Small (left) enjoys August holidays with her twin sister,
Asha, at her family in the country.
a teenager, Essiba Small was into music and liming during
her August holidays.
Holidays is the name of a new value-added series
in your favourite newspaper. Initially, it consists of articles
by staff writers, reminiscing how they spent their August
Holidays as children. You, too, can participate by sending
your August Holidays recollections to [email protected],
with a contact number.
August holidays for some young people mean crossing the
seas. But for me and my twin sister Asha it was across the
Growing up in the plannings on St Joseph Road,
East Port-of-Spain, we looked forward to spending holidays
with family in Carapichaima and Arima.
I mean, theres only so much one can do in a concrete
jungle for eight weeks.
The few holidays we stayed at home were spent skipping double
dutch in the apartment buildings corridor and playing
moral and hopscotch with Angelas, our neighbours,
four girl children.
I also seem to recall Asha and me starting rival radio stations.
Mine was called WKYZ 95.1 FM which boasted an urban format,
based in California USA (God knows why), and hers, WKBC
90.6 which featured a smooth jazz beaming live from Westmall,
Westmoorings (God knows why).
So leading this sheltered kind of life kind of made us appreciate
holidays in Carapichaima with our cousins.
For our 13-year-old selves the trip was a culture shock.
All that greenery.
Unlike at home, Asha and I were awakened by our cousins
as early as 7 am every morning for a hearty breakfast that
included eggs, bacon, cocoa tea and homemade bread.
Lunch was dead on noon and included homemade pepper sauce
and vegetables that came from the yard.
I remember how in awe we were seeing food coming up from
the ground for the first time and how much kicks our cousins
got from our awe.
Dinner was at 6 pm and snacking on our favouritescorn
curls, sweets, chocolateswas almost non-existent.
The neighbourhood parlour was not only far away but our
cousins insisted that we eat healthy snacks like popcorn,
corn on the cob (also grown in the backyard) and tonka bean.
I remember after a week of having to get out to bed at 7
am, Asha telling me (during one of our many night-time whispers
in bed, while everyone else slept) that she felt as if she
was in a concentration camp.
Still we did as we were told and followed the routine without
a complaint. None of us wanted to be reported to Mummy and
Daddy for being unruly.
We spent our days catching butterflies just to watch them
up close before releasing them.
And, at the crack of dawn, we listened for the bell of the
milkman as he made deliveries along the street.
I got on a bike for the first time in Carapichaima and took
a hard fall in the stony dirt yard, tooI have still
have the scars to prove it.
I never got on a bike again.
My most memorable time by far was performing in concert
by candlelight in the gallery when the lights went out.
Vacation in Arima by Aunty Sylvias house was a far
a different experience.
We were older, at 16, with raging hormones.
As in Carapichaima, we used to wake up at 7 am, but for
a totally different reasonto hang with the boys we
befriended in the area. One of them was Pecky and another,
a very cute Mark Wright, who went on to become Marka of
the local rap group Blak Mayl.
Marka and his boys used to ride in the yard on their bikes
every morning to lime and play cards.
Wed only break for lunch and a shower and then wed
lime some more till night fell.
Aunty Sylvia was liberal that way but its not like
we were on our own and free to do what we want.
Shed keep watch from her sewing room to keep a leash
on the raging hormones of all present.
So I never got a chance to see the Statue of Liberty or
Big Ben up close. Nor boast of going to a magical place
like Disneyland. But thats okay. The vacations my
sister and I spent out of the plannings, right here in Trinidad,
were far better.