My Trinidad & Tobago : Kathy Gabriel
Trinidadian writer and blogger, nature enthusiast and sea glass collector, Kathy Gabriel, reveals what makes Trinidad special to her. Having spent 30 years on the teaching treadmill at many levels, she now gets to savour a slower pace that is proving to be a reflective and revealing winding road.
What does being Trinidadian mean to you?
I value the fact that we are an independent republic, in it’s essence that means that we have taken responsibility for our destiny as a nation; a people. That comes with many challenges, local, regional and international, that have to be navigated by elected reps. Controversies are a part of the mix. Political parties and their die-hards do not help, preferring to mudsling for the most part; to make promises and then forget after elections.
I am proud that we have claim to the invention of the steel-pan, which has evolved and gone global. Many here still do not appreciate this national instrument.
We are looked upon as one of the leading nations in the region but T&T is not perfect and we have much to do to ensure that the wealth is spread to the masses that are tired of belt-tightening.
We have a saying here – ” God is a Trini …” . The region is blessed/fortunate and full of potential, but we have to understand better what leadership entails and bite lots of bullets in the interest of progress and equality.
Where do you live?
I now live in the countryside that I once disliked, however, it’s perfect now as I am surrounded by nature.
What is your favourite childhood memory of growing up in Trinidad?
Growing up in a neighbourhood in San Fernando, where there were lots of kids going to the same school. We would come and go together and spent most evenings playing in the road for a couple hours, before doing homework, before nightfall.
Where else have you lived?
I lived and worked in the Turks and Caicos Islands for 10 years. I was a lecturer at the TCI Community College, in Grand Turk, with another campus in Providenciales. I was the head of the Language and Communication Dept. for both campuses. I also taught Language and Literature in the Teacher Education Dept. I was involved in a host of other initiatives at the institution.
I also lived in Ottawa for almost a year after I retired, mostly a recovery period. I love that city!
I have visited several islands including Barbados, Grenada, and St Lucia. I fully intend to continue my visits to all/most islands in the region.
What are your on-island hobbies?
Self-styled meditations, creating haikus, finding genuine common ground with persons I have never met, asking lots of questions, collecting sea glass and taking naps. Gardening – I’m a huge believer in eating what you grow and cultivating all kinds of flowering plants – even wild ones!
Where do you choose to hang out and relax with family and friends?
Home, on the beach or just on the road. I love to take long drives with or without destinations in mind; random stops. That is actually how my travel blog, Trail Spots, came about …. www.trailspots.com.
Favourite local dish to cook?
Curry chicken with chickpeas/channa, although I prefer leave out the potato. I was always asked to bring curry chicken to house parties. Now I just sample what everyone else brings!
Where is your favourite restaurant in Trinidad?
Canboulay Restaurant in the south city of San Fernando. It has a lovely ambiance and great food.
Where would you recommend as a ‘must go’ to a first time visitor to Trinidad?
The Pitch Lake in La Brea
Mount St. Benedict
Asa Wright Nature Center
The Toco Lighthouse
La Vega Nature Park
San Fernando Hill