Thursday 19 March 2020

The Barbados Bay Fish Market

20 years ago when we began working as CESO volunteers in Tobago, our apartment looked out over Barbados Bay where we watched fishermen leave at dawn to fish and bring in their catch mid to late afternoon to sell on their crudely built stalls.  They had to outsource ice to keep their catch fresh on their boats (perogs).  We had worked at FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) in Rome and knew of a program that they might be able to utilize to gain funding to build a market with the best of facilities (ice maker, stainless steel cutting tables, running water, individual lockers, washrooms, changing cubicles, air conditioning), Fishermen needed to organize and involve the Dept of Fisheries because any initiative like this must be directed by government.  So, over several years, meetings were held, the organization strengthened, representatives were chosen to meet with government, approval was sought.  It all seemed quite futile when, to our surprise we received an email with a picture attached of the facility being built!  
Below are pictures of the facility as we found it this time.

Barbados Bay Fishermen's Market Feb 2020
Although the sign says Open each morning and Closed each night,
the door is locked and no one is there during the day!

We had a great visit with one of the fishermen, Mr Olivery.  He will be
80 years old in a few months but he regularly takes his boat out
fishing.  He also enjoys his regular dance night each week!

The slide share (link below) includes pictures of the boats at Barbados Bay.  Activity is much the same as we experienced when there pictures were taken.  Fishermen still sell at their stalls as shown.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Elijah, Veanne's son!

It was through a post I put up on Facebook that Elijah contacted me.  We first met Elijah at Barbados Bay when he was four years old.  Veanne, his Mother, and he brought us shells.  This was the beginning of the 20+ year relationship with Veanne.  What a lovely surprise it was to have a message from Elijah via Facebook.  He was very surprised to find that we were in Tobago.  He was enthusiastic about coming to our place for lunch.
What a great person!  Veanne was so proud of him and rightfully so.  Elijah is working in an office at the quarry just up the road from where we were staying.  He came on his motorbike for lunch.  
Veanne's brother (Elijah's uncle) has helped him rebuild a motor bike like the one in the picture below (which is his uncles) that Elijah presently rides to work daily.  Elijah showed us pictures of the various stages of the rebuilding.  What a transformation!  
Elijah is taking an introductory Health and Safety course. This is a field that he is interested in.  I was so impressed with Elijah.  I know he will do well.  Great personality, pleasing manner, good values.  

I first met Elijah 20 years ago on Barbados Bay Beach. 

Elijah arriving at our apartment driving the motor bike he restored.

Saturday 14 March 2020

Desmond Solomon update with link to Farm Garden Project in Tobago 2010

A very significant person over the 20 years we have been coming to Tobago has been Desmond Solomon. He spied us this time on Granby Beach on Saturday, Allan walking and me swimming. To understand the depth of background, I went back to a Power Point we put together that summarizes well the Farm Development work we have been involved in here in Tobago mainly with Desmond. The link to this will be at the end of this post.
So, to update. Desmond decided to take a government job with WASA (Water and Sewage Authority) after farming a few years. Steady income and reliable work (and Desmond is a great worker!) appealed.
He has been working for WASA for a good 17 years.
On Feb 4, 2017, he had a bad accident on the job. He was using a jackhammer to break down a wall, The jack hammer hit rebar, jumped back and went through his safety boot and foot. When he removed his boot, blood spurted straight up. At the hospital here in Tobago, they bound his foot without cleaning the debris from the wound. After some days, he made his was to Trinidad. The doctors there were extremely concerned. Gangarine had set in. Two surgeries were performed. He said he took pills by the handfull. He was in hospital for one month and off work for one year. Through benefits from his job, he was continued to be paid. As yet he has not been compensated for his hospital bills.
He showed us his foot. Two toes have no feeling but otherwise, the foot looks really good. He is back to work and in his usual great spirit.

Friday 13 March 2020

Trinidad Tobago 2020: San Fernando, a visit with Kathy Ann.

A visit to Trinidad Tobago for us was one of reconnecting with friends we have made over the 20 years we have been making trips to TT.

Our trip did not happen as initially planned.  Our flight from Halifax to Toronto was cancelled  Feb. 6th because of a snow storm that grounded all flights out of the Stanfield International Airport.  We had booked with West Jet that offers a direct flight to Port of Spain once a week from Toronto.  The next week was fully booked so Feb 20th was set for flying to Toronto.
Mike, Louisa, Oliver, Owen and Enna Mae came to the Hilton to spend a great evening with Buppy and Nana.  The highlight was the 'pool' for them.  For us, seeing them.
The next change in plans came when there were no flights to Tobago from Trinidad for the next three days due to Carnival.  So, we enjoyed the luxury of the Trade Winds Hotel in San Fernando.  We have a great taxi driver and friend in Trinidad, Earl.  Earl met the plane, delivered us to the hotel and was back again the next day to take us to San Fernando and Siparia where we had done  a CESO assignment at the Agape Center for the Deaf 15 years ago.  We contacted Kathy Ann DeBarry to make sure she would be home and booked Earl for the next day.    It was 15 years ago that we met Kathy when she volunteered to help us with workshops in jewelry making.  She and family had just moved in across the street from the Agape Center.  She used the skills learned, made and sold jewelry and lifted her family.  Our visit with her in 2017 is found in the following link: 
How have things changed?  Kathy Ann, besides making and selling jewelry has a new business.  She propogates and sells plants.
Probably the biggest accomplishment is seeing that their two children got a good education and are gainfully employed. Kamisha, 24 and trained as a Primary teacher and is in her 4th year full time teaching.  Kyle is 19. His interest in music (he was learning guitar when we were here last) has led him to a position in the military band.

