Come and take a journey with me to the beautiful island country of Trinidad. Upon my arrival to Trinidad I will have to say that my initial reaction to this beautiful region was a little disappointing. I received horrible customer service at a fast food pizza joint called Mario’s and the entire experience detoured my entire first day. After speaking with my advisor about my experience, she informed me that the customer service was not personal to me being from the United States but a cultural adjustment that the people of Trinidad or very laid-back in a sense that they may not have felt they were being rude.
Fast forward to my second day in Trinidad we received a great tour through the University of West Indies where we had the opportunity to experience great activities and take tons of pictures. The tour guides took us to visit the whispering wall (yes it sounds exactly like what it is), where they have students stand on either side of the wall and whisper something into the wall and it will transfer to the other side and the people on the other side can hear you clear as day what you said as though you were yelling through it. We also had the ability to visit their language major building in which we were able to receive a Chinese lesson in Trinidad! The professor showed us how to play a Chinese childhood game in which they would kick the object with the inside of their ankle in order to keep it in the air, and whoever dropped the object first would lose. The Chinese professor also showed us how to write different characters in the Chinese language with an actual ink writing utensil. We also had the privilege of viewing the animal morgue at the University of West Indies and we were able to see a preserved jar of a two headed shark, which is apparently a very rare specimen in Trinidad. We then also met our social work lecture professor and our history professor. Then we had time to eat for the first time in the University of West in the cafe, and to say that their KFC is delicious is an understatement. Every study abroad video that I saw about Trinidad and Tobago said that the number one American staple is KFC in Trinidad and Tobago, and they were definitely telling the truth. I think the amount of spices that they use and my Jamaican background makes me appreciate the flavor of KFC more.
Something else that confuses me is the amount of weight that the American dollar has here in Trinidad and Tobago. Depending on what part of Trinidad and Tobago you are in and whether you’re in a mall or out on a strip buying things the American dollar can stretch between six and seven Trinidadian dollars. How’s that for being able to live on a budget?
A few days later we were then introduced to our service learning agencies and I just so happen to be placed at a orphanage home in Trinidad and I am very grateful that I was placed here. At first I was kind of upset because our first service learning day was very disappointing, literally we just filed paperwork and sat in an office for four hours. But the second day we were placed in the homeschooling library and had the opportunity to interact with the children and I immediately fell in love. These children are so sweet and incredibly bright. One 7-year-old girl named Halima was so confident in what she was learning in computer processing that she decided she wanted to quiz me on what she had learned. That just goes to show that even in a developing country education and humanity for that matter is equally universal. Another thing that I find very interesting about my service learning agency is that they teach all of their children practical working skills (agriculture and culinary arts) so that in case they are not fortunate enough to work in an office, they will have survival skills and a means to sell their crops to make money.
Fast forward to the weekend, in which we had a very action-packed itinerary. We visited pitch lake and the beautiful Coronary bird sanctuary swamp tour. Finally we visited the beautiful maracas beach of Trinidad and had a Tour of North Trinidad. Through it all I have witnessed many ups and downs from being up early in the morning (7 a.m.), to receiving a stomach virus due to my body not being accustomed to all of the spices that are put into certain foods that Trinidad has to offer. To meeting the sweetest children at the orphanage and getting to relax on the beautiful beach of maracas.
This first week has been an amazing blessing that never in a million years would have imagined being able to witness. I truly look forward to the next few weeks that I have here and though I miss home I plan to enjoy this experience and take you guys along for the ride. Thank you for reading my blog and I will keep you guys updated next week.