My mother's daughter

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Material Information

Title:
My mother's daughter the autobiography of Anna Mahase Snr., 1899-1978 : with the autobiography of Kenneth E. Mahase Snr., 1893-1955
Physical Description:
xv, 144 p. : ill. (some col.), map ; 22 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Mahase, Anna, 1899-1978
Mahase, Kenneth E ( Kenneth Emmanuel ), 1893-1955
Publisher:
Royard Pub. Co.
Place of Publication:
Union Village, Claxton Bay, Trinidad

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
East Indians -- Biography -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Teachers -- Biography -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Biography -- Trinidad and Tobago   ( lcsh )
Course materials for Panama Silver, Asian Gold
Genre:
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
autobiography   ( marcgt )

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
foreword by Kenneth Ramchand.
General Note:
Mahase, Anna. My mother's daughter: the autobiography of Anna Mahase Snr., 1899-1978.Union Village, Claxton Bay, Trinidad : Royard Pub. Co., 1992. This text planned for use in the Panama Silver, Asian Gold course taught at three institutions in Fall 2013.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Permissions granted for this to be online from the rights holders.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 38438331
lccn - 92200607
ocm38438331
Classification:
lcc - CT388.M33 A3 1992
ddc - 929.98305/092|B
System ID:
AA00016007:00001


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My Mother's Daughter is the life story
of a vital, courageous and resilient
woman with a voice that articulates
with remarkable sincerity and sim-
plicity the condition of women in her
time.
Anna Snr. brings to her autobiogra-
phy an enhanced awareness and
understanding of life in her presenta-
tion of the religious, social, cultural
and historical forces which shape her
being and her family's destiny. It is a
personal record of adversity, strug-
gle and endurance, ambition and
achievement, love and tenderness.
Anna Mahase Snr. comes through it
all with a triumph of art and spirit. In
fact, the story is told with a religious
depth of feeling that has its genesis in
Anna's early life and upbringing. This
is a work that deserves the respect
and gratitude of the reader in its affir-
mation of the values of marriage and
family life, religion and education.
Anna's quest for personal synthesis,
symbolized in Rookabai's ancestral
journey as well as her own mobility
throughout this autobiography,
comes to an end in one dear perpetual
place (Guaico) where her early love
with Mahase led to the harvest of
achievement evidenced in her own
life and that of her children.








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THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ANNA MAHASE Snr.
1899-1978


with
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF KENNETH E. MAHASE Snr.
1893-1955
(Appended)


Illustrated

Foreword by Professor Kenneth Ramchand


ROYARDS PUBLISHING COMPANY


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ROYARDS PUBLISHING COMPANY
Union Village, Claxton Bay,
Trinidad. 809-659-2260





The Trustees of Mr. & Mrs. K. E. Mahase










All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise,
without the prior permission in writing of the trustees and publishers.




First Published 1992
Published by Royards Publishing Co.
Printed by Printmaster (WJ.) Ltd.
Typesetting Soraya Ali/Helen Habib, Cascade, POS









CONTENTS


A know ledgem ents .......................................................... i
Foreword ....................................................................... ii
Prologue ..................................................................... xv

O N E ............................................................................. 1
TW O ............................................................................ 6
TH REE ...................................................................... 12
FO U R ........................................................................ 22
FIV E ........................................................................... 28
SIX ............................................................................. 32
SEV EN ...................................................................... 38
EIG H T ....................................................................... 48
N IN E ......................................................................... 65
TEN ........................................................................... 87
EPILO G U E ............................................................... 94
A FTERW O RD .......................................................... 98
APPENDIX I The Autobiography of
Kenneth E. Mahase Snr ..........102
II Anna Mahase Snr. -
H er Poetry ............................. 110
III Tributes .................................. 118
IV Railway Routes .................... 124
V Family Tree........................... 125
VI From the Family Album ........ 127









ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The publishers wish to acknowledge, with thanks, the following photo-
graphic sources and illustrations:

Gerard Punch for photographs on pages 138 and 139;
'John Morton of Trinidad' ed. by Sarah E. Morton for photographs
on pages 8, 19, 35;
The Mahase Family for all other photographs which appear in
this book;
Roland Hosein for illustrations on pages 7,16,17, 25, 29, 41;
Susan G. Taylor for illustration on page 4 and for cover design.









FOREWORD

In The Indian Centenary Review: One Hundred Years of Progress 1845
-1945, a volume published to celebrate the activities and presence
of descendants of Indians in Trinidad, there are two hundred and
nineteen short biographies of distinguished Indians. Of these,
only nineteen are women. Among the sketches of visible Indian
women, there is an entry that recognizes Anna Mahase, Trained
Certificated Teacher, mother of seven children, and wife of
Kenneth Emmanuel Mahase, Headteacher of Guaico C.M. School.
This Anna Mahase (1899-1978) was the mother of the current
Principal of St. Augustine Girls High School who bears the same
name. In 1935, she began to write an account of her life and career,
proceeding in stops and starts until 1967 when she copied out all
that she had written at different times, in a diary produced by the
Nestl6 Company. At the end of this fair copy, she inserted a short
account of his own life written by her husband Kenneth shortly
before his death in 1955. She also included two poems, a short one
'To Our Nation', and a twenty stanza celebration of the work of
the Canadian Mission and of its pioneer missionary, the Rever-
end John Morton. The longer poem is careful to place an empha-
sis on how the work of the Mission contributed to the building of
a nation in Trinidad. In the shorter one, the woman of Indian
origin makes her Trinidadian nationalism absolutely clear.
Anna Mahase's autobiographical account covers the period
1899 to 1967. It is chronological, but it is not an account written
from day to day as events were unfolding. It depends upon
memory for earlier events, and it is given some focus by hindsight.
In its later pages, written when Kenneth Mahase was dead and
Anna in retirement, it becomes more of a family chronicle,
outlining the achievement of their children.
The publication of Anna's story is welcome for a number of
reasons. It contains information about wages, prices, transporta-
tion and economic activity in Trinidad over a long period, allow-
ing us to see how by contrast inflation has galloped in the last









twenty-five years. Particularly interesting are Anna's references
to the railway system, to journeys made by train, and to meetings
at railway stations. When you read about all of this, you cannot
help thinking how foolish and short-sighted it was to close down
our railway system in the interest of those men with big trucks,
and the urge to get rich quick at the country's expense.
The account of course provides valuable glimpses of people of
Indian origin settling into their new land. We see and hear of
Indians purchasing land, going into business, seeking education,
and pushing their children towards the professions. There are
examples of supportive family life and examples of family feud-
ing, instances of the workings of a communal sense, and cruel
instances of Indian exploiting Indian in the pursuit of material
advancement. Above all we see the profound and problematic
influence of the Canadian Mission on the emergence of the
Trinidadian Indian.
The Mission never acted as if they despised the language and
culture of the Indians. On the contrary, they made use of Hindi
to approach the Indians in the first place; they translated parts of
the Bible into Hindi, and turned Christian hymns into bhajans;
they sought out parallels between Hinduism and Christianity as
a way of making Christianity go down better. But the economic
and social advantages of learning English and turning Christian,
were obvious and strong, and once the bait was taken the Chris-
tian Indian found himself being pulled a little faster than he might
have wanted to travel.
Some of the consequences of this infiltration have been
comically explored by our major writers like V.S. Naipaul in 'A
Christmas Story', and Sam Selvon in Turning Christian'. In the
long run, there would be an adjustment. Somehow the Hindu
sensibility or strains from Hinduism would bring to Presbyteri-
anism a distinct quality that drives one to speak of Hindu
Presbyterianism. At any rate, Anna makes the observation that
her mother Rookabai, "though a Christian and the wife of a
preacher, still kept up some of the Hindoo traditions and customs









and way of life." As an illustration she gives a remarkably
detailed description ofajhanki or re-enactment at divali that seems
to be associated with Lord Krishna:
"At the annual Dewali festival, in a room downstairs, she
would make an enclosure 8ft by 6ft with clay, about 8 inches high
with double spiked top like a wall, leaving an opening for
entrance, inside of which was built a castle 2ft high, shaped
circular, ending on the top with a small platform. Each circle
became smaller from the bottom. About 4 circles were made until
the top was reached. On top sat the king and queen with their
regalias, crown and sceptre. Along the corridors were soldiers all
dressed up in armour, helmet and sword, standing at attention.
There were ladders going up from one corridor to another. On
these ladders were female slaves carrying trays of food and
buckets on their heads. Then there were sentries with rifles,
posted at every entrance. All these she made with clay. It used
to be a wonderful display and a lovely sight, and the truth is that
my mother knew all these things from India. I have never seen or
heard of anything like that during the Dewali festival here."
It is possible that Rookabai was holding on to a jhanki peculiar
either to her Brahmin family or to her particular region, a jhanki
that Christianity was powerless to dispel. The retention of Indian
or Hindu attitudes among Christianised Indians is exemplified in
Anna herself. In the closing pages of the account, she is severe on
those Indians who had lost the sense of the significance of Indian
names and Indian naming ceremonies. She is not entirely correct
in some of her assertions, and she can complain that "Maharaj" is
not really a last name without feeling the oddity of the "Mary"
part of the name Mary Maharaj. But the fear of extinction in an
alien land is not entirely dead: "Soon, we East Indians will lose
our identity. No one will know who is who."

Anna Chandisingh began her career at the Sangre Chiquito
Canadian Mission School in May 1917 as a Fourth Class Assistant
Teacher earning $10.00 per month. How the people in the district









responded to the novelty is recorded by Anna herself: "In those
early days all the teachers went out every morning to visit and
bring out the children to school. I did my share of it and the result
was that all the little Hindoo and Moslem girls began attending school
when they saw a female East Indian teacher."
By 1954 when Anna retired as a Senior Assistant Teacher (the
equivalent of Deputy Head), Indian attitudes to the education of
daughters had begun to change, while Church and State were
providing more places, and more varied programs for Indian
girls. The early days in Sangre Chiquito mark the beginning of
Anna's contribution to these developments; and the story, in her
own hand, of how she became a teacher, is itself an exemplary
part of them. Through Anna's account we can, of course, follow
the development of one strand of denominational education in
Trinidad. But it is of more moment that against a general back-
ground of the lives of Indian women between 1900 and 1965, we
can watch the education of the Indian woman becoming more
than just a preparation and training for marriage.
Behind Anna is the bold figure of her mother Rookabai. In
India, Rookabai had been a child bride. She was delivered with
great ceremony to her husband at the age of twelve, and the child
became frightened, naturally, of the old man with heavy mous-
taches. So one night she ran away not only from her in-laws'
apparently extensive compound, but also from India: "She
walked and walked until she saw a crowd of people and she went
to see what was going on. It was the place where the people
gathered to be taken on the ships that brought them to Trinidad
as immigrants. She heard all about the gold and wealth of
Trinidad, so she decided to be one of them."
Anna's memory of what Rookabai related to her children is
that Rookabai was a voluntary immigrant, a Brahmin child
versed in the Hindi language and Hindu books. When Mrs. Sarah
Morton opened up a home in Tunapuna where Indian girls were
to learn English, Hindi and "every other thing to make them good
house-wives," Rookabai was in the first batch to be taken in. In









those days, the Canadian Mission seemed to regard preparation
for wedlock as an important part of the education of young girls,
and they developed quite a system (it included zoning) for
finding suitors and arranging marriages for their flock.
And so, when the time seemed ripe, a marriage was arranged
for Rookabai in the country to which she had fled. The man
selected was a young teacher. Chandisingh, baptised George
Washington was married to Rookabai, baptised Elizabeth Burns,
at the Aramalaya Church, Tunapuna, in 1891. How the Canadian
Mission carried on their business among the Indians, and how
deeply they involved themselves in the private as well as the
public lives of the target population are the undeclared and
underlying themes of Anna Chandisingh's autobiographical ex-
ercise.
Chandisingh had come to Trinidad as a boy on an immigrant
ship, and had been sent to school where he learnt English well
enough to be considered educated; and "in as much as the idea
and aim of the Missionaries were to open schools and Churches,
as soon as the young men could read and write sufficiently, they
were placed in charge of the schools. That is how my father was
the Head teacher of more than one school for short periods of
time."
Chandisingh and his wife suffered frequent transfers. They
were shifted from St. Helena to Caroni to Guaico to Sangre
Chiquito to San Juan to Arouca, then to Guaico again, and the
recently married man was even sent on a short mission to St.
Lucia. But he was no fool. He bought cocoa lands in Caigual on
his first posting to Guaico in 1898, and got more when he returned
in 1904. By the time of his posting to San Juan in 1902 or 1903, he
had gone over to being a Catechist instead of simple Head
Teacher. During this hectic period of camping and de-camping,
Rookabai bore six children of whom five survived and were in
tow in 1904 when the move from Arouca to Guaico was made.
Chandisingh's salary then was $24.00 per month. Anna, the third
child, was five years old.









How Rookabai felt about all this journeying and child-bearing
we do not know. The account only tells us that she was playmate
to the children, organiser of games, and story-teller, an activity in
which she was joined by Chandisingh. "They told their stories in
Hindi, because we all spoke Hindi at home and with our friends.
We spoke English in school."
Anna goes on in this part to describe how the Canadian
Mission used Hindi to project the Christian message. "All
Canadian Mission schools taught Hindi reading and writing
during the Religious Instruction period. Our Church services
were carried on in Hindi from the Sunday school leaflets to the
singing of the bhajans, to the preaching of the sermons. The
Bhajan books or Hindi hymn books were printed at the Tunapuna
Printing Press by Dr. John Morton and his men, Mr. Max Gobin
being his chief man." But she comes back to Rookabai, describing
Rookabai's retention of Hindu traditions in spite of being a
Christian, and commenting on her mother's ability to organise
occasions to bring her friends and the village women together.
And then the idyllic tone is broken.
This is how Anna leads up to the break-up of her family, and
the separation of her mother and father that must have been
coming ever since those hectic years of moving from place to
place at the call of the Mission. "My mother was a born leader of
women and children. But the only one she could not lead was my
father. He always had his way, and it seems to me that events took
place and changes in their own attitudes towards each other
began. Misunderstandings, I say because as children, we noticed
the change of behaviour between them. No doubt my father had
his plans, and events worked out in such a way that my father and
Dr. Morton had some misunderstanding. And he had to give up
his work as a catechist. So naturally, we had to leave the Mission
house."
The account never tells us what was the nature of the misun-
derstanding between Chandisingh and Rev. Morton; nor does it
speculate about how Rookabai might have been feeling about her









husband's busyness. But for two years after the falling out with
Rev. Morton, the family was reduced to living off the estates at
Guaico and Caigual. And then, in June 1909, the father decided
to send the oldest girl Dorcas (twelve) and the ten year old Anna
to stay with a very good friend of his in Couva, whose wife would
teach them housework.
What led a man of Chandisingh's experience and education to
resort to such a scheme for his daughters is never disclosed in the
account, and we do not know what part Rookabai played in the
making of the decision. After the train journey, the girls were fed
well and they slept in comfortable beds. But from the next day
everything changed. The friend's wife was mean and merciless.
The girls were unpaid servants. "The work we did at that home
was not the worst thing, but the ill-treatment by that woman, and
being ridiculed and laughed at by the children were not so
pleasant for us." When Chandisingh visited the girls in the
Couva house two nights before Christmas, Anna stole into his
room when all were asleep and questioned him earnestly as to
whether he had really come to take them home. He made
arrangements for them to connect with him on the Sangre Grande
train at St. Joseph Railway station. On the Sangre Grande train,
the girls told the tale of their sufferings at the hands of "that
woman." On arrival they were met at the Guaico Railway Station
by their mother and two brothers. They were taken then to the
small wooden house that their father had built himself in their
absence. But the symbolism is misleading. Anna is numb and
precise about what was really happening: "That was the last
Christmas, 1909, we spent together as a family."
There is a reticence in the account that comes from the fact that
Anna belonged to a time when it was held that certain things are
not to be dwelt upon. But loyalty and a lack of spite also help to
give to the autobiography a bare factual quality that can be
intense and ironic. Her detailing of the break-up of the family is
flat, but resonant.
Abruptly, in 1910, Chandisingh sent Dorcas and Anna to the









lere Girls Home at Princes Town. It was a school that trained girls
to be good housewives. When the girls got to the age of fifteen,
their parents would usually come and take them away to be
married. In some cases, however, suitors could write directly to
the Superintendent of the home who would make the necessary
arrangements. "We graduated there by marriage, some were
successful, others not. My own sister Dorcas was one of the
unfortunate ones."
The Journal registers Anna's desolation at being so suddenly
cut off from her familiar place and from her friends and imme-
diate family: "I looked out on the street and felt so lonely. I could
have stepped out and continued walking until I reached home."
But there was no home. Home was disappearing. Having
disposed of the two older girls, the unemployed father of five
emigrated to British Guiana. In that same year, Rookabai sold the
Guaico property to the Canadian Mission, and with her six year
old Hannah, left for India "which had always been her desire."
The two boys, Charles and Joseph, were left in the house at
Guaico, "until one day, Dr. Morton took both of them, put them
in a boat and sent them off to British Guiana to meet my father,
who had already got work as a Catechist with Dr. Scrimgeour."
From this point, the father plays no part in Anna's life, and
seems to have been pushed out of her thoughts. He is hardly
mentioned. Then Rookabai dies in India in 1914. One brother
becomes a medical doctor, and the other a distinguished High
School Principal, but they are based in British Guiana. Dorcas
graduates out of the Home into an unsuccessful marriage. And
then the long correspondence with Hannah, conducted right
through to the younger girl's marriage and the birth of her two
children stops abruptly. To take in the impact of all this is to see
that Anna's achievement, and her normalcy represent a triumph
of the spirit over aloneness and shock.
Readers of the account can follow for themselves Anna's
determination and resourcefulness during the four years at the
Home. In 1914, she was taken away by the Mortons as a graduate









ready for marriage. In the waiting period, however, she was sent
to teach needlework at the San Juan C. M. School. She would live
with the Catechist and his wife. These people were rushing to
better themselves economically, and their paying guest became
their slave and watchman. The usually placid Anna tells us how
the $3.00 per month she earned for teaching needlework disap-
peared, and complains thus of the unscrupulous couple's deduc-
tion of $2.40 for board: "For all the work I did for these people,
I had to pay them board. They should have paid me a salary when
I think of it now."
But relief came. The expected bridegroom said never a word.
"It so happened," the later Anna could joke, "that after six months
had passed, nobody wanted me or something because I was still
single." The Superintendent of the lere Home now came to the
rescue, and Anna was sent to the Girls High School at San
Fernando. From there she became one of the first four East Indian
girls at the Naparima Training College for teachers. She wrote the
Third Class teachers Exams in 1916 and 1917 failing on both
occasions.
This section of the autobiography is rich in detail about the
growth and the workings of the Presbyterian school system and
it records the names of most of the missionaries associated with
the enterprise. At the same time, however, it shows the courage
and the application of someone struggling with lack of money, an
absence of home and family, and an early education distracted
and made patchy by family circumstances.
Eventually, things came right for her. She passed the Third
Class Exam at the third sitting, and crossed the next Examination
hurdle at the first attempt. She was wooed. She chose to marry.
Then she worked as Assistant Teacher in the same school as her
husband who had become Head Teacher. She brought up a
family of achievers. She outlived her husband, but she retired in
1954, a year before his death.
Anna Mahase and her husband taught together at the Guaico
C. M. School for over thirty years, and in the account of her life









and career, she lists the generations of students who passed
through the school and went on to distinction in the society. She
played a major educational role, and as Senior Assistant teacher,
she was virtually Deputy Head. But she knew that as a woman
she would never be appointed Head Teacher. It was because of
people like her, however, that that patriarchal bias was elimi-
nated.
In the later pages, she takes pride in her role not just as mother
but as wife. The gratitude she shows for the blessings of family
life make us think again of the absences and deprivations she had
survived. How the daughter could retain Rookabai's strength
and independence, and still be the exemplary wife and mother of
convention; how she could pursue her career as teacher without
feeling that it conflicted with her need and instinct for family can
only be explained by looking at her relationship with the man
who wooed and married her. At the centre of the Journal is a
delicate and moving story of unforced love, and a marriage
patiently built and bonded by things done together, mutual
interests pursued in common, and teamwork in their profession.
It is with this love story that it is fitting to end.
After writing her Third Class Teacher's Exam for the second
time, Anna was sent to teach as a Fourth Class Assistant Teacher
at the Sangre Chiquito C. M. School. At the age of sixteen, and a
graduate of the lere Home, Anna had not been averse to the
marriage that was being arranged for her. Of the suit and suitor
she wrote: "I knew him of course but not to speak to, much more
to talk about love and making a home. But I did not mind because
he had belonged to a Christian family and his father was a co-
worker with Dr. John Morton. So I decided in my mind that all
would be well."
Only a gossip's retailing of Anna's remark that she would not
live in a mother-in-law's house had lost her this suitor. Two years
later the young man returned, promising to live separately from
his family if she would agree to marry him. "But I was guided in
my decision by some intuition, and I promptly answered that I









did not care to marry then." In its quiet way, this was history. The
Indian woman had chosen not to accept a respectable marriage to
a man she didn't really know. A career as teacher was chosen over
the safety of marriage. Anna remembers that Reverend Harvey
Morton, the intermediary, patted her on her shoulder saying "I
would not like to throw away a nice girl like you." The education
of Anna Chandisingh was beginning to tell.
At the Sangre Chiquito School then, there were four pupil
teachers, and "there was one among them who at once seemed
interested in me." This was Mahase, a Fourth Year pupil teacher
who had not been sent to the Training College because he was a
Hindu. He was six years older than she, but he was junior to the
new Assistant teacher. This did not prevent him from showing
his interest. 'The fact is we both liked each other. He would
remain after school to supervise the sweeping and say little
nothings to me which I did not mind at all" Mahase was moving
fast for those days, but his progress was about to be interrupted.
It was announced from the pulpit one Sunday that Mahase
would be leaving the district that evening, would overnight in
Tunapuna with Dr. Morton, and then proceed to San Fernando by
the first train next morning. Those who did not understand the
system would soon find out that overnighting in Tunapuna
meant baptism. Mahase's mother and uncles understood this
very well; as prominent and practising Hindus they could not be
expected to approve. But it was the uncles who reacted. They did
all they could to prevent the disgrace of conversion for the pupil
teacher. In the confusion Mahase left without seeing Anna.
But hecameback for holidays. His mother who was supportive
at all times, could not keep to the uncles' apparent decision to
have nothing more to do with the betrayer of their religion. And
soon he was visiting Anna every day, and introducing her to his
family who liked her. They walked a lot "That stretch of road
from Pacheco up the hill to the Canadian Mission School is sacred
to me when I think of the number of times we walked that road
... We walked the Sangre Chiquito roads almost every night and









not once did he make me afraid of him." They were saving
everything for when they got married. They lived at a time when
little things meant a lot. "At Training College he got $4.00 a
month, and once he bought for me as a gift a small vial of perfume
for $1.20. I thought that was too much to spend from what he got.
Whenever I get that scent, all those feelings of longing, anxiety
and expectations come back to me..."
They did not deprive themselves of all the illicit joys. Anna
records with some pride that Dr. Morton had cause "to call in
Mahase and warn him not to take me out to Port of Spain alone,
but Mahase was good for himself, and the reply Dr. Morton got
caused him to respect Mahase more." They even went so far as
to break Training College regulations, carrying on an elaborate
secret correspondence through a network of intermediaries and
a system of coded envelopes placed inside of other envelopes.
They studied together for the Teachers' Exams. They passed the
Second Class exams at the same time, and Mahase was appointed
Head Teacher at the Grosvenor Canadian Mission School. Such
a closeness had developed between them that there was no need
for a formal proposal. A month after Mahase's appointment, he
and Anna were married, and Dr. Morton had to go to the Director
of Education to argue successfully against the regulation that
"No married woman is to be retained on the staff of any Govern-
ment or Assisted Primary school in the Colony." The husband
and wife team spent a year at the GrosvenorSchool and were then
invited to take over at Guaico. Here they were to become an
institution. The tale Anna tells is as much an account of profes-
sional teamworkas of the romance of two people involved in a life
partnership sustaining to both of them.
It is part of the moderation and equanimity in Anna's dispo-
sition that while she was critical of the regulation against married
women in the profession, she did not speak out against the bias
which made Mahase eligible to be Head Teacher while she, with
the same qualifications, and seniority, was appointed Assistant.
It is possible that she understood the size of the problem that









needed to be overcome, and had the wisdom and the tempera-
ment to bide her time and whittle away at male dominance. It is
certain that she respected Mahase and did not envy his elevation.
She was not a militant feminist, she probably wouldn't have
known the word 'feminist', but her life and career advanced the
cause of women's liberation, and provided a model for Indian
girls.
Rookabai was a fiery lady who taught her daughter independ-
ence but was not able to combine this attitude with holding a
family together. Rookabai had no career, and she refused to be a
mere housewife. With a career and a pedigree, Anna could
attempt to combine her domestic role with her profession and
make them feed into one another. That she managed to do so may
have been a function of the state of the world in which she grew
up. But it must also have come from resolution and from a deep
deep need to make good the trauma of the past. It is a loss to the
curious reader that Anna does not speak of those things, does not
hint at any of the tensions she must have felt. We can infer,
however, that after what she had experienced, and with such
merit survived, she must have seen it as her task to ensure that her
own children would have solid ground from which to begin their
journey, in their own way, in their own time they would have to
work out their own balance between the private life and the
professional career.

Professor Kenneth Ramchand
Department of English
University of the West Indies, St. Augustine








PROLOGUE

My mother started writing her autobiography in 1935. We all
recall the hours she spent at either our dining room table or in the
Study/Library working on her life story, recording all the details
in a Red Nestle Diary which I am sure she obtained through her
involvement in the Child Welfare League. Subsequently, she re-
wrote her story in another Red Nestle Diary.

Our family has spent many hours deciding whether or not we
should publish because of the very personal nature of the story.
Eventually it was felt that Ma would have wanted the informa-
tion shared with the community if only to record the contribution
of The Canadian Missionaries and the Presbyterian Church and
also for the motivation and encouragement it ought to generate
in the lives of many girls and women of this country, proving that
nothing is unachievable.

We thank the publishers, Royards Publishing Company, particu-
larly Roy and Clifford Narinesingh for undertaking the publica-
tion of my mother's autobiography. My father's autobiography
written much later is appended.

The family also wishes to thank Professor Kenneth Ramchand,
Dr. Brinsely Samaroo, Mrs. Therese Mills, Rev. Mary Naimool,
Mrs. Joy Moore, Miss Bonnie Hamilton and Mrs. Susan Guyadeen
Taylor for their contributions to the publication of this work. We
record with gratitude all others who may have contributed to the
successful publication of this book. We hope that you will enjoy
reading both these life stories.

Anna Mahase Jnr.





























* .4

14~


Anna Mahase Snr.











ROOKABAI

I began writing my story in April 1935. 1 stopped and began again
in 1945. Then again in 1956.
I was born on March 4,1899, being the third in the Chandisingh
family. My father was then the Head Teacher of the Guaico
Canadian Mission Indian School now known as the Guaico
Presbyterian School.
The school had been opened in 1898, by Rev. John Morton, the
Pioneer Canadian Missionary who had come to Trinidad in 1868,
and having begun work among the East Indians on the Sugar
Cane Estates in the South of Trinidad, eventually was stationed
up North in Tunapuna in 1881. His work extended from
Woodbrook to Maracas, all the way East to Sangre Grande. When
the Railway was extended to Sangre Grande from Arima in 1897,
Guaico became central and Rev. Morton bought lands there. A
school was opened in a temporary building, until the following
year when it became Government aided. A new building was
constructed with windows painted in colours, typical of the early
Canadian Mission Schools. A teachers' house was built near the
school. It was there I was born.
My father had come from India to Trinidad as a Hindoo lad with
two brothers and their mother on an immigrant ship. She was
indentured on the Caroni Estates. My father being of school age
was sent to school where he learnt the English Language. They
were already well educated in Hindi. In those early days there
were not many educated men (East Indians) and in as much as the
idea and aim of the Missionaries were to open schools and
churches, as soon as the young men could read and write suffi-
ciently, they were placed in charge of the schools. That is how my
father became the Head Teacher in more than one school for short
periods of time. He was definitely that of the Guaico Canadian





Anna Mahase Snr.


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a>~r jjfj4~tjl~r "^PnifAAf' s: ~l b-a.~L J~ o-x TC,.Lcb T-H -u~ c--To~cL




ROOKABAI


Mission School, because when my husband and I were appointed
at this school in 1920 as Head and Assistant teachers, the very first
Registers were still in the cupboards of the school, in his own
handwriting, admitting pupil No. 1 etc. I have a few of those
pages in my possession.
It was sometime after my father's arrival in Trinidad, another
immigrant ship landed, among the passengers, was a Hindoo
Brahmin child twelve years old. She was Rookabai, who became
my mother later on. Her story as to how she came to Trinidad
always seemed interesting to me, and though we, her five chil-
dren, were not all grown up, I was about seven or eight and we
separated as a family when I was eleven. I can remember vividly
all she told us about her coming. She had been married as a child
as was the custom in India, but was not sent to her husband's
home until she was twelve. Then the day arrived with all its drum
beating and pageantry and the young bride was actually carried
in an enclosed carriage (doli) to the in-laws' home. When she saw
who her husband was, he was old with heavy moustaches she
was afraid of him and decided to run away.
The description she gave of that home was that they were a
wealthy family, a large house, with small earthenware jars put up
on the ledges, with money and gold filled in them. So one night
Rookabai got up quietly, took one of the jars and walked out. She
tipped the watchman by at gate, and began walking not knowing
where she was going. She heard every few hours special men
who were paid to call out the hour of the night. She walked and
walked until she saw a crowd of people and she went to see what
was going on. It was the place where the people gathered to be
taken on the ships and brought to Trinidad as immigrants. She
heard all about the gold and wealth in Trinidad, so she decided
to be one of the immigrants. The ship landed on Nelson Island,
where the people were examined by the Immigration Officer,
before they were allowed to land in the island of Trinidad.
When the officer saw Rookabai, a twelve year old child and a girl,
he thought she was too young to be sent to an Estate to work. So












































~ f~r- .~ A:





ROOKABAI


he placed her with an English family to work and perhaps learn
English. She was already at that age well versed in the Hindi
language and Hindoo books. Hindoo girls in India did not go to
school, but Brahmin girls were privileged to have tutors go to
their homes and teach them. That is why my mother knew so well
the Hindoo books like the Ramayan, the Prem Sagar and others
before she came here. A few years later 1890 January, Mrs. Sarah
Morton, wife of Rev. John Morton, opened up a home for East
Indian girls at Tunapuna. They were to learn the English and
Hindi languages, good housekeeping and every other thing to
make them good housewives. My mother was among the very
first group of girls. She even played the organ by ear for the girls
to sing their Bhajans. I think it is from her we got our aptitude for
music. I know when I was in the fourth standard here in Guaico,
she also taught me Vulgar Fractions. So the years passed for her
at the Girls' Home in Tunapuna, and when she became old
enough, it was time to get her married and no other suitor was
found for her but Chandisingh. He was baptised George Wash-
ington and she Elizabeth Bums. They were married at the
Aramalaya Presbyterian Church, Tunapuna in August 1891. I
have a copy of their Marriage Certificate signed by Rev. John
Morton. My father took charge of St. Helena Canadian Mission
School where their first child Arthur was born, but died after a
few months. Then Charles was born in Caroni where my father
had been transferred. During that time he was sent to St. Lucia to
assist in the work there. In 1897, Dorcas, their first girl was born,
also in Caroni; then my father was sent to Guaico as the first Head
Teacher of the Canadian Mission School there, where I was born
in 1899.





Anna Mahase Snr.


2

THE BEGINNING

Around the year 1901 or 1902 my father was sent to Sangre
Chiquito as Head Teacher. He bought cocoa lands at Caigual. In
those days Head Teachers got $18.00 per month while our
preachers or catechists as they were called, got $24.00. That is
why many of the Head Teachers even up to 1914, Second Class
Head Teachers, went over to the Preaching profession. Of course,
by then they were getting much more than $18.00 and $24.00, and
the Naparima Training College which had opened in 1894, had
begun to send out graduates. Yet around 1914, men like T.A.
Hosein, Imamshah, Ramrekha, Sultanti and maybe others, Sec-
ond Class Head Teachers went over to the Ministry. They were,
however, later ordained as Ministers of our Presbyterian Church.
As late as 1919, when we got married, Mahase's salary as Head
Teacher was $35.00 per month and mine as an Assistant Teacher
was $16.00, two Second Class qualified teachers.
I said my father bought lands in Caigual while he was Head
Teacher of the Sangre Chiquito Canadian Mission School. Roads
were very bad and muddy. I very well remember sitting in a
basket on one side of a donkey and my sister Dorcas on the other
going to the Estate. Charles my oldest brother was either carried
or had to walk knee deep in mud. Pedestrians waded in mud and
water to reach their destination. I also remember walking through
the rice fields and suddenly we came out in the open. Whenever
I walk through tall bushes and emerge in the open, that long ago
feeling comes right back to me as I felt in those early days.
Charles my oldest brother attended school in Sangre Chiquito.
One other pupil whom my father taught there, I must mention,
because much more will be said of him later on. He was Mahase,
son of Mathura Persad, a Brahmin priest, who belonged to a very
large Hindoo family in the district. My father was transferred to
San Juan, this time as a catechist. My younger brother Joseph was
6





THE BEGINNING





















born there. I have dim recollections of how we crossed to go to the
shop under a big arch over which the Railway lines ran. Charles
attended the San Juan Government School. There is no doubt that
as years went by and the situation improved, there were more
trained men, better equipped and qualified to be Head Teachers,
so these first ones had to be replaced. As a Catechist my father
was sent from San Juan to Arouca around the year 1903. I
remember the mango trees on the premises. A school building
was there but was never used as a school. Services were held
there on Sundays. Very often Mrs. Morton would bring ready-to
-wear garments for the boys and girls of the district, sent by the
women of Canada from the Church there. Charles, Dorcas and I
attended the Arouca Government School. I remember the large
and spacious grounds with a large tamarind tree. The Head
Teacher was Mr. Sydney Smith who became later on the first local
Inspector of Schools in Trinidad. I very well remember sitting on






























The Morton Memorial Church, Guaico.
On the left a glimpse of "Havant House".






