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The energy, strength of Mayaro’s women

Sunday, July 5, 2015
Helen Drayton

Just think of Mayaro and the idyllic beauty of the southeastern villages comes to mind. Just before you enter its boundary, there is the picturesque Manzanilla avenue of groovy coconut trees. They bend, twist and twirl long trunks in the wind to the tantrums of wayward beachcombers.

It is a favourite home away from home vacation spot where we take delight in the precious things of life, family, friends, ole talk, games and delectable sweet-hand meals including cascadura curried down with fresh coconut milk.

In Mayaro, we imbibe and abide in love, laughter, peace and merriment, and admire the fussy woman called the Atlantic Ocean as she grumbles and tumbles waves toward the shoreline. We take a cautious dip when she tempts us wearing a billowy aquamarine gown.

It is not a place of only leisure. Mayaro is critical to our economy. It boasts a good mix of commercial and industrial activities of oil and natural gas production, which comes from its eastern offshore oil fields.

Amidst the sham and shame of depressing politics, there is all this beauty surrounding us matched only by the inspiring events as the one initiated by bpTT to recognise and celebrate the women of Mayaro. They have made remarkable contributions to its development in education, arts and culture, enterprise development and community service. The 29 “Women of Worth” bpTT honoured last week Saturday, were Angela Phillip, Anne Marie Jemmett, Antonia Suzano, Bernadette Joseph, Diana Lopez and Sandra Paty for their service to arts and culture. For community service were Alda Suzano, Arvolon Wilson-Smith, Catherine Charles-Perez, Ester Noel, Patricia Mathilda Lezama, Susan Jaleel-Fonrose and Victoria Mitchell. Contributing to education were Agatha Williams, Barbara Punch, Beulah Parriag, Camilla Charles, Cyrilla William-Jones, Lima Blackman Almores, Nadira Harripersad, Una Alexander and Vianney Phillip. Celebrated for their contributions to enterprise development were Cilla Marie-Zoe, Debbie Seeraj, Jenette Rodriquez Beckles, Nilisha Paray, Patrice Wilson-Mitchell and Tishanna Joseph. Jo-Ann Clement received an honorary award.

When each of us does something in our communities, we are doing it for the country. It reminds of the Buddhist’s philosophy that whatever you put out in the universe it will come back to you. You do good things and blessings come back in untold ways. You put out evil, it boomerangs.

Consider the evil unleashed every day in the form of crime and scandalous behaviour in public life. If there are sufficient people working to change the tides of destruction, then the future will glimmer like a full moon over Mayaro.

We have to take this country from the rot it is in and move it forward village by village, town by town, and city by city. Just as ugly events are investments in tearing down, so too, the exemplary things are investments in building up.

A week ago, a video circulated of a woman with five children living in a rusted container. She sat in a chair in front of this “home” and told the interviewer how the place is a strainer when rain falls. Then she mentioned that students teased her children about their container home. She said she cried at times. There are those who will judge her negatively for having many children knowing she has no sustainable income to support them. They would judge her indiscriminately from their frames of reference for socialisation, education, and domestic history. Instead, judge the treasury’s plunderers who steal from her children. These vulnerable people are most in need of help.

Reaching out to others is tapping into the godliness within ourselves, and that is what the remarkable women of Mayaro have done. How poor this world would be without those who gave unconditionally? How merciless our country would be if it weren't for those who extended a hand every day to the many people who needed help.

What is a healthy community if not the priceless value we place on each other, each living thing, and the physical environment that doesn’t need us to exist, but which we are killing?

This definition of community emphasises the individual and his/her needs for love, food, clothing, shelter, and the desire to achieve ambitions. It includes all other living things and the physical environment, without which there will hardly be beauty and wonder about the mysteries of the world. That is why we must say no to environmental destruction and why we should build schools surrounded by evergreen trees and flowering shrubberies and not just cold concrete and iron bars—symbols of jails.

How do we build a T&T community where each member feels valued and responsibly free to achieve great things for this country? Why do able-bodied people complain about clogged drains and overgrown parks and it doesn’t occur to them to get together in their communities with their children and clean up?

These “women of worth” of Mayaro understand a fundamental principle of community service. It is self-respect, love for country, and a willingness to carry the burdens of neighbours on our shoulders.

There is something godly about that.


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