Time is going by too quickly!

July 22, 2019 | Mashal, Honours in Political Science, Mines Action Canada,Trinidad and Tobago, Women's Institute for Alternative Development - WINAD, Disarmament Program Support Officer

It has been about 5 weeks since I started to work with WINAD as a “disarmament program support officer”. I arrived to the country 6 weeks ago, and I am still letting its beauty sink in. Trinidad is a warm, colorful and vibrant country, both in its outward dimension and in terms of its people. Immediately upon landing, one notices breath-taking mountain-ranges which follow you no matter where you go. These are one of my favorite features of the country, and I am very happy that they are visible from the windows of my apartment, which is located in a small residential area.

During the little time I have spent here, I am amazed by the hospitality and kindness of my neighbors. Despite not knowing me very well, they are always keen to help me and to offer me guidance. I find this propensity extending beyond my little community as well; in the country at large, there are many progressive movements that aim to improve the lives of fellow Trinidadians. I have had the privilege of witnessing a few of these firsthand, including a campaign to expand the provisions of the Equal Opportunity Act legislation.

My organization is included in these movements too. Even though it is only run by a handful of women, WINAD has undertaken projects that aim to resolve a number of issues ranging from gun violence, to radicalism and the refugee crisis. Trinidad is a diverse country with diverse problems, many of which stem from its oppressive colonial history. It is, however, one thing to simply read about the sociopolitical issues that affect the country from the safety of my home in Canada, and another thing to experience it first hand by being awoken by the sound of distant gunshots at night. This really drives home the point that the work that organizations like WINAD do have real life implications.

I am awe-inspired by the attitudes of my coworkers. Even as they tackle these deep-rooted complex issues, they have conviction that change will occur. In a time where cynicism seems to be the rule rather than the exception–especially in the sphere of politics– such attitudes are deeply inspiring. It has awakened in me a desire to enact change in my own homeland. Although I still have a little over a month left in Trinidad, I already find myself ‘missing’ the country. Time is going by too quickly! I have already taken away so much from this experience, and I am excited to see what my remaining weeks here will teach me.

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