THE BEGINNING


the large Infant galleries of the Infant Department long ago. My
youngest sister Hannah was born in Arouca in 1904. Then my
father was sent back to Guaico where I had been born. I was then
five years old. He was also appointed local Manager of some of
the schools around, Guaico, Cunaripo, Cumuto and Sangre
Chiquito. The corresponding Manager was always the Canadian
Missionary, Dr. Morton who lived at Tunapuna. Whenever he
came with Mrs. Morton to remain for a few days, they lived in a
small wooden Cottage at the back of the school, which had been
the Head Teacher's house, who lived elsewhere in the district.
Later on in 1912, when the Morton Memorial Church was built,
a cedar cottage was put up at the back of the church called
"Havant House" where they stayed whenever they came to
Guaico. Rev. George Murray lived there for a few months or
years until the Manse was built I think sometime in 1923.
Before we came to Guaico from Arouca in 1904, we spent two
weeks in St. Joseph in the house near the school. Then with all our
belongings, father, mother and five children we arrived in Guaico.
We lived for a few months on our own lands at the back of the
Church, in a mud hut, while a house for the Catechist was being
built at the back of the school. As I grew older I found out that my
father had bought lands here when he first came to teach in 1898,
and we also had lands over the Railway line where we went as
children to help with cocoa etc. from the estate. A strip of land
from the back of the Catechist's house was my father's up to
Crown lands, and the strip from behind the church and the back
of the present school building was my mother's. The Canadian
Mission owns the property now. We saw the Catechist's house go
up on tarred wooden 'pillow trees', a three bedroom house
upstairs, while downstairs was to be used as kitchen. Finally we
moved in. My father's salary was now $24.00; with the proceeds
from the Estate at Guaico and at Caigual, we lived comfortably.
We three older children attended the Guaico Canadian Mission
School. Not very far from our home lived a Hindoo family of a
mother and four children with whom we all played. One of them,






Anna Mahase Snr.


a girl my own age, I must mention, because when my husband
and I came to teach at Guaico in 1920, she, Sim or Phooi, as my
children affectionately referred to her, who was already a widow,


Sim (Phooi) with Cyril


came to actually live with us and took care of Cyril as a baby and
remained with us for over twenty years looking after all my
children while I went out working. About fifty years of age, she
married the father of her two sons. After a short period he died
leaving her all his property, and she is now the owner of the





THE BEGINNING


Guaico bakery at Cunaripo Road, Guaico.
During the years 1904 to 1908, many changes took place and some
outstanding incidents I would like to mention. My mother was
always our play-mate and organised all our games. She actually
played with us, outdoor games, and for indoor games we played
cards and draught. We never went out at nights to play, but those
who lived nearby would come, and my mother would be always
there to see that we all had a good time. My father and mother
were both great storytellers. They told their stories in Hindi,
because we all spoke Hindi at home and with our friends. We
spoke English in school. All Canadian Mission Schools taught
Hindi reading and writing during the Religious Instruction pe-
riod. Our Church services were carried on in Hindi from the
Sunday school leaflets to the singing of Bhajans to the preaching
of the sermons. The Bhajan books or Hindi Hymn books and
leaflets were printed at the Tunapuna Printing press by Dr. John
Morton and his men, Mr. Max Gobin, being his chief man. I
remember about the age of eight or nine, I used to take the Hindi
leaflet and compare it with the English Bible and found it so
interesting. I had I think, a love for languages, for it was easy for
me with English Grammar and Hindi Grammar and Translation,
in which I did not do badly seeing that I topped the island in Hindi
at the Training College Teachers' Examinations.
After we were married both Mahase and I studied Latin and
French, he to write the Matriculation Examinations and I just for
study. Mr. Carlton Loinsworth, then in Sangre Grande used to
come at nights to assist him in his studies. He eventually passed
his Matriculation examinations and went on to gain his Bachelor
of Education degree externally from Illinois University, United
States of America. When I began doing Hindi Grammar at
Training College, I had already done some at Princes Town with
Miss Archibald, I found the Latin Grammar so much like the
Hindi Grammar, and I got so interested that I did the whole of the
first Latin Book "Initia" and went through it with Cyril before he
entered Queen's Royal College in 1932.





Anna Mahase Snr.


3

THE EARLY YEARS

I am back now to the period 1904-1910, the period when we all
lived together as a family in the Catechist's house at the back of
the Guaico Canadian Mission School. My mother, though a
Christian and the wife of a preacher, still kept up some of the
Hindoo traditions and customs and particular ways of life. At the
annual Dewali festival, in a room downstairs, she would make an
enclosure 8ft by 6 ft with clay about 8 inches high with double
spiked top like a wall, leaving an opening for the entrance, inside
of which was built a castle 2ft high, shaped circular, ending on the
top with a small platform. Each circle became smaller from the
bottom. About 4 circles were made until the top was reached. On
the top sat the King and Queen, with their regalias, crown and
sceptre. Along the corridors were soldiers all dressed up in
armour, helmet and sword, standing at attention. There were
ladders going up from one corridor to another. On these ladders
were female slaves carrying trays of food and buckets on their
heads. Then there were sentries with rifles posted at every
entrance. All these she made with clay. It used to be a wonderful
display and a lovely sight, and the truth is that my mother knew
all these things from India. I have never, ever seen or heard of
anything like that during the Dewali festival here. During the day
we invited our friends to a party when we actually cooked in the
small fireside made in the enclosure. We fed them all, including
all the many and varied Indian sweets my mother made. Deyas
were lighted all over our house and yard. We then played games.
Another instance to show how my mother liked to organize
occasions to bring her friends and the village women together,
was this. In the month of July, for the whole month, every night
the women and girls would gather to ride in a rope and board
swing put up on a mango tree. The ropes were looped at both






THE EARLY YEARS


ends through which a 6ft board would be placed. The women,
maybe four at a time would sit as on a bench, while two women
or boys would push from either end, to the laughter and enjoy-
ment of all. My mother was a born leader of women and children.
But the only one she could not lead was my father. He always had
his way, and it seems to me that events took place and changes in
their own attitudes towards each other began. Misunderstand-
ings I say, because as children, we noticed the change of behav-
iour between them. No doubt my father had his plans, and events
worked out in such a way that my father and Dr. Morton had
some misunderstanding and he had to give up his work as a
Catechist. So naturally we had to leave the Mission house.
Now my father was out of employment around 1908. Charles
Dorcas, Joseph, Hannah and I continued to attend the Guaico
School. It became necessary that some income should come from
somewhere, and the only source of that was from the Caigual and
Guaico Estates.
We rented a house on the Eastern Main Road which was in front
of the present Presbyterian Manse, the owner of which lived on
the very spot where the Manse is now. He, living near us and
knowing us all along, offered to send Charles to a High School in
Sangre Grande, which was just opened and carried on by Kenneth
Mahabir of San Fernando. The school was where the Telephone
Office is now. That arrangement did not last too long, because the
following year Charles was appointed a Pupil Teacher at the
Guaico School. His salary then was $2.00 per month.
Somewhere around 1908 or 1909, I remember the excitement of
the whole village when the first car passed on this road. Every-
body ran out to see this thing which could move on its own
without a horse pulling it. It was a novelty for all of us, and when
my father rode on the footboard of the first bus from the Guaico
Junction, we thought he had performed a great feat.
An incident which I can never forget and is still vivid in my mind,
was when I was about nine years old living in Guaico at the back
of the school. It is an idea as people said then, where the spirit of






Anna Mahase Snr.


a dead woman entered the body of a living one. We all had
known the dead woman called Bachee, and we knew when she
died, and her house was all closed up. On the Eastern Main Road
about one hundred yards in front of the woman's house there was
being celebrated a grand Muslim wedding. This was opposite the
then school. The house is still standing, but quite old. The
daughter of the house was getting married. We lived in the
Catechist's house at the back of the school. I was about nine. Well,
this shopkeeper owned a grocery, lots of horses, cattle and goats
and dogs. He fed the public for a whole week prior to the
wedding. Goats were killed every day and his house was always
crowded. Of course, we children were always most present. On
the evening before the wedding (it was a night wedding), a
woman named Kameran went to the back of the house where this
Bachee had died, and which was all closed up. We do not know
whether, because she had gone alone, she must have got fright-
ened or something scared her, but her behaviour during the night
became strange. After the wedding all the guests that remained,
slept on bags on the floor prepared for them. My mother and we
children did not go home. We slept also, nearest to her.
In the night I heard the horses prancing up in the stable, the dogs
barking and actually looking into the room through the gate,
howling and crying. I heard them and saw them. Then I saw my
mother throw off somebody's foot from her once, then a second
time. Suddenly, the woman began to shake up as if in a fit. My
mother raised an alarm and everyone got up. The men had to
move her away bodily into a room, where of course the crowd
gathered, I among them. Everyone was given a grain of garlic. I
had mine too, so that the spirit would not leave this woman and
enter any other. The men questioned her about many things,
threatened to tie her up with a rope and throw her into the well.
They asked her in Hindi, we all spoke Hindi then. "What is your
name?" After many more threats she said, "My name is Bachee."
Now, you can imagine the excitement. Everyone was certain now
that what they suspected was correct, and immediately a coal pot






THE EARLY YEARS


was brought, and they began to burn hot peppers in that, and
believe it or not, spirit and people themselves had to run, because
no one can remain around when that happens. So we all went
home. In the morning when I returned, there was the woman
sitting quietly with her eyes bulging. So we knew that the spirit
had left her. When one thinks about the strange behaviour of the
animals, preceding the woman's, what could one think but that
strange things do happen. This is what I saw myself, and it has
certainly left an impression in my mind.
One more instance of something mysterious I wish to recall.
Around the same time I was around eight or nine, one morning
there was a big commotion in this village of Guaico. Everybody,
big and small, young and old, wended their way over the train
line into the cocoa fields to see a freshly dug hole about 6ft by 4ft
and 4ft deep. People said that the Spaniards in the early days had
buried money and gold and that some men who knew about it
were digging for it, and that every time they felt something like
iron or a trunk, it sank deeper. No one really saw who did the
digging but every morning the hole became deeper. This hole
was near a pommerac tree. We all used to go to see it. When we
first came to Guaico to teach in 1920 I remember going around
with friends to see if it was still there, and there it was filling up
gradually. Well I forgot all about it until 1963. One day, just for
curiosity, I took David and Colin, my two grandsons and went.
There was a house over the Railway line and we asked the owner
whether that pommerac tree was still there, he said "Yes" and he
actually went with us to show us the place. There was the tree and
that squarish hole was still there about a foot deep, filled with
grass and stuff. That hole is over fifty six years old.
Three weeks ago (May 1st, 1966) my brother Joseph and his wife
were here for a few weeks. He knew the story in the early days,
so we decided to go and see. The area over the Line is all built up
now, people are living in houses not far from the river. We spoke
to a man in whose yard we were standing, and my brother asked
him if there is or was a pommerac tree around where he was, or'






Anna Mahase Snr.


if he had seen any before he built his house. He showed us a tree
stump just in front of him and said that that was a Pomerac tree,
and believe me or not when I looked to the right of it, I said
"Look!" The sunken spot could be seen distinctly, it was planted
up in dasheen. So that hole is still there, never to be filled up.
It was sometime in June 1909, my father decided to send Dorcas
(twelve) and me (ten) to a very good friend of his in Couva, whose
wife, he said, was a very strict woman, and would teach us good
housework. Well, Dorcas and I travelled by train to Couva and
we found the house. The man was a civil servant, he had a grown
up daughter, and a son attending a Port of Spain College (who
came home on weekends) and three smaller children. They lived
in a nine room house and seemed comfortable and happy. The
first night we were nicely fed and we slept on a comfortable bed,
but that was too good to last, because from the following night we
slept on something else, not so great, but we had to get accus-
tomed to new surroundings and conditions. We never com-
plained. Now our troubles began.
We got up early in the morning, Dorcas prepared the morning tea
or breakfast as we call it now, and I cleaned the whole yard,






THE EARLY YEARS


picking up every leaf from among the stones, then went in and
cleaned up the rooms which were not used for sleeping. Then
after a scanty meal, a half of the then i.e. loaf of bread, I cleaned
up the remainder of the house. I then washed a bathpan full of
children's clothes while my sister drudged in the kitchen. I
attended the Couva Canadian Mission School now known as the
Exchange Presbyterian School. My sister was not sent. That is
why later on she was always in a lower class than I. I was then in
Fourth Standard. There is where I received my first lessons in
music when we were taught to sing from the Sol Fah notation.
The work we did at that home was not the worst thing, but the ill
treatment by that woman and being ridiculed and laughed at by
the children were not so pleasant for us; but the oldest girl was
more humane, and after we had been there a few months, and she
was to be married in a few week? time, one night she called me
into her room, covered her lamp with a lamp shade, and dictated
a letter to me which I wrote to my father, to come and take us






Anna Mahase Snr.


away, but he never received it. When she got married and went
to her new home, not very far from us, when her mother was
cleaning up her room, she got this letter under the mattress.
Apparently, the girl had forgotten to post it. Of course the mother
suspected that her daughter was the one responsible, but she did
us nothing.
No doubt my father had his intuition, and I was so very happy
when two nights before Christmas the son of the house an-
nounced that Chandisingh had arrived. My father was treated
very nicely and given a comfortable bed to sleep. I am surprised
at myself sometime, to think at that early age, I could have
thought of doing things which I did. I did not sleep early, but
waited on the others to go to bed, then I walked silently into my
father's room and asked him if he came for us, and when he said
yes, I was the happiest child alive. He told me he would give the
Station Master our train fare and that we were to take the train at
Couva and meet him at St. Joseph, where we would transfer, and
meet him on the Sangre Grande train, as he was going in to Port
of Spain that morning. That woman had given us a new dress
each for her daughter's wedding, but did not let us bring them
home. We would have got them when and if we went back. But
there was no going back for us, because as soon as we met our
father on the train we told him the whole story, and when we
arrived in Guaico, my mother, my two brothers and my sister
were waiting for us at the Guaico Railway Station. During the
months we were away, my father had built his own small wooden
house on our own land at the back of the new school, which
property now belongs to the Canadian Mission. My brother
Charles was a Pupil Teacher and we had some income from our
lands. That was the last Christmas,1909, we spent together as a
family.
My father, unemployed, had his own plans which we did not
know. So he decided to look for work in British Guiana. Fortu-
nately, before he went, he did the wisest and most sensible thing
for Dorcas and me, that is, he arranged with Dr. Harvey Morton*
*Dr. Harvey Morton son 18
of Dr. John Morton






THE EARLY YEARS


to send us to the lere Girls' Home at Princes Town with Miss A.J.
Archibald as its Superintendent. The Home had been opened in


A class of girls lere Girls' Home Princes Town
with Mrs.: Adolphus and Miss Adela Archibald (at back)
1905. Miss Archibald had been a Head Teacher of the Princes
Town Canadian Mission School. When Mrs. Morton of Tunapuna
closed down her Home for girls, a few about four or five, who
were not yet married, were sent to Princes Town. This decision
of my father with the help of Dr. Morton was to me the first
important turning point in my life. On the 10th June 1910, Dorcas
and I bade farewell to father, mother, brothers and sister and off
we went by train. We had never travelled that far before, and we
had to change trains twice to reach Princes Town; but we went
and reached at night. We hired a cab and arrived at the Home. I






Anna Mahase Snr.


was eleven years old and my sister thirteen. We were admitted
by the Superintendent and the Matron, Mrs. Adolphus, an East
Indian lady of the Bissessar family of Claxton Bay. We were to be
supported by Canadian Mission funds. Two weeks later, my
father went to British Guiana, and at the end of that year 1910, my
mother with my youngest sister six years old, went to India,
which had always been her desire. She sold her Guaico property
to the Canadian Mission from the back of the present school to the
railway line. My two brothers, Charles and Joseph were left in the
house at Guaico. Charles was teaching and Joseph attending
school, until one day, Dr. Morton took both of them, put them in
a boat and sent them off to British Guiana to meet my father, who
had already got works a Catechist with Dr. Scrimgeour. Charles
worked in a sugar mill and became a pan-boiler later on, while
Joseph attended school.
My mother wrote me at Princes Town several letters since she
reached India. She sent me pieces of silk for garments, a piece of
which Istill have. I heard afterwards, that as soon as my mother
left for India, Dr. Morton contacted the Mission in the district
where she was to have landed. The Missionaries found her, took
her in, gave her a job, sent my sister home, to High School, where
she taught for a while until she got married. She had a boy
Wilbur, and a girl Doris. News came from India in 1914 that my
mother had died, leaving my sister ten years old in the care of the
American Mission. My sister continued to correspond with me
all through her school and High School days, until she got
married and had her two children. Then suddenly she stopped
writing and even her husband did not write, so correspondence
stopped. I had heard she was ill at one time, so I suspected that
she died and the husband would not say, and so Ilost contact with
them.
This brother of mine, Charles who went to British Guiana returned
to Trinidad some years after and worked at the Usine Ste.
Madeleine Sugar Factory. He got married, went to Dalhousie
University, after attending High School there, and graduated as





THE EARLY YEARS


a Doctor of
Medicine and
returned to
Trinidad to
practise. He
had a son
Ranji, and a
daughter
Pearl. He
eventually left
to practise in
British Guiana
where he died
by accident a
few years ago.
Joseph my
younger
brother is the
Principal of the
Corentyne
High School,
and a very suc-
cessful one at
that, because
of the excellent
results of his
school exami-


w


(Ii~~,

)Ii~i

In


4I4


Joseph Chandisingh M.B.E.


nations. A few years ago, he was awarded the honour of being
made an M.B.E. by the Queen for his meritorious service. He is
married and has four boys, the oldest, Ralph is now a Barrister-
at-Law, practising in Georgetown.


v ^


r


" % .: 1





Anna Mahase Snr.


4

THE TURNING POINT

Now for the four years 1910 to 1914 which I spent at the home in
Princes Town, those important years of education and character
building. It is only those who have left their childhood haunts
and early associations, relatives and friends at such a tender but
impressionable age, can imagine the heartaches and longing to be
at home once more. I remember the first evening in the Home at
Princes Town. As soon as it was getting dark I looked out on the
street and felt so lonely, I could have stepped out and continued
walking until I reached home. But that was not to be. Better
things were in store for me.
I remember an experience which I would like to mention. Now
I am not making up this, nor did I hear it from anybody; it is an
experience which I had. They are instances which I have seen
with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. I personally do
not believe in spirits or ghosts as such, but it did make an
impression on my mind at that time. When Dorcas and I were in
the Girls' Home in Princes Town, we slept in room No. 5. Our
matron slept in a room downstairs, near another occupied by
some older girls. At one time I awoke (I was about twelve years
old) and heard a piercing weird shrill cry. After a minute I heard
it again. I got up and went quietly to the corridor to wake up the
matron's two sisters. While I was telling them very quietly, do
you know we heard it again? And then horror of horrors, a light
was coming upstairs. It was the matron coming up with a lamp,
no doubt to check and see that all was well, because she too had
heard the cry three times on her doorstep, and she heard footsteps
walking on the gravel towards the front gate. What that could
have been we would never know, but we heard it and that was it,
and our matron heard it too. There were two little girls (sisters)
admitted to the Home at one time. Their mother had died and
their father said that was the best place for them. They slept on




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Ctk^AEiMt <^is>M^ M^3
^Kv^'-dut'^tatJL^^ rf~t




Anna Mahase Snr.


the dosed gallery upstairs on one cot. I slept in the passageway
with another girl. We had two cots. We were quite near the
children. One weekend their father took them home. We two
girls had to cook one day so we had to rise early while it was yet
dark. Wedid not even know what time it was, but we were quietly
getting ready to go downstairs, when quite near us on the gallery
we heard one loud mournful shriek, once, twice, three times.
Everybody woke up and got together in fright, and of course our
matron was there, because she had heard it also. Well it was said
that the children's mother went to visit them and not seeing them
cried out loudly. Now, this is also what I heard myself. So that
is it too.
The daily routine of the Home now began. Rising at mornings by
the ringing of the bell, family worship when Miss Archibald
played the Hymns on a small organ, Bible reading and prayers,
followed by household duties, and attending the Princes Town
Canadian Mission School. Girls under fifteen attended school.
The older girls remained in the Home and were given lessons in
Arithmetic, English and other suitable and necessary subjects.
Mr. Joseph Rampersad was the Head Teacher of the school. I was
in the Fourth Standard Class and Dorcas in Third. About a year
after, Mr. Rampersad went over to be a Catechist, with the idea of
being ordained in the Ministry, as classes had begun by then to
train our native men to be Ministers. The Naparima Training
College for teachers (men) had already opened in 1894, with Dr.
Coffin Ph.D. as Principal. Quite a number of the early graduates
went over to do Ministry. Mr. Charles Rameshwar, succeeded
Mr. Joseph Rampersad as Head Teacher of the Princes Town
Canadian Mission School. He was also an able musician. He
played the organ for us to march and drill and for us to sing our
songs. He also taught music on the Staff on the blackboard. Then
is when I really got interested in wanting to learn to play.
Ambition really urges one to surmount difficulties. I had made
up my mind to study hard at school, and was very elated, when
the following year my class examination results came in. I was





THE TURNING POINT


then in Fifth Standard. Mr. J.E. Stoer, the Inspector of Schools had
written against my name "Very Creditable papers."
As regards music, I would like to mention how I learnt to play. A
few girls at the Home took Music lessons from a teacher who
charged a fee, of course, five shillings a month. I could not pay,
but I wanted to play, so I made myself bold one day and walked
straight up to Miss Archibald and asked her whether I could
practise on the organ. She smiled and asked me whether I knew
the notes. I told her that I had learnt them in school. She then told
me to practise when no one else was using it. So whenever I got
the chance I started with the Beginners' Book with the five finger
exercises, and a few easy tunes. I began playing Hymn tunes
because it was easy as I knew the tunes. When the white notes did





Anna Mahase Snr.


not sound correct, I struck the black ones, which later on, by study
and observation, I found out to be sharps and flats. Five years
later, when I went to San Fernando to Training College, I played
hymns for the nine o'clock Sunday School of which Rev. J.C. Mc
Donald was Superintendent at Susamachar Church. That kind of
gesture of Miss Archibald gave me the opportunity of learning to
play, which made me know enough music to play at school and
in church here at Guaico all through my thirty four years of
teaching career, and I did not pay a cent for music lessons. There
was another girl who was sent to the Home by Mrs. Morton. She
was Jean Basmatiah. She was in a higher class than I at school, and
very intelligent, especially in those days when there were not
many as educated both in English and Hindi. So I did look up to
her and tried to be like her and we became good friends. We sang
together in the Princes Town Choir, with others. We both sang
Alto. I always enjoyed the singing there under the capable
leadership of Mr. A.A. Nunez, Head Teacher of the Government
School. I still remember some of the anthems with every part of
them, bass, tenor, alto and soprano.
Apart from attending regular church services twice a day, Hindi
service twice, Hindi service in the morning and English at night,
we did quite a lot of religious studies at the Home, daily Bible
reading, hymn singing and learning selected passages by memory.
I received during the four years I spent there quite a number of
lovely certificates from Canada for memory verses and shorter
Catechism. There were around forty girls in residence more or
less, some going out after marriage, others coming in. A girl did
not have to be an orphan to be sent there. They came from
comfortable and Christian homes to be trained to be good house-
wives, who would and should be leaders and examples wherever
they went. When the girls were fifteen years old and over, the
parents found a suitor for them, came and took them away and
married them. Meanwhile Miss Archibald and our Matron
would assist. If on the other hand anyone wished to marry one
of the girls, he would write to Miss Archibald and she would






THE TURNING POINT


arrange. We graduated there by marriage, some were successful,
others not. My own sister, Dorcas, was one of those unfortunate
ones. A suitor was selected for her in Tunapuna, and ended up
in separation, because the Morton's policy was that the Tunapuna
girls must marry in the Tunapuna field. The intention was good,
but did not prove satisfactory in many cases. My sister actually
ended up in Guaico with her two small girls a number of years
ago. She carries on a small business and is quite happy. Now in
1962 she is sixty five and I am sixty three.
& a qll


-Dorcas (Mousie)





Anna Mahase Snr.


5

HARD TIMES

In August 1914, I was fifteen, I was suddenly called away to
Tunapuna. Dorcas was already married and so was Jean Atwaroo.
Paul Atwaroo was a Catechist in Tunapuna. I was put to live with
them and teach Needlework in the Tunapuna Canadian Mission
School, with Mr. W. Jargoon as Head Teacher. I did not know
why I was called away from Princes Town, but later on I heard
that some teacher had asked for me in marriage, but again the
Tunapuna girl could not marry in the Princes Town field, so that
was it. I do not know what pay I got because I got none. I suppose
whatever it was went to pay my board, which was quite alright.
After teaching Needlework for three months in Tunapuna, I was
sent to San Juan to do the same thing at the San Juan Canadian
Mission School, this time to live with the Catechist and his wife
there, Mr. and Mrs. T. While I was in Tunapuna, an assistant
teacher whom I will mention later on was on the staff of the
school. He used to send little notes to me which I quietly
discarded. One of them read, "Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can the floods drown it." The truth is that I never spoke
to any of the teachers. We girls were brought up in such a strict
way that talking to boys would have been a very wrong thing. I
found out later on that this passage is in Proverbs in the Bible.
I am back in San Juan. When I went there I did not speak to the
teachers either, neither did they speak to me. I used to sign the
Register and leave. Charles Debysingh, now a retired Inspector
of Schools, was a boy of my own age, and a Pupil Teacher in the
School. He lived with Mr. Lionel Akal, the Head Teacher, on the
premises. He often came to pound rice in our wooden pounder,
which he operated while I turned the paddy grains until the rice
appeared which I fanned for him. He always behaved in a decent
manner. Theophelus Dattoo a little boy of eight or nine also lived






HARD TIMES


with Mr. Akal. He is now Head Teacher of Sangre Chiquito
Canadian Mission School. He sometimes brought cow's milk for
us when we did not have. Mr. and Mrs. T had no children. They
kept an adopted boy who went with them almost every day on a
horse drawn cart to their rice field in Longdenville near Chaguanas
for the whole day, but the number of animals they had, entailed
much more work that if there were a dozen children. There was
the horse for which I boiled corn everyday, cows, whose milk I
kept on a slow fire in an earthenware pot all day, so Mrs. T could
scoop out the cream, put it in a glass bottle and at the end of the
week, churn it to make ghee. Then there were turkeys, some of
which, the gobblers, would run strangers from the yard like dogs.






Anna Mahase Snr.


They also had a number of cocks and hens and goats.
When these two people went out almost every day with the boy,
all the housework was left to me. It was not easy nor pleasant, I
was a little over fifteen at the time. I rose at 5 a.m. brought out the
pots and dishes to be washed, stooping, with no end of sandflies
because of the animals, plastered the fireside with white dirt,
walked down to the San Juan river and brought enough water to
last the day. Sometimes the boy would help and then we were
able to fill the barrel. Then it was preparing the morning tea, as
it was called, the usual roti and curry of some kind, which the
three of them would eat and also carry for lunch, because they
went for the day. There was the house to clean and tidy up, my
own clothes and part of theirs to wash, and the dinner to prepare
for them when they came in at night. On afternoons I went over
to the school to teach Needlework. Charles Debysingh often
asked me to play the Kindergarten songs for the infants to do their
Action Songs. Mr. and Mrs. T would return home sometimes at
5 p.m., sometimes as late as 9 p.m. All this time I was always
alone. At times I wonder how nothing happened to me then, a
young girl of sixteen, with only bachelors around on the same
premises, and not one day, did any of them, either by word or act,
make me afraid of them. Maybe I myself was not thinking of
anything wrong or bad and that God protected an innocent girl.
My salary for teaching Needlework was $3.00 a month, twelve
cents was taken out as church offering, and ten shillings went to
pay my board, leaving me with two shillings, and those were the
war days when white cotton was two shillings a yard. For all the
work I did for these people, I had to pay them board. They should
have paid me a salary, when I think of it now. Some people think
they have, but they have not, because they are poor in spirit. But
even this state of affairs was not to last forever, because what had
to be, happened. Miss Archibald from the Girls' Home, always
followed her girls' careers wherever they went. She was interested
in their welfare. She knew that my guardians, the Mortons had
taken me away from the Home to get me married and naturally






HARD TIMES


off their hands. It so happened that after six months had passed
nobody wanted me or something, because I was still single. God
moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.
One day in March 1915 when I was sixteen, Dr. Harvey Morton
came to me and told me that Miss Archibald had suggested that
I go to the Girls' High School in San Fernando which had opened
in 1912 with Miss Marion Outhit M.A. Canadian lady teacher, as
Principal. Of course when I heard that, I welcomed the idea and
consented right away. Miss Outhit agreed to accept me and to
assist me to support myself. She decided to open up a class
among the girls, so I could teach them Hindi for half an hour each
day. I was delighted with the thought and immediately began to
make preparations, but with little or no cash in hand how could
I prepare anything but to move with what I had? And that is
exactly what I did. I travelled to Tunapuna with Mr. T to go to
Jean Atwaroo, from where I would travel by the last train with
Rev. Mr. Kemp and the Rev. Mr. Cummings to San Fernando.
Mrs. T did not so much welcome the idea of my leaving, as it
would have meant for her the loss of a servant, in so much that
when I was leaving she did not even ask me if I had any money;
but on the train Mr. T gave me thirty six cents, unknown to his
wife, and when I was leaving for San Fernando, Paul Atwaroo
gave me fifty cents. So that was it.
It was on the 6th March 1915, I1 left for San Fernando by the last
train with these two very attentive gentlemen. That was really
the important milestone in my life.






Anna Mahase Snr.


6

NEW HORIZONS

We travelled the day after the disastrous train collision which had
taken place near St. Joseph in 1915. The two engines were locked
into each other and it took a long time to clear the line. Many
people died and several were injured for life, hence the delay of
the train on the night we travelled. We reached San Fernando at
10 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. A cab conveyed us to the Mission
compound. I had never been there before so I felt quite strange.
I was left at the home of Mrs. J.C. Mc Donald wife of Rev. J.C. Mc
Donald, Pastor of Susamachar. She admitted me and very kindly
offered me tea and biscuits. I shall never forget her kindness to
me that night. The problem now was where would I sleep. There
was no residence for girls there.
The.Training College boys' dormitories were on the compound
and they were occupied. But there was one at the back of the
Manse, called the uppermost dormitory which was not occupied
at the time. A canvas cot was brought in from the Boys' dormitory
and put into one of the rooms for me, and they brought over Miss
Mary John, Rev. Fraser's house keeper to occupy another room.
She became from then on, our Matron, so I became the first
resident student in a Canadian Mission Girls' dormitory in San
Fernando. During that month two more girls came in the dor-
mitory, Stella Abidh, a tiny eleven or twelve year old brought by
her father, Mr. Clarence Abidh, Head Teacher of the Charlieville
Canadian Mission School. Stella, after spending a few years there
at the High School, finished off at St. Joseph's Convent, Port of
Spain, went to a medical school in Canada and graduated there
as a medical doctor. To my mind (subject to correction) Stella
Abidh was the first East Indian lady doctor in Trinidad. This goes
to show how very much our East Indian women and girls are
grateful to the Canadian Mission here in Trinidad. Dr. Abidh is






NEW HORIZONS


right now (1962) a very senior Medical Officer with the Govern-
ment down South.
The Girls' High School was housed in the Southern portion of the
ground floor Grant School, one room with about forty girls. The
San Fernando Canadian Mission School occupied the remaining
portion of the ground floor, the Head Teacher was Mr. Peter
Dookhie. Naparima College was upstairs of this very building.
At first Ibegan doing High School work, that is Algebra, Geometry,
Arithmetic etc. but a few weeks after, Irene Namsoo, a Pupil
Teacher from the Primary School came over; Phoebe Lahouri, a
very brilliant student of Naparima College upstairs, also joined,
and together with Laura Grant a pupil of the High School and me,
were grouped into one class. This was to be the Nucleus of the
Women's Section of the Naparima Training College for Teachers.
At vacation time in April the following month I returned to San
Juan to spend it there, then I went back to San Fernando. The girls'
dormitory was a house on Coffee Street not too far from the
Church, belonging to the Lal Beharry family, where Miss Outhit,
our Principal, herself occupied the centre room, while the girls
and our matron occupied the Eastern and Western rooms. During
that year there were eight girls in dormitory. Stella Abidh and I
always occupied the same room. During the early part of that
second term a letter came to Miss Outhit from Mrs. Harvey
Morton of Tunapuna, saying that H. G., son of A. G. of Tunapuna,
one of Dr. Morton's early converts, as Assistant Teacher, had
asked to marry me. That reminded me of the lines he had sent me
while I was in Tunapuna. "Many waters etc." Yes, and that I was
to expect a visit from him at the end of that week, and that we
would be married in June and he would get the Plum Road
Canadian Mission School as Head Teacher from the 1st of July
1915. I was just a little over sixteen.
Now he and I had never spoken to each other before but the match
was being made as was the custom. I knew him,of coursebut not
to speak to, much more to talk about love and making a home. But
I did not mind because he had belonged to a Christian family and





Anna Mahase Snr.


his father had been a co-worker with Dr. John Morton. So I
decided in my mind that all would be well. But he did not come
as expected, neither did he write. I must admit that I was a little
disappointed being young and inexperienced, but that too had to
happen for a purpose. The reason for his not coming was the
result of an incident which had taken place during the previous
vacation I spent at San Juan. One Sunday H.'s mother and her
younger son C. visited us there. It was only when they left, Mrs.
T told me that Mrs. G. had come to see me for her son. I casually
remarked that I did not care to live in a mother-in-law's house.
That remark of mine came to her hearing and she just put her foot
down on the idea that H. should visit me or marry me at all. I had
gone to San Fernando only three months before. I was very
fortunate that nothing further developed or else my whole teaching
career would have been cut off. So I decided to study for my
examinations. That statement carelessly made, went a long way
to shape my future.
The first four East Indian girls at the Naparima Training College
for Teachers began studies, attending some classes with the boy
students at the Theological College, Cedar Cottage at the back of
the Church, and upstairs in Grant School. To me it was a novelty,
young East Indian men and girls in their teens, sitting and
studying in one common room. It was the first of its kind, but a
beginning must be made at some time and it was then. They were
indeed happy days when secret smiles would pass around, but
we could not let Dr. Coffin, the Principal, see us, he would surely
have put us in a coffin. We thought him very strict. These were
the days of the beginning of the emancipation of our East Indian
girls and women. The girls naturally felt inferior in knowledge to
the boys, and would seek every opportunity to ask help of them,
which they would gallantly offer. It was indeed an important era
in the lives of our boys and girls here in Trinidad.
In April 1916 (I was seventeen) I sat the Third Class Teachers'
Examinations, but I did not pass. Remember I had finished only
Primary School and had left school for six months before entering






NEW HORIZONS


s7-














Presbyterian College, San Fernando
From left: Dr. Grant and Dr. Morton (sitting) with their
students (standing)
Training College. I failed Arithmetic, a compulsory subject,
Kindergarten, optional, and had to write over the whole exami-
nations the following year. Miss Outhit encouraged me and told
me to try again; there was room for improvement, that I must not
teach Hindi anymore, as that was taking away time from my
study period, and that she personally would support me. It so
happened that she had to leave before the year was up, because
of her health. I had yet a few months before the examinations. She
called me one day and told me she was leaving $40.00 with Miss
Grace Beattieher successor, to cover expenses for the remaining
months. I am always very grateful to her for her kind deed.






Anna Mahase Snr.


