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Topic: Poor (10/25/04)
TITLE: POOR, YET MAKING MANY RICH
By Phyllis Inniss
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As a little girl growing up in the capital city of Port of Spain, Trinidad, being poor to me meant not having the things you needed, like food, clothes and shelter. There were those who were better off and others worse off than we were. The consciousness of any difference in status did not impinge itself on my mind until years later. It must have been because we were happy in our family life, and our upbringing in school and church added to this state of happiness.
The school was an adjunct to the church, the church its spiritual benefactor. School was a natural consequence. You had to be really ill to stay at home. Once I had to go to school for two weeks wearing one side of shoe and a slipper on my left foot because of a bad cut. I earned the admiration of many of my peers. My teachers knew my parents and, therefore, much was expected of me. I was lucky to have had a good supply of books in the house and since I was an early reader and an avid one, I soon got through all the books that I had got as prizes. I now turned to the bookcase in the drawing room (living room), as we called it in those days.
How lucky I was to find a book entitled “The Basket of Flowers” . This book filled me with such pleasure that I decided that books without pictures were better reading material than those with pictures. The drawing room was seldom used, only for guests, so once I had finished my chores, I read undisturbed for long periods. I lived in this make-believe world of fiction, transported to lands unknown and enjoying the richness and fascination of words and phrases I did not always understand How could I ever consider myself poor with such a rich find.
To be called back to the real world was a shattering of my dream state. Many times I lived in a realm of absentmindedness, where some adult would have to penetrate to get my attention. I would hear, “I think she’s deaf” Yet, I did well at my elementary school. When I had read all the books I was interested in from the bookcase, I was allowed to use the Public Library. The pride I felt on receiving my first book, “Anne of Green Gables”, from the Library cannot be described.
The happiness I felt in my family was not limited only to books. On moonlight nights all street lights were left unlit, so that the beauty of the moon glowing in its resplendence could capture the hearts of those willing to enjoy it. My mother would take us, my brother, my sister and myself, the eldest, for what we called moonlight walks. We would walk up to the Queen’s Park Savannah, where the splendour of the night could really be enjoyed. There would be lots of people doing the same, stopping to buy roasted or boiled corn, roasted peanuts, or coconut water from the vendors after they hacked off the head of the nut with their cutlass. Some folks would sit on the benches around the Savannah and chat, while the children played hide and seek behind the trees and other games. It was fun time for young and old alike.
Is it any wonder then that I wanted to share my rich experiences with my students when I became a teacher, how God works in people’s lives, if they would only follow His teachings: show love for one another. Paul said to the Corinthians “if I have all faith……but have not love, I am nothing.” And in verse 13 of that same chapter 13 “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” With love in your heart, you can hardly be poor.
Written by Phyllis Inniss
30th October, 04
(Quotes taken from the RSV Bible)