Monday, May 30, 2011


New species of bat in SVG

So a new species of bat has been discovered by researchers in St Vincent. The bat has been named Micronycteris Garifuna in honour of the Garifuna people. However, this is one bat I would not like to run into. The thing ugly!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011


HIV Awareness

Sunday 15th May, World HIV awareness day passed by without much fanfare on the local front. HIV awareness is an issue that is dear to me since beating the disease involves continuous education. Anything that is HIV related always puts me in an introspective mood. I think of the young women whose vulnerability exposes them to situations where they cannot negotiate sexual encounters, the young girls whose first sexual experience is borne out of violence,those who refuse to use condoms and those who fear testing lest it exposes them to discrimination.

While the attitudes are slowly changing re people living with HIV/AIDS there is still a long way to go. I believe the attitudinal changes can be partly attributed to those brave persons who have made their status known and continue to live and work amongst us. So I found Will.I.Am's comments re women who keep condoms in their homes as being "tacky" to be full of male/societal double standards. The sexual reality is that some people are going to have casual sex, chance encounters, multiple partners and engage in behaviours that others would frown on. Does it therefore mean that their lifestyle excludes them from being proactive in guarding their sexual health? Methinks not!

I think the judgmental stances do very little to help the issue at stake which is HIV transmission/infection. Not everyone is going to subscribe to the one partner ideal and truth be told I often wonder if fidelity is a word only found in dictionaries. For that matter even if you are in a long term relationship it is still wise to keep your stash on hand. Therefore Will.I.Am's comments were at best irresponsible if not idiotic. Yes it is his views and his stance on sexual behaviour but when you command a following your views carry more sway with some sectors of the population. The reality is that women are the ones most affected by this disease and the onus is on them to protect themselves. Their very lives depend on it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


100 years of excellence

When persons turn 100, they are the toast of the nation. The Governor General visits and presents the centenarian with a bouquet of flowers and a congratulatory message from the queen. The subject, if able is quizzed on reasons for theeir longevity and life of yesteryear. All of this is fed to an awestruck audience. After all a life of 100 years is a phenomenal event.

On May 8th, my alma mater the St Vincent Girls' High School celebrated her 100th birthday. Like those before her, she was the toast of the nation as she showcased her considerable talents. Under the theme "100 years of excellence where tradition meets tomorrow", the week of activities that led up to May 8th featured sports, talent explosion, career and arts showcase, awards dinner, the blue and white affair which saw fireworks heralding the 100th year and ended with an ecumenical service at the the Kingstown Methodist Church.

In 1911, when the GHS opened its doors it was a bold step given that education of girls was not a priority at the time. Over time, the school has evolved from a private school catering to elites to a public school that embraces girls from diverse backgrounds. For me, entering the GHS was the realisation of a dream that many thought was beyond me. At age 11, already burdened by pain and a shattered self esteem entering GHS was my confirmation that I could be numbered among the best. I have written before that the joy I felt on passing for GHS remains my happiest moment.

Life at GHS was not all bed and roses. Many times I felt I stuck out like a sore thumb as I struggled at times to learn and adjust to new rules, new ways of teaching and the subtle hostility that was directed at you depending on your stream. I cried bitter tears when my best friend widened her circle, made new friends, suffered panic attacks when CXC drew near. A male teacher crossed the boundary, friends moved away, Moffett House won sports, classmates became mothers and we took shaky steps towards womanhood. Yet through it all I was proud of the blue and white and the way the simple act of getting dressed every morning gave my spirits a lift.

Looking back 15 years after graduation (how time flies!) my wish for GHS in the next 100 years is for continued excellence. Time and seasons change and GHS must change to fit the times. At the ecumenical service on Sunday the minister called for Religious Education to be reintroduced. At the risk of being labelled heathen I believe we need more practical subjects that contribute to nation building. Let religious education be the responsibility of the church and the home.

Happy 100th GHS.May your 2nd century be way better than your first.Per ardua ad alta.

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