I sat the examinations for the second time in 1917, after which I
was sent to San Juan for the holidays. When I was leaving. Miss
Beattie gave me the balance of $4.00. The first thing I bought was
a Hymn Book with music, because I had never owned one before,
and an umbrella. When the holidays were over I was sent for by
Rev. Harvey Morton at Tunapuna. It was quite natural that even
then he would have liked to see me married. He told me that H.
G. had been there the day before saying that if I would marry him


The original Sangre Chiquito School


he would live separately from his family. But I was guided in my
decision, by some intuition, and I promptly answered that I did
not care to marry then. I still remember Dx. Morton patting me
on my shoulder, saying, "I would not like to throw away a nice
girl like you." He knew what I did not know about the applicant.
But he gave me the option. It was for me to decide. So I was sent
to teach in the Sangre Chiquito Canadian Mission School, and live
with Mr. Paul Atwaroo who was the Catechist there, and Jean.





NEW HORIZONS


We lived on the very spot where the present school stands. The
school when I went to teach was where the school garden is now.
I was graded as a Fourth Class Assistant Teacher, pending my
examination results, at $10.00 per month. The Head Teacher of
the school was Mr. Andrew Ramlal who had also taught me at the
Guaico School as an infant. I was now eighteen years old.





Anna Mahase Snr.


7

A WORTHY PIONEER

My teaching career began on May 1, 1917, I1 being the first East
Indian Assistant Teacher to be employed in an Assisted Primary
School in North Trinidad, and later on, in 1919, the first East
Indian qualified female teacher in the Island.
Phoebe Lahouri and Laura Grant passed before me, but they were
employed at the La Pique Girls' High School in La Pique, where
a new building had been put up with a dormitory for girls and
quarters for the Principal and the Canadian staff.


W I U 43 -A- ', 0








In those early days all the teachers went out every morning to visit
and bring out the children to school. I did my share of it and the
result was that all the little Hindoo and Moslem girls began at-
tending school when they saw a female East Indian Teacher. I
was welcomed wherever I went and was never afraid to walk the
lonely roads. lam happy thatlwas able to blaze a trail, the result
of which can be well satisfying to those who have continued and
brought knowledge to the entire East Indian womanhood in
Trinidad. Thanks to the Canadian Mission.
The East Indian girls may not all be Presbyterian, but more or less
they received their education in our schools.





A WORTHY PIONEER


There were no Assistant teachers in the Sangre Chiquito Cana-
dian Mission School. It was a small school with four pupil
teachers, but there was one among them, who at once seemed
interested in me, and though I was Senior in Office, but junior in
age, because I was an Assistant Teacher and he a Fourth Year
Pupil Teacher, six years older than I, I found in him an ever ready
helper along my line of work. He had the teaching experience,
and his salary was $4.00 per month. This teacher was Mahase. He
had not yet gone to Training College, because he was Hindoo of
the Brahmin caste. Our Training College did not admit Hindoos
at that time, so he was not thinking of the Presbyterian Training
College. Furthermore, he had belonged to a large Hindoo family
who lived in the area, all Hindoos, and who were wealthy enough
to be respected by the whole community. Mahase's mother was
the sister of these three uncles. He had lost his father when he was
twelve years old. He had three brothers and a sister younger than
himself. They were brought up under a careful and devoted
mother, who at least had sent them to school, but with great
privations. She was actually supported by her three brothers who
lived in the district. They each gave her $2.00 a month. With $6.00
from them and Mahase's $4.00 a week, she managed her affairs
and deserves great credit for the way she brought up those
children, four boys and one girl, and the way they conducted
themselves, everyone of them made a success by hard work and
gentlemanly behaviour.
The fact that Mahase was junior in office did not prevent him from
showing how he cared for me in some special way. The fact is that
we both liked each other. He would remain after school to
supervise the sweeping and say little nothings to me which I did
not mind at all. About a week after I began teaching, one day he
asked me if I were engaged to be married. Quick as a flash it
dawned on me that things might go far, so I said, "Yes, I am
engaged to H. G." He believed me because H. himself had told
him sometime before that he was going to marry one Anna
Chandisingh from the Girls' High School.





Anna Mahase Snr.


Mahase looked depressed as if he was not satisfied, neither was
I to say the truth, because I know what I told him was not correct,
and I hoped he would ask me again, which he did the following
day. When I replied in the negative, I got a further surprise when
he said, "Now I have a chance." These happenings took place
within three weeks of our being together.
One Sunday, Dr. Morton went to Sangre Chiquito to take the
service, and to the surprise of everyone, he announced to the
congregation, that Mahase would be leaving the district that very
evening, that he was selected to enter the Naparima Training
College, and that he would be travelling by the 3 o'clock train, to
overnight with Dr. Morton and travel to San Fernando by the first
train from Tunapuna. We found out afterwards that the
overnighting in Tunapuna meant baptism. Word went around
the entire district. All the uncles and relatives knew. The
question then arose, "Now what must we do to prevent this boy
from being baptised?"
We two, Mahase and I, enjoyed working together, but I never
thought of marriage,at least not yet. The parting was not so
pleasant, in fact when he went to say goodbye to Mr. & Mrs.
Atwaroo, he did not see me at all. I knew he would be at home for
the holidays and we were certain to meet. Now just to block him
and prevent him from going, one of his uncles rode a bicycle to the
Sangre Grande Railway Station to take him back home, but there
was no going back for Mahase. He was twenty four and a boy
with a will of his own, so though he did not know his uncle was
following him, he came quietly to Guaico and took the train there.
There is a lot for which Guaico is important. It saved a situation
then.
The next day Mahase was seventy miles away only to return at
vacation time; whether he would have been allowed to come was
the question. The house where they lived belonged to one of the
uncles, and now that Mahase was a Christian, it was even worse.
But his mother was determined to have him. He was determined
too and so he came and did not bother with any of them, so they





A WORTHY PIONEER


had nothing to say. He came for his vacation as usual and we met
every day, either he visited me or I went to his home and he


brought me home at evenings. That stretch of road, from Pacheco
up the hill to the Canadian Mission School is sacred to me when
I think of the number of times we walked that road. His mother
and his brothers treated me kindly and I loved them in return. His
sister was already married. His mother never let me leave until
I had something to eat.
We broke some Training College regulations very well. We
corresponded all the time. He would write me and address the
envelope to Kissoon his brother with two letters at the left hand
bottom comer of the envelope, so he would know it was for me.
When I wrote him, I sealed the letter and sent it to Kissoon who





Anna Mahase Snr.


addressed it in his own handwriting, put the same two letters on
the envelope and mailed it to him. When Mahase received it, he
waited until evening, went out for a walk, sat under a tree, and
read it. So he told me. I always knew when there was a letter for
me. Ramdath Persad, Mahase's brother, was still attending
school. He was in the Fourth Standard Class. As soon as he
arrived in school with his bookbag hanging from his shoulders,
the moment he gave me a broad smile, he was always of a
pleasant disposition, I knew there was something in that bag for
me. What pleasant memories!
My first month's salary was $10.00. I paid $4.00 for board and
lodge and the rest was spent on clothing etc. Not many weeks
after, examination results were published, and to my utter disap-
pointment I had failed again for the second time. I got so
discouraged I thought I would never worry again with any more
examinations. But something else had to happen to set me going
and not give up. God's unseen hand forever guides our future.
During the month of June, the school Inspection took place. In
those days all the standard pupils wrote all their subjects on
paper, which were taken away by the Inspectors, corrected and
results sent to the school in a tabulated form with every child's
results. Two Inspectors came, Mr. John E. Stoer for the standards,
and Mr. Charles Solomon, father of our present Minister of Home
Affairs. He examined the Infants of which I was in charge. He
seemed to be somewhat impressed with the idea of a female East
Indian teacher especially as I played the organ for the children to
sing and march and drill with rods with jingle bells at both ends.
He asked me about myself and my examinations. I told him how
I had failed and he told me not to give up, but write the examina-
tions again, and promised to send me a Syllabus for the following
year. He even joked and said that if he were not a married man
he would take me away. I have a terrific memory, to recall so
many incidents of the past, poems my brother recited, that I
myself learned as a child, even passages from reading lessons
while I was at school. Thanks to Mr. Solomon. He kept his






A WORTHY PIONEER


promise, and the following week I received a Syllabus so what
could I do but start up studies once more.
The real help I got was from Mahase himself. When he came on
holidays he brought all his notes in Arithmetic and really taught
me the subject. I do not know when we got engaged to be
married, but there was an understanding that some day, we
would do the right thing, and that our friendship would eventu-
ally end up in marriage. His Christian name was Kenneth
Emmanuel. At Training College he got $4.00 a month, and once
he bought for me as a gift a small vial of perfume for $1.20. I
thought that was too much to spend from what he got. Whenever
I get that scent, all those feelings of longing, anxiety and expec-
tations come back to me like a flash in my mind for a second, as
if I have lived over those very pleasant moments which we really
enjoyed through obstacles and discouragements, but which we
overcame.
Mahase was sound in his judgement and sober in his thinking.
We walked the Sangre Chiquito roads almost every night and not
once did he make me afraid of him. We both really studied
together. He was sitting the Third Class Teachers' Examinations
for the first time in 1918, and I for the third time, and we both
passed, he with distinctions in Arithmetic and Agriculture, and
I in Arithmetic, English and Hindi, topping the island in Hindi,
while Phoebe Lahouri led the women students in the island and
I became the runner up. We both, Mahase and I, continued our
studies for the Second Class Teachers' Examinations the following
year, he from Training College and I from Sangre Chiquito. In
1918 I had got three months study leave to go to the Girls'
dormitory which was then up at La pique where it still is. I
attended classes with the others, and got much help from Miss
Beattie and others. For the Second Class Examinations I got one
week off, only to write them. But that was sufficient and do you
know that both of us passed? What a satisfaction! We were very
happy, we felt then more secure and confident, and when we
went out for long walks, we would talk and make plans for the






Anna Mahase Snr.


future and our marriage.
Dr. Morton knew nothing yet, all he knew was that one day a few
months before, he had the cause to call in Mahase and warn him
not to take me out to Port of Spain alone, but Mahase was good
for himself, and the reply Dr. Morton got caused him to respect
Mahase more. I had left the telling of our marriage news to
Mahase, who had not yet done so when Dr. Morton came to me
and told me that I got engaged and did not tell my godfather. I
said'yes'and that Mahase was going to tell him. He was very
happy for us and
gave us his good
wishes and his
...blessing, but regret-
ted he couldnothave
been here to marry
us, as he was leaving
the island on a holi-
day. We were happy
'in our love and suc-
cess and began mak-
ing preparations for
our wedding.
Mahase was already
appointed Head
Teacher of the
Grosvenor Cana-
S dian Mission School,
d after acting as As-
sistant Teacher at
*Guaico for two
-weeks, with Mr.
**SomarsinghasHead
Teacher. That was
The Engagement in July 1919. The
Grosvenor Canadian Mission School, the old school on the hill





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Anna Mahase Snr.


with the teacher's house nearby was where we were to live. I had
saved $20.00 in the bank, and he had nothing. Thanks to his
mother who gave him $120.00 we bought the very necessary
furniture and household articles including my wedding dress
and outfit for which I paid $12.00.
At 2 p.m. on the 9th August we were quietly married at the
Morton Memorial Church, Guaico, by Rev. Joseph Gibbings, one
of our first ordained Ministers (native) in these parts. My only
bridesmaid was Stella Abidh. We had a small procession of cars
including ours. Mrs. Adolphus, my matron at the Home in
Princes Town and later on at La Pique High School, her sister,
Lilian Durgah, and Laura Grant my College mate, my sister and
brother-in-law, and Kissoondath, Mahase's brother. The two
speeches given at the reception were by Kissoon himself and the
only outsider but a good friend of Mahase, Bhawani Persad of
Plum Road, Mahase's sister (Dheerajie) was awaiting the arrival
of the wedding party. She had prepared food and refreshment
which every one enjoyed. So the teachers' house on the hill was
to be our first home.
Our teaching together as husband and wife, was I think the first
ever in Trinidad. When I was to be married I was almost out of
the teaching profession, because the then code of Regulations
said "No married woman is to be retained on the staff of any
Government, or Assisted Primary School in the Colony." Dr.
Morton went to the Director of Education, and told him that our
girls will marry, then what was the use of training them as
teachers? So I was allowed to remain on the teaching staff since.
Today there are hundreds of married women on the staffs of so
many schools and among them one can find the best teachers.
Mahase's salary when he began as Head Teacher was $35.00 and
mine was $16.00, two Second Class qualified teachers. But that
was it. Increments yearly were $5.00 for Head Teachers and $2.00
for Assistant teachers. But we managed somehow and we even
saved. In June 1920 our first baby was born. We named him Cyril.
There were no nurses around, neither was there a Child Welfare





A WORTHY PIONEER


League or a Clinic even in Sangre Grande. So it was arranged that
my mother-in-law would go up to Coal Mine from Sangre
Chiquito, take up my sister-in-law (Bojan's mother). Then both
of them would take up an Indian midwife and come to me. It was
the worst of times, it was the best of times, all went well in the end,
we had our son for which we were very happy. How I still cherish
the happy memories of our one year's stay at Grosvenor. I always
feel that the most sacred place for us is that Teachers' house on the
hill, where we spent the first year of our married life. When the
new Grosvenor School was dedicated in its new location, Mahase
was then the Manager. I think in 1955, a few months before he
died, we attended the service, and when we were leaving he told
me that he would like to donate a chiming clock to the school. But
unfortunately he died soon after, and Cyril who was with us here
at the time, did the needful. He and I went over to the school and
I handed the clock to the Head Teacher.
There it is chiming away day in and day out as if to say, "Men may
come and men may go, but I go on forever."





Anna Mahase Snr.


8

THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE

In August 1920 Mahase and I were asked to come out to Guaico
as Head and Assistant teachers. While we were in Grosvenor,
apart from the school garden, we had our own kitchen garden
around the house. If we had thought of what we would have been
leavingwhich we did think of, we would not have accepted the
offer so readily. We discussed the proposition carefully and
concluded that there would be so many more opportunities for
service in coming to Guaico. I said I knew the people because I
grew up there. Then I would have the organ to play for the school
and the church, and together we could do much in the commu-
nity. Before I was married, one Sunday there was need for an
organist to play at the Guaico Church and I was asked to come,
and do you know I walked all the way from Sangre Chiquito to
Guaico, played for the Service, and returned walking all around
midday? I had the mind and the energy and did not feel tired.
We decided to go to Guaico from Grosvenor and we told Dr.
Morton. On the 31st August 1920, we packed our furniture on a
horse drawn cart accompanied by Joshua Dookheran, a monitor
of the school and who had lived with us since we were married.
He came out with us to Guaico, became a Pupil Teacher, went to
Training College, graduated, taught in the district, got married,
and has a number of children. He is now Head Teacher of one of
the larger schools in the San Fernando area. My younger brother
Joseph, had come to us from British Guiana. He was a Pupil
Teacher in British Guiana. Well he also came out to Guaico with
us. He helped unload our belongings and put them into our
house, and by the time Mahase and I with Cyril three months old,
reached in a cab, both Joshua and Joseph were waiting for us. We
had one week extra vacation owing to the visit of the then Prince
of Wales, Duke of Windsor, so we had plenty of time to settle























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THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE


down. We lived on the same spot where the Manse is now. I had
known that house before as a child, when we had rented from the
owner a house in front of that on the Eastern Main Road. The
entire strip of property now owned by the Canadian Mission had
belonged to Kalipersad Maharaj. It was the shop house in front
of ours, near the road, where we as children had lived for about
a year, when my father was no longer employed with the Mission
around 1908. The truth is that in this Guaico Mission Compound
I personally lived in seven houses on various occasions and
location at different times. The first house was the Teachers'
house where I was born in 1899. Then when we came back from
Arouca in 1904, a few months after which we moved in to the new
Catechists' house behind the school. Then we rented that shop
house I mentioned. The
following year we were
in our own house on our
own lands behind the
new school. In 1920 when
we came to teach, a few
years later the same house
was removed to another
part of the compound to
give place for thebuilding
of the Manse. From there
became to our own home
on the Eastern Main Road
in 1929, where we have
lived ever since. I feel
myself a real "Son of the
Soil."
The average attendance
of the Guaico Canadian
Mission School when we
came was one hundred Kenneth Jnr. (Kenny) in front of
andtwenty. Itookcharge the original Guaico School






Anna Mahase Snr.


of the Infant department. We enjoyed our work here, and as the
years passed we saw much improvement.
Our teaching career in Guaico Canadian Mission School began in
1920 and ended up for Mahase in 1953 when he retired at fifty,
forty two years of service including his previous services and for
me in 1954 when I was fifty five, thirty seven years of service
including one year in Grosvenor and two in Sangre Chiquito.
During those years at Guaico, hundreds of boys and girls passed
through the school. I would like to mention some of the out-
standing pupils who made good and brought honour to the
school. Before I mention ex-pupils I would like to say something
about one who actually lived with us from about the age of
fourteen, became a Pupil Teacher, graduated from Training
College, came back to live with us and worked in the Guaico
School as an Assistant Teacher for a number of years, until he got
his own school. I refer to George Ramdath Persad, Mahase's
youngest brother, and my brother-in-law. At his Valedictory
Function in 1964,1 spoke, not as the Manager but as a relative and
co-worker and one who knew him well. He had succeeded his
brother as Head Teacher in 1953. I said in my talk that when we
started off in Guaico our Christmas Annual Concerts were a
must. The pupils themselves were not up to standard so we chose
our actors from among the staff for our big plays, and we dared
to stage "Merchant of Venice." They always told me I chose my
characters well, and do you know who he was? Shylock. He did
his part perfectly. I said also that I could still see him going up
with his scales hanging on chains and his knife which he kept
sharpening all the time, to secure his pound of flesh. Ramdath
was always a pleasant boy, with a great sense of humour and a
hearty laugh. He was a very successful story teller and always
knew the origin of various celebrations like Easter Bunny and
Easter eggs at Easter time. When he was Superintendent of our
Sunday School, he actually introduced the Easter eggs. On Easter
Sunday there was a basket of large Easter eggs on the table from
which each child received one in a nest before he or she left. What






THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE


interesting days
those were!
After leaving
Training College
under the leader-
ship of Rev. H.F.
Swann it was
Ramdath who or-
ganised and
started off a Trail
Ranger Group for
teenage boys, the
first ever in the
colony, under the
direction and
guidance of Mrs.
Geo. Murray,
wife of our Cana-
dian Missionary
who lived here at
Guaico. As the
boys grew older
they became the
Tuxis Square,
Cyrilbeingoneof Z
them. I still have "
a copy of Cyril's G. A. Ramdath Persad (Poi Chacha)
paper which he former Principal of Guaico Presbyterian
prepared and read at the Trail Rangers' Conference at San
Fernando when he was twelve years old. These instances are
mentioned as Trail Rangers'activities carried on by Ramdath
Persad. I also have the copy of an address before me read to Cyril
when he was about to enter Queen's Royal College in 1932, signed
by the following boys and mentor.






Anna Mahase Snr.


G.A. Ramdath Persad Mentor
Bhual Mahadeo
Cecil Deyalsingh
R. Sinanan
Errol Benjamin
David Toney

The group took part in church activities. They were a regular
Sunday School class with their mentor as teacher. And to climax
their mentor's efforts they formed a guard of honour on his
wedding day, when he walked down the isle of the Morton
Memorial church with his lovely and attractive bride Enid Ablack,
from Biche. From then on he lived in his own home opposite us.
It was Persad who secured the Interschool Cricket Trophy out-
right,/ffered by Mr. R. Mc Cartney, a prominent business man of
Sangre Grande. That cup is still in the school. It was while Persad
was teaching here at the time when he organised and carried on
a Junior Red Cross Link. His knowledge of it and his idea came
from the very capable Mrs. V.B. Walls of San Fernando. While he
was in Training College he worked real hard and was very
conscientious, which has helped to make this school the success
it has been especially in the line of extra-curricular activities.
I ended up my talk by saying, "We congratulate you,Mr. Persad,
for reaching your retiring age in good health and we honour you
for the very valuable service you rendered during your teaching
career, and may god grant you many more years of peaceful
retirement." Persad is now (1966) Co-manager of a few of our
schools in this area.
One can always get a somewhat vivid picture of the Guaico
Presbyterian school as a whole as written by one of our ex-pupils
who is now Head Teacher of the Oropouche Government School.
I refer to David Toney. He was born in Guaico, attended school
in Guaico and grew up here. He was appointed a Pupil Teacher,
became an Assistant Teacher, went to the Government Training
College, returned to teach at the Guaico Canadian Mission School,





THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE


a very energetic and efficient teacher. As there would not have
been promotion to Head Teachership in a Presbyterian School, he
being Anglican, he was advised by my husband to go over to the
Government school. He applied and was appointed at the Sangre
Grande Government School as an Assistant Teacher.
Apart from scholastic ability, our boys and girls leaving school
grew up to be real gentlemen and well-mannered, decent men
and women. The sound religious background and all round
training in general behaviour, the art of happy and peaceful
living were not forgotten. So we are proud of them when we hear
about them wherever they are because with exceptions, they
have brought honour to our Guaico Presbyterian School.
An article was written by David Toney and published in one of
our Newspapers recently. (He is a newspaper Correspondent) I
shall write parts of it paying tribute to Mr. Mahase and his thirty
three years of work in this school. I quote, "Labour Conquers All
Things." That was the Motto of the school. This is the apt and
suitable Motto of the Guaico Presbyterian School, which has
urged all teachers and pupils to great heights of achievements.
This primary school was known by residents as the College of the
East because of the quality of the old boys. Mr. G.R. Persad,
recently retired Head Master of the school claims that this school
has a great history, and has been and is an institution of sound
learning and certainly has had an influential impact on the
community in the Sangre Grande district.
"Classes in this school were first held in a wooden building
erected in 1898 by the Rev. John Morton,pioneer Canadian
Missionary to the East Indians in Trinidad." He had arrived in
1868 and had already opened several schools in the district of
South Trinidad when he began his work. Then he was sent up
North where he settled in Tunapuna (1881). In this area the
Sangre Chiquito Canadian Mission School was the first to be
opened in 1891. There was no Railway to Sangre Grande, it ended
in Arima; and Dr. Morton travelled all the way in his horse drawn
buggy, passed through Guaico and drove straight to Sangre





Anna Mahase Snr.


Grande. He put up at the Government Rest House and visited
Sangre Chiquito and surroundings. Where the buggy could not
go he rode his horse and where the horse could not go he walked.
The rest house was one mile from the Sangre Chiquito School.
When the Railway was extended to Sangre Grande in 1897, then
Guaico was located. Being found central, lands were bought and
a school erected. Now I return to Toney's article. "The first Head
Teacher of the Guaico Canadian Mission School was Mr. George
Chandisingh in 1898. Mr. Kenneth Mahase took charge of the
school in 1920. The old wooden building was first raised on
concrete pillow trees with an adjacent Infant School."
After a few years it was extended and raised to accommodate the
Infants downstairs, Guaico Canadian Mission,as it was called,
was then in the limelight during the years 1924 to 1953, under the
guidance of the late Mr. K. Mahase B.Ed. who was the Head
Teacher there for thirty three years. Many of his ex-pupils hold
responsible positions in the territory. This bears some testimony
to his devotion to duty; to name a few ex-pupils, Senior Super-
intendent Robert Blake, Head of the C.I.D. Northern Division,
Christopher Nath, Barrister-at-Law, Hobson Eddy, Government
Chemist, Dr. George Ramsaran, Medical practitioner, Mr. John
Ramsaran, Lecturer in Ibadan University, Nigeria, now in Eng-
land, Isaac Chin, Civil Engineer, Carol Mahadeo, Barrister-at-
Law, Henry Jackson, Inspector of Schools, Michael Ramdass,
Barrister-at-Law, Daniel Irish, Police Inspector, Ethan Lewis,
Probation Officer,Port of Spain, Head Teacher of various schools.
George Basanta,. Morgan Basanta, Errol Benjamin, Lionel
Mahadeo, and Mr. Mahase's own children, Cyril, Medical Prac-
titioner, Lenore, graduate Mc Gill, (Music). Barbara B.A., Mc Gill,
Stella, Civil Servant, County Council, Sangre Grande, Elaine,
B.A., Mt. Allison, Anna, BSc., BEd., now Principal of the St.
Augustine Girls' High School and Kenny T.C.T., (Mausica).
In fact it was from this school, the largest Presbyterian school in
the district, that teachers were recruited to other Presbyterian
schools in the area under the Pupil Teacher system. Although the





THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE


academic success of the school was brilliant, a special feature was
the extra curricular activities. Mr. Mahase believed in character
building, and instilled the right community spirit in the lives of
his pupils. During his term of office as early as 1933, a Trail
Ranger group of teenage boys was formed, which later on as the
boys grew older became the Tuxis Square, whose leader and
mentor was Mr. Ramdath Persad, then an Assistant Teacher of
the school. He also carried on the Red Cross Link. Then there was
a Sporting and Debating Club at the school, where the senior
pupils first learned the art of public speaking. All these various
activities had a religious bias, which helped in moulding and
enriching the spiritual lives of the pupils. Ex-pupils of this school
still remember a temperance pledge taken before Rev. George
Murray, Canadian Missionary who lived at the Guaico Manse,
and was Co-Manager of the ten schools in the area. This inspired
the boys to abstain from strong drinks and smokes. The pledge
which still hangs on the wall of the school, is recommended to all
youth clubs. It reads, "God gave me this strong body, to grow just
strong and tall. Tobacco helps to spoil it, and so does Alcohol.
Into my mouth they shall not go. When tempted, I shall always
say 'No'."
Mr. Bismark Rogers, now Deputy Town Clerk of Arima, an ex-
pupil and Sportsmaster teacher of this school, captured the
Interschool Athletic Trophy sponsored by the Sangre Grande
Teachers' District/Association. A strict disciplinarian, Mr. Mahase
was loved and respected by teachers and children. His fatherly
advice never fell on deaf ears. Mr. Lionel Mahadeo an ex-pupil,
and now an Assistant Teacher at Guaico, stated that for seventeen
years he taught the College Exhibition class, until it became the
Common Entrance Class. He said that in 1964, nineteen pupils
passed the Examinations, being the highest among the schools in
the area. Mrs. Anna Mahase, the present Manager of the school
said that Guaico has been a good school. Mr. Capil Nath also an
ex-pupil of the school is now a successful business man in Sangre
Grande. Mr. J.R. Sookhoo, present Head Teacher, himself was an





Anna Mahase Snr.


Assistant Teacher of this school for eighteen years and promised
to continue the good work done by his predecessors."
This is the end of David Toney's account of the Administration of
the Guaico School. I shall continue to write about more ex-pupils
of the school whom I did not mention before. Miss Melvina Blake
an Assistant Teacher of the Tunapuna E.C. School came to us as
a Pupil Teacher during the first few years we came to Guaico. The
Blakes lived very near the Mission Compound. When I was a
child around seven to ten, the Blake children and we played
together. I knew the older children. May Blake was no where on
the scene, neither was Robert whom I mentioned before. But when
we came to Guaico in 1920, Robert was attending school. May
Blake came to teach with us a few years later. She really got her
Primary education in Port of Spain. She began as a Pupil Teacher
and became very efficient. She is Anglican, but was very active
in our Church activities. She was in our T.G.I.T. Group led by
Mrs. Geo Murray, of which I was also a member. Miss Blake
attended our Christian Endeavour Society Meetings started off
by me when we came here, and how interesting those meetings
used to be, a very flourishing one at that time; some of the debates
and discussions that took place I can vividly remember. I shall
mention one of the debates. The older people were the Active
Members, the younger ones, Associate Members. The subject of
the debate was:
"Be it resolved that women are more community influential than
men in the home and community." The men took the affirmative
and we women, the negative. Mrs. Geo. Murray, Miss Blake and
I debated the Negative and Mr. Hugh Inniss, Government
druggist, Mr. Geo. Harris and Mr. Mahase, the Affirmative. This
debate was so interesting that I still remember the details of it, I
mean the points brought up to show the for and against. Miss
Blake mentioned the fact that when the School Inspector visits the
school, the men are upstairs by the table examining the standards,
but the women are in the Infant department, as she said, 'holding
the tail.' The men brought up one strong point. They said the sun






THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE


is masculine and the moon feminine, the sun therefore, because
masculine, is rash and harsh, but the moon being feminine, is cool
and calm and soothing, under whose light lovers sit and enjoy its
light and coolness. But Mrs. Murray quickly rebutted that
statement by saying that the moon gets its light from the sun, and
we won, so all they had said about "The hand that rocks the cradle
rules the world" did not help them. Of course, we knew better
than that. We knew it was the other way around, but the debate
itself was novel as we took opposite sides. This is only one
instance of how interesting our Christian Endeavour Society
used to be.
Samuel Juteram and Sookdeo Boodoo, the only two Cinema
owners of Sangre Grande, were also ex-pupils of the Guaico
School. Gufran Rahman, Tawfick N. Rahman, Samuel Gopaul,
Dan Boodansingh, the Narines, Gladys Chirowkee, Rosalind and
Lucille Mahadeo and the Gyan family. A Table Tennis Club with
teachers and pupils was organised when we played games with
other clubs -Sangre Grande, Tunapuna, Tacarigua; sometimes
we won, but as an individual I was always beaten. I could not
slam.
William Benjamin, building Architect, is the nephew of the well
known William Benjamin of the Guaico bakery. Since we were
small children, we looked out for the bread cart at 5 a.m. to buy
bread and we got eight loaves for six cents. His two grandsons are
now carrying on the Guaico bakery which is still in the same
place. Errol, another (son) and ex-pupil is now a Head Teacher,
and Lynette a daughter, a qualified Assistant Teacher at the
Guaico Presbyterian School is now married to Lionel Mahadeo,
recently appointed Head master of the Sangre Chiquito Presby-
terian School. The Mahadeo family is another very old family
whom I knew as a child in Guaico. I knew the old bearded man,
Mahadeo Maharaj, he was called and the old lady. Their sons
attended the Guaico School in the early days. They carried their
own names, no surnames. When we came to teach here in 1920,
their grand daughters began to attend school. Most of their grand






Anna Mahase Snr.


children are still in Guaico on their own properties handed down
by their parents and grand parents. Lionel Mahadeo and his
family are Presbyterians, and he is the only one using the correct
surname.
Talking about names and surnames. As far as I can remember
fifty years ago the Hindoos did not carry a surname. They were
admitted in school by the one name they had, like Ramkisoon for
instance. When another Ramkisoon came he was Ramkisoon II
and so on. Take the names of four brothers whom we know,
Mahasedath, Kissoondath, Bissoondath and Ramdath. When
Ramdath first went to school at Sangre Chiquito he would have
been Ramdath V or sometimes there were so many with that
name, but Mahase who was either a Monitor or Pupil Teacher
told the Head Teacher that Ramdath father's name was Mathura
Persad, why not give him his proper surname, so he became
Ramdath Persad. When Mahase and I came to teach in Guaico in
1920, we began asking newly admitted pupils for their fathers'
names and we admitted them with surnames, so that we would
know, whose children they were, that we could visit their homes
which we regularly did. But right now (1966) what I observe is
that the Hindoos (some of them) have lost their real surnames and
are using as such the caste to which they think they belong. They
use the surname Maharaj. Maharaj is a calling name. You call a
man Maharaj because he belongs to the Brahmin caste and his
wife is called Maharajin. If one calls himself Maharaj as his
surname, .his wife is Mrs. Maharaj, how ridiculous, and the
surname Maharaj more ridiculous still. These people do not
know and no one tells them. Another surname that is used quite
a lot recently is 'Singh.' Singh is a name ending and is never
separated from the real name, like Ramsingh or Deosingh. It is
one name. Other names used as surnames which to my mind or
to any intelligent mind who knows any thing about Hindoo or
Indian culture will know that, Misir, Tewarry, Dath and Nath, all
sects of the Brahim Caste, are name endings. Soon we East
Indians will lose our identity. No one will know who is who.






THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE


Left: Kissoon Chacha
Below: Bissoondath
(Jhin Chacha)






Anna Mahase Snr.


Look at the Telephone Directory today and see the number of
Maharaj's and Maraj's there are, and the real names of the people
are not there. We do not have to tell the public what caste we are,
who believes in the Caste System anyway, and some of us who
still feel we find there is something we like in a certain caste, why
the name alone can tell, that is those who know will know. What's
in a name anyway? Reading about Peter Singh and Mary Maharaj,
well! It is certainly jarring to the ear and right thinking of those
who know the facts and the truth. Names like Ramnath, Surujnath,
Bajnath are correct, the "nath" is not separated. Ramsingh,
Mahabirsingh, Bhimsingh are also correct, the Singh is a name
ending. But Maharaj, Misir, Tewarry and some others, are out.
That is what I think.
I shall mention a few more ex-pupils who have done very well
and have brought honour to the school, whose names I should not
like to leave out, Dr. Carlyle Hosein. When he returned as a
doctor, a banquet was given in his honour at the school, as was
done for many other graduates form Guaico. His parents were
here, Rev. & Mrs. T.A. Hosein. Rev. Hosein was in charge of the
Guaico Pastoral Charge, with Rev. Geo Murray as Field Mission-
ary. Carlyle that night, expressed his desire of donating a
chiming clock to the school. It is still there, chiming away the
hours, reminding the pupils of the passing of time and the
opportunities of making good.
Dr. Harry Bissoondath of Sangre Grande, now a Medical prac-
titionerin San Juan, Learmond Sampson, Artisan Foreman, Works
and Hydraulics now retired, Willie Sampson, Engineer P.W.D.
Shahid Baksh, Civil Servant, Ministry of Works, and so many
others I wish I could remember them. A word about our Samuel
Ramsawak (Bojan) owner of the Atomic Cafe in Sangre Grande.
Apart from being a relative, his mother was Mahase's sister, he
has been very closely connected with us because he actually lived
with us for a while. Bojan is what he is today by sheer determi-
nation to succeed, coupled with his pleasant, gentlemanly manners
and behaviour added with those, the influence of a devoted wife
62































Bojan and Myra






Anna Mahase Snr.


and dutiful and intelligent children. Bojan's mother was twenty
four years old when she died leaving four boys and one girl, Bojan
being the second child. They did not have it too easy, most or all
of them were with their grandmother at Sangre Chiquito. I took
the baby, nine days old, and cared him until he was old enough
to go to his father. I took Myra the girl, gave her a Course at the
Archibald Institute, St. Augustine, got her happily married to
Michael Bhoopsingh of Penal. They with their four children are
now residing in England. Bojan after attending school for a while
began to work as a shop clerk here in Sangre Grande. At one time
he began renting a room, but my husband and I would not allow
that so we brought him home with us. He then got a job at the
American Base at Waller Field. Then he went to Tacarigua to
work in a grocery. He got married and came back to Sangre
Grande and acquired a small business place. His business is no
longer small and he is doing exceedingly well. His is an instance
of 'where there is a will, there is a way.'











HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT

In February 1922, I gave birth to a still born baby girl, and in
October of the following year there was another still born, this
time a boy. The district nurse was there and the D.M.O. Dr.
K.U.A. Inniss had to be called in, but as there had been no prenatal
care, the baby could not be saved. Since then I was advised by the
doctor that in future when I became six months pregnant I should
visit him, and from then on I received prenatal care by a doctor
who was also present at the time of baby's arrival together with
the district nurse who was attached then to the Child Welfare
League in this district. Those who organised the Child Welfare
League in Sangre Grande were, Mrs. Hitchens, wife of the then
District Engineer,Public Works Department, Mrs. George Murray,
wife of our Canadian Missionary here in Guaico, Mr. & Mrs. T.M.
Mc Cartney of the Red Store Sangre Grande, Mrs. C. Harper and
Dr. K.U.A. and Mrs. Inniss of Sangre Grande. The Child Welfare
league was organised here around 1922. I took over the post of
Treasurer in 1932 from Mrs. Murray. For a number of years I was
both Secretary and Treasurer, and after a few years Mrs. Harper
took the post of Secretary and I continued as Treasurer until
around 1964. I resigned as such, a period of over thirty years of
a very rewarding and satisfying service.
In 1925, while we still lived in that house at the back of the church,
where the playground is now, Lenore was born, and just a few
weeks before, we had given a school concert which had become
a must in the Guaico School. And in July 1927, Barbara arrived.
Now we had three children, Cyril, Lenore and Barbara. We got
the option then of either getting our own home or renting one
from the Mission which they would have built if we had agreed,
but Mahase thought he would like to build his own and he bought
one lot of land where our house now stands, for $80.00. After we
built and moved in, we purchased another adjoining lot on the






Anna Mahase Snr.


western side after a few years, and later still a piece at the back.
We came into our new and own home in December 1928, and in
April 1929 Stella was born. Then in September 1930 Elaine came,
followed by yet another girl in 1932, Anna. Five girls one after the
other, no regrets, each has done well and brought success to
herself and satisfaction to us as parents. That was the eighth
occasion I had taken maternity leave, sometimes no pay at all
depending on the then regulation and ruling by the Education
Department. When Anna was born in 1932 I was thirty three
years old. I really thought I was through with having babies. I
had then one boy and five girls. Ten years later Mahase and I got
the surprise of our lives to know I was having another baby. We
were very happy when Kenneth was born, so Cyril had a
brother. Well, that was really the end and it was time then of
thinking of our children's higher education.
Cyril was already in the Civil Service, Lenore was teaching, so
was Barbara. Cyril had started working at the Warden's Office,
SangreGrandeat $30.00 a month. He was then sent to theGeneral
Post Office, Port of Spain at $40.00 from which he went up to
about $50.00. He saved most of his income for further studies.
Meanwhile Lenore was sent to La Pique High School, but did not
like it there, so was brought back on two occasions, and eventually
both she and Barbara attended Arima High School carried on by
Mr. A.J. Hinds. They travelled every day by train. It was not so
easy but they made it. Stella soon joined them. Lenore and
Barbara both passed the Cambridge School Certificate in 1942,
after which they matriculated; Lenore, from St. Joseph's Convent,
Port of Spain. Elaine joined Stella at the Arima High School and
Anna went for a short while, but she unlike Lenore, preferred to
go to La Pique Girls' High School, where she went and got
adjusted to Dormitory life and studies. Stella, Elaine and Anna all
passed the Cambridge Examinations after a few years.
All my children except Kenny, took piano lessons. We bought
our first Piano (second hand) when Lenore was a year old. Then
I started Cyril with music lessons, in fact I started them all when






HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT


Lenore and her grand piano at Guaico
they grew old enough to learn. Eventually they all went over to
Mrs. Ethel Valere Lambie, head of the Trinity College of Music in
Trinidad. Cyril and Anna took violin lessons from her also. It was
such a satisfaction to hear Cyril play his violin, and Lenore the
piano (duets) at our Annual concerts in December. Lenore was
specially talented in music and Cyril was ready for further
studies; he wanted to do medicine. We decided to send both of
them to Mc Gill University,Canada. Lenore had taught for a few
months at the Guaico School, and she too saved a small amount.
Her salary was $24.00 plus $5.00 cost of living allowance. Barbara
also joined the staff on the same salary. Apart from the small
savings of Cyril and Lenore, we always pooled our salaries and
we worked by a budget, which Mahase and I prepared before the






Anna Mahase Snr.


end of the month, and that was really the secret of having enjoyed
the necessities of life and of giving the children a High School
Education. We were ready to send the two oldest children to
University, but with what? We had spent our savings in building
our house and we had very little after that, because it was by that
time the others were at High Schools travelling and boarding out.
And we had recently painted our house. Mahase and I had taken
twenty years before, a joint Life Insurance for $1,000.00, so we
took from it $500.00 the week before it matured and we happily
sent them away. They travelled by the S.S. George Washington
in September 1945, Cyril to do Medicine and Lenore, Music.
Meanwhile Barbara was teaching at Guaico with us. Stella also
taught at the Sangre Chiquito Canadian Mission School for a few
months, but did not care too
much for the bicycle riding
every day, so she decided to
quit and applied to work at
the County Council as a clerk
in the Civil Service. The
Council came into being after
the General Elections in 1946.
Mr. Victor Bryan was our
representative here in these
parts. Stella was an efficient
secretary as every one said
and she continued for over
fifteen years, but resigned a
few years ago to assist Capil
in his business place. She has
fourboys(1966). In 1946, one
year after Cyril and Lenore
went to Mc Gill, Cyril was
awarded a Colonial Devel- Cyril, Lenore and George
opment and Welfare Schol- Habib (a friend) at Mc Gill
arship to study Medicine in University






HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT


Birming-
ham Uni-
aversity,
England. It
was really a

scholarship,

o a.. asked to pay
half the fees,
but we were
happy to do
p so, knowing
that he was
S. well on the
way to
achieve his
S, desire.
'Meanwhile
S~i Lenore re-
mained at
Mc Gill, and
Barbara at Mc Gill University during that
year she too
won a Scholarship (Music) called the Ellen Ballon Music Scholar-
ship offered by the Faculty of Music at Mc Gill University. In 1948
she graduated with the Licentiate of Music (L. Mus) which was
the highest degree given in Practical music, but she remained on
to teach the subject at the Montreal High School, in addition to
private tuition. She was helping herself from then on. Barbara
who was with us, decided to further her studies too, so we sent
her straight to Lenore, who really supported her while we paid
her fees. She eventually graduated with the B.A. degree in 1951.
Then both Lenore and Barbara came home, Lenore to teach
music, and give recitals, which she did quite successfully, and



























From the left: Don Franco (Bestman), Elaine (Chief Bridesmaid)
Capil and Stella (married couple), Rexy Juteram, Anna Jnr.






HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT


Barbara, to take up an appointment at the St. Augustine Girls'
High School. Miss Constance Wager was then Principal. While
Lenore and Barbara were still in Canada, Stella, from the County
Council spent three months vacation leave with them.
Stella and Capil Nath got married in 1953, and lived with us for
three years. He worked in his father's store J.N. Nath, and she
continued as County Council clerk. The following week after the
wedding, Anna having been awarded a W.M.S. Scholarship by


Anna Jnr. and Anna Snr.


the Overseas Board in Canada went to Sackville, New Brunswick,
Canada, to enter Mt. Allison University to study for the B.Sc.
Degree. Elaine, meanwhile had graduated from the Naparima






Anna Mahase Snr.


Training College for Teachers, and we sent her to the U.W.I.
Mona, Jamaica to study for the B.A. Degree. During the latter part
of 1953, we thought that we should send Lenore to Birmingham
to be with Cyril, as he had been away from home for the longest
period, and also to teach music and to get more music qualifica-
tions. She secured the Diploma of Class Music Teacher (CMT)
and took part in Orchestral Music piano in the Birmingham
Philharmonic Orchestra. She was so settled there that we thought
she would not come home for a while, but home is home and
wherever our children went, as is natural, the desire is to return
home. She was still over there when our telephone rang one
morning. I took the call. Pa and Barbara were both here in the
dining room. I had said before that when Cyril passed his
examinations they would have to tie me. I would be so excited.
When I heard it was an overseas call I said nothing. I listened to
the cable message. Cyril had passed his exams. I put down the
telephone and said "You all can tie me now!" Well there was real
joy and excitement. Pa was over excited, he came twice and
hugged me up. What a satisfaction that was! It was one of our
happiest moments. The others had and were doing very well, but
this was our first child and son, who had accomplished what he
had set out to do and to us it was indeed a fulfillment of life's
expectations. Pa had already retired in August 1953. He was
sixty. I was getting ready to do so in 1954, the optional retiring age
of fifty five, and Cyril's success caused me to make the final
decision, because he would not have wanted me to work anyway
after he had returned. Two hours after we got Cyril's cable
message another telephone message came, this time from San
Fernando. Stella had her first baby, a boy. We at once named him
David Cyril because of hearing about Cyril's success on that very
day. In July of that year 1954 Cyril returned to Trinidad and
home. He served as an Intern at the General Hospital in Port of
Spain for six months and was sent to San Fernando to work at the
Hospital there. Conditions were not so favourable, so he decided
to goon his own and do private practice. Pa had not been keeping
72






























Kenneth E. Mahase Snr. (Pa) and Anna Mahase Snr. (Ma)






Anna Mahase Snr.


very well. He
1- suffered from
liver com-
plaints and
heart pres-
sure, soit was
good having
Cyrilaround.
He had cho-
sen Sangre
Grande to set
up his office
there and he
Sw lived here at
home. A few
weeks before,
that is around
a. W n 1955, Barbara
a graduate
..Teacher on
the St. Au-
S' ".. gustine Girls
High School
Staff,planned
to go to Bos-
David Nath Dave (first grandchild) ton for a holi-
day. She had been from her Mc Gill days, on friendly terms with
Hyman Rodman, also a graduate of Mc Gill, but who was then at
Harvard with his M.A., and studying for his doctorate in Sociol-
ogy and Anthropology. We were pleasantly surprised one day
when we received a cable message that they had planned to get
married at the end of that week. This was at the end of September
1955. We cabled them wishing them God's blessing.
Stella got married first among my children. She is my fourth child
and third daughter. When Stella already had two boys, Barbara






HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT


married Hyman Rodman in 1955. She and her husband came to
Trinidad in 1956 to have her first baby, and Hyman came in on a
Fellowship from Harvard University to do Research studies for


Elaine and Anna Snr.
his Thesis in Sociology and Anthropology for which Thesis he
received his Doctorate the following year 1957. Two years later
they had another son Derek, followed by a third boy David. A
little girl was born two years ago. They named her Gail, and they
say that is the last. (1966) Elaine had come home in 1956 from the
U.W.I. Jamaica to enter Mt. Allison Canada to finish her course.
She graduated in 1957 with the B.A. Degree and was appointed






Anna Mahase Snr.


to teach at the Tunapuna branch of the Naparima College now
called 'Hill View'. She had been on friendly terms with Allison
Gray, a B.Sc. graduate of Mt. Allison University, and both kept up
correspondence for the year, when he decided to come to Trini-
dad for a visit. A few days after his arrival they announced to me
that they would like to be married within three weeks, as Allison
had to return to Mt. Allison within a month's time. So we did not
have much time to spare, but in two weeks we had everything
ready for the wedding. They were married at the Morton
Memorial Church at Guaico by the Rev. Russel Alcorn, a Cana-
dian Missionary and a very close friend. Only relatives were
invited. Allison's father arrived three days before the wedding,
quite unexpectedly, and as soon as he met Elaine, he said "Elaine
I did not come to stop this wedding. I came to stand by you." He
was, and is a very fine gentleman, because he came back again to
visit and we enjoyed his stay.
Since Elaine and Allison left, he got his M.Sc. Degree and right
now (1962) he is on a fellowship for his Doctorate in Science. They
have one girl, Susan, and now in 1962, a boy, Rodney. They were
married on the 24th September, 1958. They had their third child
Daryl Kenneth in 1964. Both Barbara and Elaine are very happy
in their homes far away in Detroit U.S.A. and New Brunswick,
Canada. They visit us periodically, Elaine and her family came in
December 1964 and Barbara with their three boys and two girls
came for a few months in 1965. Hyman Rodman is now one of the
Heads of the Meryl Palmer Institute in Detroit. He got Fellowships
on two occasions to come to Trinidad to do research along his line
for his thesis.
When Elaine got married in September 1958, Cyril's invitations
for his marriage with Sattie Nath were already out. His was not
a quiet wedding, many more people were invited. It was as it is
called, a fashionable wedding. They were married on the 4th
October 1958 at the Morton Memorial Church at Guaico by Rev.
Russel Alcorn, who had also performed the wedding ceremony
of Elaine and Allison, at the same Morton Memorial Church at




Full Text

PAGE 1

+ CT 388 .M33 A3 1992

PAGE 2

My Mother's Daughter is the life story of a vital, courageous and resilient woman with a voice that articulates with remarkable sincerity and sim plicity the condition of women in her time. Anna Snr. brings to her autobiography an enhanced awareness and understanding oflife in her presenta tion of the religious, social, cultural and historical forces which shape her being and herfamily's destiny It is a personal record of adversity, struggle and endurance, ambition and achievement, love and tenderness Anna Mahase Snr. comes through it all with a triumph of art and spirit. In fact, the Story is told with a religious depth of feeling that has its genesL< in Anna's early lifeand upbri,nging. This is a work that deserves the respect and gratitude of the reader in its affirmation of the values of marriage and family life, religion and education Anna's quest for personal synthesis symbolized in Rookabai s ancestral journey as well as her own mobility throughout this autobiography, to an end in one dear perpetual place (Guaico) where her early love with Mahase led to the harvest of achievement evidenced in her own life and that of her children

PAGE 3

,

PAGE 5

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ANNA MAHASE Snr. 1899-1978 with THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF KENNETH E MAHASE Sm. 1893-1955 (Appended) lllustrated Foreword by Professor Kenneth Ramchand ROYARDS PUBLISHING COMPANY

PAGE 6

ROYARDS PUBLISHING COMPANY Union Village, Oaxton Bay, Trinidad. The Trustees 01 Mr. & Mrs. K. E. Mahase All Rights Reserved. No part 01 this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission in writing of the trustees and publishers. First Published 1992 Published by Royards Publishing Co. Printed by Printmaster (W.I.) Ltd. Typesetting -Soraya Ali/Helen Habib, Cascade, POS

PAGE 7

CONTENTS Acknowledgements ..... .. ..... .. ............. .. .... .. .. ...... ....... .. I ForeuJord ..... ...... .................. .... .......... ........ ......... ........ .. II Prologue .......... .... ...... ......... ................... .............. ... xv ONE ..... .................. ....... ............ .... ............. ......... ........... 1 1W 0 .... ..................................... .... .... ............. .... ........ 6 THREE ...... ................. ...... ...... ........................... ........ 12 FOUR 22 FIVE ................................... .......... ........................ ........ 28 SIX ............. .............................. ..................................... 32 SEVEN ......................................................................... 38 EIGHT ....................................... .... ............................... 48 NINE ............................................................................ 65 TEN .............................................................................. 87 EPILOCUE .... ...... ....................................................... 94 AFrERWORD ............................................................. 98 APPENDIX I -The Autobiography of Kenneth E. Mahase Snr .......... 102 II ill -IV -V -VI Anna Mahase Snr -................................ Her Poetry Tributes .................................... Railway Routes ....................... 110 118 124 Family Tree .............................. 125 From the Family Album ........ 127

PAGE 8

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The publishers wish to acknowledge, with thanks, the following photogruphic sources and illustrations: Gerard Punch for photographs on pages 138 and 139; 'John Morton ofTrinidad' ed. by Sarah E. Morton for photographs on pages 8, 19, 35; The Mahase Family for all other photographs which appear in this book; Roland Hosein for illustrations on pages 7,16,17,25,29,41; Susan G. Taylor for illustration on page 4 and for cover design.

PAGE 9

FOREWORD In The Indian Centenary Review: One Hundred Years of Progress 1845 -1945,a volume published to celebrate the activities and presence of descendants of Indians in Trinidad, there are two hundred and nineteen short biographies of distinguished Indians. Of these, only nineteen are women. Among the sketches of visible Indian women, there is an entry that recognises Anna Mahase, Trained Certificated Teacher, mother of seven children, and wife of Kenneth Emmanuel Mahase, Headteacher of Guaico CM. School. This Anna Mahase (1899-1978) was the mother of the current Principal of 5t. Augustine Girls High School who bears the same name. In 1935, she began to write an account ofherlife and career, proceeding in stops and starts until 1967 when she copied out all that she had written at different times, in a diary produced by the Nestle Company. At the end of this fair copy, she inserted a short account of his own life written by her husband Kenneth shortly before his death in 1955 5healso included two poems, a short one To Our Nation', and a twenty stanza celebration of the work of the Canadian Mission and of its pioneer missionary, the Reverend John Morton. The longer poem is careful to place an emphasis on how the work of the Mission contributed to the building of a nation in Trinidad. In the shorter one, the woman of Indian origin makes her Trinidadian nationalism absolutely clear. Anna Mahase's autobiographical account covers the period 1899 to 1967 It is chronological, but it is not an account written from day to day as events were unIolding. It depends upon memory for earlier events, and it is given some focus by hindsight. In its later pages, written when Kenneth Mahase was dead and Anna in retirement, it becomes more of a family chronicle, outlining the achievement of their children. The publication of Anna's story is welcome for a number of reasons. It contains inIormation about wages, prices, transportation and economic activity in Trinidad over a long period, allowing us to see how by contrast inIlation has galloped in the last II

PAGE 10

twenty-five years. Particularly interesting are Anna's references to the railway system, to journeys made by train, and to meetings at railway stations When you read about all of this, you cannot help thinking how foolish and short-sighted it was to close down our railway system in the interest of those men with big trucks, and the urge to get rich quick at the country's expense. The account of course provides valuable glimpses of people of Indian origin settling into their new land. We see and hear of Indians purchasing land, going into business, seeking education, and pushing their children towards the professions. There are examples of supportive family life and examples of family feud ing, instances of the workings of a communal sense, and cruel instances of Indian exploiting Indian in the pursuit of material advancement. Above all we see the profound and problematic influence of the Canadian Mission on the emergence of the Trinidadian Indian. The Mission never acted as if they despised the language and cultw:e of the Indians On the contrary, they made use of Hindi to approach the Indians in the first place; they translated parts of the Bible into Hindi, and turned Christian hymns into bhajans; they sought out parallels between Hinduism and Christianity as a way of making Christianity go down better. But the economic and social advantages oflearning English and turning Christian, were obvious and strong, and once the bait was taken the Chris tian Indian found hirnselfbeing pulled a little faster than he might have wanted to travel. Some of the consequences of this infiltration have been comically explored by our major writers like V.S. Naipaul in 'A Christmas Story', and Sam Selvon in Turning Christian'. In the long run, there would be an adjustment. Somehow the Hindu sensibility or strains from Hinduism would bring to Presbyterianism a distinct quality that drives one to speak of Hindu Presbyterianism. At any rate, Anna makes the observation that her mother Rookabai, "though a Christian and thi' wife of a preacher, still keptup some ofthe Hindoo traditions and customs '"

PAGE 11

and way of life." As an illustration she gives a remarkably detailed description of a jhanki or re-enactment at divali that seems to be associated with Lord Krishna: "At the annual Dewali festival, in a room downstairs, she would make an enclosure 8ft by 6ft with clay, about 8 inches high with double spiked top like a wall, leaving an opening for entrance, inside of which was built a castle 2ft high, shaped circular, ending on the top with a small platfonn. Each circle became smaller from the bottom. About 4 circles were made until the top was reached. On top sat the king and queen with their regalias, crown and sceptre Along the corridors were soldiers all dressed up in armour, helmet and sword, standing at attention. There were ladders going up from one corridor to another. On these ladders were female slaves carrying trays of food and buckets on their heads. Then there were sentries with rifles, posted at every entrance All these she made with clay It used to be a wonderful display and a lovely sight, and the truth is that my mother knew all these things from India I have never seen or heard of anything like that during the Dewali festival here." It is possible that Rookabai was holding on to a jhanki peculiar either to her Brahmin family or to her particular region, a jhanki that Christianity was powerless to dispel. The retention of Indian or Hindu attitudes amongChristianised Indians is exemplified in Anna herself. In the closing pages of the account, she is severe on those Indians who had lost the sense of the significance of Indian names and Indian naming ceremonies. She is not entirely correct in some of her assertions, and she can complain that "Maharaf' is not really a last name without feeling the oddity of the "Mary" part of the name Mary Maharaj. But the fear of extinction in an alien land is not entirely dead: "Soon, we East Indians will lose our identity No one will know who is who." Anna Chandisingh began her career at the Sangre Chiquito Canadian Mission School in May 1917 as a Fourth Class Assistant Teacher earning $10.00 per month. How the people in the district iv

PAGE 12

responded to the novelty is recorded by Anna herself: "In those early days all the teachers went out every morning to visit and bring out the children to school. I did my share of it and the result was that all the little Hindoo and Moslem girls began attending schaal when they saw a female East Indian teacher." By 1954 when Anna retired as a Senior Assistant Teacher (the equivalent of Deputy Head), Indian attitudes to the education of daughters had begun to change, while Church and State were providing more places, and more varied programs for Indian girls. The early days in Sangre Chiquito mark the beginning of Anna's contribution to these developments; and the story, in her own hand, of how she became a teacher, is itself an exemplary part of them. Through Anna's account we can, of course, follow the development of one strand of denominational education in Trinidad. But it is of more moment that against a general background ofthe lives of Indian women between 1900 and 1965, we can watch the education of the Indian woman becoming more than just a preparation and training for marriage. Behind Anna is the bold figure of her mother Rookabai. In India, Rookabai had been a child bride. She was delivered with great ceremony to her husband at the age of twelve, and the child became frightened, naturally, of the old man with heavy mous taches. So one night she ran away not only from her in-laws' apparently extensive compound, but also from India: "She walked and walked until she saw a crowd of people and she went to see what was going on. It was the place where the people gathered to be taken on the ships that brought them to Trinidad as immigrants. She heard all about the gold and wealth of Trinidad, so she decided to be one of them." Anna's memory of what Rookabai related to her children is that Rookabai was a voluntary inunigrant, a Brahmin child versed in the Hindi language and Hindu books. When Mrs. Sarah Morton opened up a home in Tunapuna where Indian girls were to learn English, Hindi and" every other thing to make them good house-wives," Rookabai was in the first batch to be taken in. In v

PAGE 13

those days, the Canadian Mission seemed to regard preparation for wedlock as an important part of the education of young girls, and they developed quite a system (it included zoning) for finding suitors and arranging marriages for their flock. And so, when the time seemed ripe, a marriage was arranged for Rookabai in the country to which she had fled. The man selected was a young teacher. Chandisingh, baptised George Washington was married to Rookabai, baptised Elizabeth Bums, attheAramalayaChurch, Tunapuna,in 1891. HowtheCanadian Mission carried on their business among the Indians, and how deeply they involved themselves in the private as well as the public lives of the target population are the undeclared and underlying themes of Anna Chandisingh's autobiographical ex- erose. Chandisingh had come to Trinidad as a boy on an immigrant ship, and had been sent to school where he learnt English well enough to be considered educated; and "in as much as the idea and aim of the Missionaries were to open schools and Churches, as soon as the young men could read and write sufficiently, they were placed in charge of the schools. That is how my father was the Head teacher of more than one school for short periods of time." Chandisingh and his wife suffered frequent transfers. They were shifted from 51. Helena to Caroni to Guaico to Sangre Chiquito to San Juan to Arouca, then to Guaico again, and the recently married man was even sent on a short mission to 51. Lucia. But he was no fool. He bought cocoa lands in Caigual on his first posting to Guaico in 1898, and got more when he returned in 1904. By the time of his posting to San Juan in 1902 or 1903, he had gone over to being a Catechist instead of simple Head Teacher. During this hectic period of camping and de-camping, Rookabai bore six children of whom five survived and were in tow in 1904 when the move from Arouca to Guaico was made. Chandisingh 's salary then was $24.00 per month. Anna, the third child, was five years old. VI

PAGE 14

How Rookabai felt about all this journeying and child-bearing we do not know. The account only tells us that she was playmate to the children, organiser of games, and story-teller, an activity in which she was joined by Chandisingh. "They told their stories in Hindi, because we all spoke Hindi at home and with our friends. We spoke English in school." Anna goes on in this part to describe how the Canadian Mission used Hindi to project the Christian message. "All Canadian Mission schools taught Hindi reading and writing during the Religious Instruction period. Our Church services were carried on in Hindi from the Sunday school leaflets to the singing of the bhajans, to the preaching of the selIlIOns. The Bhajan books or Hindi hymn books were printed at the Tunapuna Printing Press by Dr. John Morton and his men, Mr. Max Gobin being his chief man." Butshecomes back to Rookabai,describing Rookabai's retention of Hindu traditions in spite of being a Christian, and commenting on her mother's ability to organise occasions to bring her friends and the village women together. And then the idyllic tone is broken. This is how Anna leads up to the break-up of her family, and the separation of her mother and father that must have been coming ever since those hectic years of moving from place to place at the call of the Mission. "My mother was a born leader of women and children. But ihe only one she could not lead was my father. He always had his way, and it seems to me that events took place and changes in their own attitudes towards each other began. Misunderstandings, I say because as children, we noticed the change of behaviour between them. No doubt my father had his plans, and events worked out in such a way that my father and Dr. Morton had some misunderstanding. And he had to give up his work as a catechist. So naturally, we had to leave the Mission house." The account never tells us what was the nature of the misunderstanding between Chandisingh and Rev. Morton; nor does it speculate about how Rookabai might have been feeling about her vii

PAGE 15

husband's busyness. But for two years after the falling out with Rev. Morton, the family was reduced to living off the estates at Guaico and Caigual. And then, in June 1909, the father decided to send the oldest girl Dorcas (twelve) and the ten year old Anna to stay with a very good friend of his in Couva, whose wife would teach them housework. What led a man of Chandisingh' s experience and education to resort to such a scheme for his daughters is never disclosed in the account, and we do not know what part Rookabai played in the making ofthe decision. Afterthe train journey, the girls were fed well and they slept in comfortable beds. But from the next day everything changed. The friend's wife was mean and merciless. The girls were unpaid servants. 'The work we did at that home was not the worst thing, but the ill-treatment by that woman, and being ridiculed and laughed at by the children were not so pleasant for us. When Chandisingh visited the girls in the Couva house two nights before Christmas, Anna stole into his room when all were asleep and questioned him earnestly as to whether he had really come to take them home. He made arrangements for them to connect with him on the Sangre Grande train at St. Joseph Railway station. On the Sangre Grande train, the girls told the tale of their sufferings at the hands of "that woman." On arrival they were met at the Guaico Railway Station by their mother and two brothers. They were taken then to the small wooden house that their father had built himself in their absence. But the symbolism is misleading. Anna is numb and precise about what was really happening: 'That was the last Christmas, 1909, we spent together as a family." There is a reticence in the account that comes from the fact that Anna belonged to a time when it was held that certain things are not to be dwelt upon. But loyalty and a lack of spite also help to give to the autobiography a bare factual quality that can be intense and ironic. Her detailing of the break-up ofthe family is flat, but resonant. Abruptly, in 1910, Chandisingh sent Dorcas and Anna to the VIII

PAGE 16

lere Girls Horne at Princes Town. It was a school that trained girls to be good housewives. When the girls got to the age of fifteen, their parents would usually corne and take them away to be married. In some cases, however, suitors could write directly to the Superintendent of the horne who would make the necessary anangements. 'We graduated there by marriage, some were successful, others not. My own sister Dorcas was one of the unfortunate ones." The Journal registers Anna's desolation at being so suddenly cut off from her familiar place and from her friends and imme diate family: '1 looked out on the street and felt so lonely. I could have stepped out and continued walking until I reached horne." But there was no horne. Horne was disappearing. Having disposed of the two older girls, the unemployed father of five emigrated to British Guiana. In that same year, Rookabai sold the Guaico property to the Canadian Mission, and with her six year old Hannah, left for India "which had always been her desire." The two boys, Charles and Joseph, were left in the house at Guaico, "until one day, Dr. Morton took both of them, put them in a boat and sent them off to British Guiana to meet my father, who had already got work as a Catechist with Dr. Scrirngeour." From this point, the father plays no part in Anna's life, and seems to have been pushed out of her thoughts. He is hardly mentioned. Then Rookabai dies in India in 1914. One brother becomes a medical doctor, and the other a distinguished High School Principal, but they are based in British Guiana. Dorcas graduates out of the Horne into an unsuccessful marriage. And then the long correspondence with Hannah, conducted right through to the younger girl's marriage and the birth of her two children stops abruptly. To take in the impact of all this is to see that Anna's achievement, and her nOlIlldlcy represent a triumph of the spirit over aloneness and shock. Readers of the account can follow for themselves Anna's determination and resourcefulness during the four years at the Horne. In 1914, she was taken away by the Mortons as a graduate ix

PAGE 17

ready for marriage. In the waiting period, however, she was sent to teach needlework at the San Juan C. M School. She would live with the Catechist and his wife. These people were rushing to better themselves economicaUy, and their paying guest became their slave and watchman. The usually placid Anna teUs us how the $3. 00 per month she earned for teaching needlework disappeared, and complains thus of the unscrupulous couple's deduc tion of $2.40 for board: "For all the work I did for these people, Ihad to pay them board. They should have paid me a salary when I think of it now. But relief came. The expected bridegroom said never a word. "It so happened," the later Anna could joke, "that after six months had passed, nobody wanted me or something because I was still single ." The Superintendent of the Iere Home now came to the rescue, and Anna was sent to the Girls High School at San Fernando From there she became oneof the first four East Indian girlsat the Naparima TrainingCoUege for teachers. She wrote the Third Class teachers Exams in 1916 and 1917 failing on both occaSIOns. This section of the autobiography is rich in detail about the growth and the workings of the Presbyterian school system and it records the names of most of the missionaries associated with the enterprise. At the same time, however, it shows the courage and the application of someone struggling with lack of money, an absence of home and family, and an early education distracted and made patchy by family circumstances Eventually, things came right for her. She passed the Third Class Exam at the third sitting, and crossed the next Examination hurdle at the first attempt. She was wooed. She chose to marry. Then she worked as Assistant Teacher in the same school as her husband who had become Head Teacher She brought up a family of achievers She outlived her husband, but she retired in 1954, a year before his death. Anna Mahase and her husband taught together at the Guaico C. M School for over thirty years, and in the account of her life

PAGE 18

and career, she lists the generations of students who passed through the school and went on to distinction in the society. She played a major educational role, and as Senior Assistant teacher, she was virtually Deputy Head. But she knew that as a woman she would never be appointed Head Teacher. It was because of people like her, however, that that patriarchal bias was elimi nated. In the later pages, she takes pride in her role not justas mother but as wife. The gratitude she shows for the blessings of family life make us think again of the absences and deprivations she had survived. How the daughter could retain Rookabai's strength and independence, and still be the exemplary wife and mother of convention; how she could pursue her career as teacher without feeling that it conflicted with her need and instinct for family can only be explained by looking at her relationship with the man who wooed and married her. At the centre of the Journal is a delicate and moving story of unforced love, and a marriage patiently built and bonded by things done together, mutual interests pursued in common, and teamwork in their profession. It is with this love story that it is fitting to end. After writing her Third Class Teacher's Exam for the second time, Anna was sent to teach as a Fourth Class Assistant Teacher at the Sangre Chiquito C. M. School. At the age of sixteen, and a graduate of the Iere Home, Anna had not been averse to the marriage that was being arranged for her. Of the suit and suitor she wrote: "I knew him of course but notto speak to, much more to talk about love and making a home. But I did not mind because he had belonged to a Christian family and his father was a coworker with Dr. John Morton. So I decided in my mind that all would be well." Only a gOSSip'S retailing of Anna's remark that she would not live ina mother-in-laws house had lost her this suitor. Two years later the young man returned, promising to live separately from his family if she would agree to marry him. "But I was guided in my decision by some intuition, and I promptly answered that I xi

PAGE 19

did not care to marry then." In its quiet way, this was history. The h>dian woman had chosen notto accept a respectable marriage to a man she didn't really know. A career as teacher was chosen over the safety of marriage. Anna remembers that Reverend Harvey Morton, the intennediary, patted her on her shoulder saying '1 would not like to throwaway a nice girl like you." The education of Anna Chandisingh was beginning to teIl. At the Sangre Chiquito School then, there were four pupil teachers, and "there was one among them who at once seemed interested in me." This was Mahase, a Fourth Year pupil teacher who had not been sent to theTraining College because he was a Hindu. He was six years older than she, but he was junior to the new Assistant teacher. This did not prevent him from showing his interest. 'The fact is we both liked each other. He would remain after school to supervise the sweeping and say little nothings to me which I did not mind at all." Mahase was moving fast for those days, but his progress was about to be interrupted. It was announced from the pulpit one Sunday that Mahase would be leaving the district that evening, would overnight in Tunapuna with Dr. Morton,and then proceed to San Fernando by the first train next morning. Those who did not understand the system would soon find out that overnighting in Tunapuna meant baptism Mahase's mother and uncles understood this very weJJ; as prominent and practising Hindus they could not be expected to approve. But it was the uncles who reacted. They did all they could to prevent the disgrace of conversion for the pupil teacher. In the confusion Mahase left without seeing Anna. But hecame backfor holidays. His mother who was supportive at all times, could not keep to the uncles' apparent decision to have notl\ing more to do with the betrayer of their religion. And soon he was visiting Anna every day, and introducing her to his family who liked her. They walked a lot. ''That stretch of road from Pacheco up the hill to the Can;!dian Mission School is sacred to me when I think of the number of times we walked that road ... We walked the Sangre Chiquito roads almost every night and xii

PAGE 20

not once did he make me afraid of him." They were saving everything for when they got married. They lived at a time when little things meant a lot. "At Training College he got $4.00 a month, and once he bought for me as a gift a small vial of perfume for $1.20. I thoughtthat was too much to spend from what he got. Whenever I get that scent, all those feelings of longing, anxiety and expectations come back to me ... They did not deprive themselves of all the illicit joys. Anna records with some pride that Dr. Morton had calise "to call in Mahase and warn him not to take me out to Port of Spain alone, but Mahase was good for himself, and the reply Dr. Morton got caused him to respect Mahase more." They even went so far as to break Training College regulations, carrying on an elaborate secret correspondence through a network of intennediaries and a system of coded envelopes placed inside of other envelopes. They studied together for the Teachers' Exams. They passed the Second Class exams at the same time, and Mahase was appointed Head Teacher at the Grosvenor Canadian Mission School. Such a closeness had developed between them that there was no need for a fonnal proposal. A month after Mahase's appointment, he and Anna were married, and Dr. Morton had to go to the Director of Education to argue successfully against the regulation that "No married woman is to be retained on the staff of any Government or Assisted Primary school in the Colony." The husband and wife team spent a year at Grosvenor School and were then invited to take over at Guaico. Here they were to become an institution. The tale Anna tells is as much an account of profes sional teamworkas of the romance of two people involved ina life partnership sustaining to both of them. It is part of the moderation and equanimity in Anna's dispo sition that while she was critical of the regulation against married women in the profession, she did not speak out against the bias which made Mahase eligible to be Head Teacher while she, with the same qualifications, and seniority, was appointed Assistant. It is possible that she understood the size of the problem that xiii

