In honour of Angry African, Love is in the Air is playing on the laptop as I write this. I'm playing it make me feel better, to make me forget for a moment the thing that made me angry this morning. Maybe if we had some more love, we would not feel so bad all the time.
Several nights ago while in bumper to bumper traffic to get home I was heartened by the sight of some police officers, working late. It was dark already, we were all trying to get home, you know. Resigned, tired, just want to be home, in shorts, making dinner, talking to our families. The traffic was flowing, slowly, but moving. As usual the idiots who were more important than everyone else, weaving in and out, cutting in, driving down the shoulder or on the layby. Aggravating but you know how Trini is. And then, just past the Mucurapo Road traffic lights, a Police Inspector in uniform! And some more officers. Flagging down the miscreants, making them wait, taking their keys so they couldn't just drive off. Everybody perked up. What, the police working! In a country where were we are justly cynical about the Police, there they were, working. One officer on foot actually chasing down a maxi-taxi trying to flee. You could see motorists perking up hopefully.
On Wednesday morning we woke up to no water. The water main that runs under the main road had burst and the water had been turned off. Stoically we bathed out of buckets and jugs of water. Hoping that it would be fixed by the time we got home. That evening, traffic on the road, guess the broken water main might still be a problem. That day we'd had floods in Port of Spain, including my office so why would the water people have come out to fix out problem? But there they were, replacement main, bulldozers and manpower. Crawling up the steps I hoped that it would be sooner than later. The WASA workmen were out, not only did they fix the leak, they cleaned up the mess. The road was cleaner than when they came. The repairs were done by 10:30 pm, of course being Wednesday we had no water until the next day. But at least we knew that it was fixed and we'd have water.
All of this represents progress. Once upon a time they'd just turn the water off and it would stay off until someone got around to fixing it. Those of you living out in civilisation might be amazed at all of this, but we in Trinidad acknowledge the small stuff. And then, yesterday the awful, horrible story of two people who had been killed in Tobago. It made me sick. These two retirees, who had a house in Tobago and had lived there on and off since 1980. Brutally murdered. They hadn't done anything to anybody, minding their business. I was angry again. We all try to find the good things and then this, to show how base we really are.
Now the warning advisories again. The truth is that I want to say, no, this is not my land, this is not my people. We aren't like this. But if reading the paper is anything to go by, maybe we are. You Trinis know what I'm talking about, we see it all around, we do it to each other and then read about it in the paper the next day. That sense of hopelessness and despair that lurks in the back drop, because really, we have not yet learnt to say no. No to the excesses of those who lead us, no to those who exploit us, no to things that are unfair and retrograde. Every day I see people drying to dress up unacceptable things, and we are told to swallow them.
I still believe we live in a great place, we just have a pest problem. We are generally good heartedl people, but there are a few bad apples that if left untended will spoil the whole barrel. As I write this against the backdrop of my "love" track, the music that saves my sanity on many days, I wish for many things. I wish that tomorrow night I could cast caution to the winds and go mindlessly sing along to the songs of my youth without worrying about getting home. I wish that we could be happy and peaceful. As I congratulate Clinton on the birth of his daughter, I hope that we, his extended village, will be strong enough to help raise her and Z. the other child in our circle.
Most of all, I wish....that we could take the words of the Caribbean prophet, the late Bob Marley to heart...
One Love, One Heart
Let's get together and feel all right
Hear the children crying (One Love)
Hear the children crying (One Heart)
Sayin' give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right
Sayin' let's get together and feel all right