|Lots more than sugar and spice |
By DARCEL CHOY Sunday, January 14 2007
HER RICH, smooth, brown complexion inspired her parents to name her Choc’late but this little girl is definitely made of a lot more than sugar and spice.
Last week, 13-year-old Choc’late Allen held the entire country captive with her five-day fast to highlight the crime situation in this country outside the National Library in Port-of-Spain. The confident, articulate teen got a great deal of support for her “One Hundred Per Cent Crime Free Fast For Purity,” including personal visits from Prime Minister Patrick Manning and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
She presented the Prime Minister with a brown envelope containing a list of crime-fighting initiatives she plans to undertake in the near future, including a youth rally and a five-k run and walk away from crime. These issues will be discussed in greater details when the enterprising teen meets with Mr Manning for more formal talks.
Choc’late is confident her anti-crime initiatives can work, especially with support from the Government.
Apart from the crowds who visited her at the Library to pledge their support, Choc’late’s stand against crime has won her countless other fans who have been heaping lavish praise on the teen in letters to newspapers and comments on radio and television call-in programmes.
One letter writer even suggested that Choc’late take over the portfolios of Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and Police Commissioner.
While many are praising Choc’late for her courageous action, she insists that she isn’t at all different from her peers, in that many young people care about the situation in the country — they just do not know how to take action.
“What I am doing any 13-year-old can do. What I want people to know is that I am not the only one, there are quite a number of young people like myself that just need encouragement,” she told Sunday Newsday.
Initially Choc’late planned to fast for three days but because of the support that she got from so many people, she extended it by two more days.
“I got support from people from all walks of life. Even tourists who were only visiting the country for a day came up and praised me for what I was doing,” she said.
“People have expressed their amazement with my decision to take on such a responsibility but what people do not know is that they have amazed me because so many of them came out to support me and they were the ones who gave me the strength to continue,” she added.
During her fast, Choc’late received a lot of gifts from well wishers, including inspirational books and flowers.
One gift that really got her attention was a cactus plant, which she saw as a symbol of strength since it thrives in the desert.
“It’s so beautiful and when I am done with my fast I am going to do a lot of research to find out more about this plant,” she said.
The fast isn’t Choc’late’s first major achievement. She is the CEO of a youth organisation, Caribbean Vizion, as well as the leader of her own music group, Hott Bakes N’ Chocolate. As the job calls for a lot of island hopping, Allen does not attend regular school but is instead home schooled at her family’s residence in Maracas, St Joseph, by a private tutor, Valencia Andrews and is supervised by retired school principal, Elton Nelson. Allen will be sitting four CXC subjects which include Mathematics, English, Social Studies and Art in June and although she is currently involved in social development her career path is still open to anything that strikes her fancy in the upcoming years.
“Right now I love doing social work but I am really interested in the medical field but there are so many other things that I want to do in my life,” she said.
Choc’late, daughter of calypsonian Kurt Allen, insists she isn’t overwhelmed by the number of activities she is involved in at such a tender age:
“No, not at all. I am prepared for my exams, I love being in a band and I love being a part of an organisation that embraces young people.”
She said her parents never allowed her to read bad news until they thought she was at the age to know the difference between right and wrong.
“At the same time I was reading about the crime situation I was being enlightened by books about Mahatma Gandhi. Everything about Mahatma inspires me, his whole lifestyle, his beliefs, the things he fasted for. He chose the right issues to fast for and from that I was inspired to fast for something that is affecting my country in such a negative way,” she said.
Not only has she amazed citizens of the country even her mother Fabienne Fraser Allen is overwhelmed.
“I am so proud of my daughter because she came with this concept on her own,” she said.
Fabienne pointed out that Choc’late approached them with the idea while they were on a trip in Dominica. “She told us that she had a concept and the reason behind it was because of her involvement with Caribbean Vizion.