PAGE 21

needed to be overcome, and had the wisdom and the temperament to bide her time and whittle away at male dominance. It is certain that she respected Mahaseand did not envy his elevation. 5he was not a militant feminist, she probably wouldn't have known the word 'feminist', but her life and career advanced the cause of women's liberation, and provided a model for Indian girls. Rookabai was a fiery lady who taught her daughter independence but was not able to combine this attitude with holding a family together. Rookabai had no career, and she refused to be a mere housewife. With a career and a pedigree, Anna could attempt to combine her domestic role with her profession and make them feed into one another. That she managed to do so may have been a function of the state of the world in which she grew up. But it must also have come from resolution and from a deep deep need to make good the trauma of the past. It is a loss to the curious reader that Anna does not speak of those things, does not hint at any of the tensions she must have felt. We can infer, however, that after what she had experienced, and with such merit survived, she must have seen it as her task to ensure that her own children would have solid ground from which to begin their journey, in their own way, in their own time they would have to work out their own balance between the private life and the professional career Professor Kenneth Ramchand Depallment of English University of the West Indies, 5t. Augustine XIV

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PROLOGUE My mother started writing her autobiography in 1935. We all recall the hours she spent at either our dining room table or in the Study/Library working on her life story, recording all the details in a Red Nestle Diary which I am sure she obtained through her involvement in the Child WeUare League. Subsequently, she rewrote her story in another Red Nestle Diary. Our family has spent many hours deciding whether or not we should publish because of the very personal nature of the story. Eventually it was felt that Ma would have wanted the infolIIIa tion shared with the community if only to record the contribution of The Canadian Missionaries and the Presbyterian Church and also for the' motivation and encouragement it ought to generate in the lives of many girls and women of this country, proving that nothing is unachievable. We thank the publishers, Royards Publishing Company, particu larly Roy and Clifford Narinesingh for undertaking the publica tion of my mother's autobiography. My father's autobiography written much later is appended. The family also wishes to thank Professor Kenneth Ramchand, Dr. Brinsely Samaroo, Mrs. Therese Mills, Rev. Mary Nairnool, Mrs. Joy Moore, Miss Bonnie Hamilton and Mrs. SlIsan Guyadeen Taylor for their contributions to the publication of this work. We record with gratitude all others who may have contributed to the successful publication of this book. We hope that you will enjoy reading both these life stories. Anna Mahase Jnr. xv

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Anna Mahase Snr

PAGE 25

1 ROOKABAI I began writing my story in A pril1935. I stopped and began again in 1945. Then again in 1956 I was born on March 4,1899, being the third in the Chandisingh family. My father was then the Head Teacher of the Guaico Canadian Mission Indian School now known as the Guaico Presbyterian School. The school had been opened in 1898, by Rev. John Morton, the Pioneer Canadian Missionary who had come to Trinidad in 1868, and having begun work among the East Indians on the Sugar Cane Estates in the South of Trinidad, eventually was stationed up North in Tunapuna in 1881. His work extended from Woodbrook to Maracas, all the way East to Sangre Grande. When the Railway was extended to Sangre Grande from Alima in 1897, Guaico became central and Rev. Morton bought lands there. A school was opened in a temporary building, until the following year when it became Government aided. A new building was constructed with windows painted in colours, typical of the early Canadian Mission Schools. A teachers' house was built near the school. It was there I was born. My father had come from India to Trinidad as a Hindoo lad with two brothers and their mother on an immigrant ship. She was indentured on the Caroni Estates. My father being of school age was sent to school where he learnt the English T anguage. They were already well educated in Hindi. In those early days there were not many educated men (East Indians) and in as much as the idea and aim of the Missionaries were to open schools and churches, as soon as the young men could read and write suffidently, they were placed in charge oftheschools. That is how my father became the Head Teacher in more than one school for short periods of time. He was definitely that of the Guaico Canadian 1

PAGE 26

Anna Mahase Snr 'r""-.1:I-.t \""1' t 0.-........... "Qt, ..I .... ....:t;t.. ,'V .... ,.", ;..\., .i...-v So R;vlo '" av C q,u-L. 09-:t;;l...< F 0 .. d. ;;.;J. SL J..Zf? .i.e,... b..1:!hi p """'" .",.,t c,,;;.' ".,;t J;lO
PAGE 27

ROOKABAI Mission School, because when my husband and I were appointed atthisschool in 1920 as Head and Assistant teachers, the very first Registers were still in the cupboards of the school in his own handwriting, admitting pupil No.1 etc. I have a few of those pages in my possession. It was sometime after my father's arrival in Trinidad, another immigrant ship landed, among the passengers was a Hindoo Brahmin child twelve years old She was Rookabai, who became my mother later on. Her story as to how she came to Trinidad always seemed interesting to me, and though we, her five children, were not all grown up. I was about seven or eight and we separated as a family when I was eleven I can remember vividly all she told us about her coming. She had been married as a child as was the custom in India, but was not sent to her husband's home until she was twelve. Then the day arrived with all its drum beating and pageantry and the young bride was actually carried in an enclosed carriage (doli) to the in-laws' home. When she saw who her husband was, he was old with heavy moustaches -she was afraid of him and decided to run away. The description she gave of that home was that they were a wealthy family ,a large house, with small earthenware jars put up on the ledges, with money and gold filled in them. So one night Rookabai got up quietly, took one ofthe jars and walked out. She tipped the watchman by at gate, and began walking not knowing where she was going. She heard every few hours special men who were paid to call out the hour of the night. She walked and walked until she saw a crowd of people and she went to see what was going on. It was the place where the people gathered to be taken on the ships and brought to Trinidad as immigrants. She heard all about the gold and wealth in Trinidad, so she decided to be one of the immigrants. The ship landed on Nelson Island, where the people were examined by the Immigration Officer, before they were allowed to land in the island of Trinidad. When the officer saw Rookabai, a twelve year old child and a girl, he thought she was too young to be sent to an Estate to work. So 3

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Anna MaJwse Snr

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ROOKABAI he placed her with an English family to work and perhaps learn English. She was already at that age well versed in the Hindi language and Hindoo books Hindoo girls in India did not go to school, but Brahmin girls were privileged to have tutors go to their homes and teach th"m. That is why my mother knew so well the Hindoo books like the Ramayan, the Prem Sagar and others before she came here. A few years later 1890 January, Mrs Sarah Morton, wife of Rev John Morton, opened up a home for East Indian girls at Tunapuna. They were to learn the English and Hindi languages, good housekeeping and every other thing to make them good housewives. My mother was among the very first group of girls. She even played the organ by ear for the girls to sing their Bhajans. I think it is from her we got our aptitude for music. I know when I was in the fourth standard here in Guaico, she also taught me Vulgar Fractions. So the years passed for her. at the Girls' Home in Tunapuna, and when she became old enough, it was time to get her married and no other suitor was found for her but Chandisingh. He was baptised George Washington and she Elizabeth Bums. They were married at the Aramalaya Presbyterian Church, Tunapuna in August 1891. I have a copy of their Marriage Certificate signed by Rev John Morton. My father took charge of 51. Helena Canadian Mission School where their first child Arthur was born, but died after a few months. Then Charles was born in Caroni where my father had been transferred. During that time he was sent to 51. Lucia to assist in the work there. In 1897, Dorcas, their first girl was born, also in Caroni; then my father was sent to Guaico as the first Head Teacher of the Canadian Mission School there, where I was born in 1899. 5

PAGE 30

Anna Mahase Snr. 2 THE BEGINNING Around the year 1901 or 1902 my father was sent to Sangre Chiquito as Head Teacher. He bought cocoa lands at Caigual. In those days Head Teachers got $18.00 per month while our preachers or catechists as they were called, got $24.00. That is why many of the Head Teachers even up to 1914 Second Class Head Teachers, went overto the Preaching profession. Of course, by then they were getting much more than $18 .00 and $24.00, and the Naparima Training College which had opened in 1894, had begun to send out graduates. Yet around 1914, men like T.A. Hosein, Irnamshah, Ramrekha, Sultanti and maybe others, Second Class Head Teachers went over to the Ministry They were, however, later ordained as Ministers of our Presbyterian Church. As late as 1919, when we got married, Mahase s salary as Head Teacher was $35 .00 per month and mine as an Assistant Teacher was $16.00, two Second Class qualified teachers. I said my father bought lands in Caigual while he was Head Teacher of the Sangre Chiquito Canadian Mission School. Roads were very bad and muddy. I very well remember sitting in a basket on one side of a donkey and my sister Dorcas on the other going to the Estate. Charles my oldest brother was either carried or had to walk knee deep in mud. Pedestrians waded in mud and waterto reach their destination. I also rememberwalkingthrough the rice fields and suddenly we came out in the open. Whenever I walk through tall bushes and emerge in the open, that long ago feeling comes right back to me as I felt in those early days. Charles my oldest brother attended school in Sangre Chiquito. One other pupil whom my father taught there, I must mention, because much more will be said of him later on. He was Mahase, son of Mathura Persad, a Brahmin priest, who belonged to a very large Hindoo family in the district. My father was transferred to San Juan, this time as a catechist. My younger brother Joseph was 6

PAGE 31

THE BEGINNING ... born there. I have dim recollections of how we crossed to go to the shop under a big arch over which the Railway lines ran. Charles attended the SanJuan GovernmentSchool. There is no doubt that as years went by and the situation improved, there were more trained men, better equipped and qualified to be Head Teachers, so these first ones had to be replaced. As a Catechist my father was sent from San Juan to Arouca around the year 1903. I remember the mango trees on the premises. A school building was there but was never used as a school. Services were held there on Sundays. Very often Mrs. Morton would bring ready-to -wear garments for the boys and girls of the district, sent by the women of Canada from the Church there. Charles, Dorcas and I attended the Arouca Government School. I remember the large and spacious grounds with a large tamarind tree. The Head Teacher was Mr. Sydney Smith who became later on the first local Inspector of Schools in Trinidad. I very well remember sitting on 7

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Anna Mahase Snr 8

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THE BEGINNING the large Infant galleries of the Infant Department long ago. My youngest sister Hannah was born in Arouca in 1904. Then my father was sent back to Guaico where I had been born. I was then five years old He was also appointed local Manager of some of the schools around, Guaico, Cunaripo, Cumuto and Sangre Chiquito The corresponding Manager was always the Canadian Missionary, Dr. Morton who lived at Tunapuna. Whenever he came with Mrs Morton to remain for a few days, they lived in a small wooden Cottage at the back of the school, which had been the Head Teacher's house, who lived elsewhere in the district. Later on in 1912, when the Morton Memorial Church was built, a cedar cottage was put up at the back of the church called "Havant House" where they stayed whenever they came to Guaico. Rev George Murray lived there for a few months or years until the Manse was built I think sometime in 1923. Before we came to Guaico from Arouca in 1904, we spent two weeks in St. Joseph in the house near the school. Then with all our belongings, father, mother and five children wearrived in Guaico. We lived for a few months on our own lands at the back of the Church, in a mud hut, while a house for the Catechist was being built at the back ofthe school. As I grew older I found out that my father had bought lands here when he first came to teach in 1898, and we also had lands over the Railway line where we went as children to help with cocoa etc. from the estate. A strip of land from the back of the Catechist's house was my father's up to Crown lands, and the strip from behind the church and the back of the present school building was my mother's. The Canadian Mission owns the property now. We saw the Catechist's house go up on tarred wooden 'pillow trees a three bedroom house upstairs, while downstairs was to be used as kitchen. Finally we moved in. My father's salary was now $24 .00; with the proceeds from the Estate at Guaico and at Caigual, we lived comfortably. We three older children attended the Guaico Canadian Mission School. Not very far from our home lived a Hindoo family of a mother and four children with whom we all played One ofthem, 9

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Anna Mahase Snr. a girl my own age, I must mention, because when my husband and I came to teach at Guaico in 1920, she, Sim or Phooi, as my children affectionately referred to her, who was already a widow, Sim (Phooi) with Cyril came to actually live with us and took care of Cyril as a baby and remained with us for over twenty years looking after all my children while I went out working. About fifty years of age, she married the father of her two sons. After a short period he died leaving her all his property, and she is now the owner of the 10

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THE BEGINNING Guaico bakery at Cunaripo Road, Guaico. During the years 1904 to 1908, many changes took plac e and some outstanding incidents I would like to mention. My mother was always our play-mate and organised all our games. She actually played with us, outdoor games, and for indoor games we played cards and draught. We never went out at nights to play, but those who lived nearby would come, and my mother would be always there to see that we all had a good time. My father and mother were both great storytellers. They told their stories in Hindi, b ecause we all spoke Hindi at home and with our friends. We spoke English in school. All Canadian Mission Schools taught Hindi reading and writing during the Religious Instruction period. Our Church services were carried on in Hindi from the Sunday school leaflets to the singing of Bhajans to the preaching of the sellllons. The Bhajan books or Hindi Hymn books and leaflets were printed at the Tunapuna Printing press by Dr. John Morton and his men, Mr. Max Gobin, being his chief man. I remember about the age of eight ornine, I used to take the Hindi leaflet and compare it with the English Bible and found it so interesting. I had I think, a love for languages, for it was easy for me with English Grammar and Hindi Grammar and Translation, in which I did not do badly seeing that I topped the island in Hindi at the Training College Teachers' lixaminations. After we were married both Mahase and I studied Latin and French, he to write the Matriculation Examinations and I just for study. Mr. Carlton Loinsworth, then in Sangre Grande used to come at nights to assist him in his studies. He eventually passed his Matriculation examinations and went on to gain his Bachelor of Education degree externally from Illinois University, United States of America. When I began doing Hindi Grammar at Training College, I had already done some at Princes Town with Miss Archibald, I found the Latin Grammar so much like the Hindi Grammar, and I got so interested that I did the whole of the first Latin Book '1nitia" and went through it with Cyril before he entered Queen's Royal College in 1932. 11

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Anna Mahas e Snr. 3 THE EARLY YEARS I am back now to the period 1904-1910, the period when we all lived together as a family in the Catechist's house at the back of the Guaico Canadian Mission School. My mother, though a Christian and the wife of a preacher, still kept up some of the Hindoo traditions and customs and particular ways oflife At the annual Dewali festival, in a room downstairs, she would make an enclosure 8ft by 6 ft with clay about 8 inches high with double spiked top like a wall, leaving an opening for the entrance, inside of which was built a castle 2ft high, shaped circular ending on the top with a small platfOllll Each circle became smaller from the bottom. About 4 circles were made until the top was reached. On the top sat the King and Queen, with their regalias, crown and sceptre. Along the corridors were soldiers all dressed up in alillour, helmet and sword, standing at attention There were ladders going up from one corridor to another. On these ladders were female slaves carrying trays of food and buckets on their heads. Then there were sentries with rifles posted at every entrance. All these she made with clay. It used to be a wonderful display and a lovely sight, and the truth is that my mother knew all these things from India. I have never, ever seen or heard of anything like that during the Dewali festival here. During the day we invited our friends to a party when we actually cooked in the small fireside made in the enclosure We fed them all, including all the many and varied Indian sweets my mother made. Deyas were lighted allover our house and yard. We then played games. Another instance to show how my mother liked to organize occasions to bring her friends and the village women together, was this In the month of July, for the whole month, every night the women and girls would g2ther to ride in a rope and board swing put up on a mango tree. The ropes were looped at both 12

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THE EARLY YEARS ends through which a 6ft board would be placed. The women, maybe four at a time would sit as on a bench, while two women or boys would push from either end, to the laughter and enjoyment of all. My mother was a born leadero/women and children. But theonlyoneshecould not lead was my father. Healways had his way, and it seems to me that events took place and changes in their own attitudes towards each other began. Misunderstandings I say, because as children, we noticed the change of behaviour between them. No doubt my father had his plans, and events worked out in such a way that my father and Dr. Morton had some misunderstanding and he had to give up his work as a Catechist. So naturally we had to leave the Mission house. Now my father was out of employment around 1908. Charles Dorcas, Joseph, Hannah and I continued to attend the Guaico School. It became necessary that some income should come from somewhere, and the only source ofthat was from the Caigual and Guaico Estates. We rented a house on the Eastern Main Road which was in front of the present Presbyterian Manse, the owner of which lived on the very spot where the Manse is now. He, living near us and knowing us all along, offered to send Charles to a High School in Sangre Grande, which was just opened and carried on by Kenneth Mahabir of San Fernando. The school was where the Telephone Office is now. That arrangement did not last too long, because the following year Charles was appointed a Pupil Teacher at the Guaico School. His salary then was $2.00 per month. Somewhere around 1908 or 1909, I remember the excitement of the whole village when the first car passed on this road. Everybody ran out to see this thing which could move on its own without a horse pulling it. It wasa novelty for all of us, and when my father rode on the footboard of the first bus from the Guaico Junction, we thought he had performed a great feat. An incident which I can never forget and is still vivid in my mind, was when I was about nine years old living in Guaico at the back of the school. It is an idea as people said then, where the spirit of 13

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Anna Mahase Snr. a dead woman entered the body of a living one We all had known the dead woman called Bachee, and we knew when she died, and her house was all closed up. On the Eastern Main Road about one hundred yards in front of the woman's house there was being celebrated a grand Muslim wedding. This was opposite the then school. The house is still standing, but quite old. The daughter of the house was getting married. We lived in the Catechist 'shouseat the back ofthe school. I was about nine. Well, this shopkeeper owned a grocery, lots of horses, cattle and goats and dogs. He fed the public for a whole week prior to the wedding. Goats were killed everyday and his house was always crowded. Of course, we children were always most present. On the evening before the wedding (it was a night wedding), a woman named Kameran went to the back of the house where this Bachee had died, and which was all closed up. We do not know whether, because she had gone alone, she must have got fright ened orsomething scared her, but her behaviour during the night became strange. After the wedding all the guests that remained, slept on bags on the floor prepared for them My mother and we children did not go home. We slept also, nearest to her. In the night I heard the horses prancing up in the stable, the dogs barking and actually looking into the room through the gate, howling and crying I heard them and saw them. Then I saw my mother throw off somebodys foot from her once, then a second time. Suddenly, the woman began to shake up as if in a fit. My mother raised an alrum and everyone got up. The men had to move her away bodily into a room, where of course the crowd gathered, I among them. Everyone was given a grain of garlic. I had mine too, so that the spirit would not leave this woman and enter any other The men questioned her about many things, threatened to tie her up with a rope and throw her into the well. They asked her in Hindi, we all spoke Hindi then. "What is your name?" After many more threats she said, "My name is Bachee." Now, you can imagine the excitement. Everyone was certain now that what they suspected was correct, and immediately a coal pot 14

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THE EARLY YEARS was brought, and they began to burn hot peppers in that, and believe it or not, spirit and people themselves had to run, because no one can remain around when that happens. So we all went horne. In the morning when I returned, there was the woman sitting qUietly with her eyes bulging. So we knew that the spirit had left her. When one thinks about the strange behaviour of the animals, preceding the woman's, what could one think but that strange things do happen. This is what I saw myseU, and it has certainly left an impression in my mind. One more instance of something mysterious I wish to recall. Around the same time I was around eight or nine, one morning there was a big commotion in this village of Guaico. Everybody, big and small, young and old, wended their way over the train line into the cocoa fields to see a freshly dug hole about 6ft by 4ft and 4ft deep. People said that the Spaniards in the early days had buried money and gold and that some men who knew about it were digging for it, and that every time they felt something like iron or a trunk, it sank deeper. No one really saw who did the digging but every morning the hole became deeper. This hole was near a pommerac tree. We all used to go to see it. When we first carne to Guaico to teach in 1920 I remember going around with friends to see if it was still there, and there it was filling up gradually. Well I forgot all about it until 1963 One day, just for curiosity, I took David and Colin, my two grandsons and went. There was a house over the Railway line and we asked the owner whether that pommerac tree was still there, he said "Yes" and he actually went with us toshowus the place. There was the tree and that squarish hole was still there about a foot deep, filled with grass and stuff. That hole is over fifty six years old. Three weeks ago (May 1st, 1966) my brother Joseph and his wife were here for a few weeks He knew the story in the early days, so we decided to go and see. The area over the Line is all built up now, people are living in houses not far from the river We spoke to a man in whose yard we were standing, and my brother asked him if there is or was a pommerac tree around where he was, or' ; 15

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Anna Mahase Snr. if he had seen any before he built his house. He showed us a tree stump just in front of him and said that that was a Pomerac tree, and believe me or not when I looked to the right of it, I said "Look!" The sunken spot could be seen distinctly, it was planted up in dasheen. So that hole is still there, never to be filled up. It was sometime in June 1909, my father decided to send Dorcas (twelve) and me (ten) to a very good friend of his in Couva, whose wife, he said, was a very strict woman, and would teach us good housework. Well, Dorcas and I travelled by train to Couva and we found the house. The man was a civil servant, he had a grown up daughter, and a son attending a Port of Spain College (who came home on weekends) and three smaller children. They lived in a nine room house and seemed comfortable and happy. The first night we were nicely fed and we slept on a comfortable bed, but that was too good to last, because from the following night we slept on something else, not so great, but we had to get accustomed to new surroundings and conditions. We never com plained. Now our troubles began We got up early in the morning, Dorcas prepared the morning tea breakfast as we call it now, and I cleaned the whole yard, --16

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. I THE EARLY YEARS picking up every leaf from among the stones, then went in and cleaned up the rooms which were not used for sleeping. Then after a scanty meal, a half of the then i.e. loaf of bread, I cleaned up the remainder of the house. I then washed a bathpan full of children's clothes while my sister drudged in the kitchen I attended the Couva Canadian Mission School now known as the Exchange Presbyterian School. My sister was not sent. That is why later on she was always in a lower class than I I was then in Fourth Standard. There is where I received my first lessons in music when we were taught to sing from the Sol Fah notation The work we did at that home was not the worst thing, but the ill treatment by that woman and being ridiculed and laughed at by the children were not so pleasant for us; but the oldest girl was more humane, and after we had been there a few months, and she was to be married in a few weekS time, one night she called me into her room, covered her lamp with a lamp shade, and dictated a / letter to me which I wrote to my father, to come and take us .., .-"":: '. -17

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Anna Mahase Snr. away, but he never received it. When she got married and went to her new home, not very far from us, when her mother was cleaning up her room, she got this letter under the mattress. Apparently, the girl had forgotten to post it. Of course the mother suspected that her daughter was the one responsible, but she did us nothlng. No doubt my father had his intuition, and I was so very happy when two nights before Christmas the son of the house an nounced that Chandisingh had arrived. My father was treated very nicely and given a comfortable bed to sleep. I am surprised at myself sometime, to think at that early age, I could have thought of doing things which I did. I did not sleep early, but waited on the others to go to bed, then I walked silently into my father's room and asked him if he came for us, and when he said yes, I was the happiest child alive. He told me he would give the Station Master our train fare and that we were to take the train at Couva and meet him at St. Joseph, where we would transfer, and meet him on the Sangre Grande train, as he was going in to Port of Spain that morning That woman had given us a new dress each for her daughter's wedding, but did not let us bring them home. We would have got them when and if we went back. But there was no going back for us, because as soon as we met our father on the train we told him the whole story, and when we arrived in Guaico, my mother, my two brothers and my sister were waiting for us at the Guaico Railway Station. During the months we were away, my father had built hls own small wooden house on our own land at the back of the new school, whlch property now belongs to the Canadian Mission. My brother Charles was a Pupil Teacher and we had some income from our lands. That was the last Christmas, 1909, we spent together as a family. My father, unemployed, had hls own plans whlch did not know. So he decided to look for work in British Guiana Fortu nately, before he went, he did the wisest and most sensible thlng for Dorcas and me, that is, he arranged with Dr. Harvey Morton' Dr. Harvey Mort o n son of Dr John Morton 18

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THE EARLY YEARS to send us to the IereGirls' Home at Princes Town with Miss A.J Archibald as its Superintendent The Home had been opened in A class of girls Iere Girls' Home Princes Town with Mrs: Adolphus and Miss Adela Archibald (at back) 1905. Miss Archibald had been a Head Teacher of the Princes Town Canadian Mission School. When Mrs Morton ofTunapuna closed down her Home for girls, a few about four or five, who were not yet married, were sent to Princes Town. This decision of my father with the help of Dr. Morton was to me the first important turning point in my life. On the 10th June 1910, Dorcas and I bade farewell to father, mother, brothers and sister and off we went by train We had nevertravelled that far before, and we had to change trains twice to reach Princes Town; but we went and reached at night. We hired a cab and arrived at the Home. I 19

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Anna Mahase Snr. was eleven years old and my sister thirteen We were admitted by the Superintendent and the Matron, Mrs. Adolphus, an East Indian lady of the Bissessar family of Claxton Bay. We were to be supported by Canadian Mission funds. Two weeks later, my father went to British Guiana, and at the end of that year 1910, my mother with my youngest sister six years old, went to India, which had always been her desire. She sold her Guaico property to the Canadian Mission from the back of the present school to the railway line My two brothers, Charles and Joseph were left in the house at Guaico Charles was teaching and Joseph attending school, until one day, Dr. Morton took both of them, put them in a boat and sent them off to British Guiana to meet my father, who had already got workasa Catechist with Dr. Scrirngeour. Charles worked in a sugar mill and became a pan-boiler later on, while Joseph attended school. My mother wrote me at Princes Town several letters since she reached India She sent me pieces of silk for gallilents, a piece of !"still have. I heard afterwards, that as soon as my mother left for India, Dr. Morton contacted the Mission in the district where she was to have landed. The Missionaries found her, took her in, gave her a job, sent my sister horne, to High School, where she taught for a while until she got married. She had a boy Wilbur,and a girl Doris. News carne from India in 1914 that my mother had died, leaving my sister ten years old in the care of the American Mission. My sister continued to correspond with me all through her school and High School days, until she got married and had her two children Then suddenly she stopped writing and even her husband did not write, so correspondence stopped. I had heard she was ill at one time, so I suspected that she died and the husband would not say, and so Ilost contact with them. This brother of mine, Charles who went to British Guiana returned to Trinidad some years after and worked at the Usine Ste. Madeleine Sugar Factory. He got married, went to Dalhousie UniverSity, after attending High School there, and graduated as 20

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a Doctor of Medicine and returned to Trinidad to practise, He had a son Ranji, and a daughter Pearl. He eventually left to practise in British Guiana where he died by accident a few years ago, Joseph my younger brother is the Principalofthe Corentyne High School, and a very successful one at tha t, because oftheexcellent results of his school examiTHE EARLY YEARS -\ I '1 -, ... --Joseph Chandisingh M.B.E. nations A few years ago, he was awarded the honour of being made an M ,B,E. by the Queen for his meritorious service, He is married and has four boys, the oldest Ralph is now a Barrister at-Law, practising in Georgetown 21

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Anna Mahase Snr. 4 THE TURNING POINT Now forthe four years 1910 to 1914 which I spent at the home in Princes Town, those important years of education and character building. It is only those who have left their childhood haunts and early associations, relatives and friends at such a tender but impressionableage,can imagine the heartaches and longing to be at home once more. I remember the first evening in the Home at Princes Town. As soon as it was getting dark I looked out on the street and felt so lonely, I could have stepped out and continued walking until I reached home. But that was not to be. Better things were in store for me. I remember an experience which I would like to mention. Now I am not making up this, nor did I hear it from anybody; it is an experience which I had. They are instances which I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears I personally do not believe in spirits or ghosts as such, but it did make an impression on my mind at that time. When Dorcas and I were in the Girls' Home in Princes Town, we slept in room No.5. Our matron slept in a room downstairs, near another occupied by some older girls At one time I awoke (I was about twelve years old) and heard a piercing weird shrill cry. After a minute I heard it again. I got up and went quietly to the corridor to wake up the matron's two sisters. While I was telling them very quietly, do you know we heard it again? And then horror of horrors, a light was coming upstairs. It was the matron coming up with a lamp, no doubt to check and see that all was well, because she too had heard the cry three times on her doorstep, and she heard footsteps walking on the gravel towards the front gate. What that could have been we would never know, but we heard it and that was it, and our matron heard it too. There were two little girls (sisters) admitted to the Home at one Ume. Their mother had died and their father said that was the best place for them. They slept on 22

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-It" -I:> -r -, c' .0 t : 0+ THE EARLY YEARS Ii 23 \7)..j U) .-, 4 J

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Anna Mahase Snr. the closed gallery upstairs on one cot. I slept in the passageway with another girl. We had two cots. We were quite near the children. One weekend their father took them home. We two girls had to cook one day so we had to rise early while it was yet dark. Wedidnotevenknowwhattimeitwas,butwewerequietly getting ready to go downstairs, when quite near us on the gallery we heard one loud mournful shriek, once, twice, three times Everybody woke up and got together in fright, and of course our matron was there, because she had heard it also Well it was said that the children's mother went to visit them and not seeing them cried out loudly. Now, this is also what I heard myself. So that is it too The daily routine of the Home now began. Rising at mornings by the ringing of the bell, family worship when Miss Archibald played the Hymns on a small organ, Bible reading and prayers, followed by household duties, and attending the Princes Town Canadian Mission School. Girls under fifteen attended school. The older girls remained in the Home and were given lessons in Arithmetic, English and other suitable and necessary subjects Mr. Joseph Rampersad was the Head Teacher ofthe school. I was in the Fourth Standard Class and Dorcas in Third. About a year after, Mr. Rampersad went over to bea Catechist, with the idea of being ordained in the Ministry, as classes had begun by then to train our native men to be Ministers. The Naparima Training College for teachers (men) had already opened in 1894, with Dr. Coffin Ph.D. as Prindpal. Quite a number of the early graduates went over to do Ministry. Mr. Charles Rameshwar, succeeded Mr. Joseph Rampersad as Head Teacher of the Princes Town Canadian Mission School. He was also an able musician. He played the organ for us to march and drill and for us to sing our songs. He also taught music on the Staff on the blackboard. Then is when I really got interested in wanting to learn to play. Ambition really urges one to SUlIllount difficulties. I had made up my mind to study hard at school, and was very elated, when the following year my class examination results came in. I was 24

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THE TURNING POINT then in Fifth Standard. Mr. J.E. Stoer, the Inspector of Schools had written against my name Very Creditable papers." As regards music, I would like to mention how I learnt to play. A few girls at the Home took Music lessons from a teacher who charged a fee, of course, five shillings a month. I could not pay, but I wanted to play, so I made myself bold one day and walked straight up to Miss Archibald and asked her whether I could practise on the organ. She smiled and asked me whether I knew the notes. I told her that I had learnt them in school. She then told me to practise when no one else was using it. So whenever I got the chance I started with the Beginners' Book with the five finger exercises, and a few easy tunes. I began playing Hymn tunes because it was easy as I knew the tunes. When the white notes did .' 25 .. .' .. ".' -'

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Anna Mahase Snr. not sound correct, I shuck the black ones, which later on, by study and observation, I found out to be sharps and flats. Five years later, when I went to San Fernando to Training College, I played hymns for the nine o'clock Sunday School of which Rev. J.e. Mc Donald was Superintendent at SusamacharChurch. That kind of gesture of Miss Archibald gave me the opportunity ofleaming to play, which made me know enough music to play at school and in church here at Guaico all through my thirty four years of teaching career, and I did not pay a cent for music lessons. There was another girl who was sent to the Home by Mrs Morton She was Jean Basmatiah She was in a higher class than I at school, and very intelligent, especially in those days when there were not many as educated both in English and Hindi. So I did look up to her and tried to be like her and we became good friends We sang together in the Princes Town Choir, with others We both sang Alto I always enjoyed the singing there under the capable leadership of Mr. A .A. Nunez, Head Teacher of the Government School. I still remember some of the anthems with every part of them, bass, tenor, alto and soprano. Apart from attending regular church services twice a day, Hindi service twice, Hindi service in the morning and English at night, we did quite a lot of religiOUS studies at the Home, daily Bible reading, hymn singing and learning selected passages by memory. I received during the four years I spent there quite a number of lovely certificates from Canada for memory verses and shorter Catechism There were around forty girls in residence more or less, some going out after marriage, others coming in. A girl did not have to be an orphan to be sent there. They came from comfortable and Christian homes to be trained to be good house wives, who would and should be leaders and examples wherever they went. When the girls were fifteen years old and over, the parents found a suitor for them, came and took them away and married them. Meanwhile Miss Archibald and our Matron would assist. If on the other hand anyone wished to marry one of the girls, he would write to Miss Archibald and she would 26

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THE TURNING POINT arrange. We graduated there by marriage, some were successful, others not. My own sister, Dorcas was one of those unfortunate ones. A suitor was selected for her in Tunapuna, and ended up in separation, because the Morton's policy was that the Tunapuna girls must marry in the Tunapuna field. The intention was good but did not prove satisfactory in many cases My sister actually ended up in Guaico with her two small girls a number of years ago. She carries on a small business and is quite happy. Now in 1962 she is sixty five and I am sixty three '. '. .. .' .. '" Dorcas (Mousie) 27

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Anna Mahase Snr. 5 HARD TIMES In August 1914, I was fifteen, I was suddenly called away to Tunapuna. Dorcas was already married and so wasJeanAtwaroo. Paul Atwaroo was a Catechist in Tunapuna I was put to live with them and teach Needlework in the Tunapuna Canadian Mission School, with Mr. W. Jargoon as Head Teacher. I did not know why I was called away from Princes Town, but later on I heard that some teacher had asked for me in marriage, but again the Tunapuna girl could not marry in the Princes Town field, so that was it. I do not know what pay I got because I got none. I suppose whatever it was went to pay my board, which was quite alright. After teaching Needlework for three months in Tunapuna, I was sent to San Juan to do the same thing at the San Juan Canadian Mission School, this time to live with the Catechist and his wife there; Mr. and Mrs. T. While I was in Tunapuna, an assistant teacher whom I will mention later on was on the staff of the school. He used to send little notes to me which I qUietly discarded One of them read, "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it." The truth is that I never spoke to any of the teachers We girls were brought up in such a strict way that talking to boys would have been a very wrong thing. I found out later on that this passage is in Proverbs in the Bible. I am back in San Juan. When I went there I did not speak to the teachers either, neither did they speak to me. I used to sign the Register and leave. Charles Debysingh, now a retired Inspector of Schools, was a boy of my own age, and a Pupil Teacher in the School. He lived with Mr. Lionel Akal, the Head Teacher, on the He often came to pound rice in our wooden pounder, which he operated while I turned the paddy grains until the rice appeared which !fanned for him. He always behaved in a decent manner. Theopheius Dattoo a little boy of eight or nine also lived 28

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HARD TIMES with Mr. Aka!. He is now Head Teacher of Sangre Chiquito Canadian Mission Schoo!. He sometimes brought cow' s milk for us when we did not have. Mr. and Mrs. T had no children. They kept an adopted boy who went with them almost every day on a horsedrawncart to theitrice field in Longdenville nearChaguanas for the whole day, but the number of animals they had, entailed much more work that if there were a dozen children There was the horse for which I boiled corn everyday, cows, whose milk I kept on a slow fire in an earthenware pot all day, so Mrs T could scoop out the cream, put it in a glass bottle and at the end of the week, churn it to make ghee. Then there were turkeys, some of which, the gobblers, would run strangers from the yard like dogs I ,:;" ,:. 29 -v" --, '-, -,

