Trinidad is a land of many peoples and subsequently a land of many celebrations and well, many, many public holidays. Our work and school year is littered with long weekends and mid-week breaks. Life is nice. However I will state that I enjoyed these holidays significantly more as a student than as someone on a Gap Year. Previously, the holiday was a much awaited break in productivity, now it is an unfortunate break in productivity and the vast majority of business places are closed. This past week was graced with two public holidays resulting in three working days in the week. As it would be in Trinidad though, since the first holiday was Eid (Islamic) on Tuesday, many people opted to stay away from work on Monday as well. Friday was Emancipation Day (African). Thus another long weekend for the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Lovely!!
This weekend, for the first time ever, I joined the people in the streets of our capital Port-of-Spain, to watch the Emancipation Day Parade. Emancipation is celebrated on the 1st August every year and is to commemorate the emancipation of those enslaved African on plantations in the British colonies in the New World. There were many proud people of African decent as well as many others of Indian, Chinese and European descent present wearing the traditional garbs of the West African people. From tots to the elderly came out wearing their best. Bright reds, yellows, oranges, greens and blues were plentiful. Mokojumbies and floats of Africans who have impacted our world where a great part of the parade as well. I got to meet two of my little cousins who I do not see often as well as meet a new one as well! The designs, pride and overall camaraderie made the early, sunny morning exciting. Strapped with my camera and ready to shoot, I took a few shots, some of which I’m about to share.
“As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free. Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery.”
-MARTIN LUTHER KING, speech, Aug. 16, 1967
or as said by Bob Marley:
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but our self can free our mind.”
There was a sense of mental freedom in atmosphere at the Emancipation parade. It was an environment of love, togetherness and celebrating a common triumph. Beauty shone through the smiles, the attire and the interactions. I had a great experience there and I hoped that you can sense that from the pictures that I took. On another note, yes, there was an under representation of men in my shots above. While there were many women similarly there were many men in attendance. Possibly not in as high a concentration but they were there and were often seen embracing their friends and companions.
The Emancipation Day parade took place on Friday, however the vivid colours did not end there. Saturday, my photography class day, was an adventure to the North of the island to a nature reserve only accessible by a muddy single lane road with steep cliffs off the side and an intimidating yet beautiful mountain face to the right. The name of the reserve is Asa Wright and it is located along the Arima Blanchisseuse road. The reserve is on approximately 100 acres (Whiny the Pooh 100 acre wood!) and is a bird watcher’s paradise with numerous species present. Here is some of what I saw.
I hope you enjoyed and appreciated my art.
You are loved,