Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 26th 2013 Contents B11
Thursday, September 26, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Reaching adulthood without mas-
tering reading and writing is often
due to problems during the person s
early school years. The writing below
by Alta students shows clearly why
literacy instruction needs to be
offered after primary school. Alta
fills this need for both adults and
Alta s 50 free community classes
give those 16 years and over the chance
to improve their reading and writing
and until the end of September new
students can call 624-2582 to join a
class. Under-16s in Standard Four or
Forms One or Two can join Youth Lit
classes today at one of 11 Nalis libraries.
My parents were simple people. My
father was a carpenter and my mother
was a housewife. We lived in a little
village on Toco Road. I had one sister
and two brothers. I was the last. My
short school days were at the Sangre
Grande Government School. I was a
That happiness came to an end
when my mother became ill and I had
to stay at home and take care of her
at the age of nine.
At that time, my father decided to
change residence. We went to a small
country village where most of the
people were farmers. It was a very
lonely place for a child. Most of the
houses were far apart. The days were
long and lonely.
The best time of the day was in
the evening when the children would
be passing from school and would
say hello to me. Sometimes they
would stay and talk for a while.
I used to look forward to evenings
and find all sorts of excuses to go to
the standpipe where all the children
would pass. Often they would say,
why don t you come to school with
us? And I would say, when my mother
That never happened, she died
instead. After that, my life turned
into a nightmare. I had three step-
mothers before my teens.
Each one was worse than the other.
I thank God for keeping me safe
through those dark times.
Goals and fears
When I was a little girl growing
up in Central, I never like going to
school much. It did not seem right
being the slow one in the class. I did
not go to school much, so I had all
the time in the world to play and
enjoy my childhood years. I ll learn
to sew when I get older and make
my living simple, I thought.
But as the time was passing by,
I realised what life was really about.
In my teen years I wanted to set
small goals for myself, but my poor
reading and writing affected me.
One of the greatest fears I had
was that some old person would
the bank with my sister and ask for
my help to fill out their form. Lucky
me, it never happened.
Being the only girl
and the eldest
When I was a child I was the eld-
est in my home. When my mother
was not there, I had to take charge
of my brothers. I have no sisters, so
you know I have to do everything
for my brothers and my parents. I
used to go to school, but as soon as
someone was sick I had to stay
home. My mother used to have chil-
dren very often, so when she had
babies I had to stay home for two
weeks or sometimes more.
I used to have to cook, bake and
wash for my brothers. I did it or I
would get licks if I didn t.
Being the last child
from a family of nine and I am the
last child and as you know the last
child is always spoiled, always get
things their way. Our family was not
rich and my Mom was a housewife
and she had lots of responsibility.
She was not educated, so I would
say she did not know better.
All of my brothers and sisters went
to high school. I was the only one
in our family who did not go to high
school. I was never a bright child in
school. Even moreso, I hated school
because if my teacher asked me to
read or do a problem on the black-
board, I would not know how to do
it as well as the other pupils. And
sometimes the teacher scolded me
or hit me on the palm of my hand.
That is what made me hate school
When I got home from school and
I told my mother she would some-
times get angry. So the next day, I
would be scared to go to school, but
I would not tell my mother that. I
would simply say I did not want to
go to school and she loved me so
she would just say, "OK, stay home."
If I had homework and I did not
know how to do it, I left it because
I knew my parents wouldn t check
Even as a child I was always hurt
because I could not read and write
properly and knew I had big brothers
and sisters who could read. I always
hated every one, until now. I still do
have lots of anger, but I know I am
learning to read and write.
A A u
Alta-Nalis Youth Lit:
September 26 from 2 pm -- 5
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