"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Student Writing from Trinidad and Carnival

>> Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Author: Theo

March 6, 2011

Trinidad and Tobago light up night watch at our anchorage in Port of Spain. Hundreds of potential bearings splatter like paint in the face of the island that’s still thumping with music at 4:00 am. It’s calypso season and the Trinidadians are getting ready for Carnival, their Carnival. Carnival is happening all over the Caribbean, with celebrations that take first priority before lent. On watch, I listen from a distance, having read stories and spoken in class about what this celebration means to the people.

I wake up a few hours later, it’s Saturday, March 5, and while I’m going about morning chores, flags, and breakfast, thousands of kids are painting their face, throwing glitter over their bodies, and gathering in their groups to put on the costumes they’ve worked on all year, in preparation for the Kiddie Carnival costumes competition. This day, it will take over the island.

By 9am, the streets are flooded. Flatbed trucks roar the soca hit, “Everyting, Everyting, Everyting, Everyting, Trin-i-dad and To-be-go,” from giant speakers. Surrounding the trucks are a never ending stretch of kids chipping and winding their waists in a huge elaborate masquerade consisting of pirates, sailors, mermaids, princesses, geishas, skirts made of hoola hoops, and masks made of sequins. In awe, mesmerized and inspired by the beauty of the costumes and the energy of the people that pulse as one.

I slowly shuffle down the street, bumping against dancers all around me, and finally step into a small place selling roti. While eating my deliciously spiced potatoes, peppers, squash, and mangos wrapped in a warm flowers dough wrap, I witness my favorite part of the day. A band of costumed kids, some who must have been only six, dance by on stilts that towered over the tops of street vendors. This must take incredible balance and fitness. The kids show no hesitation and expectation of stunning people, they just rampage and singing lines and freestyling to the beat of Carnival.


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