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Wednesday 18 September 2019
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What became of your childhood ambitions?

Ayanna Douglas still wishes to fulfill her childhood dream of being a published writer.
Ayanna Douglas still wishes to fulfill her childhood dream of being a published writer.

ELSPETH DUNCAN

The two main things I wanted to be “when I grew up” were a vet and a writer. While I am not a qualified vet, I rescue and help many suffering animals on an ongoing basis; and, as you can see, I write.

Recently I asked a few people at random, questions along the lines of: when you were small, what did you want to be when you grew up – and what are you now? Here are some of the answers:

INTERVIEWEE #1: Seretse DeSilva

ED: What did you want to be when you were a child?

Answer: My initial thing was to be a vet. I had a lot of pets growing up and pets get sick, so I would always be front and centre with my dad helping and caring and treating them back to health . . . because I loved them and wanted to take care of them.

ED: Why did you not become a vet?

Answer: That’s a good question. The honest answer is: I don’t like school and that’s a lot of studying!

ED: What are you now?

Answer: I am all sorts of things: I’m a construction painter, I do agriculture and I like hosting, bartending and waitressing. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m also a Paddy certified scuba diver.

ED: How does your initial childhood ambition connect with anything in your life now?

Answer: I have a lot of pets – dogs; cats; I had a parrot but he flew away – long live the parrot; I’ve had rabbits; chicken; ducks; sheep. Any time I can, I pick up stray kittens and puppies and carry them to TTSPCA (TT Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and I foster when I can – when my parents allow it.

INTERVIEWEE #2: A gentleman who preferred to remain anonymous

ED: When you were a child what did you want to grow up to be?

Answer: That was so long ago, I can’t recall. But one of the things I always wanted was to not be employed. I wanted to be able to control my own.

ED: What made you think of that as a child?

Answer: I saw my parents controlled by employers. Everything was based on that income. I felt I could do more if I was in control and had my freedom.

ED: So what do you do now?

Answer: Farming. But I’ve done many other things before. Sometimes I was employed, yes, but I enjoyed some of it because it was along the path I was growing into.

ED: What was this path for you?

Answer: In pursuing being self-employed I learned a trade. I learned tailoring and I excelled at it. Along the path, I found it good of me to share what I had learned. I taught tailoring and I have a lot of tailors out there – locally and internationally. But people nowadays don’t want to pay for tailoring work.

INTERVIEWEE #3: Ayanna Douglas

ED: What did you want to be when you were a child?

Answer: That’s a nice question. That changes during so many aspects of life, from childhood to adulthood. I always felt like a librarian – bookwork, receptionist, that kind of thing, an author, a writer. I was always writing . . . from age nine and ten I always had a diary. I used to be always with a book and my family would wonder, ‘What is this girl doing?’ My grandfather used to bring me pencils and copybooks for my birthday. Any time you miss Ayanna, she is writing something. Even now I love pen and paper.

ED: Why did you not become a writer?

Answer: I became a mother and that became time consuming. Also education-wise...maybe if I had tried hard enough I could have done it, but I don’t think I tried hard at it. I felt like I could have written personally, but not professionally. I was lazy about pursuing further qualifications for the writing.

ED: As a teenager I had something published in the newspaper. I remember saying, I am so and so years old, I love to write and this is my story. But I can’t remember what the topic was.

I got one response from a novelist from Sangre Grande. I never met him and I can’t remember how he responded...but he was encouraging me. I remember his first name – Aaron.

I have no trace of that piece. It was almost fifteen years ago. I used to write a lot of poetry and short stories, but I eased off writing as I didn’t have time for it anymore. Between moving from Trinidad and moving to different places, things got lost. I used to have a notebook of poetry and I felt I had all the time in the world to write.

ED: What are you now?

Answer: I cater for people. I cook, pack, deliver. I print tickets and get people to come to my home and collect the food. It’s like a sideline. My main work is kitchen assistant/waitress. Time is spent with work and children. I have four children and am a single mother by choice.

In order to partly make Ayanna’s dream of being a published writer come true, I asked her to write a new poem so that I could feature it in this article. Here it is. Enjoy.

TOBAGO TOBAGO!!

By Ayanna Douglas

The very first time your shores touched my feet, I almost died

But somehow felt complete enough to stay alive.

The very first time your beauty met my eyes, I almost cried

But knew I had seen enough to survive.

A fruitful land; rich in many cultural diversities.

With a range of stories to be told.

Harvest and Heritage have been produced for centuries.

With the Speech band and Calypso that never get old.

A few of our legends were made from your soil,

Full of class I suppose.

Some talents we all enjoy are Dwight Yorke and Calypso Rose.

Whether Argyle or Charlotteville.

You bound to find some fascinating views of waterfalls or forestry;

Not forgetting your sweet, sweet twin isle Trinidad

where there is a lot more to see!!!

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