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Swimming in hope

Monday, August 10, 2015

My name is Maria Hall and I’m a cashier at a huge variety store in Tobago. I say I’m from Tobago now but I was originally from Trinidad. I’ve been here, like, 12 years. I live in Les Coteau—but they pronounce it “Leh Coteau”—so, from the time they hear that, they know: “She from Trinidad!” I do feel accepted, though—although, sometimes, you do get that little attitude from people. It’s (also my) mix, the complexion and thing. Some people could be small-minded. That’s something I wish it didn’t have, but it has it, so we have to face it.

My dad died when I was, like, 16, and I was Daddy’s Little Girl but, what you go do? You have to survive. I survived as best I could. My mother did a real good job of being mummy and daddy. I have two children, a girl, Leisha, 16, and Marcus, 15. The boy is with my mom in Trinidad and the girl was over here in Tobago but I had a scene.

Everybody makes mistakes and I made a little mistake in my choices, more than once, unfortunately, with men. So my trip to Tobago really was because I was escaping a man. I came to Tobago and fell in love—with the place, not a man—and never left. I love the people here.

Much people don’t like Tobago because they say it slow but I like that. The piercings and the tattoos probably make me look bad, but I just look bad. I have a lot of morals, a lot of good beliefs and stuff like that.

I’m not a Sunday School-er, I’m a homebody.

I haven’t done anything new yet but I have the feeling something going to be coming: either a piercing or a tattoo. Once you start, is like an addiction. But it is painful and, as you get older, tolerance of that level of pain starts to go down. Doing my last tattoo, I felt I was going to cry. Couple years aback, it would have been nothing.

I grew up in South, Siparia-side. Some people say Sip-paria, some say Sipper-ria. And I left Sip-paria/Sipper-ria and came to Lay Coteau/Leh Coteau. And it had a lot of places in-between, trust me, but this is where I am now, and happy!

I’m in a relationship with Kellis Noel. We actually got engaged two years ago but I lost my ring. And I said, “Well, that’s a sign I shouldn’t get married.” Maybe one day I’ll actually go ahead with it.

I live on an island and I don’t swim; pathetic, eh? I started swimming lessons at the Y some months back but stopped. I’d started suffering with anxiety. 

It was this traumatising thing with my daughter that brought it on! I had to stand up and speak in front of a group of people and I started cold-sweating. I ran off the stage and hid in a bathroom. So, because of that, I would real panic taking swimming classes, so I had to stop. Now I want to skydive or bungee-jump, to do daring stuff like I used to! I know how it will feel, looking down, but I want to push through that!

I work 8 am-6pm Monday-to-Friday and I have the best boss in the world. Miss P, Mistress Suzanne Phillips, is a beautiful person. She’s real try to help people best she could, even though she going through her own thing. I feel to cry to say that.

The bad part of the job is meeting people—but it’s also the good part. You’s meet some, O Lord have mercy! Everybody have things they dealing with, but every action have a reaction and is a lot of frustrated people walking around, so you have to find some way to not bring that with you!

When I look at how people behave with one another, I’s feel sad. At one point, I remember not liking people very much. And it’s people like my boss that restores that faith to know they still have good people out there.

A Trinbagonian is an awesome person. We’re amazing!

People does come from so far and appreciate Trinidad & Tobago and the people. So why we can’t learn to appreciate what is ours, to embrace our own culture and ourselves, instead of copying everybody outside?

Read a longer version of this feature at


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