Throughout January 2013, former Amizade intern, current Slippery Rock University senior, and winner of PENNACE Student of Year, Grace Evans will be leading three different groups on Amizade Service-Learning experiences in Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. Follow along with her adventures here!

Matelot

Matelot, TrinidadWhy Matelot? Is what many people may be wondering. What is the draw to this area? Why do residents think this could be a tourist destination?

I’ve spoken of the beauty of the area. Of the kind, generous, welcoming people. Of the fruits, nuts, trees, and other natural features that make Matelot so unique. However, the draw I find when thinking of people visiting in the future, is that the members of the community want to share everything – their homes, their culture, their food, their friendship – and every other aspect of life in Matelot. Each person we worked with met us with enthusiasm, sharing stories, legends, history, knowledge, and current day happenings in the town. They know that there is something special going on in Matelot, Trinidad, and they are determined to share it.

Teary goodbyes

Matelot, TrinidadAs with all good things, the end of our week in Matelot brought happiness and sadness and many other emotions. In celebration of our visit, the wonderful women of the DORCAS group threw a going away party in the community center on our last evening.
It was packed – I counted about 50 men, women, and children in the community center that evening. The DORCAS had set up a table just for the nine of us (as always, they are too good to us) at the front of the room and welcomed us with dinner and many thanks. It seemed as though the entire town was fed that evening – the delicious cooking of Debbie, one of the women, fed countless people as we enjoyed the performances that had been prepared for the evening. A group of high schools students performed a traditional drumming and dance song that was followed by a drum solo. The students wowed us with their passionate performances – and the after diner show did not disappoint either.

The local Parang Group played songs as residents and visitors alike joined in singing and dancing – the purest form of entertainment. The Parang group has a keyboard, ukulele, guitar, and maracas – they typically travel from house to house during the Christmas season – sort of a reggae version of caroling.

The night ended in many sad goodbyes and promises of future visits. In addition to leaving us with warm wishes and many hugs, the women made hand crafted gifts for each of our nine participants. Overwhelmed by their generosity, we could do little other than continue to express our thanks for their kind and welcoming nature.

Keep checking back for more updates from Grace or visit her blog directly at www.graces-adventure.blogspot.com.