Image may contain: 2 people, including Kathyann Legendre Beharry, people smiling, plant, closeup and outdoor

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Manitoba Roots

We were long overdue for a visit to Allan's home province, Winnipeg.  Over the past 52 years, there were many Aunts and Uncles to visit along with immediate family and college friends.  The list has shortened.  We enjoyed time with sister Gail and nephew Rob.   We had the best of visits 'out on the deck surrounded by great trees.  It wasn't until after we made our bookings to Winnipeg that we discovered that there Allan's cousin Lorne's 80th Birthday dinner party was happening when we were there.  
Allan and Gail.  They are the same
age each year for three weeks!
Mother Astrid was busy with three little

Gail's deck is lovely!  We enjoyed many hours talking with lots of
good laughs!
Allan with Cousin Lorne reviewing a little album of memories
that we were able to create by taking pictures of very tiny prints from
70+ years ago!

Sunday 28 April 2019

When I looked up the meaning of the name Semhal using Google, two very pertinent descriptions came up: 'power, practicality, ambition' and, according to a user from Ethiopia, the name Semhal is of African origin and "It means Unique".'  Believe me, Semhal lives up to her name every step of the way.  Her delightful personality is a ray of sunshine.
Semhal Guesh, CEO of KABANA Leather

We met Semhal in 2017.  She took part in our Marketing Workshops sponsored by CESO.   We visited her little shop at that time:  three employees working in less than ideal conditions (a curtain for example separated the main area from the outside world).  But, we recognized her quality workmanship right away.   
2017 Workplace with 3 employees.
Semhal with two of her loyal workers in 2017.

Feb. 2019.  The new location of KABANA Leather: A modern building with good ventilation, nice big windows that allow for good natural lighting, excellent floor space.
The New Location of KABANA Leather
When they are working on a big order, Semhal employs up to 80 people at a time.
The factory is buzzing with activity when we visit.

Join us on a tour of the Kabana Leather Factory with owner, Semhal Guesh.

An interview with Semhal Guesh, CEO of KABANA LEATHER, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Young, enthusiastic, fast growing manufacturer and exporter of quality leather bags. In two years her factory has grown from 3 employees to 80! KABANA is exporting to Europe, other African countries and the US.

Her delightful personality is a ray of sunshine. We are Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) volunteers. We met Semhal two years ago (April 2017) and recognized her quality workmanship and are so proud that you invited her to be part of the business delegation of Ethiopian women entrepreneurs.

In this video, Semhal takes us on a short tour of the factory, then talks about the importance of the jobs that the factory gives.

Monday 22 April 2019

Dondoor's Amazing Business Change: Congratulations Aaliyah

Two years ago Aaliyah faced a big decision. Her father was closing Dondoors.  If at 23 she was to set up business, Aaliyah had to find a new location, establish contacts, get a new telephone number, obtain machines,  decide on what products to focus on, design and make samples to take to the market all while finishing her Bachelors’ Degree in Architecture.   What she has done is amazing!  Previously, Aaliyah had helped her father with design.  She now runs the business.  Her father is available by phone for advice.    

Aaliyah and Lydia at Dondoor's New Location

She does promotion bags for conferences, sports events, holiday bags.  We were surprised to see brand names we recognize like Pizza Hut.  It's all a big challenge. 

 Marketing is the biggest part of the business. 
The handwoven, traditional is still possible to make but the bigger part of her business is the modern      
t-shirts, tights, boxers, gym sets along with the promotion bags.   
Gym sets ready for packaging.
Ladies at Dondoors at work.
Visit Dondoors factory in this slideshare presentation:

Dondoors Facebook page has excellent pictures their beautiful products:

An interview with Aaliyah re the challenges of setting up a new company in Ethiopia:

Aaliyah is a member of one of the many Rotaract Clubs in Addis. 

Lydia gives Rotaractor Aaliyah a Rotary Pin from Canada.

One of the projectsof the club that Aaliyah has been involved with is the 'Yenta' school program.
 Rotact members sell postcards for sponsorship to supply school materials, uniforms and school fees for children from very low income families.  Postcards she says are three types:  1/4 year, 1/2 year, or full year sponsorship.  They sell these postcards in supermarkets, malls and restaurants.
Fundraising Projects 
 They also sponsor a school feeding program.  Her Rotaract club meets on Sunday every other week.  There are about 30 members.  Their web site reflects the enthusiasm that these young professionals bring to Rotaract.  They have a 'mother' Rotary club that helps them with money.  I am so impressed with the project work and involvements of this club!  Here is the link to her Roteracts' web page:
Aaliah talks about her involvement with Rotaract: