Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween


 I see many are talking about pumpkins, tricks or treats, goodies, Halloween costumes but the burning news is that this old witch has to recharge her batteries before carving up any pumpkins - and the vehicle has been out of action for a few weeks so the cylinders need checking. A broom unused for a while, tends to be sluggish and slow to start whereas it's hard to stop a newly serviced broom from going from 0 - 500 mph in a witch's cackle second!

Part of my Job


On the 10 September 2011. 88 volunteers of the Evangelization Commission gathered under a marquee in the grounds of the Catholic Centre, Chaguanas for a Day of Re-focusing and En-visioning.
Before guests entered the marquee through a ballooned entrance  they were given goodie bags by Marcelle Cromwell and Cheridan Woodfruffe although no one recognized either of them until later in the morning.  The goodies became an integral part of the day – the pads for note taking, the whistles for agreement and the sweets for illustrating the giving of ourselves to others. 

The Vicar for Evangelization Fr Robert Christo welcomed each guest as they arrived by pinning on their feather name tag, orange for ladies and blue for the gentlemen.  There was a great deal of fun and laughter during the day when ‘old friends’ came together to discuss, under the guidance of Fr Robert, the serious issue of  ‘Evangelization  - A New Way Ahead.’  After bringing guests up to speed on what was happening in the Commission, Fr Robert shared the Commission’s vision  for the future and how people can become involved in both their parishes and the Commission.
The question ‘who needs to be evangelized?’ produces answers including the young, the alienated, those without faith, the un-churched, the de-churched, those on the fringes and the core die-hards.  To evangelize we must be able to share our faith, give personal witness, preach if necessary, nurture and extend invitations in order that people have a sense of belonging.
In being part of an Evangelization Team one has to ask oneself “Am I active?”. “Am I a Cathechist, an Apologetic?  and “Am I hospitable?”.  It is the duty of every Catholic to evangelize – “For disciples of Christ the duty to evangelize is an obligation of love” (Pope John Paul II.) Parish community will be the centre of New Evangelization which involves building a community of friendship, Evangelization  transforms society, lives, relationships and inner culture.  In addition to Evangelization teams in parishes, the Commission has developed a RECALL programme which will involve parents and godparents of newly baptized babies, parents of children making their First Holy Communion and parents of Confirmation candidates.  Once parents are involved they will be introduced to the ALPHA programme, progressing to Catholicism 201 and Eucharist 301 by which time it is hoped they will be involved in ministry in their parishes.  Training for the various programmes will be offered initially at Vicariate level.

A further vision of the Commission  is to set up a Catholic Enquiry Office which will supply information about the Catholic faith with a guarantee of no follow ups unless requested.  Tracts will be available for those who wish to learn more in addition to which, it is hoped that tracts chosen by the Commission will be available in all parishes. The ‘Catholic in the Workplace’ which was the brainchild of amongst others, Bishop Jason Gordon and Dr Ruby Alleyne will now come under the Evangelization Commission.  Catholics in their working environment will be able to access various activities including Mass, praying of the Rosary, prayer sessions and discussions being streamed live.        

After a lunch where conversation was lively and happily noisy, Fr Robert put  everyone into groups for a breakout session.  The feedback was positive with everyone agreeing that they now understand and have a clearer idea of what “New Evangelization’ is all about and how exciting it is to be part of an organization that is most definitely on the move.


The day was so exciting that it seemed that no one wanted to go home and Mass under the marquee started much later than planned although nobody seemed to mind.  GRACE Music Ministry provided the music for the celebration of Holy Mass as well as for the Praise and Worship during the day and sincere thanks go to them for their usual vibrancy.

As people waved their goodbyes the general opinion was that apart from learning so much more and having had such a fantastic day in the process, most felt it was like ‘family coming back home’.
Fr Robert Christo and the staff at the Evangelization Commission would like to thank everyone for coming out, for supporting us and we look forward so much to working with you all in the very, very near future.  In the meantime please visit our Evangelization Commission Face Book page and feel free to post.  Many, many thanks to each and everyone of you. 

Evangelization Commission
October 2011
(Article for Catholic News)


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Repost from Simone Leid - The WomenSpeak Project

OUTRAGED! Rape of a Child is NOT Entertainment!

