THE EDITOR: Having been away from home for the past four and a half months, I wanted to share some thoughts of my time overseas as I looked at TT from the outside.
I did not have one bad experience during my stay in the US, but there were some Trini idiosyncrasies and characteristics I missed.
Trinis are a special people!
We have joie de vivre! We laugh and joke and smile easily. We also have manners when compared to some people in First World countries. This mentality makes us unique, in that we can interact with complete strangers and make them feel like family. I experienced this myself away when I met fellow Trinis and was treated like family by them.
Our delightful food.
Foreign food items may be bigger but not necessarily better in taste and quality. It is also definitely more expensive. So don't take for granted our local farmer's markets where fresh bodi, baigan, pumpkin, ochro, tomatoes and seasonings are easily available. High quality and organic in the US means high prices. What fresh vegetables and fruits I can get at home for a $100 is double that price in the US. Buy local!
There are some things we do better than First World countries and there are some things we need to learn to do better from them.
Last year in March, I returned home from the US when covid19 had just started to grip the world. The Ministry of Health and government took full control, and in my opinion and from personal experience, effectively managed the process in trying to keep us safe and healthy. They did a much better job from what I saw in the US before and after returning home.
This year however, being in the US and looking in as to how we managed the covid explosion and vaccination process, left me concerned and disappointed.
During Easter, I do not think we as citizens took seriously enough our individual responsibilities in masking, sanitising and physical distancing. We should not blame the government for our own individual choices.
The choices of a few had a significant impact on the entire country, resulting in a State of Emergency. The government also needs to accept responsibility for the failure of the initial vaccine rollout, as we could have benchmarked from other countries.
I pray we do not allow our political views to increase division among ourselves. I hope we can see value in our diverse opinions and celebrate how unique this diversity makes us as a people.
I am very happy to be back home. I will definitely not take for granted all the small and big pleasures and opportunities I experience, especially the people in my life. I know we are not perfect, but I love my perfectly imperfect Trinidad and Tobago.