I guess we all harbored mixed emotions – excitement, anxiety, lingering doubts – as the army convoy in which we were travelling slowly meandered its way up the Laventille Hills on the morning of November 15 2014. The mission of the Family Association that day was the painting of the St Barbs Primary School, located in the low-income, community of Laventille in East Port of Spain. Laventille is a “high risk “community given its vulnerability to crime and violence.
During our ascent into the Hills, we were ushered on by smiling faces and friendly waves from residents for whom the presence of the military in their community had become, in recent times, an everyday experience. In the First Engineering Battalion, Trinidad and Tobago Regiment (TTR), which had been doing invaluable work in promoting peace and stability in the Laventille community, the Association found a worthy and willing partner for the execution of its project.
Our project team for the day comprised of twenty five staff and family members ranging from infant to senior staff, inclusive of the Representative and the Chief of Operations at CTT. We were ably supported by seventeen (17) members of the TTR.
Sporting white IDB T-shirts, we arrived at the school to a warm welcome by: teachers, members of the school’s Parent Teachers’ Association and members of the community. Following a brief exchange of pleasantries, an initial security briefing by the officer in charge of the TTR, and a group photo, we quickly got down to the business of the day; painting the interior of the school comprising of nine classrooms. Stopping only for lunch, provided by the school cafeteria, we worked assiduously, spurred on by banter and comraderie, until our mission was accomplished.
The Principal of the school, in expressing her gratitude for the intervention by the IDB, noted that the aesthetically improved classrooms had created an environment which is much more conducive to learning and teaching.
At sunset, our white IDB T-shirts “tie dyed” in blue and lilac paint, we journeyed back to our “base” at the Country Office exhausted but satisfied and grateful for the opportunity to have helped positively impact the lives of so many children. The Project was well executed and resonated well with the main goals of the Association; promoting social projects that benefit the community where they live and building comraderie among its members. Thanks to efforts of everyone involved, the project was a great success.
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