On 25th October, 2011, the local television program “Crime Watch” which airs on TV6 at 6pm in Trinidad and Tobago, aired video footage of a 13 year old girl being beaten and raped. The host of Crime Watch, also had the child’s mother on set and asked her questions about how she felt on hearing the cries of her daughter as she is being raped by several men on the video.
I cannot sit idly by and merely shake my head at this abomination. That the rape of a child is aired on a television show that is notorious for sensationalizing, and packaging criminal activity and trauma of victims as entertainment, signals that we have reached an all new level of barbarianism.
In a country where the cries of a child being raped can be aired at prime time, and then again at night, and again the next day, and again the next night - is it any wonder that we are a country whose rates of murder of women by domestic partners and rape are amongst the highest in the world?
For if we can reduce someone to a sound-bite, a headline, a statistic, then it becomes easier for us to forget they are human beings. They become ‘the other’, ‘a number’, ‘not one of us’. And when we are fed violence as entertainment, we become desensitized to the chopping, the burning, the raping. Suddenly a woman who is ‘just’ battered is no big deal.
WomenSpeak was created to give these ‘statistics’ a human face. To give women the opportunity to tell their stories of abuse, harassment, discrimination, in their own words. To encourage every man and woman in the region to take responsibility for sharing the message that discrimination against women is a disease that is rotting us from the inside out. That we stand as Caribbean men and women, boys and girls who believe in the dignity of all human beings. And we DEMAND higher standards of decency, empathy and justice for women and girls.
We each have a voice. Let us use it. If we are fed up of the exploitation, denigration and dehumanization of our women, men  and children, please exercise your conscience and let the Telecommunication Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, Crime Watch and TV6 and its affiliates know what you think of it’s degrading ratings ploys; of this violence perpetrated by the local media upon it’s citizens.
For my part, I want Crime Watch OFF THE AIR. PERIOD.
Below are contact numbers and links
Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago  (click link for complaint form)
#5 Eighth Avenue Extension, Off Twelfth Street, Barataria, Trinidad and Tobago.
Phone : 1-868-675-8288
35 Independence Square , Port of Spain, Trinidad, WI
Telephone 1-868-627-8806
Trinidad Express Newspapers 
35-37 Independence Square, Port of Spain, Trinidad, WI
Hott 93 Office
#5 Rosalino Street, Woodbrook
Port Of Spain, Trinidad, W.I.
Phone: (868).625.8426, (868).623.7605
Fax: (868).624.3234
 Simone Leid - The WomenSpeak Project

Learn more about the WomenSpeak Project’s Mission and Objectives here
and here

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Divali - Festival of Lights (A Repost)

 Divali - Festival of Lights (Trinidad Style)

Tomorrow, Wednesday 26 October is the Hindu Festival of Divali otherwise known as the Festival of Lights which celebrates light over dark, good over evil.

Divali was first brought to Trinidad by Hindu indentured labourers in 1845 and is a five day festival. The word Divali itself means "row of lights" During the festival homes are completely cleaned and windows are opened to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Lamps are lit as a greeting to Lakshmi, gifts are given and festive meals are prepared.

The climax of Divali is the lighting of deyas after sundown - a delightful experience that should never be missed. In yards, open spaces, staircases, roundabouts and porches, deyas are lit by the thousands.

They are also placed on bamboo stalks bent into fantastic shapes and designs. In villages where there is a strong Hindu presence, it is common to see whole streets decorated in this manner.

Bamboo bending is an absolute art in itself and it takes hours to produce the beautiful designs.  The men normally work in teams to create the centre pieces for the festival. Last year (2010), in the Trinidad Guardian, according to one team leader, Boodram “Gable” Bissoondial, "one of the first things is to start with the end in mind."  Meaning what you want the product to look like when completed.

Bamboo is not just bamboo. One has to choose the bamboo very carefully. For “road way” bamboo designs (bamboo lengths running parallel to each other placed on short stubs), Gable noted that you need to choose long lengths of bamboo that are not very wide in width. He said, "for bamboo that would form “rose designs,” you need to consider width more than length, since you have to split that type of bamboo into eight pieces.

Safety is of major importance when bamboo bending. According to Gable, there is no need for "fancy-fancy" (local expression) tools, just the need for rolls of wire and two-and-a-half inch nails, with hammer in hand. The pieces of bamboo must be tacked down to ensure they don't fall out causing harm to anyone and the edges of the bamboo have to be shaved so that no one can be scratched. Unshaven bamboo can be painful!

The following is taken from and written by Dr. Kumar Mahabir (October 14, 2009)

Divali is the defining event that marks Trinidad as a multi-religious, multi-ethnic society with Hindus comprising the second largest religious group (24 percent) after Roman Catholics in the twin-island population of 1.3 million people. While Divali is essentially a Hindu festival, people of all faiths actively join in celebrating the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. Non-Hindu adherents are attracted to the festival's universal message as well as to the extravaganza that is not only unique but also provides a clean environment for the cultivation of a healthy body, mind and soul.
Nowhere else in the world do non-Hindus and non-Indians actively take part in the lighting of over 10 million deyas on a single night in the year. These tiny clay lamps are lit in homes, yards, streets, offices, public parks and playing fields. It is perhaps only in Trinidad that one can find split bamboo tubes transformed into magnificent works of art on which the deyas are placed. The split bamboo strips reach out toward neighboring houses, streets and communities to symbolize the popular local mantra "all ah we is one."

To all my Hindu friends and all who will be celebrating, Shub Divali

Elegance Beyond Words

Mag 88 


 Photograph courtesy of Tess Kinkaid, Magpie Tales

Whether viewing in black and white 
Or colour
Whether the tall buildings
Of brick
Are magnified or not
Whether seen through 
A mirror
Side view or rear
There is
No denying
That neither
Noise nor  pollution
Pigeon disturbance
Can take away
From the elegance
That is London

Barbara M Lake
Trinidad W!
October 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Mag 87 


 Photograph courtesy Tess Kinkaid, Magpie Tales


Peking Duck
Recipe from Beijing
Crispy dark golden brown
Brought to the table
Of every fast food chain
Roll the meat mostly skin
Into the pancakes
Oh so thin
Cucumber sticks
Spring onions 
Hoisin sauce
Two centuries ago
A delicacy 
Of imperialist China
Now on every
Western menu
A takeaway
Without a thought
For the history
Of this delicacy
Now being served
As fast as
Chicken and chips
A sacrilege

Barbara M Lake ©
Trinidad West Indies
October 1011
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