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Anna Mahase Snr. They also had a number of cocks and hens and goats. When these two people went out almost every day with the boy, all the housework was left to me. It was not easy nor pleasant, I was a little over fifteen at the time. I rose at 5 a.m. brought out the pots and dishes to be washed, stooping, with no end of sandflies because of the animals, plastered the fireside with white dirt, walked down to the San Juan river and brought enough water to last the day. Sometimes the boy would help and then we were able to fill the barrel. Then it was preparing the morning tea, as it was called, the usual roti and curry of some kind, which the three of them would eat and also carry for lunch, because they went for the day. There was the house to clean and tidy up, my own clothes and part of theirs to wash, and the dinner to prepare for them when they carne in at night. On afternoons I went over to the school to teach Needlework. Charles Debysingh often asked me to play the Kindergarten songs for the infants to do their Action Songs. Mr. and Mrs. T would return home sometimes at 5 p m sometimes as late as 9 p.m. All this time I was always alone. At times I wonder how nothing happened to me then, a young girl of sixteen, with only bachelors around on the same premises, and not one day, did any ofthem, either by word or act, make me afraid of them. Maybe I myself was not thinking of anything wrong or bad and that God protected an innocent girl. My salary for teaching Needlework was $3.00 a month, twelve cents was taken out as church offering, and ten shillings went to pay my board, leaving me with two shillings, and those were the war days when white cotton was two shillings a yard. For all the work I did for these people, I had to pay them board. They should have paid mea salary, when !think ofit now. Some people think they have, but they have not, because they are poor in spirit. But even this state of affairs was not to last forever, because what had to be, happened. Miss Archibald from the Girls' Home, always followed her girls' careers wherever they went. She was interested in their welfare. She knew that my guardians, the Mortons had taken me away from the Home to get me married and naturally 30

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HARD TIMES off their hands. It so happened that after six months had passed nobody wanted me or something, because I was still Single God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perfolIIl One day in March 1915 when I was sixteen, Dr. Harvey Morton carne to me and told me that Miss Archibald had suggested that I go to the Girls' High School in San Fernando which had opened in 1912 with Miss Marion Outhit M.A. Canadian lady teacher, as Principal. Of course when I heard that, I welcomed the idea and consented right away. Miss Outhit agreed to accept me and to assist me to support myself She decided to open up a class among the girls, so I could teach them Hindi for half an hour each day. I was delighted with the thought and immediately began to make preparations, but with little or no cash in hand how could I prepare anything but to move with what I had? And that is exactly what I did. I travelled to Tunapuna with Mr. T to go to Jean Atwaroo, from where I would travel by the last train with Rev Mr. Kemp and the Rev Mr. Cummings to San Fernando. Mrs. T did not so much welcome the idea of my lea ving, as it would have meant for her the loss of a servant, in so much that when I was leaving she did not even ask me if I had any money; but on the train Mr. T gave me thirty six cents, unknown to his wife, and when I was leaving for San Fernando, Paul Atwaroo gave me fifty cents. So that was it. It was on the 6th March 1915, I left for San Fernando by the last train with these two very attentive gentlemen. That was really the important milestone in my life. 31

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Anna Mahase Snr. 6 NEW HORIZONS We travelled the day after the disastrous train collision which had taken place near St. Joseph in 1915. The two engines were locked into each other and it took a long time to clear the line Many people died and several were injured for life, hence the delay of the train on the night we travelled We reached San Fernando at 10 p.m. instead of 7 p m A cab conveyed us to the Mission compound. I had never been there before so I felt quite strange. I was left atthe home of Mrs. J.e. Mc Donald wife of Rev. J.e. Mc Donald, Pastor ofSusarnachar She admitted me and very kindly offered me tea and biscuits. I shall never forget her kindness to me that night. The problem now was where would I sleep There was no residence for girls there. TheTraining College boys' donllnnitories were on the compound and they were occupied. But there was one at the back of the Manse, called the uppellIlost dOllnitory which was not occupied at the time. A canvas cot was brought in from the Boys' dOIIltitory and put into one of the rooms for me, and they brought over Miss Mary John, Rev Fraser's house keeper to occupy another room. She became from then on, our Matron, so I became the first resident student in a Canadian Mission Girls' dOllnitory in San Fernando. During that month two more girls came in the dormitory, Stella Abidh, a tiny eleven or twelve year old brought by her father, Mr. Clarence Abidh, Head Teacher of the Charlieville Canadian Mission School. Stella, after spending a few years there at the High School, finished off at St. Joseph's Convent, Port of Spain, went to a medical school in Canada and graduated there as a medical doctor. To my mind (subject to correction) Stella Abidh was the first East Indian lady doctor in Trinidad. This goes to show how very much our East Indian women and girls are grateful to the Canadian Mission here in Trinidad. Dr. Abidh is 32

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NEW HORIZONS right now (J 962) a very senior Medical Officer with the Government down South. The Girls' High School was housed in the Southern portion of the ground floor Grant School, one room with about forty girls. The San Fernando Canadian Mission School occupied the remaining portion of the ground floor, the Head Teacher was Mr. Peter Dookhie Naparima College was upstairs of this very building. At first lbegandoing High School work, that is Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic etc. but a few weeks after, Irene Namsoo, a Pupil Teacher from the Primary School came over; Phoebe Lahouri, a very brilliant student of Naparima College upstairs, also joined, and together with Laura Grant a pupil of the High School and me, were grouped into one class. This was to be the Nucleus of the Women's Section of the Napa rima TrainingCollegeforTeachers. At vacation time in April the following month I returned to San Juan to spend it there, then I went back to San Fernando Thegirls' dCJlluitory was a house on Coffee Street not too far from the Church, belonging to the Lal Beharry family, where Miss Outhit, our Principal, herself occupied the centre room, while the girls and our matron occupied the Eastern and Western rooms. During that year there were eight girls in dOIlllitory Stella Abidh and I always occupied the same room. During the early part of that second teIlII a letter came to Miss Outhit from Mrs. Harvey Morton ofTunapuna, saying that H. G., son of A. G. ofTunapuna, one of Dr. Morton's early converts, as Assistant Teacher, had asked to m"rry me. That reminded me of the lines he had sent me while I was in Tunapuna. "Many waters etc." Yes, and that! was to expect a visit from him at the end of that week, and that we would be married in June and he would get the Plum Road Canadian Mission School as Head Teacher from the 1st of July 1915. I was just a little over sixteen. Now he and I had never spoken to each other before but the match was being made as was the custom. I knew him,of cOlll"S(',but not to speak to, much more to talk aboutlove and making a home. But I did not mind because he had belonged to a Christian family and 33

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Anna Mahase Sm. his father had been a co-worker with Dr. John Morton. So I decided in my mind that all would be well. But he did not come as expected, neither did he write. I must admit that I was a little disappointed being young and inexperienced, but that too had to happen for a purpose. The reason for his not coming was the result of an incident which had taken place during the previous vacation I spent at San Juan. One Sunday H .'s mother and her younger son C. visited us there. It was only when they left, Mrs. T told me that Mrs G had come to see me for her son. I casually remarked that I did not care to live in a mother-in-law's house. That remark of mine came to her hearing and she just put her foot down on the idea that H. should visit me or marry meat all. I had gone to San Fernando only three months before I was very fortunate that nothing further developed or else my whole teaching career would have been cut off. So I decided to study for my examinations. That statement carelessly made, went a long way to shape my future. The first four East Indian girls at the Naparima Training College for Teachers began studies, attending some classes with the boy students at the Theological College, Cedar Cottage at the back of the Church, and upstairs in Grant School. To me it was a novelty, young East Indian men and girls in their teens, Sitting and studying in one common room. It was the first of its kind, but a beginning must bemade at some time and it was then. They were indeed happy days when secret smiles would pass around, but we could not let Dr. Coffin the PrinCipal, see us, he would surely have put us in a coffin. We thought him very strict. These were the days of the beginning of the emancipation of our East Indian girls and women. The girls naturally felt inferior in knowledge to the boys, and would seek every opportunity to ask help of them, which they would gallantly offer. It was indeed an important era in the lives of our boys and girls here in Trinidad. In April 1916 (I was seventeen) I sat the Third Class Teachers' Examinations, but I did not pass. Remember I had finished only Primary School and had left school for six months before entering 34

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NEW HORIZONS --" Presbyterian College San Fernando From left: Dr. Grant and Dr. Morton (sitting) with their students (standing) Training College I failed Arithmetic, a compulsory subject, Kindergarten, optional, and had to write over the whole exami nations the following year Miss Outhlt encouraged me and told me to try again; there was room for improvement, that I must not teach Hindi anymore, as that was taking away time from my study period, and that she personally would support me. It so happened that she had to leave before the year was up, because of her health. I had yeta few months before the examinations. She called me one day and told me she was leaving $40.00 with Miss Grace Beattie,her successor, to cover expenses for the remaining months. I am always very grateful to her for her kind deed. 35

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Anna Mahase Snr. 1 sat the examinations for the second time in 1917, after which 1 was sent to San Juan for the holidays When 1 was leaving. Miss Beattie gave me the balance of $4.00. The first thing 1 bought was a Hymn Book with music, because 1 had never owned one before, and an umbrella. When the holidays were over 1 was sent for by Rev. Harvey Morton at Tunapuna. It was quite natural that even then he would have liked to see me married. He told me that H. G. had been there the day before saying thatif 1 would marry him The original Sangre Chiquito School he would live separately from his family. But 1 was guided in my decision, by some intuition, and 1 promptly answered that 1 did not care to marry then. 1 still remember Ox. Morton patting me on my shoulder, saying, "I would not like to throwaway a nice girl like you." He knew what 1 did not know about the applicant. But he gave me the option. It was for me to decide. So 1 was sent to teach in theSangreChiquito Canadian Mission School,and live with Mr. Paul Atwaroo who was the Catechist there, and Jean 3S

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NEW HORIZONS We lived on the very spot where the present school stands. The school when I went to teach was where the school garden is now. J was graded as a Fourth Class Assistant Teacher, pending my examination results, at $10.00 per month. The Head Teacher of the school was Mr. Andrew Ramlal who had also taught me at the Guaico School as an infant. I was now eighteen years old. 37

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Anna Mahase Snr. 7 A WORIHY PIONEER My teaching career began on May 1, 1917, I being the first East Indian Assistant Teacher to be employed in an Assisted Primary School in North Trinidad, and later on, in 1919, the first East Indian qualified female teacher in the Island. Phoebe Lahouri and Laura Grant passed before me, but they were employed at the La Pique Girls' Hi g h School in La Pique, where a new building had been put up with a dormitory for girls and quarters for the Principal and th e Canadian staff. In those early days all th e t eac h e rs went out every moming to visit and bring out the children to school. I did my share of it and the. result was that all th e littl e Hindoo and Moslem girls began attending school when they saw a female East Indian Teacher, I was welcomed whereve r I went and was n e ver afraid to walk the lonely roads. I am happy thatI was able to blazea trail, the ",suIt ofwhich can be well satisfying to those who have continued and brought knowledge to the entire East Indian womannood in Trinidad. Thanks to the Canadian Mission The East Indian girls may not all be Presbyterian, but more or less they received their education in our schools. 38

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A WORTHY PIONEER There were no Assistant teachers in the Sangre Chiquito Canadian Mission School. It was a small school with four pupil teachers, but there was one among them, who at once seemed interested in me, and though I was Senior in Office, but junior in age, because I was an Assistant Teacher and he a Fourth Year Pupil Teacher, six years older than I, I found in him an ever ready helper along my line of work He had the teaching experience, and his salary was $4.00 per month. This teacher was Mahase. He had not yet gone to Training College, because he was Hindoo of the Brahmin caste. Our Training College did not admit Hindoos at that time, so he was not thinking of the Presbyterian Training College. Furthellllore, he had belonged to a large Hindoo family who lived in the area, all Hindoos, and who were wealthy enough to be respected by the whole community. Mahase's mother was the sister of these three uncles. He had lost his father when he was twelve years old. He had three brothers and a sister younger than himself. They were brought up under a careful and devoted mother, who at least had sent them to school, but with great privations. She was actually supported by her three brothers who lived in the district. They each gave her $2.00 a month. With $6.00 from them and Mahase's $4.00 a week, she managed her affairs and deserves great credit for the way she brought up those children, four boys and one girl, and the way they conducted themselves, everyone of them made a success by hard work and gentlemanly behaviour. The fact that Mahase was junior in office did not prevent him from showing how he cared for me in some special way. The fact is that we both liked each other. He would remain after school to supervise the sweeping and say little nothings to me which I did not mind at all. About a week after I began teaching, one day he asked me if I were engaged to be married. Quick as a flash it dawned on me that things might go far, so I said, "Yes, I am engaged to H. G." He believed me because H. himself had told him sometime before that he was going to marry one Anna Chandisingh from the Girls' High School. 39

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Anna Mahase Snr. Mahase looked depressed as if he was not satisfied, neither was I to say the truth, because I know what I told him was not correct, and I hoped he would ask me again, which he did the following day. When I replied in the negative, I got a further surprise when he said, "Now I have a chance." These happenings took place within three weeks of our being together. One Sunday, Dr. Morton went to Sangre Chiquito to take the service, and to the surprise of everyone, he announced to the congregation, that Mahase would be leaving the district that very evening, that he was selected to enter the Naparima Training College, and that he would be travelling by the 3 o'clock train, to overnight with Dr. Morton and travel to San Fernando by the first train from Tunapuna. We found out afterwards that the overnighting in Tunapuna meant baptism. Word went around the entire district. All the uncles and relatives knew. The question then arose, "Now what must we do to prevent this boy from being baptised? We two, Mahase and I,enjoyed working together, but I never thought of marriage, at least not yet. The parting was not so pleasant, in fact when he went to say goodbye to Mr. & Mrs. Atwaroo, hedid not see me at all. I knew he would be at home for the holidays and we were certain to meet. Now just to block him and prevent him from going, one of his uncles rode a bicycle to the Sangre Grande Railway Station to take him back home, but there was no going back for Mahase. He was twenty four and a boy with a will of his own, so though he did not know his uncle was following him, he came quietly to Guaico and took the train there. There is a lot for which Guaico is important. It saved a situation then. The next day Mahase was seventy miles away only to return at vacation time; whether he would have been allowed to come was the question. The house where they lived belonged to one of the uncles, and now that Mahase was a Christian, it was even worse. But his mother was detelmined to have him. He was detellllined too and so he came and did not bother with any of them, so they 40

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A WORTHY PIONEER had nothing to say. He came for his vacation as usual and we met every day, either he visited me or I went to his home and he ." ... ... '_'" ,.--.. -. .: i' -.' ""';It, r. .. "; ...... -brought me home at evenings That stretch of road from Pacheco up the hill to the Canadian Mission School is sacred to me when I think of the number of times we walked that road His mother and his brothers treated me kindly and I loved them in return. His sister was already married His mother never let me leave until I had something to eat. We broke some Training College regulations very well, We corresponded all the time. He would write me and address the envelope to Kissoon his brother with two letters at the left hand bottom corner of the envelope, so he would know it was for me. When I wrote him, I sealed the letter and sent it to Kissoon who 41

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Anna Mahase Snr addressed it in his own handwriting, put the same two letters on the envelope and mailed it to him. When Mahase received it, he waited until evening, went out for a walk, sat under a tree, and read it. So he told me. I always knew when there was a letter for me. Ramdath Persad, Mahase's brother, was still attending school. He was in the Fourth Standard Class. As soon as he arrived in school with his bookbag hanging from his shoulders, the moment he gave me a broad smile, he was always of a pleasant disposition, I knew there was something in that bag for me. What pleasant memories! My first month's salary was $10.00. I paid $4.00 for board and lodge and the rest was spent on clothing etc. Not many weeks after, examination results were published, and to my utter disappointment I had failed again for the second time. I got so discouraged I thought I would never worry again with any more examinations. But something else had to happen to set me going and not give up. God's unseen hand forever guides our future During the month of June, the school Inspection took place. In those days all the standard pupils wrote all their subjects on paper, which were taken away by the Inspectors, corrected and results sent to the school in a tabulated fonn with every child's results Two Inspectors came, Mr. John E. Stoer for the standards, and Mr. Charles Solomon, father of our present Minister of Home Affairs He examined the Infants of which I was in charge. He seemed to be somewhat impressed with the idea of a female East Indian teacher especially as I played the organ for the children to sing and march and drill with rods with jingle beils at both ends. He asked me about myself and my examinations. I told him how I had failed and he told me not to give up, but write the examina tions again, and promised to send mea Syllabus for the following year. He even joked and said that if he were not a married man he would take me away. I have a terrific memory, to recall so many incidents of the past, poems my brother recited, that I myself learned as a child, even passages from reading lessons while I was at school. Thanks to Mr. Solomon He kept his 42

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A WORTHY PIONEER promise, and the following week I received a Syllabus so what could I do but start up studies once more. The real help I got was from Mahase himself. When he came on holidays he brought all his notes In Arithmetic and really taught me the subject. I do not know when we got engaged to be married, but there was an understanding that some day, we would do the right thing, and that our friendship would eventually end up in marriage. His Christian name was Kenneth Emmanuel. At Training College he got $4.00 a month, and once he bought for me as a gift a small vial of perfume for $1.20 I thought that was too much to spend from what he got. Whenever I get that scent, all those feelings of longing, anxiety and expec tations come back to me like a flash In my mind for a second, as if I have lived over those very pleasant moments which we really enjoyed through obstacles and discouragements, but which we overcame. Mahase was sound in his judgement and sober In his thinking. We walked theSangreChiquito roadsallnost every night and not once did he make me afraid of him. We both really studied together. He was sitting the Third Class Teachers' Examinations for the first time In 1918, and I for the third time, and we both passed, he with distinctions in Arithmetic and Agriculture, and I In Arithmetic, English and Hindi, topping the island In Hindi, while Phoebe Lahouri led the women students In the island and I became the runner up. We both, Mahase and I, continued our studies for the Second Class Teachers' ExamInations the following year, he from Training College and I from Sangre Chiquito. In 1918 I had got three months study leave to go to the Girls' domtitory which was then up at La pique where it still is. I attended classes with the others, and got much help from Miss Beattie and others. For the Second Class ExamInations I got one week off, only to write them. But that was sufficient and do you know that both ofus passed? What a satisfaction! We were very happy, we felt then more secure and confident, and when we went out for long walks, we would talk and make plans for the 43

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Anna Mahase Snr. future and our marriage. Dr. Morton knew nothing yet, all he knew was that one day a few months before, he had the cause to call in Mahase and warn him not to take me out to Port of Spain alone, but Mahase was good for himself, and the reply Dr. Morton got caused him to respect Mahase more. I had left the telling of our marriage news to Mahase, who had not yet done so when Dr. Morton came to me and told me that I got engaged and did not tell my godfather. I said' yes and that Mahase was going to tell him. He was very happy for us and gave us his good wishes and his blessing, but regret ted he could not have been here to marry us, as he was leaving the island on a holiday. We were happy in our love and suc cess and began making preparations for our wedding. Mahase was already appointed Head Teacher of the Grosvenor Canadian Mission School, after acting as Assistant Teacher at Guaico for two weeks, with Mr. Somarsingh as Head Teacher. That was The Engagement in July 1919. The Grosvenor Canadian Mission School, the old school on the hill 44

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A WORTHY PIONEER j t: -c:;> ". 1. d- -0 c:r .b 0 45

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Anna Mahase Sm. with the teacher's house nearby was where we were to live I had saved $20 .00 in the bank, and he had nothing Thanks to his mother who gave him $120.00 we bought the very necessary furniture and household articles including my wedding dress and outfit for which I paid $12 .00. At 2 p.m. on the 9th August we were quietly married at the Morton Memorial Church, Guaico, by Rev. Joseph Gibbings, one of our first ordained Ministers (native) in these parts. My only bridesmaid was Stella Abidh. We had a small procession of cars including ours. Mrs. Adolphus, my matron at the Home in Princes Town and later on at La Pique High School, her sister, Lilian Durgah, and Laura Grant my College mate, my sister and brother-in-law, and Kissoondath, Mahase's brother. The two speeches given at the reception were by Kissoon himseU and the only outsider but a good friend of Mahase, Bhawani Persad of Plum Road, Mahase's sister (Dheerajie) was awaiting the arrival of the wedding party She had prepared food and refreshment which every one enjoyed. So the teachers' house on the hill was to be our first home. Our teaching together as husband and wife, was I think the first ever in Trinidad. When I was to be married I was almost out of the teaching profession, because the then code of Regulations said "No married woman is to be retained on the staff of any Government, or Assisted Primary School in the Colony." Dr. Morton went to the Director of Education, and told him that our girls will marry, then what was the use of training them as teachers? So I was allowed to remain on the teaching staff since. Today there are hundreds of married women on the staffs of so many schools and among them one can find the best teachers. Mahase's salary when he began as Head Teacher was $35.00 and mine was $16.00, two Second Class qualified teachers. But that was it. Increments yearly were $5.00 for Head Teachers and $2.00 for Assistant teachers But we managed somehow and we even saved. In June 1920 our first baby was born. We named him Cyril. There were no nurses around, neither was there a Child WeUare 46

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A WORTHY PIONEER League or a Clinic even in Sangre Grande. So it was arranged that my mother-in-law would go up to Coal Mine from Sangre Chiquito, take up my sister-in-law (Bojan's mother). Then both ofthem would take up an Indian midwife and come to me. It was the worst oftimes, it was the best oftimes,all went well in the end, we had our son for which we were very happy. How I still cherish the happy memories of our one year's stay at Grosvenor. Ialways feel that the most sacred place for us is that Teachers' house on the hill, where we spent the first year of our married life When the new GrosvenorSchool was dedicated in its new location, Mahase was then the Manager. I think in 1955, a few months before he died, we attended the service, and when we were leaving he told me that he would like to donate a chiming clock to the school. But unfortunately he died soon after, and Cyril who was with us here at the time, did the needful. He and I went over to the school and I handed the clock to the Head Teacher. There it is chiming away day in and day out as if to say, "Men may come and men may go, but I go on forever." 47

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Anna Mahase Snr. 8 THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE In August 1920 Mahase and I were asked to come out to Guaico as Head and Assistant teachers. While we were in Grosvenor, apart from the school garden, we had our own kitchen garden around the house Ifwe had thought of what we would have been leaving,which we did think of, we would not have accepted the offer so readily. We discussed the proposition carefully and concluded that there would be so many more opportunities for service in coming to Guaico I said I knew the people because I grew up there Then I would have the organ to play for the school and the church, and together we could do much in the community Before I was married, one Sunday there was need for an organist to play at the Guaico Church and I was asked to come, and do you know I walked all the way from Sangre Chiquito to Guaico, played for the Service, and returned walking all around midday? I had the mind and the energy and did not feel tired. We decided to go to Guaico from Grosvenor and we told Dr. Morton. On the 31st August 1920, we packed our furniture on a horse drawn cart accompanied by Joshua Dookheran, a monitor of the school and who had lived with us since we were married. He came out with us to Guaico, became a Pupil Teacher, went to Training College, graduated, taught in the district, got married, and has a number of children. He is now Head Teacher of one of the larger schools in the San Fernando area My younger brother Joseph, had come to us from British Guiana. He was a Pupil Teacher in British Guiana Well,he also came out to Guaico with us. He helped unload our belongings and put them into our house, and by the time Mahase and I with Cyril three months old, reached in a cab, both Joshua and Joseph were waiting for us. We had one week extra vacation owing to the visit of the then Prince of Wales, Duke of Windsor, so we had plenty of time to settle 48

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, I III II ," 1'1 tl I 0 0 o

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Anna Mahas e Snr. 50

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THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE down. We lived on the same spot where the Manse is now. I had known that house before as a child, when we had rented from the owner a house in front of that on the Eastern Main Road. The entire strip of property now owned by the Canadian Mission had belonged to Kalipersad Maharaj. It was the shop house in front of ours, near the road, where we as children had lived for about a year, when my father was no longer employed with the Mission around 1908. The truth is that in this Guaico Mission Compound I personally lived in seven houses on various occasions and location at different times. The first house was the Teachers' house where I was born in 1899. Then when we came back from Arouca in 1904, a few months after which we moved in to the new Catechists' house behind the school. Then we rented that shop house I mentioned. The following year we were in our own house on our own lands behind the new school. In 1920 when we came to teach, a few years la ter the same house was removed to another part of the compound to give place forthe building of the Manse. From there we came to ourownhorne on the Eastern Main Road in 1929, where we have lived ever since. I feel myself a real "Son of the Soil The average attendance of the Guaico Canadian Mission School when we came was one hundred and twenty. I took charge Kenneth Inr. (Kenny) in front of the original Guaico School 51 ..

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Anna Mahase Snr. of the Infant depal tment. We enjoyed our work here, and as the years passed we saw much improvement. Our teaching career in Guaico Canadian Mission School began in 1920 and ended up for Mahase in 1953 when he retired at fifty, forty two years of service including his previous services and for me in 1954 when I was fifty five, thirty seven years of service including one year in Grosvenor and two in Sangre Chiquito. During those years at Guaico, hundreds of boys and girls passed through the school. I would like to mention some of the outstanding pupils who made good and brought honour to the school. Before I mention ex-pupils I would like to say something about one who actually lived with us from about the age of fourteen, became a Pupil Teacher, graduated from Training College, came back to live with us and worked in the Guaico School as an Assistant Teacher for a number of years, until he got his own school. I refer to George Ramdath Persad, Mahase's youngest brother, and my brother-in-law. At his Valedictory Function in 1964, I spoke, not as the Manager but as a relative and co-worker and one who knew him well. He had succeeded his brother as Head Teacher in 1953. I said in my talk that when we started off in Guaico our Christmas Annual Concerts were a must. The pupils themselves were not up to standard so we chose our actors from among the staff for our big plays, and we dared to stage ''Merchant of Venice." They always told me I chose my characters well, and do you know who he was? Shylock. He did his part perfectly. I said also that I could still see him going up with his scales hanging on chains and his knife which he kept sharpening all the time, to secure his pound of flesh. Ramdath was always a pleasant boy, with a great sense of humour and a hearty laugh. He was a very successful story teller and always knew the origin of various celebrations like Easter Bunny and Easter eggs at Easter time. When he was Superintendent of our Sunday School, he actually introduced the Easter eggs. On Easter Sunday there was a basket of large Easter eggs on the table from which each child received one in a nest before he or she left. What 52

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interesting days those were! After leaving Training College under the leadership of Rev. H F Swann it was Rarndath who organised and started off a Trail RangerGroup for teenage boys, the first ever in the colony, under the direction and guidance of Mrs. Geo. Murray, wife of our Canadian Missionary who lived here at Guaico. As the boys grew older they became the Tuxis Square, Cyril being one of them. I still have THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE a copy of Cyril's G. A. Ramdath Persad (Poi Chacha) paper which he former Principal of Guaico Presbyterian prepared and read at the Trail Rangers' Conference at San Fernando when he was twelve years old These instances are mentioned as Trail Rangers' activities carried on by Ramdath Persad. I also have the copy of an address before me read to Cyril when he wasabout to enter Queen' s Royal College in 1932,signed by the following boys and mentor. 53

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Anna Mahas e Snr. G.A. Ramdath Persad Mentor Bhual Mahadeo Cecil Deyalsingh R. Sinanan Errol Benjamin David Toney The group took part in church activities. They were a regular Sunday School class with their mentor as teacher And to climax their mentor's efforts they formed a guard of honour on his wedding day, when he walked down the isle of the Morton Memoria1church with his lovely and attractive bride Enid Ablack, from Biche. From then on he lived in his own home opposite us. It was Persad who secured the Interschool Cricket Trophy out rightpffered by Mr. R. Mc Cartney, a prominent business man of SangreGrande. That cup is still in the school. It was while Persad was teaching here at the time when he organised and carried on a Junior Red Cross Link. His knowledge of it and his idea came from the very capable Mrs V B. Walls of San Fernando. While he was in Training College he worked real hard and was very conscientious, which has helped to make this school the success it has been especially in the line of extra-curricular activities I ended up my talk by saying, "We congratulate you,Mr. Persad, for reaching your retiring age in good health and we honour you for the very valuable service you rendered during your teaching career, and may god grant you many more years of peaceful retirement." Persad is now (1966) Co-manager of a few of our schools in this area One can always get a somewhat vivid picture of the Guaico Presbyterian school as a whole as written by one of our ex-pupils who is now Head Teacher of theOropoucheGovernment School. I refer to David Toney He was born in Guaico, attended school in Guaico and grew up here. He was appointed a Pupil Teacher, became an Assistant Teacher, went to the Government Training College, returned to teach at the Guaico Canadian Mission School, 54

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THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE a very energetic and efficient teacher As there would not have been promotion to Head Teachership in a Presbyterian School, he being Anglican, he was ad vised by my husband to go over to the Government school. He applied and was appointed at the Sangre Grande Government School as an Assistant Teacher. Apart from scholastic ability, our boys and girls leaving school grew up to be real gentlemen and well-mannered, decent men and women. The sound religious background and all round training in general behaviour, the art of happy and peaceful living were not forgotten So we are proud of them when we hear about them wherever they are because with exceptions, they have brought honour to our Guaico Presbyterian School. An article was written by David Toney and published in one of our Newspapers recently. (He is a newspaper Correspondent) I shall write parts of it paying tribute to Mr. Mahase and his thirty three years of work in this school. I quote, Labour Conquers All Things." That was the Motto of the school. This is the apt and suitable Motto of the Guaico Presbyterian School, which has urged all teachers and pupils to great heights of achievements. This primary school was known by residents as the College of the East because of the quality of the old boys. Mr. GR. Persad, recently retired Head Master of that this school has a great history, and has been and is an institution of sound learning and certainly has had an influential impact on the community in the Sangre Grande district. "Classes in this school were first held in a wooden building erected in 1898 by the Rev John Morton, pioneer Canadian Missionary to the East Indians in Trinidad." He had arrived in 1868 and had already opened several schools in the district of South Trinidad when he began his work. Then he was sent up North where he settled in Tunapuna (1881). 1n this area the Sangre Chiquito Canadian Mission School was the first to be opened in 1891. There was no Railway to SangreGrande, it ended in Alima; and Dr. Morton travelled all the way in his horse drawn buggy, passed through Guaico and drove straight to Sangre S5

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Anna Mahase Snr. Grande. He put up at the Government Rest House and visited Sangre Chiquito and surroundings. Where the buggy could not go he rode his horse and where the horse could not go he walked. The rest house was one mile from the Sangre Chiquito School. When the Railway was extended to Sangre Grande in 1897, then Guaico was located. Being found central, lands were bought and a school erected. Now I return to Toney's article. "The first Head Teacher of the Guaico Canadian Mission School was Mr. George Chandisingh in 1898. Mr. Kenneth Mahase took charge of the school in 1920 The old wooden building was first raised on concrete pillow trees with an adjacent Infant School." After a few years it was extended and raised to accommodate the Infants downstairs, Guaico Canadian Mission,as it was called, was then in the limelight during the years 1924 to 1953, under the guidance of the late Mr. K. Mahase B.Ed. who was the Head Teacher there for thirty three years. Many of his ex-pupils hold responsible pOSitions in the territory. This bears some testimony to his devotion to duty; to name a few ex-pupils, Senior Superintendent Robert Blake, Head of the C.I.D. Northern Division, Christopher Nath, Barrister-at-Law, Hobson Eddy, Government Chemist, Dr. George Ramsaran, Medical practitioner, Mr. John Ramsaran, Lecturer in 1 badan University, Nigeria, now in England, Isaac Chin, Civil Engineer, Carol Mahadeo, Barrister-atLaw, Henry Jackson, Inspector of Schools, Michael Ramdass, Barrister-at-Law, Daniel Irish, Police Inspector, Ethan Lewis, Probation OfficeliPort of Spain, Head Teacher of various schools. George Basanta,. Morgan Basanta, Errol Benjamin, Lionel Mahadeo, and Mr. Mahase's own children, Cyril, Medical Practitioner, Lenore, graduate McGill, (Music) Barbara B.A., McGill, Stella, Civil Servant, County Council, Sangre Grande, Elaine, B.A., Mt. Allison, Anna, BSc., BEd., now Principal of the St. Augustine Girls' High School and Kenny T.C.T., (Mausica). In fact it was from this school, the largest Presbyterian school in the district, that teachers were recruited to other Presbyterian schools in the area under the Pupil Teacher system. Although the 56

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THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE academic success of the school was brilliant, a special feature was the extra cunicular activities Mr. Mahase believed in character building, and instilled the right community spirit in the lives of his pupils. During his telln of office as early as 1933, a Trail Ranger group of teenage boys was fOJ lIIed, which later on as the boys grew older became the Tuxis Square, whose leader and mentor was Mr. Ramdath Persad, then an Assistant Teacher of the school. He also carried on the Red Cross Link. Then there was a Sporting and Debating Club at the school, where the senior pupils first learned the art of public speaking All these various activities had a religious bias, which helped in moulding and enriching the spiritual lives of the pupils. Ex-pupils of this school still remember a temperance pledge taken before Rev. George Murray, Canadian Missionary who lived at the Guaico Manse, and was Co-Manager of the ten schools in the area. This inspired the boys to abstain from strong drinks and smokes. The pledge which still hangs on the wall of the school, is recommended to all youth clubs !treads, "God gave me this strong body, to grow just strong and tall Tobacco helps to spoil it, and so does Alcohol. Into my mouth they shall not go. When tempted, I shall always say 'No'." Mr. Bismark Rogers, now Deputy. Town Clerk of Arima, an expupil and Sportsmaster teacher of this school, captured the Interschool Athletic Trophy sponsored by the Sangre Grande Teachers' District/ Association. A strict diSCiplinarian, Mr. Mahase was loved and respected by teachers and children. His fatherly advice never fell on deaf ears. Mr. Lionel Mahadeo an ex-pupil, and now an Assistant Teacher at Guaico, stated that for seventeen years he taught the College Exhibition class, until it became the Common Entrance Class. He said thatin 1964, nineteen pupils passed the Examinations, being the highest among the schools in the area Mrs. Anna Mahase, the present Manager of the school said that Guaico has been a good school. Mr. Capil Nath also an ex-pupil of the school is now a successful business man in Sangre Grande. Mr. J.R. Sookhoo, present Head Teacher himself was an S7

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Anna Mahase Snr. Assistant Teacher of this school for eighteen years and promised to continue the good work done by his predecessors." This is the end of David Toney's account of the Administration of the Guaico School. I shall continue to write about more ex-pupils of the school whom I did not mention before. Miss Melvina Blake an Assistant Teacher of the Tunapuna E.C. School came to us as a Pupil Teacher during the first few years we came to Guaico. The Blakes lived very near the Mission Compound. When I was a child around seven to ten, the Blake children and we played together I knew the older children May Blake was no where on the scene, neither was Robert whom I mentioned before. But when we came to Guaico in 1920, Robert was attending school. May Blake came to teach with us a few years later. She really got her Primary education in Port of Spain. She began as a Pupil Teacher and became very efficient. She is Anglican, but was very active in our Church activities She was in our T.G.l.T. Group led by Mrs. Geo Murray, of which I was also a member. Miss Blake attencied our Christian Endeavour Society Meetings started off by me when we came here, and how interesting those meetings used to be, a very flourishing one at that time; some ofthe debates and discussions that took place I can vividly remember. I shall mention one of the debates The older people were the Active Members, the younger ones, Associate Members. The subject of the debate was: "Be it resolved that women are more community influential than men in the home and community." The men took the affirmative and we women, the negative. Mrs. Geo. Murray, Miss Blake and I debated the Negative and Mr. Hugh Inniss, Government druggist, Mr. Geo. Harris and Mr. Mahase, the Affinnative. This debate was so interesting that I still remember the details of it, I mean the points brought up to show the for and against. Miss Blake mentioned the fact that when the School Inspectorvisits the school, themenareupstairs by the table examining the standards, but the women are in the Infant depat tment, asshe said, 'holding the tail The men brought up one strong point. They said the sun 58

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THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE is masculine and the moon feminine, the sun therefore, because masculine, is rash and harsh, but the moon being feminine, is cool and calm and soothing, under whose light lovers sit and enjoy its light and coolness. But Mrs. Murray qUickly rebutted that statement by saying that the moon gets its light from the sun, and we won,so all they had said about "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" did not help them Of course, we knew better than that. We knew it was the other way around, but the debate itself was novel as we took opposite sides This is only one instance of how interesting our Christian Endeavour Society used to be. Samuel Juteram and Sookdeo Boodoo, the only two Cinema owners of Sangre Grande, were also ex-pupils of the Guaico School. Gufran Rahman, Tawfick N. Rahman, Samuel Gopaul, Dan Boodansingh, the Narines, Gladys Chirowkee, Rosalind and Lucille Mahadeo and the Gyan family A Table Tennis Club with teachers and pupils was organised when we played games with other clubs' Sangre Grande, Tunapuna, Tacarigual sometimes we won, but as an individual I was always beaten. I could not slam. William Benjamin, building Architect, is the nephew of the well known William Benjamin of the Guaico bakery. Since we were small children, we looked out for the bread cart at 5 a.m. to buy bread and we got eight loaves forsix cents His two grandsons are now carrying on the Guaico bakery which is still in the same place Errol, another (son) and ex-pupil is now a Head Teacher, and Lynette a daughter, a qualified Assistant Teacher at the Guaico Presbyterian School is now married to Lionel Mahadeo, recently appointed Head master of the Sangre Chiquito Presby terian School. The Mahadeo family is another very old family whom I knew as a child in Guaico I knew the old bearded man, Mahadeo Maharaj, he was called and the old lady. Their sons attended the Guaico School in the early days. They carried their own names, no surnames. When we came to teach here in 1920, their grand daughters began to attend school. Most oftheir grand 59

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Anna Mahase Sm. children are still in Guaico on their own properties handed down by their parents and grand parents. Lionel Mahadeo and his family are Presbyterians, and he is the only one using the correct surname. Talking about names and surnames. As far as I can remember fifty years ago the Hindoos did not carry a surname. They were admitted in school by the one name they had, like Ramkisoon for instance When another Ramkisoon came he was Ramkisoon II and so on. Take the names of four brothers whom we know, Mahasedath, Kissoondath, Bissoondath and Ramdath. When Ramdath first went to school at Sangre Chiquito he would have been Ramdath V or sometimes there were so many with that name, but Mahase who was either a Monitor or Pupil Teacher told the Head Teacherthat Ramdath father's name was Mathura Persad, why not give him his proper surname, so he became Ramdath Persad When Mahase and I came to teach in Guaico in 1920, we began asking newly admitted pupils for their fathers' names and we admitted them with surnames, so that we would know, whose children they were, that we could visit their homes which we regularly did. But right now (1966) what I observe is that the Hindoos (some of them) have lost their real surnames and are using as such the caste to which they think they belong. They use the surname Maharaj Maharaj is a calling name. You call a man Maharaj because he belongs to the Brahmin caste and his wife is called Maharajin. If one calls himself Maharaj as his surname,.his wife is Mrs. Maharaj, how ridiculous, and the surname Maharaj more ridiculous still. These people do not know and no one tells them. Another surname that is used quite a lot recently is 'Singh.' Singh is a name ending and is never separated from the real name, like Rarnsingh or Oeosingh. It is one name. Other names used as surnames which to my mind or to any intelligent mind who knows any thing about Hindoo or Indian culture will know that, Misir, Tewarry, Oath and Nath, all sects of the Brahim Caste, are name endings. Soon we East Indians will lose our identity. No one will know who is who.

