Publication Date: May 24, 2019 (Second Edition)
Schooling for five-year-olds in Trinidad and Tobago became compulsory in the mid-60s. She was a frail little girl, nervous about separating from her mother to whom she had an extraordinarily strong attachment—a relationship that developed during her turbulent period of infancy. Her mother took her to school for the first time. She felt detached and abandoned and she struggled to settle into the school routine.
At the end of primary school, she was not given a place at a secondary school because she ‘failed’ to attain the necessary grade in the 11+ Examination- Common Entrance. Her mother, who also could not read, never gave up on her and tenaciously pleaded with a senior teacher of a secondary school for help with admittance.
At the beginning of the school term, she was placed in a class but her circumstances made life within the walls of the school increasingly difficult. It became a place where she did not want to be, as she felt most insecure and inadequate. She struggled to achieve while she tried to conceal her pain and insecurities.
Failure stared her in the face.
She felt defeated. She wanted to run away; she wanted to disappear; she wanted to hide so that she would not have to look into the faces of her parents, her siblings, her classmates and the villagers.
Sadly, she found herself slipping into a world of greater desperation and hopelessness. Her parents, sensing the depth of her agony, came to her rescue. It was at that point she decided- against all odds- to defy expectations.
She saw a glimmer of hope. Dreaming was once again- possible.