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Focus on what we have, not what's missing
Posted: Friday, January 23, 2009

By Derren Joseph
January 17th, 2009

So Carnival 2009 has now officially been launched. So far, I have not been to any fetes, but from what I have been reading, concerns about belt-tightening leading to small crowds have not yet materialised. My first fete will probably be St Mary's College fete–Fete With The Saints–on January 31. As always, it is for a worthy cause, as funds raised go towards improvements in the school infrastructure. Derren Joseph logo

For tickets, please ring the Past Students' Union (624-8468), or send e-mail to Well, last Sunday, Sally and I decided that rather than fete, it was a good day for the beach. For a change, instead of a typical visit to Maracas, we decided to drive to Toco. My two sons, Deandre and Kael, were excited by the idea of visiting somewhere different. So we packed some snacks and hit the road. The day started off a bit overcast, but by midday the sun did come out. Our first stop was Salybia. It had been a while since I drove up on that side, so I was surprised to see lifeguards on duty, and that the Ministry of Tourism had some sort of mobile unit at the beach as well.
Well done!

Aside from the surfers, like my friend Gareth Jenkins, who were taking advantage of the great waves, we could see some Orisha devotees performing some sort of ceremony over at the point where the river met the ocean.

After their ceremony, I approached the group to enquire as to its meaning. I was directed towards the "Mother," who explained that they were making an offering to Oshun. She was so friendly and happy to share her faith, it was a reminder to me that Trinidad and Tobago nationals are, perhaps, among the friendliest people of all the places I have visited. We had a good ole talk before we jumped back in the car. The water at Salybia was a bit rough for us, especially, as we had small boys with us, so we continued driving up to Cumana. Cumana has fond memories for my cousins and me, as my late grandfather spent much of his time in Cumana. Many of us grandchildren have wonderful memories of weekends in Cumana with him.

We parked the car and walked along that familiar trail to the beach. The scenery was even more breathtaking than I remembered. The sun was shining, the golden sand, the clear blue waters, the rocky slopes–it all looked like something from a postcard. My sons had so much fun climbing up the rock faces–a reminder to me that T&T has some amazingly beautiful beaches. Our final stop was Salibia. Yet another beautiful beach. Compared to the other beaches we stopped at, this one had a crowd. We were surrounded by so many other families who had escaped for a "dip in the salt." The water here was relatively calm, so finally the boys got to relax and enjoy their splashabout.

Sunday was a good day. On the Internet we found Check it out. There is so much positive activity going on in Toco.
This Web site is an initiative of the Business Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago (, and is made possible in part by funding from the Organisation of American States(

The Web site describes itself as an outcome of two OAS/BDC initiatives:
The 2001/2002 Mission Enterprise project, which provided an economic assessment of the Toco region and stimulated a networking process that resulted in the formation of the Matura to Matelot Network of NGOs (

The 2003 Knowledge Network Project for Toco, which sought to stimulate business and entrepreneurial activity in the rural communities of Toco, by using information technology to overcome or offset the inherent economic disadvantages faced by businesses in these relatively remote communities.

I have a friend, E C Clyde Parris. Every time I bump into him, I ask him how he is going. He smiles and his reply is predictable, but at the same time, refreshing–"I am still numbered among the living, for which I am eternally grateful." His words are a reminder to me that we could spend each day doing one of two things. We can either focus on what we do not have, or focus on what we do have. As always, I end by saying that despite our challenges, we are so blessed to live in this beautiful country. We need to remember and acknowledge just how much uplifting work is being done all around us. Let us continue to have the audacity of hope in our country, as we move towards Vision 2020.

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