetham dump is spreading a pall of grey smog way into the west and east
of Trinidad in a desperate bid, it appears, to be noticed.
stench brings news from the people whose voices we donít hear. Fifty
percent of the nationís school children who, in the absence of passes,
will grow up to be Cepep workers; the patients who will die because they
donít have the thousand dollars to pay the deposit at a private
institution for a doctor to look at an ailing heart, kidney or an
infection that wonít go away.
smog brings the reminder of an all-pervading menace, of kidnappings that
make the most ordinary of days, the simplest of activities like stepping
out of an office into a car park, crackle with fear.
smog smells of a government that prefers to spend millions of dollars on a
cricketing facility, rather than rebuild the two crumbling pillars of
education and health, which are the true measure of the development of any
stinks of a country in which cabinet ministers are lobbying for an FTAA
building, while allowing its manufacturing sector to collapse because it
is mopping up all the required labour in its make-work programmes.
we can drive past the smog to clearer air. Our inner, private, social,
professional lives go on. You may be on holiday. Your kids may be home
wondering what to do. Here are some ideas:
things to do to survive the vacation in troubled T&T.
Break out of the cocoon of living in a small space in a small island.
Start with a book club. Try Oprahís favouritesóThe Grapes of Wrath,
Steinbeck; Toni Morrisonís The Bluest Eye and Sula; The Power of Now; I
Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya. Read Sam Selvon, VS Naipaul, Earl
Lovelace, Derek Walcott.
you donít like to read, go to a library or the Internet, and look at the
world in photographs, in the National Geographic or Time Magazines. Watch
a BBC documentary about a country you didnít know existed.
the holiday of a lifetime. Start saving to visit a sandy beach in Croatia,
go for an African safari. Instead of Miami, think of a summer house
surrounded by lakes and forests in Sweden, a biking and vineyard holiday
in France, a slow tour of Vietnam, or rafting on the River Koprulu in
parts of Trinidad youíve never seen. Drive to the little village of
Brasso Seco and from there, hike one of the several trails, all of which
lead to waterfalls.
a walk up Lady Chancellor Hill one afternoon and watch the sun set over
Port-of-Spain. Climb up San Fernando Hill and do the same.
time for you. Your body, your mind, your soul. Get fit, healthy and sexy.
Drop processed foods, white bread, sugar, soft drinks, red meat, and with
it, excess weight and disease. Make vegetables a habit. Eat fish. Drink
eight glasses of water.
a goal. Make a 5k, 10k, a marathon a passion. Start slowly, with a
savannah. Take it from lamppost to lamppost, run and walk till you finish.
Youíll get there.
your time. One afternoon a week at a home for children or the elderly. Do
stuff you would do for your parents, children, friends. Doctorsí
appointments, a trip to the zoo, a movie.
art galleries. Read up on art. Draw.
like a child again. Laugh without restraint. Walk barefoot in grass. Jump
in waves in Maracas at six in the morning. Have a water fight while
washing your car. Stretch. Pick mangoes from a tree and make chow.
yourself to a movie and coffee. Remind yourself that you are a free
spirit, that to be alone or quiet is not to be lonely. Examine yourself
to bed glad that the worst hasnít happened. And if it does, it does.
Watch that eternal seedling of human hope pushing past that opaque pall of
smoke. As it always does.