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THE GUAICQ EXPERIENCE 61 Left : Kissoon Chacha Below: Bissoondath (Jhin Chacha! -; 2

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Anna Mahase Snr. Look at the Telephone Directory today and see the number of Maharaj's and Maraj's there are, and the real names ofthe people are not there. Wedo not have to tell the public what caste weare, who believes in the Caste System anyway, and some of us who still feel we find there is something we like in a certain caste, why thenamealonecan tell, that is those who know will know. What's ina name anyway? Readingabout Peter Singh and Mary Maharaj, well! It is certainly jarring to the ear and right thinking of those who know the facts and the truth. Names like Ramnath, Surujnath, Bajnath are correct, the "nath" is not separated. Ramsingh, Mahabirsingh, Bhimsingh are also correct, the Singh is a name ending. But Maharaj, Misir, Tewarry and some others, are out. That is what I think. I shall mention a few more ex-pupils who have done very well and have brought honourto the school, whose names I should not like to leave out, Dr. Carlyle Hosein When he returned as a doctor, a banquet was given in his honour at the school, as was dQne for many other graduates form Guaico. His parents were here, Rev. & Mrs. T.A. Hosein Rev Hosein was in charge of the Guaico Pastoral Charge, with Rev. Geo Murray as Field Mission ary. Carlyle that night, expressed his desire of donating a chiming clock to the school. It is still there, chiming away the hours, reminding the pupils of the passing of time and the opportunities of making good. Dr. Harry Bissoondath of Sangre Grande, now a Medical prac titioner in San Juan, Leallllond Sampson, Artisan Foreman, Works and Hydraulics now retired, Willie Sampson, Engineer P.W.D Shahid Baksh, Civil Servant, Ministry of Works, and so many others I wish I could remember them. A word about our Samuel Ramsawak (Bojan) owner of the Atomic Cafe in Sangre Grande. Apart from being a relative, his mother was Mahase's sister, he has been very closely connected with us because he actually lived with us for a while. Bojan is what he is today by sheer detelllli nation to succeed,coupled with his pleasant, gentlemanly manners and behaviour added with those, the influence of a devoted wife 62

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THE GUAICO EXPERIENCE 63

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Anna Mahase Snr. and dutiful and intelligent children Bojan's mother was twenty four years old when she died leaving four boys and one girl, Bojan being the second child They did not have it too easy, most or all of them were with their grandmother at Sangre Chiquito. I took the baby, nine days old, and cared him untU he was old enough to go to his father I took Myra the girl, gave her a Course at the Archibald Institute, 51. Augustine, got her happily married to Michael Bhoopsingh of Penal. They With their four children are now residing in England. Bojan after attending school for a while began to work as a shop clerk here in Sangre Grande. At one time he began renting a room, but my husband and I would not allow that so we brought him home with us. He then got a job at the American Base at Waller Field Then he went to Tacarigua to work in a grocery. He got married and came back to Sangre Grande and acquired a small business place His business is no longer small and he is doing exceedingly well. His is an instance of 'where there is a will, there is a way.' 64

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9 HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT In February 1922, I gave birth to a still born baby girl, and in October of the following year there was another still born, this time a boy. The district nurse was there and the D.M.O Dr. K.U A Inniss had to be called in, butas there had been no prenatal care, the baby could not be saved. Since then I was advised by the doctor that in future when I became six months pregnant I should visit him, and from then on I received prenatal care by a doctor who was also present at the time of baby's arrival together with the district nurse who was attached then to the Child WeUare League in this district. Those who organised the Child WeUare League in Sangre Grande were, Mrs. Hitchens, wife of the then District Engineer, Public Works Depal tIIlent, Mrs. George Murray, wife of our Canadian Missionary here in Guaico, Mr. & Mrs. T.M. Mc Cartney of the Red Store Sangre Grande, Mrs. C. Harper and Dr. K.u.A. and Mrs. Inniss of Sangre Grande. The Child WeUare league was organised here around 1922 I took over the post of Treasurer in 1932 from Mrs. Murray. For a number of years I was both Secretary and Treasurer, and after a few years Mrs. Harper took the post of Secretary and I continued as Treasurer until around 1964 I resigned as such, a period of over thirty years of a very rewarding and satisfying service. In 1925, while we still Ii ved in that house atthe back ofthe church, where the playground is now, Lenore was born, and just a few weeks before, we had given a school concert which had become a must in the Guaico School. And in July 1927, Barbara arrived. Now we had three children, Cyril, Lenore and Barbara. We got the option then of either getting our own home or renting one from the Mission which they would have built if we had agreed, but Mahase thought he would like to build his own and he bought one lot of land where our house now stands, for $80.00. After we built and moved in, we purchased another adjoining lot on the 65

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Anna Mahase Snr. west ern side after a few years, and later still a piece at the back. We came into our new and own home in December 1928, and in April 1929 Stella was born. Then in September 1930 Elaine came, followed by yet another girlin 1932, Anna. Five girls one after the other, no regrets, each has done well and brought success to herself and satisfaction to us as parents. That was the eighth occasion I had taken maternity leave, sometimes no pay at all depending on the then regulation and ruling by the Education Department. When Anna was born in 1932 I was thirty three years old. I really thought I was through with having babies I had then one boy and five girls. Ten years later Mahaseand I got the surprise of our lives to know I was having another baby. We were very happy when Kenneth was born, so Cyril had a brother. Well that was really the end and it was time then of thinking of our children's higher education. Cyril was already in the Civil Service, Lenore was teaching, so was Barbara Cyril had started working at the Warden's Office, Sangre Grandeat $30. 00 a month. He was then sent to theGeneral Post Office, Port of Spain at $40.00 from which he went up to about $50 00 He saved most of his income for further studies. Meanwhile Lenore was sent to La Pique High School, but did not like it there, so was brought back on two occasions,and eventually both she and Barbara attended Arima High School carried on by Mr. A.J. Hind,. They travelled every day by train It was not so easy but they made it. Stella soon joined them. Lenore and Barbara both passed the Cambridge School Certificate in 1942, after which they matriculated; Lenore, fromSt. Joseph' sConvent, Port of Spain Elaine joined Stella at the Arirna High School and Anna went for a short while, but she unlike Lenore, preferred to go to La Pique Girls' High School, where she went and got adjusted to 001 mitory life and studies. Stella, Elaine and Anna all passed the Cambridge Examinations after a few years. All my children except Kenny, took piano lessons. We bought our first Piano (second hand) when Lenore was a year old. Then I started Cyril with music lessons, in fact I started them all when 66

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HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT Lenore and her grand piano at Guaico I they grew old enough to learn. Eventually they all went over to Mrs Ethel Valere Lambie, head of the Trinity College of Music in Trinidad. Cyril and Anna took violin lessons from her also. It was such a satisfaction to hear Cyril play his violin, and Lenore the piano (duets) at our Annual concerts in December Lenore was specially talented in music and Cyril was ready for further studies; he wanted to do medicine. We decided to send both of them to Mc Gill UniversitY,Canada. Lenore had taught for a few months at the Guaico School, and she too saved a small amount. Hersalary was $24.00 plus $5.00 cost ofliving allowance Barbara also jOined the staff on the same salary Apart from the small savings of Cyril and Lenore, we always pooled our salaries and we worked by a budget, which Mahase and I prepared before the 67

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Anna Mahase Snr. end ofthe month, and that was really the secret of having enjoyed the necessities of lif e and of giving the chIldren a High School Education We were r eady to send the two oldest children to University, but with what? We had spent our savings in building our house and we had very little after that, because it was by that time the others were at HighSchools travelling and boarding out. And we had recently painted our house. Mahase and I had taken twenty years before, a joint Life Insurance for $1,000 00, so we took from it $500.00 the week before it matured and we happily sent them away. They travelled by the 5.5. George Washington in September 1945, Cyril to do Medicine and Lenore, Music. Meanwhile Barbara was teaching at Guaico with us. Stella also taught at the Sangre Chiquito Canadian Mission School for a few months, but did not care too much for the bicycle riding every day, so she decided to quit and applied to work at the County Council as a clerk in the Civil Service The Council came into being after the General Elections in 1946 Mr. Victor Bryan was our representative here in these parts. Stella was an efficient secretary as every one said and she continued for over fifteen years, but resigned a few years ago to assist Capil in his business place. She has four boys (1966). In 1946, one year after Cyril and Lenore went to Mc Gill, Cyril was awarded a Colonial Development and Welfare Scholarship to study Medicine in 68 Cyril Lenore and George Habib (a friend) at Me Gill University

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HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT Birmingham University, England. It was really a partial scholarship, as we were asked to pay halfthe fees, but we were happy todo so,knowing that he was well on the way to achieve his desire Meanwhile Lenore re mained at Me Gill,and Barbara at Me Gill University during that year she too won a Scholarship (Music) called the Ellen Bailon Music Scholarship offered by the Faculty of Music at Me Gill University. In 1948 she graduated with the Licentiate of Music (L. Mus) which was the highest degree gi ven in Practical music, but she remained on to teach the subject at the Montreal High School, in addition to private tuition. She was helping herself from then on. Barbara who was with us, decided to further her studies too so we sent her straight to Lenore, who really supported her while we paid her fees. She eventually graduated with the B.A. d e gree in 1951. Then both Lenore and Barbara came home, Lenore to tea c h music, and give recitals, which she did quite successfully, and 69

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Anna Mahase Snr. 70

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HARVEST Of ACHIEVEMENT Barbara, to take up an appointment at the St. Augustine Girls' High School. Miss Constance Wager was then Principal. While Lenore and Barbara were still in Canada, Stella, from the County Council spent three months vacation leave with them Stella and Capil Nath got married in 1953, and lived with us for three years He worked in his father's store J.N. Nath, and she continued as County Council clerk. The following week after the wedding, Anna having been awarded a W.M.S. Scholarship by Anna Inr. and Anna Snr. the Overseas Board in Canada went to Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada, to enter Mt. Allison University to study for the B.Sc. Degree. Elaine, meanwhile had graduated from the Naparirna 71

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Anna Mahase Snr. Training College for Teachers and we sent her to the U.W.I. Mona, Jamaica to study for the B.A. Degree. During the latter part of 1953, we thought that we should send Lenore to Birmingham to be with Cyril, as he had been away from home for the longest period, and also to teach music and to get more music qualifica tions. She secured the Diploma of Class Music Teacher (CMT) and took part in Orchestral Music -piano in the Bil mingham Philhalll1onicOrchestra. She was so settled there that we thought she would not come home for a while, but home is home and wherever our children went, as is natural, the desire is to return home. She was still over there when our tel ephone rang one morning. I took the call. Pa and Barbara were both here in the dining room I had said before that when Cyril passed his examinations they would have to tie me. I would be so excited. When I heard it was an overseas call I said nothing. I listened to the cable message. Cyril had passed his exams. I put down the telephone and said "You all can tiemenow!" Well there was real joy and excitement. Pa was over excited, he came twice and hugged me up. What a satisfaction that was! It was one of our happiest moments. The others had and were doing very well, but this was our first child and son, who had accomplished what he had set out to do and to us it was indeed a fulfillment of life's expectations. Pa had already retired in August 1953 He was sixty. I was getting ready to do so in 1954, the optional retiring age of fifty five, and Cyril's success caused me to make the final decision because he would not have wanted me to work anyway after he had returned. Two hours after we got Cyril's cable message another telephone message came, this time from San Fernando Stella had her first baby, a boy. We at once named him David Cyril because of hearing about Cyril's success on that very day. In July of that year 1954 Cyril returned to Trinidad and home. He served as an Intern at the General Hospital in Port of Spain for six months and was sent to San Fernando to work at the Hospital there. Conditions were not so favourable, so he decided to gO,o n his own and do private practice. Pa had not been keeping 72

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HARVES T OF A CHIEVEMENT ::E .. Vl ..., ::E -" -" : '" '" .. Vl ..., ::E '" ..., -" :< 73

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Anna M a hase Snr. '. very well. He suffered from liver complaints and heart pressure, so it was good having Cyril around. He had chosen Sangre Grande to set up his office there and he lived here at home. A few weeks before, thatisaround 1955, Barbara a graduate Teacher on the St. Augustine Girls High School Staff, planned to go to Bos-Da v id Nath -Dave (firs t grandchild) ton for a holiday. She had been from her Mc Gill days, on friendly tel IllS with Hyman Rodman, also a graduate of Mc Gill but who was then at Harvard with his M A., and studying for his doctorate in Sociology and Anthropology. We were pleasantly surprised one day when we received a cable m e ssage that they had planned to get married atthe end ofthat w eek. This was at the end of September 1955 We cabled them w is hin g them God's bleSSing Stella got married first amo n g my children She is my fourth child and third daughter. Wh e n Stella already had two boys, Barbara 74

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HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT married Hyman Rodman in 1955 She and her husband came to Trinidad in 1956 to have her first baby, and Hyman came in on a Fellowship from Harvard University to do Research studies for ,... j Elaine and Anna Snr. his Thesis in Sociology and Anthropology for which Thesis he received his Doctorate the following year 1957 Two years later they had another son Derek, followed by a third boy David. A little girl was born two years ago. They named her Gail, and they say that is the last. (1966) Elaine had come home in 1956 from the U.W .1. Jamaica to enter Mt. Allison Canada to finish her course. She graduated in 1957 with the B.A. Degree and was appointed 75

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Anna Mahase Snr. to teach at the Tunapuna branch of the Naparima College now called 'Hill View'. She had been on friendly with Allison Gray, a B.Sc. graduate ofMt. Allison University, and both kept up correspondence for the year, when he decided to come to Trinidad for a visit. A few days after his arrival they announced to me that they would like to be married within three weeks, as Allison had to return to Mt. Allison within a month's time. So we did not have much time to spare, but in two weeks we had everything ready for the wedding. They were married at the Morton Memorial Church at Guaico by the Rev Russel Alcorn, a Canadian Missionary and a very close friend. Only relatives were invited Allison's father arrived three days before the wedding, quite unexpectedly, and as soon as he met Elaine, he said "Elaine I did not come to stop this wedding. I came to stand by you." He was, and is a very fine gentleman, because he came back again to visit and we enjoyed his stay. Since Elaine and Allison left, he got his M :Sc. Degree and right now (1962) heis ona fellowship for his Doctorate in Science. They have one girl, Susan, and now in 1962, a boy, Rodney. They were married on the 24th September, 1958. They had their third child Daryl Kenneth in 1964 Both Barbara and Elaine are very happy in their homes far away in Detroit U.S .A. and New Brunswick, Canada. They visit us periodically, Elaine and her family came in December 1964 and Barbara with their three boys and two girls came for a few months in 1965. Hyman Rodman is now oneofthe Heads of the Meryl Paimer Institute in Detroit. He got Fellowships on two occasions to come to Trinidad to do research along his line for his thesis When Elaine got married in September 1958, Cyril's invitations for his marriage with Sattie Nath were already out. His was not a quiet wedding, many more people were invited. It was as it is called, a fashionable wedding. They were married on the 4th October 1958 at the Morton Memorial Church at Guaico by Rev. Russel Alcorn, who had also perfolIIIed the wedding ceremony of Elaine and Allison, at the same Morton Memorial Church at 76

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HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT Guaico on the 24th September 1958, two weeks before Cyril's. Cyril and Sattie have their own home and are very happy together. They now in 1966 have three children, Sandra, Leslie and Susanne. Cyril is right now building a lovely home on his own half acre of land in Sangre Grande. Franklin Capildeo Nath married Stella Mahase and Cyril Mahase married Sattie Nath. When Capil married Stella in June 1953, he was working in his father's dry goods store in Sangre Grande. He attended the Arima High School for a while but did not sit any examinations, and remained and worked faithfully with his father, because he worked there for fifteen years, and was satisfied to be there, putting all his energy and interest and even his small salary of $25.00 a week into the business, with the hope that one day he might be Managing Director or part owner of something to own as a security. Meanwhile Stella continued to work as a Civil Servant at the County Council at Sangre Grande. They got married and lived with us here in Guaico for three years, and we got to know him well. Capil has always been a very gentlemanly boy. When he is in company, he carries on a conversation so intelligently one would think he was a graduate of some univer sity and when it comes to practical subjects, he knows so much about so many things that we regard him with the greatest respect which he SO rightfully deserves. But incidents take place sometimes only for the best, though at the time, they are most disturbing and depressing Capil had wronged no one, in fact I think he was too conscientious, and that is why he became so disappointed in his family relationship that he had to leave the store and try to get on his own. When Capilleft his father's business place his father asked him what his decision was, and Capil told him that he knew his father was boss and rightly so, but he would have no other bosses, and so he left, and quietly kept away from the store and family confusion. Every thing I feel, happens for a purpose. He decided to go on his own. In quick time a building site was secured, and with Lenore, Anna and my own, and mainly with Cyril's help, a loan was raised, a 77

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Anna Mahase Snr. building was erected in Sangre Grande, and in a year's time, Capil threw open the doors of his new Capil's Store to the public, much to the surprise and disappointment of those who caused him to be thrown out. Capil as i said before, is a gentleman. He is very conversant with everyday happenings and IS a very successful businessman. His business is growing, and right now (1961) Kenny who passed the Cambridge School Certificate Grade i, Hill View Col lege, Tunapuna, is assisting him in the store, while waiting to pursue further studies at Mt.Allison, Canada. Stella is continuing her work at the County Council, Capil Nath Sangre Grande, ttntil such time when she will be needed at the store which is really her rightful place, but she has worked with Government for over fifteen years, and it is only fair that she resign at a time when some kind of benefit would accrue, like a gratuity or a pension. 78

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HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT The incident of Capil's moving away from the family business would naturally cause a break which was sad to know and feel, but if was there though temporarily, when two children from one horne were married to two of another. Cyril has been to Capil a real brother. He is a very nice son, devoted to his family, and his own brother and sisters He will be always happy, and I am extremely happy and satisfied. The Naths and we have been friendly ever since we got to know one another in 1920 when we carne to teach at Guaico and when Capil married Stella there was great rejoicing in our hearts, and when Cyril married Sattie there was complete satisfaction, though Pa was not alive when Capil got married. Instead ofthese two families being united in a closer bond of family relationship those ties were rent asunder by some indifferen t and stupid behaviour of some indiscreet rela tive. What an uncertain world in which we live. Incidents do take place that can change and upset the entire atmosphere of a happy and peaceful living. r Bert and Lenore 79 -..

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Anna Mahase Snr. But we have to forget the past, make the best of the present and build for the future happiness for our children, for in them and for them we live and move and have our being, "for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap, full measure, pressed down and running over." During the latter part of 1960, there was need for a Minister in the Guaico Pastoral Charge. We knew of a few graduate native Ministers about to return from Canada to take up appointments in Trinidad. After discussions of our Official Board here at Guaico, we decided to call Rev. E.B. Samaroo of Eccles ville. None of us actually knew him neither did he know any or many of us. He accepted the call, and was inducted in the Guaico Pastoral Charge in September 1960 Lenore had gone to Canada on a holiday, and to visit Barbara and Elaine. She left in August to return in October, so she was not here when Bert came as our Minister. He being a bachelor, everyone expected he might marty some day, but no one ever thought it would have been Lenore. When she returned we all went to meet her at the airport, including Bert. Well he was the Minister and she the organist, so that was it. Not too long after it became more than Minister and organist. He was decided and Lenore agreed, and less than a year after, she became the Minister's wife. As organist and choir leader she is a great help to Bert as the Minister of the Guaico Pastoral Charge (1962) They were married on the 12th August 1961, by Rev. Roy N ehall of the Woodbrook Presbyterian Charge. About a year after, Lenore had a still born baby boy. It was God's will. InApril1961,MissConstance Wager, PrincipaloftheSt. Augustine Girls' High School, went to Canada on a year's leave. Anna, a graduate Mistress of the school, was appointed to act as Principal. Anna has done very well, according to reports. She is interested in her work, and has the full co-operation of her staff, and is loved by her pupils. While Anna had been on the St. Augustine staff since 1956, a graduate mistress, she returned to Mt. Allison University on two occasions to pursue courses leading up to the 80

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HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT B.Ed Degree, which she obtained in June 1959 Mis Wager sent in her resignation as Principal, and Anna was appointed as such as from 1st May 1962 Right here I think it is appropriate to quote from a Canadian Paper The United Churchman,' by Dr. Christine Anna Jnr. (28) first day as Principal Mac Innis, then Registrar at Mt. Allison in 1963 March 271963. Miss Anna Mahase B Sc B. Ed., daughter of the late Mr. Kenneth Mahase and Mrs. Anna Mahase of Guaico, Trinidad, has been appointed Principal oftheSt. Augustine Girls' High School. Miss Mahase, who had been acting previously for a year, was head of the Science Department and is the first West Indian Principal of 51. Augustine Girls High School. She has been on the staff for six years. Still in her twenties she is the youngest Principal ever appointed in a Government or Assisted Secondary School in 81

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Anna Mahase Sm. Trinidad In the presence of more than five hundred students, parents and mends, and members of the teaching staff, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Trinidad and Grenada, The Right Rev. c.G. Kitney installed the new Principal. The school choir, led by Miss Mahase's sisterat the piano, contributed to the 40 minute ceremony. The congregation jOined in the singing of the school Hymn, "Unto The Hills," after which prayers were said by Rev Geraldine Reid. The school has a staff of twenty eight, twenty one of whom are graduates of Universi ties and three Higher School Certificate teachers The enrollment now stands at five hundred and forty though the school has space for only three hundred and fifty stUdents. It is difficult for me to refer to the little girl I knew as 'Miss Mahase', so from now on she is Anna. Anna came to Mt. Allison in 1953 on a W.M.S. Scholarship. She was a good student and a great favourite with all who knew her. She was active in sports and interested in music and in student affairs, but her studies came first. Anna's father and mother both taught for forty two and thirty seven years respec tively Her father was a Head Teacher and her mother had Head Teacher's Status. Anna's mother was a pupil of Miss Adella Archibald and was greatly influenced by her. She has reason to be proud of her family. LenoregraduatedfromMcGill University with her Licentiate in Music, then went to England and secured the School Music Teaching Diploma She is now married to Rev Bert Samaroo (Mt. Allison and Pine Hill Graduate) now Minister in the Guaico Charge. Barbara got her B .A. from Mc Gill and is married to Dr. Hyman Rodman, a graduate of Harvard and Head ofthe Research Institute in Detroit. Cyril, the oldest in the family, is a medical doctor in Trinidad. Stella is a Civil Servant with the Government, and Elaine also a graduate of Mt. Allison married Allison Gray of Sackville N.B. He is now completing a Ph.D. Course at U.N.B. in Science. Kenny, the youngest of the family,is now at Mt. Allison. I am sure many mends and those of us who loved Anna Mahase in her student days are glad that she has been chosen for this position of honour and responsibility ." 82

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A ) From the left : Kenny and Cyril (back) Anna, L e nore S t e lla Barbara Elaine (fronti J

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Anna Mahase Snr In 1912 the Naparima Girls' High School was opened in San Fernando. It was the first and only Presbyterian Secondary School for girls in the island, run by the Canadian Mission. East Indian girls from North and f=entral Trinidad who wished to further their studies at our Presbyterian Institution had to go South to San Fernando. Many remained in dounitory up at La Pique where the High School was built. So the need arose for a Girls' Secondary School up North. During the year 1946, an Executive member of the Women's Missionary Society of the United Church in Canada Mrs. Hugh Taylor, arrived on a visit. She was specially asked to meet a Committee for the building of a Presbyterian Girls' High School in North Trinidad. The date of the meeting June 4, 1946. The Committee which met at the Home of Dr. and Mrs. H.F. Ramesar, included the following: Mr. Jules Mahabir, Chairman,and Mrs. Mahabir, Dr. Ramesar, Vice Chairman, Dr. Caroline Ramesar, Treasurer, Mrs. B. Nobbee, Secretary; other members were Mrs. George Murray, Rev. CD. Lalla, Mr. A. Seeram, Rev & Mrs. T .A. Hosein, Mr. A.S. Kalloo, Miss M. Masters, and Mrs. KE. Mahase. Others appointed later were Rev. J.A. Scrimgeour, Rev. V B Walls, Miss I. Mc Dougall and Miss Irene Thompson. As can be observed from the list of names the only person who had passed through any of the Canadian Mission Girls' Institutions, was I myself. Of course, I was asked to speak among others and I tried my best to present facts to convince Mrs. Taylor of the great need for our request. I heard later on, that my talk went a long way to bring about our wish for the establishment of a Girls' Secondary School at St. Augustine on lands donated by The Caroni Estates Ltd., at a pepper com rent. When Mrs. Taylorretumed to Canada ourrequest was submitted to the Women's Board in Canada, which happily resulted in their sending the amount of $10,000 towards the building, the Committee undertaking to raise at least $16,000 locally. The school was founally opened in May 1953, where the girls were transferred from the building loaned by Dr. Forrester on the Eastern Main Road, St. Augustine. Here the High School was 84

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HARVEST OF ACHIEVEMENT being run by Miss Grace Beattie B.A. of the Naparima Girls' High School since 1950, a few years after which, Anna was appointed a non-graduate teacher on the staff. Now in 1946, when Mrs. Taylor came, Lenore, Barbara,Stella and Elaine had all already passed the London Matriculation examina tions and were all working. Lenore was in Canada and Anna was upat La Pique attending HighSchool. I had no girls to send toSt. Augustine, but I say the need and our wishes became a reality Little did I know that one day Anna herself would become Principal of that school. Trinidad Guardian April 14, 1962, says 'she has always had the co-operation of her staff which will indeed help to make her new appointment a real success.' In the early part of my writing I mentioned about my mother died in 1912. Hannah got married and had two children,a boy, Wilbur and a girl Doris, when she too died leaving her two children at tender ages with their father, and I never heard from anybody about anything. The fact is I did not know she had died, I only suspected because the last time I had heard from her she was ill in a hospital. Her husband never wrote so I forgot and did not or could not get any infollnation. One day in July 1961, my brother in-law, Ramdath Persad who had succeeded my husband as Head Master of Guaico Presbyterian School came to me holding something in his hand and said, 'He that hath tears to shed, shed them now.' It was a letter from Wilbur, my nephew, who was then almost thirty years old. The letter was addressed to the PrinCipal, Guaico Canadian Mission School. Persad was asked in that letter whether there was a Mrs. K.E. Mahase on his staff, that she was his mother's own sister (now deceased) and if she were no longer in school, whether he could give him some infOllltation about her. Persad knew whom this letter was from, because he had lived here with us when we used to receive letters from my sister and pictures ofthechildren. I was so overcome with joy. At once I with a feeling of sadness, but at the same time joy sat down and wrote a seven page letter to Wilbur, and immediately he replied, this time giving me all the news about himself and Doris 85

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Anna Mahase Snr. his sister. He himself was a B.A. Graduate of Agra University, not yet married, while Doris was already a mother of two children. Wilbur's father had also died, while the children were taken care of by an Aunt Mrs. Jessop, a medical doctor of the area. Wilbur, somehow had got hold of a letter I had written his mother in 1926, and how thrilled I was when I received a photostat copy of it, my own handwriting. We correspond regularly now. A few years ago Wilbur got married and is very happy. He is employed with the Government Life Insurance Company. Sometime during the year 1964, I was asked by the Girls' Institute Board of St. Augustine to speak on behalf of Miss A.J. Archibald, who had recently passed away at her home in Canada, and. to present her picture donated to the Institute by her relatives. I mentioned instances of how she influenced my personal life and ended up by saying Those of us who have benefitted from her teaching and counsel and guidance, those of us who are happy today and enjoy real happy family life because of her, we honour her sacred memory. I now present her picture with the hope that its presence on the walls of this room would be a lasting inspira tion to the staff and students of this Institution which bears her name, and as the years go by, may the studies and activities carried on here, rise to greater and nobler heights of achievements. Hers was indeed a life fully lived and truly loved. 86

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10 THE FINAL CURTAIN On 11th September 1955, Kissoon Mahase's brother who had been ailing previously for a few years, died at the General Hospital Port of Spain That very morning Stella had her second baby, a boy Colin, so that made two boys for her. Kissoon's death was a great loss and shock to Mahase, as both brothers had been very close all their lives. They always moved together and suffered many hardships as boys; but by that time Kissoon had married too and he had quite a number of children. During late November and early De-cember, Pa was appar-ently in good health. Hehad employed painters to paint the out-side of our house Cyril, Stella and Ca pi! with their two boys and Kenny were with us here. We; knew too, that Lenore was on her way home from Kissoon (Poi Chacha) and England by boat. Wealso Maha s e (Pa) knew that Anna would be graduating at Mt. Allison in the next few months, June 1956. It was the month of December and Pa always sent $25. 00 cheques for the children away for thristmas. He sent cheques for Elaine in Jamaica, Anna in Canada and Barbara in Detroit. They were mailed on the 5th He fell ill on the 6th, I had gone to thedentistatTunapuna to see about my dental plates and I left him in bed and well, as I took an early bus to travel. But when I returned at 2 p.m. he was ill in bed, but he spoke to me said that 87

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Anna Mahase Snr. Cyril had left him to rest. He had got a stroke. Incidents take place sometimes in such an unusual manner indirectly I say, to give us a hint of coming events, but we do not take heed, or pay special attention to them. About two weeks before Pa fell ill, I was sweeping the gallery, when he came out from the office to tell me to go with him to the study; he wanted to show me all his papers and accounts. He was the Manager of five schools. He had never wanted or seen the need fordoing that before, but I did not take him on, I smiled and said, "You do your busines s boy, and I am doing mine. And when he died, it is a good thing Capil and Cyril were here to see about those very papers and accounts Anotherday before this, suddenly, without any conversation before, he said, "You see when Idie,do not bury me in Foster Road It is too lonely there, bury me in the Turure Cemetery, from where I can see my children travelling up and down." For us it was a big joke because we all laughed. And when he died, Stella came to remind me of what he had said. Another instance of 'coming events cast their shadows before,' ",as one day when Stella brought out from her drawer a few unopened gifts in boxes and said, "Ma look at the number of gifts Pa has not opened, we better give them back to him SO we will not buy any more for Christmas." She gave them to him and he began opening them and was smiling. And indeed we did not have to buy him any Christmas gifts, because he was notthere. The truth is that wedid not expect him to die, as then he was very well. On the following day after he mentioned Turure Cemetery, I followed up the idea by telling him that he ask Capil to negotiate for an allotment at the cemetery, he smiled and said nothing. Strange things do happen sometimes, occurrences which man cannot understand. With Cyril's care and attention for only two days after he became ill, he passed quietly away with Cyril holding his hand. We all feel he was consCious in the end. His eyes were open for quite a while. I was sitting hear him then. Kenny thirteen years, wasattendingHill View College, Tunapuna. As soon as he came homeIsaid, "Kenny come and talk to Pa. He 88

