Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 27th 2015 Contents 12 | WOW MAGAZINE
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt September 27, 2015
OH, DID YOU THINK Yes She Can was only for ladies? Well,
we're an equal opportunity empowerer, and today we want
you to meet two guys who have also embarked on our jour-
ney: Swain David, and André Collins, husband of YSC
founder, Roberta Rose-Collins. These two men have been
with us every step of the way, conquering their own Ever-
ests. They're also very good about helping us take our bikes
down from the vans. Just kidding; we can take our own
bikes down. But we love them anyway!
Swain David, 46, Teacher
I've always been active; football, basketball, badminton,
table-tennis and track. As I turned 40 I decided to pay atten-
tion to my bucket-list. I began hiking. I learned to swim and
started snorkelling and scuba-diving. I and resumed my pas-
sion for cycling.
My friend Roberta threw out a challenge for persons to
start training for a triathlon, and I gave her a call. One of my
first questions was, "Will there be other guys involved?" She
reassured me there would be.
I was a bit apprehensive about being a guy training with the
ladies. With my ego on my shoulders, I ventured to the train-
ing sessions, thinking this would be a breeze. Our first activ-
ity was to kick across a small pool. The others blasted
across. I pushed off, kicked, and went nowhere. My ego got
off my shoulders, looked me in the eye and said, "You're on
your own, partner!"
Swimming has always been an issue. Losing an uncle to
drowning when I was three resulted in all family trips to the
beach and swimming pool thereafter being cancelled. The
fear of the deep is real for me. Though I know what to do, I
always panic and end up in difficulties. I couldn't understand
how someone who can run up and down a football field or
basketball court for hours could feel so tired after 10 min-
utes of swimming. My team-mates have seen me struggle,
and I keep hearing, "You are making progress. You need to
believe in yourself."
My son had fun watching me do the drills. "It wasn't a race,
boy!" I said to him. "Well you came in last, and you were
beaten by girls." It's amazing to be with these ladies, for
whom negativity is not part of their vocabulary. I see my
new friends as a part of my family.
Since I began this 90-day challenge, I feel better physically.
I'm more concerned with healthy activities, diet and nutri-
tion. I am now willing to push myself even further. I partici-
pated in the Trinidad Toyota Independence Cycling
Endurance Ride from Barataria to San Fernando and back. A
distance of 120 km, which I completed in 3.5 hours. I'm going
to be a part of a Hardcore team this year. This fitness thing
I want to find that new me, who won't look back on my life
regretting things I always wanted to do, but never at-
tempted. I have seen how an environment devoid of nega-
tivity can cause your wings to develop and flourish. Features
of this I can use at school to help children come into their
own. It all makes sense now that the mascot for 'Yes She
Can' is a butterfly. I am developing wings. My ego is back,
smiling on my shoulder, but preventing me from wearing
pink --- after all, I'm a guy, so I'll be a blue butterfly.
André Collins, UTT Lecturer
I never thought I'd see the day when my wife, Roberta,
would willingly wake at 4:00 a.m. to go for a run. I had tried
to get her active, as I lead an extremely active life growing
up. I had seen glimpses of her athletic side, like when she
took part in her company's sports day and won several
prizes, but she was not interested in regular activity.
Though always willing to help others, she had several health
complications. Most people would not know, because she
hid the pain. After finding out what was wrong, her life
changed; she had to remove all gluten products from her
diet. As Trinis you'd understand when I say that was hard. I
remember days when she cried because the food didn't
taste good and she missed the flour.
My wife is now part of a group of ladies preparing for a
triathlon --- reduced distances, but a triathlon nonetheless.
How did someone who was not willing to walk very much,
much less run, who had grown more than 40 lbs overweight,
turn into someone who has run more than 10 5k's, 2 half
marathons, done Hardcore, and is now training for a
triathlon? The answer is: over time and with determination.
At the beginning, we began walking along the Quinam beach
road. Our distances slowly increased until we were doing at
least 6 km. Then she said, "Let's take a jog", and that was the
beginning of the end for me and our morning walks. I had a
knee injury that seriously curtailed my physical activity. I
could see her getting stronger and wanting to go on, and I
would encourage her to, but I knew she felt bad.
In a few short months she excitedly declared that she was
going to take part in Hardcore. It's a gruelling event, but I
knew my wife would succeed at anything she put her mind
to. Soon she was flipping tyres, doing push-ups, rope climb-
ing, doing pull-ups, the works.
My wife loves to take pictures and post her activities to
Facebook, so was unwittingly chronicling her journey and her
transformation. Roberta began to understand the impact of
her own change. That was the genesis of Yes She Can.
Sitting here and reflecting on my own involvement in this
process brings a smile to my face, I because I don't think I
have done much more than any of you other husbands out
there who, upon seeing the drive of your spouse, would not
do whatever you had to make it possible for her. My heart
swells with pride and joy every time I see her finish an event,
and I see that broad, toothy grin that I fell in love with.
I'm also proud of all the women that have taken on the chal-
lenge that my crazy wife signed them up for. I see them cel-
ebrate every victory together, from someone being able to
get into the water and make a few strokes, to someone get-
ting onto their bike and riding unaided for a few meters.
None of these women even thought about doing something
like this a few short months ago. Now, they're excited for
the time to arrive quickly. Just an inside scoop though,
ladies; don't rush it, because she's already planning the next
Roberta's story of success could be every woman's story.
Through Yes She Can she's developing a network of people
determined to take control of their lives and be responsible
for who they are. The greatest thing for me is that my wife
is bringing others along on the journey, even me.
By Roslyn Carrington, Swain David, and André Collins
Andre Collins and Roberta
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