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THE FINAL CURTAIN knelt down before him that Pa should see him and called, "Pa, Pa I came out first in Test" and believe it or not tears fell from Pa's eyes. His time had come. His was a life fully lived, a loVing, devoted and understanding husband and father. The truth about both of us was that from the time we were married we were always together. We worked in the same school. When our children became of age we taught them in the same school and they all attended the Guaico School. We never slept away from our home. From the early days of our married life we read story books together, detective stories, novels etc. I always did the reading. This method of ours continued when our children began growing up in the Primary School. At nights they would all sit around and I would read for them, all kinds of fairy tales and stories, and they would always look forward to hearing them. I read stories, poems, like Evangeline and Gabriel and cried at various times, Hiawatha, passages from which I made them memorize, and also taught my class in school, 'A Tale of Two Cities', 'Little Women' and 'Good Wives' etc. Our reading and talking together gave us that feeling of togetherness which manifested itself throughout our married life so essential to a happy complete family life and as far as I can see up to now, (1966) I am copying the whole works overfor the fourth time and I hope the last time, that united attitude is still present. It is a matter of one for all and all for one, much to my happiness and satisfaction. Our family may be separated phYSically, but not in love and unity of purpose. They know, and have seen much of living in devotion to life otherwise. God grant that they all may be happy, even as I was, and still am because of their continued support and devotion. When my husband died in December 8,1955, fourof my children were away, Elaine in Jamaica, Anna in Sackville, Barbara in Detroit, Lenore returning from England by boat. The three who were here lived here with us, Cyril, Stella and Capil and their two boys, David and Colin, and Kenny thirteen years old, attending Hill View College, Tunapuna. Pa got suddeniy ill on Tuesday 6th 89

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Anna Mahase Snr. December. When we saw it was serious, Capil went to Port of Spain and phoned Elaine in Jamaica on Wednesday telling her to come home immediately. Cable messages went out to Barbara and Anna telling them of hls illness and death on the 9th. Elaine cabled saying she was getting a flight on the evening of the 9th and would be landing at 6 p.m. Funeral arrangements were already made so we went right ahead. So when she arrived, Capil, Rev. Alcorn and his wife told her that Pa was already buried She did not even know he had died. But Elaine preferred it that way to think of him as being alive. The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. James Seunarine, then Moderator of Presbytery. The following morning we received a cable message from Anna in Canada that she was coming in on Sunday evening, that the staff and students of Mt. Allison had given her a return fare for three weeks. Three lovely wreaths were cabled to her from Battoo's Funeral Agency, which were brought here on Sunday morning. When Anna came on Sunday, she went, with us all and placed the wreaths herself on herfather's grave. What an unheard of and commendable gesture on the part of the student body and staff! We knew that Lenore was on her way home, so Capil thought out the best time to cable her on the boat, the day before she landed, SO she would know what to expect and the pe riod of suspense would not be too long Well she too arrived and now I had six of my children. around me. Barbara was coming the following year 1956 to have her first baby. Wha t a comfort these children were to me, words cannot describe. The following 90 Kenneth Snr. (Pa) and Anna Snr. (Ma) -1953

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THE FINAL CURTAIN year 1956,Barbara and Hycametospendfivemonths with us. Hy to do Research in Anthropology and Sociology leading up to his Doctorate at Harvard University. He was given a Fellowship to come to these parts to gather material for his Thesis. While they were still here, Lenore and I took a trip to Guyana, then B.G. to visit my brother Joseph and his family. We spent a lovely three weeks. Since then Joseph and Lilian have visited us many times. Kenny eventually went to Mausica Teachers' College following in his fath e r 's footsteps and graduated as a trained certificated teacher He married Roma Rarnsewak and was appointed to the Guaico Presbyterian School. Let us hope that one day he will be appointed the Principal of Guaico Presbyterian School, thereby continuing the heritage started by his grandfather George Washington Chandisinghand his father Kenneth Emmanuel Mahase Snr. All through our married life, Mahase and I always had a kitchen garden. We worked and planted it ourselves and enjoyed the satisfaction of having our own produce. During the war 1939 to 1945 we, with Kissoon my brother-in-law, were leased a few acres in the Wallen ville Estate in Guaico for the development of growmorefood 'campaign' war gardens. We paid for initial labour, but did the planting and reaping ourselves. As soon as school was over and our duties done we came home, Pa, Anna and myself, got into our garden outfits, took our fish hooks and lines and off to the garden. We first fished for small fish to use as bait for the bigger ones later in the evening. Then we reaped our com and pigeon peas, cassava etc. then fished for guabin, the big fish. We brought home com by the dozen ears, at a time. We would boil them when we came home and sit around with the children in our sitting room enjoying every bit of it to our great delight. That alone was compensation for our efforts, apart from the pleasure we ourselves derived. Cyril, many times would bring into the garden any of the younger ones who would wish to go, and he would fish. He and Anna were the two who liked fishing and since Kenny grew up he too likes it. These days whenever we 91

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Anna Mahase Snr. go to Salybia in our Beach House for a holiday a lot of fishing goes on. They together with Capil and Bert, would quite often be very successful. We also always had a home kitchen garden which I worked and planted myself, .. with the help of a boy whom weaiwayshad to help around the yard. I had my own beans, lettuce, (growing and filling Lenore and Anna Snr. (Ma) at up like cabbages) tomatoes, Salybia cabbage, cI'>ive and celery. Many a time at mealtime, except for rice and other things, everything else was from our garden. What an independent feeling of being self sufficient! I also reared poultry. Chickens and ducks, and turkeys, quite a number of cocks and hens. The ducks became a nuisance, too much cleaning to be done. The turkeys walked too far so we got rid ofthem. But the chickens we kept, because. we had one when we wanted. We had planted quite a number of fruit trees as early as when we bought the lot of land on the western side of our house. We have our garage there now and our immediate yard is all fenced in. When I retired in 1954, so many good things were said about my children and me. I replied by saying that if they felt that I had been a success in life, then lowed most of that to the good wishes of our friends. I was presented with a lovely dinner set, which I can see before me all day, and which I use on special occasions. My whole life was and has been one of continued activities in many spheres of life, teaGhing as a career, housekeeping and seven children, gardening as a hobby, poultry rearing, Child Welfare League and Child Welfare Weekly Clinic at the school, the W M .S. of our Church, Christian Endeavour Society, a regular 92

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THE FINAL CURTAIN Sunday Sch oo l Teach e r an organis t o f our churc h for a long period until my own ch ild ren g rew up, and the Hosein girls (one really played) and a Benjamin girl. All through my teaching career I taught musi c and singing. Yes, it was a full enough life No regrets I enjoyed every b it of it. I thank God for good health and wisdom to b e able t o carry through coupled with the co operation and devotion and guidance of a wise and loving husband and the continued support and love of my devoted children making ours a very happy complete family life I Anna S nr. (Ma) one month b efore she died -1978 93

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EPILOGUE Between the years 1968 and her death in 1978 Ma witnessed the birth of several grandchildren much to her joy and happiness. This is reflected in the Family Tree CYRIL has continued to be and is still in private practice as a Medical Practitioner in Sangre Grande. Cyril and Sattie's children, Sandra and Susan, both graduated from St. Augustine Girls' High School and are in volved in their own business at the Valpark Shopping Plaza. Leslie gained his B.Sc degree in Biology from Mt. Allison Univer sity, New Brunswick, Canada, and isnow a professionally trained Science Teacher at Hillview College LENORE, after 32 years of teaching Music, and conducting Choir and Steel Orchestra at St. Augustine Girls' High School is back once more on a one year contract. She received the National Award of Medal of Merit (Silver) for her outstanding contribu tion to Music in the country. She continues to direct the SAGHS Alumnae Choir. Bert is the Principal of the Carapichaima Senior Comprehensive School. Wendy, who is now resident and working in Canada, gained a First Class Honours B.A. degree in English from the U.W.!., St. Augustine and a BA degree in Anthropology from York UniverSity, Ontario, Canada. Arlene gained a B.A. Upper Second Class Honours degree in French and Spanish from the U.W.I.,St. Augustine. She is now pursuing Post Graduate studies at the University of Florida, Gainsville, Florida, in Speech Therapy. She taught for one year at SAGHS. BARBARA, a Romance Novelist, has been resident in the U S A. for over 35 years. Among her works is the novel 'Olas Grandes' and a collection of stories, 'Love Stories for all Centuries' published by The International UniverSity Press Both books are set in Trinidad. Many of her articles have been published in the Detroit Sunday Magazine Kenny, her eldest son, has gained an MSc. degree in Mechanical Engineering and is now pursuing 94

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EPILOGUE courses in Bio-Medical Engineering at Wayne State University, Michigan. Derek gained two degrees, a B.A. in General Studies and a B.Sc. in Geophysics. He now works at a prestigious fillll in St. Louis, Missouri U.S.A. David died at the age of 17 of a heart attack. He was then a High School Senior. Gail gained a B .A. degree in Journalism and an M.A. in Administration and Public Relations She is now a S e nior Public Relations Repre s entative at a ho s pital in Detroit. She expects her first baby in August 1992 STELLA's husband Capil died of a h eart attack in Barbados while on vacation in June 1977. They had both established Capil' s & Co Ltd -a thriving Furniture and Appliances Business. Stella remains a Director of the Company with her 4 sons. She remar ried in 1985 Mr. W K. (Mitch) Kan, a Petroleum Structural/Civil Engineer with Amoco Co Ltd He is now retired and they both liveatSan Louis Rd Guaico, Trinidad,and Davie, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida U S.A. David the Managing Director of Capil's & Co Ltd. and Indira have 3 children Katherine (Kathy) is a FOlln 2 student ofSAGHS, while Karen and Darryl attend the University Junior School in St. Augustine Colin, a Cardiologist live s in Miami Florida and is associated with several hospitals in the city Ian, like Dave, is involved as a Director of Capil's & Co Ltd He is also in charge of the several Capil's Agencies at Trincity, Tacarigua. Christine and Ian have 3 children Christian and Syam are students attending the University School at St. Augustineand Sasha isat Nursery School. Russell (Timmy),an Attorney At-Law and Vindra also have 3 children Nikita and Avinash attend the University School and Shivana is at a Nursery School. ELAINE has been resident in Canada for approximately 30 years Allison her husband holds a top administrative position with the Ministry of National Security Canada for many years in Ralston, Alberta. Elaine has been teaching Art and Drama at the Medicine Hat High School since they moved to Alberta Susan, their eldest child resident in Winniepeg is on the Faculty of the University of Manitoba -she is hoping to start working towards her PhD. in 95

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History very soon. Rodney gained a B.Mus Degree (Flute), married Marie Andree (violinist) and have 2 children Alexandra and David Rodney is working towards his Masters in Per fOIIIIance (Flute) Darryl, B .Sc isa Medical Intern at the University of Western Ontario Hospital, London, Ontario Both Darryl and Rodney, apart from their musical talents are accomplished ath letes ANNA Jnr. retires as Principal of SAGHS in July, 1992 after 40 years of service at SAGHS, made up of 2 years as a non-graduate teacher 1951-1953, 6 years as a graduate teacher 1956-1961 and 32 years as Principal 1961-1992. She received the National Award of Medal of Merit (Gold) in 1975 and the Chaconia Medal (Gold) of the Trinity Group in 1990 for long, outstanding and meritorious service to the country In 1988 she received the Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the University of the West Indies, and in 1989, the Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) fr o m her AIma Mater Mt. Allison University, New B1UI!swick Canada -both for outstanding service to Education in Trinidad & Tobago and the Caribbean KENNY and Roma lived for many years in the family house at Guaico they have since built their own home next door to the original house on the same Guaico property. Kenny is a Trained Teacher aCT) at the Guiaco Presbyterian School and Roma, B.A (French and Spanish), Dip Ed., is a professionally trained graduate teacher at the North Eastern College in Sangre Grande. Ma's health began to fail around 1975 but it was obvious that the 'School Mistress' with herimmaculategrammar and past memories was very much there -but recent events she qUickly forgot. She spent days and nights singing correctly almost all of the hymns from the Hymnary. She even corrected her 'round the clock' maids -the two Berthas and Doris when their grammar failed She always retained her sense of humour and would often relate her famous poem which she wrote many, many years ago formy father: 96

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EPILOGUE "Wives of great men all remind us We can make our life sublime, And, departing, leave behind us WidlJWs worthy of our time. So then give your wife a send off, By the Life Insurance plan, Fix her, so that when you glide off, She can find another man!" And she would laugh heartily. Ma died of viral pneumonia on the 30th July, 1978, at 5:45 a m., after a short illness (with her children around her). Her funeral service was held at the Guaico Presbyterian Church on the 31st July at 4:00 p.m. Rev. Everson Seunarine officiated and preached the Sellllon and Mr. Lionel (BhuaI) Mahadeo, one of her fOllller students, delivered a very touching eulogy. Lenore played the organ and the SAGHS choir was in attendance. During the service, hymns and a bhajan were sung and as a final tribute Lenore accompanied the choir as they sung most beautifully Handel's Hallelujah Chorus -a fitting tribute to a remarkable Woman, Wife and Mother She was buried alongside Pa at the Turure Cemetery, Guaico Undoubtedly, all of us -her children, know that both Ma and Pa continue to smile upon us and to guide us, for spiritually they have never left us. AnnaJnr. 97

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AFTERWORD The autobiography is a remarkable story of bravery and of courage It is not an isolated case since many thousands of immigrants from India underwent the same difficult rites of passage during the last century. These stories need to be documented because they tell of a mentally hardy people seeking to escape the difficulties of a North Eastern India ravaged by some two centruies of Eurpoean exploitation and held back by an unyielding adherence to tradition in a world of rapid change. Those who dared leave the motherland, particularly the women, must have been persons of extraordinary courage. They were leaving a life and a culture to which they had grown accustomed, to go to another world about which they knew nothing. These humble people who had never journeyed beyond their village, were now ready to go to sea on a jahaj that might never reach the further shore. They were prepared to create a new life in a new world, starting with nothing save their deteI mination to succeed, buttressed by their belief in the redemptive quality of hard work. This is the adventure-filled story of Rookabai and her descendants; told by one of her daughters, Anna. The biographer casts her mind backwards, tracing her roots in India and then forward, showing the post-indentureship continuation of that narrative of progress. In the process we are treated with an account of the early development of clearings in the jungle that was then Guaico and Sangre Chiquito. We learn of the work of the Canadian missionaries in that neglected area, of the networking of their activities both here and in British Guiana. The biography speaks of the campaign of conversion wherein the missionaries used Indian languages to make the Christian message familiar and palatable The biography is a triumphant relating of the estab lishment of new schools and the fOIInation of groups to train boys and girls The Anna Mahase whose autobiography we have read, took 98

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advantage of the Presbyterianism which the Canadians offered. Her generation recognised this as one of the very few options for Indo-Trinidadians to succeed in a system that was so loaded against them. But she never allowed the new religion to sweep her off her feet. She continued to hold on to the best traditions of her Oriental past. For many of the converts, shelving the Indian past was necessary to becoming a good Presbyterian. Such an attitude was shocking even to the Canadians whom it was meant toplease. In 1910 MissMargaretjamjeson, a Canadian missionary, remarked that instead of greeting the visitor with their "graceful salaam" Presbyterians were rushing "to shake hands with you" Not so with Anna Mahase! Her retention of her Indian dress was the subject of special admiration by Miss Grace Beattie, newly appointed principal of Naparima Girls' High School, in 1917. In a letter to mission headquarters in Toronto she wrote: "Perhaps you will remember Anna, a very bright-looking girl and the only one in Hindi dress" Dr. Mackay, mission secretary, in his reply observed that "I remember her with pleasure. I agree with those who think it is a pity that the Hindu young women are adopting European dress. Their own is so beautiful and graceful". This attitude of special concern for people with a background like her own characterised Anna's work long after she left the High School. She went out and ensured that Hindu and Muslim girls took advantage of the educational opportunities offered by the mjssionaries. She led in the singing of Bhajans which are Hindi songs with a Christian message; she took obvious and unashamed delight in recounting the ancestral observances (par ticularly Divali) which Rookabai had brought from India. At the same time she ensured that those in her charge, whether they were herpupilsor her children became versed in the requirements of the new world. The success of these efforts is of course demonstrated in the hundreds of successful fonner students of Anna Mahase together with the present and continuing story of achievement of her own offspring and their progeny. An autobiography such as this one must therefore, be a cause for 99

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celebration. It stands as a source of enOl lI\OUS inspiration to our generation. lf someone with such limited material sources could do so much, how unending is the scope for our present peoples, with so much more at our disposal. in another sense, this work must inspire others to add their own family histories to this growing body of biographical infoIInation. By such effort we will be gradually able to piece together our past and to mesh these pieces towards the haiinonious building of a common future. At the personal level we need also to root ourselves securely in self knowledge so that our actions may be motivated by the strength which is derived from that knowledge of self. 100 Dr. Brinsley Samaroo Department of History University of the West indies, St. Augustine.

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Kenneth Emmanuel Mahase Snr. B.Ed. 101

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APPENDIX I The Autobiography of Kenneth Emmanuel Mahase The Autobiography of Kenneth Emmanuel written by him some time during the latter part of 1955. He died in December 1955 Marhai Maharaj lived in the Province of Oudh in India. He belonged to the Brahmin caste and had three wives one after the other. Ramdhanie, son of one of his wives, was a Pundit by profession. He married Bachee, daughter ofBissoondath Tewaree They had a son, Mathura Persad, and a daughter Parbhudai. Ramdhanie died when his son was five years of age. At this time Bachee migrated to Trinidad with her two children. They arrived in April 1880 on the Ship "Foyle. Mathura Persad, son of Ramdhanie and Bachee, married Bhagmatee in April 1889. They lived in Tunapuna for about four years and then moved up to Sangre Grande. They had after a few years, four boys and one girl, namely, Mahasedath, Kissoondath, Bissoondath, Dherajee and Ramdath. Mathura Persad was a priest and pundit by profession He was also an agriculturalist. Sangre Grande was just opening up, and the few people coming up to settle here in these parts were indeed the pioneers in agriculture. He died at the age of thirty. I was born on August 4, 1893 at Tunapuna, being the first in the family. While I was still an infant, my parents removed to Sangre Grande. Here they bought five acres ofland from the Government on which they settled. There were very few settlers in this part of the island at that time, and my parents were really among the pioneers who helped to clear the lands for agriculture. Miles and miles of trail through the forest had to be traversed to reach the nearest settlement -Arima, to secure food stuffs and medicine. 'Arima' is a Carib word, which means: 'abundance of water. 102

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-, -o '" .,... ...... .of. -" .. --.. ,) .., 04.' -Standing from the left: Sons -Ramdath. Bi ssoondath. Ki ssoondath. Mahasedath, Sitting from the left: Daughter Dherajee Mothe r Bhagmatee -L

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The Autobiography of Kenneth Emmanuel Mahase From this name it can be easily conceived that this part of the country is well watered by an abundance of springs and rivers which had to be crossed to reach Arima. Our house was built on a low hill overlooking a ravine with crystal water and shoals of fishes swimming about. I took a special delight in fishing with my brother in the ravine. My father and mother would sometimes join us in this pleasant pastime. About a quarter of a mile around our house, there were low shrubs and bushes where we went to set traps for ground doves, water fowls and cyes. After school our chief occupation was either hunting or fishing, and trapping,and there was nothing we loved to do more than these In the rainy season we went to plant rice in the lagoon about half a mile from our home. During heavy rainfall this vast area was covered with two or three feet of water. An abundance of fish came up periodically from the large rivers, and were left behind in the shallow water in this area. Our joys were. more imagined than described when we were engaged day after day chopping with our poinards big fishes, gua bins, sardines and cascaduras. At evenings we returned home glowing with satisfaction over our explorations. The rice lands were very fertile and in an acre we usually cultivated suffident rice (paddy) to last our small family for the year. How vividly I see before me even now, the vast golden fields of rice waving in the breeze, the fanners, scattered in groups, busily engaged in collecting the rewards of their labour. I began to attend school when I was seven years old. This was mainly due to the fact that the nearest school from my home was about three miles away, so I had to go and live at my uncles who lived nearer a school. I can still remember how lonely, and sad I felt especially the first few weeks when my father left me at my uncles. I ate nothing the first evening, but wept on my bed until I slept away. Home to me was the loveliest and best place in the world, and even today I still hold that spot sacred, though the house is no longer there. I must say that my childhood impression was that my uncles and 104

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APPENDIX I aunts were unsympathetic and indifferent towards meand many a time the innocent pride of my childhood was hurt by the unkind remarks of my aunts towards me and my parents. Many an evening, on such unpleasant occasions, I used to go at the back of the house on a hill, and gaze with tear filled eyes towards my home at the setting sun and say to my childish h e art. 'My home is exactly where the sun is setting on the horizon .' When the tree tops and mountains were lost to view by the surrounding darkness, I would return to the house, have a small supper, and quietly go to bed which was in a separate room. The room was dark and dingy with no windows. The household goods, with a heap of other broken useless articles were filled up in it also It was a most insanitary and uninviting place The first school I attended was the Sangre Chiquito Canadian Mission School, and the first day I attended I wanted to jump over the window. The schoolmaster, Mr. G W Chandisingh, who later on became my father-in-law was very kind and had a great deal of patience with me. In order to encourage me to come to school, he used to give mea picture card every Friday I tooka pride in taking thesecard, home and to my friends and have them stuck on the wall in a row. When I was about ten years old, my father had some misunderstanding with my uncles. He told me and my younger brother Kissoon, that we would have to go to school from home now, as our uncles were unable to keep us at their homes. Although we showed some concern over this sudden change, we were invariably very happy to go to school from home. We did not mind the long lonely road and the extra distance we would have to travel every day, but to live at home was worth it all. This change necessitated our going to another school, so we travelled every day from Coalmine to the Sangre Grande Government School, a distance of about three miles. Mr. L. Betaudierwas the head teacher. He liked us and treated us kindly and took an interest in our progress. Somehow, this gentleman became a great friend of my father, of course my father being a Brahmin priest, was loved and respected by all whom I 105

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The Autobiography of Kenneth Emmanuel Mahase knew, and in tum I must state that my father was a very friendly man towards all irrespective of race, colour or creed. He died when I was about fourteen years old. We were now on the threshold of dark and difficult days. For several years we were living in a state of uncertainty and delusion. My grandmother (father's mother) died within onemonth of my father's death, she had lived with us all along. They both died owing to lack of medical care and nursing. Within three month of my father's death, my bereaved and heart broken mother was told by my uncles that they could not keep her in their homes and her five children, four boys and one girl. They got her a home in their neighbourhood, and she had to remove with her children to Sangre Chiquito, the youngest being three years old. This arrangement was a monthly agony and humiliation for my poor and helpless mother Whenever she wentto collectthatration she always came back in tears. During each year, for four to five months we, my two brothers and I, were not allowed to go to school. We were given a cocoa house each to dry hundreds of barrels of cocoa. However, the years rolled on and I completed my Primary school course, and was given an appointment as a Pupil Teacher with a salary of two dollars per month, at the Sangre Chiquito Canadian Mission School. My uncles objected strongly to this mainly for two reasons. First, as a Hindu I should not work in a Christian School, and secondly, I should work for them, as they were still supporting my mother. Each of the three uncles gave her two dollars per month. I had no desire however, to follow their advice. Sometime during this period, my brother Kissoon got a job in a Sangre Grande store at a salary of $4.00 per month. $1.44 a week, also another source of annoyance to my uncles, as they had lost the services of both of us. When Kissoon got married, they discontinued their allowance, but gave her a lump sum each for one year. In March 1917, Miss Anna Chandisingh, an East Indian lady teacher was appOinted at our school. She had completed two 106

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APPENDIX I years of training at the Naparima Training School for Teachers The Indian community looked upon her with surprise and admiration as Indian girls were not allowed to go to school. This opened upa new era for the Indian girls in the community. Indian parents began to send out their girls to school with a sense of security as to their moral safety Miss Chandisingh and I soon became close friends At first she was shy and tried to keep away from me. It was, I believe, my frank and straightforward manner that appealed to her. We were associated for about three weeks when I was told that I had to leave to enter the Naparima Training College for two years. While I was very happy to getan opportunity to become a trained teacher, still I must confess that I left home with a sadness and a heavy heart. This was due to more than one r eason, first, I was the oldest son, and therefore the supporter of the family; second, my mother was very sad and unwilling to let me go. She cried a great deal the day I left home, and then my uncles were adamant in their opposition to my going. They were against my going because of religion They said I would change my religion from Hinduism to Christianity, and that they were not going to tolerate it. My youngest uncle even pursued me up to the Sangre Grande RailwayStation to take me back home, but fortunately, forme, the train had already left when he arrived, as I had taken it at the Guaico Station Another reason I was sad to go was, the new friendship with Miss Chandisingh and I had gradually begun to develop into a deep affection I can remember vividly the day I was leaving Sangre Chiquito, I wentto ask herfor a book. She being stirred by deep emotion, was unable to see me and I left her home with a sadness that cannot be described. I left Sangre Chiquito at the end of May 1917, and slept that night in Tunapuna, where I was baptised by Dr. H.H. Morton I reached San Fernando the next day, where I was admitted as a student of the Naparima Training School. The Principal of the College was Rev. Dr. F. J. Coffin M.A. Ph.D. He was very kind to 107

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The Autobiography 0 1 Kenneth Emmanuel M ahase me. For the first few weeks I was sad and homesick Whenever I was alone, my mind would revert to various circumstances surrounding my home and the fast coming events in my life In spite of many obstacles, I did pretty well in the terminal te sts. I was not sure whethe r I would be allowed to come home for the August vacati o n as I was a Christian now, and my uncles were bitt e r against me. But in spite of all the opposition, my mother said that I must come home,and I did come home for th e holidays. During the holiday s Miss Chandisingh and I m e t almost every day. Manyan evening w e w ent for long walks There was mutual happiness and an irrepressible j oy when we were together. We deeply loved and esteemed each other. Before I returned to Training College after the vacation we were engaged to be married some day. In March 1918, I pa ss ed the Teachers' Third Clas s Certificate Examinations and in the following year, the Second Class, the final Teachers Examinations. Miss Chandisingh also pas sed these two examinations together with me. Our joy and happiness were unbounded at this our mutual success. The day the results were published, we went out that evening for a long walk and many things about our future home we discussed. In July 1919, I was appointed Head Teacher (Principal) of the Grosvenor Canadian Mission School, and one month later, on the 9th of August, we got married at the Morton Memorial Church at Guaico, by Rev. Joseph Gibbings. My wife was appointed Assistant Teacher in the same school with me. We worked in this school for about a year and two months. On the 23rd of June 1920 our first child, Cyril, was born. We were very happy because our first child was a boy. In October 1920 we were transferred to the Guaico Canadian Mission School in our normal positions, where we are still employed in the same capacity. This was a bigger school situated in a more populous area and district. There were numerous signs of neglect in this school, and we had to put in a great deal of hard 108

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APPENDIX I work to put things together. However, after a few years we were proud of our school. The Manager of the school was Rev. H H. Morton. He was very pleased with the progress the school made under our administration. About the year 1922, another Canadian Missionary came to Trinidad and was appointed Manager of our school by the Canadian Mission board. He was Rev Ceo Murray. At this time a new Manse had to be built for him and so our house was removed to another spot at the back ofthe school. We lived there for about seven years. Lenore and Barbara were born in that same house. By this time we began thinking of building our own house, and in the end of August 1927, I bought a lot ofland on the Eastern Main Road, situated about three hundred yards from the school. We moved into our own house in December 1928. Stella was born in April 1929, Elaine in September 1930, Anna in July 1932, and Kenny in August 1942. 109

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APPENDIX II ANNA MAHASE Sm. HER POETRY 10th June, 1967 I wrote this poem two weeks ago with the idea in my mind of the Centenary Celebrations in 1968 ofthe Canadian Mission work in Trinidad during the hundred years 1. We think of Dr. Morton whom we all so much revere, He has been to us undoubtedly our greatest Pioneer. So let us all both great and small, rejoice and celebrate our Centenary year this 1968. 2. A hundred years have gone since our Missionaries came To this small Isle of Trinidad the land of sugar cane. John Morton was the Pioneer from Canada's fair domain, Bridgewater was his home but to Trinidad he came. 3. In eighteen sixty eight with his wife his only mate, He moved among East Indians on the sugar cane estate Indentured they were then but conditions were not pleasing, So he toiled among them night and day to teach them better living. 110

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APPENDIX II 4 He opened schools and Churches and he taught them how to read And write the English language which some day they would need, Religion too he taught them as they must go hand in hand, For the bettellltent of a people and the progress of a land. 5. The first and foremost Canadian Mission School in Iere began On the doorsteps of the Mortons' home where pupils read and sang. The beginning of an era of East Indian education has brought in nineteen sixty eight with jubilation. 6 Indebted they were then to the Managers of Estates Who helped with Teachers' salaries and did co-operate Then the Schools became assisted with a Government Grant in Aid, To run them more efficiently so progress would be made. 111

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HER POETRY 7. Then came our Rev. Kenneth Grant to open fields anew. Naparima college he began with students just a few, But later on in after years the College went upstairs Of Grant School, well named after him, with the Primary School downstairs 8 Meanwhile from far across the seas more Missionaries came, And some took Stations in the South the work there to maintain. The Mortons came up North in Tunapuna to reside Near the Northern Range of Mountains and the fertile valleys wide 9 Mrs. Morton moved among the girls along the country side, A new Girls' Home was opened and the basement occupied She taught them how to read and write, and gannents how to sew, That better housewives they would make wherever they might go. 112

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APPENDIX II 10. And while the years went rolling on, Canadian ladies came. To the Iere Home in Princes Town, Mi,;s Archibald was her name. She educated, trained her girls for Christian livelihood, To bring about upliftrnent of East Indian womanhood 11. We pay a lasting tribute to this Lady Pioneer, For her sweet and silent influence she exerted everywhere For her wonderful life of service which we never can repay We will cherish her sacred memory by the lives that we live each day. 12 The need arose in later years which follows as a rule, That there should be down in the south a Secondary School. Mi,;s Marian Outhit M.A., a Pioneer, stood by, Was Prindpal of the first Girls' School, the Naparima High. 113

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HER POETRY 13. When Dr. Morton came up North, he opened many Schools; 14. And services were kept in them on Sundays as a rule. He reached as far as Guaico, when the Railway passed through there, And because he saw it central he made headquarters here. He drove in buggy, rode his horse, and walked the muddy road Penetrated into villages where people there abode. He preached the Gospel in their homes, and with them sang and prayed, And built new schools, for soon in them foundations would be laid. 15. With fifty years or work complete in this I and and abroad, In nineteen twelve, his Jubilee Year, from the Overseas Mission Board Came a personal gift of money which he did not claim as as purse, But gave it for the construction of the Morton Memorial Church. 114

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APPENDIX II 16. He preached his final set mon in July of that year At the Guaico Canadian Mission School house to his congregation there. The Church next door though incomplete, his heart was satisfied, That some day it would grow in strength of service, fortified. 17 Then two weeks later, August 4, in that his Jubilee year, His earthly labours ended, and so did his career. A life well lived, a work well done, with service at its best, In the Tunapuna graveyard he was qUietly laid to rest. 18. And all throughout these hundred years were schools and Churches new. Our Schools were like the Nurseries where all our children grew. What have we done as parents all to help them now to stand For service true and faithful in our Independent land? 115

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HER POETRY 19. And now we come to harvest time to reap what others have sown But just remember, every day we plant some seeds our own Then when it comes to reaping, may the Good Lord's Guiding hand Lead the future generation in this their Native Land. 20. Together they aspired and together they achieved Was the silent Motto of our men and women unconceived. We pledge anew our Motto in these days of Celebration While we unite, with thankful hearts and pray "God bless our Nation." To Our Nation o Trinidad all hail to thee, Our blessed land of Trinity Tobago too enfolded be Together as one entity. United may our people be In peace and love and hanllullony Where races all in brotherhood preserve our Sacred Nationhood. 116

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APPENDIX II o Caribbean Isles, to thee We pledge whole hearted loyalty In closer bond and amity To be one great Fraternity. Our chosen Leaders of this land Bless Thou with Thine Abnighty hand. May Church and State be just and wise That we to greater Heights may nse. 117

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APPENDIX III TRIBUTES I have before me a copy thirty-five years old, of an address delivered by Cyril when he was twelve, at a Trail Rangers Rally in San Fernando Not because it was he that I am copying it here, but it is to show the heights to which our boys could reach when they take part in Groups of this nature, and if and when this old copy is tom or lost, it will be right here in this book and I am certain it will benefit many more to come. The subject of his address was:-Mr. President, Sunday School workers, and fellow Rangers, I feel very proud and much privileged for having this opportunity of speaking to you for a few minutes this afternoon. I was asked to speak to you on "What the Trail Ranger means to me." First of all I am proud to say that I have been a member of the first Trail Ranger Group in the island We in Trinidad are familiar with the word "Forest Ranger." A foresf Ranger is one who knows all about the forest. A trail is a path made by someone who has gone before. The aim of the Trail Ranger is fourfold, even as the life of Christ was of a fourfold nature, as it is said of him when he visited the temple for the first time at the tender age of twelve. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. This is the fourfold development. First Intellectually, by being in the Trail Ranger group at the age of twelve, it still being of school age, we get a better knowledge of facts by various discussions and debates carried on in the group, then as boys we get a spirit of adventure and we do not feel satisfied with mere book knowledge, we go further and indulge 118

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APPENDIX III in ramblings which bring us in closer touch with nature, for after all, intelligence does not end in books but goes further into the works of God, and by so doing we get to know God and His works and what he expects us to be. Physically Hand in hand with intellectual training, the Trail Rangers are physically strengthened. Not very long ago, Mr. Swann organ ised a County group meeting which was held on the North Manzanilla beach, and the boys indulged in various kinds of sports and sea bathing, all for their physical benefit. A healthy mind must live in a healthy body, and we must keep it clean, free from disease, so that we may feel well. My body and yours are the temples of God and we should keep them clean. Our Mentor teaches us Hygiene and First Aid, which teach us to help others in time of need. Spiritually When we meet in the Trail Ranger gniup, we set aside a period for devotion, which is an essential part of any meeting. During that period we sing hymns, we pray, we read Scripture passages, while our Mentor explains to us the Sunday School lessons, thus giving us a knowledge of the Bible, the greatest of all books, to help us along in our spiritual lives. The most important thing in our group is that in our Sunday School we fOlIII a distinct class with our Mentor as teacher Socially We all like to have friends, and the only way to have friends is to be a friend. Our group meetings, week after week bring us closer together, we learn to know one another better, and in so doing we learn to love them. At school we meet boys, out of school we meet 119

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TRIBUTES boys. What th e Trail Ranger stands for is to help us to get a10"5 with other boys During my school days my Mentor told us we would pass some hard times, both in our studies and in our relations with other boys, and I have found it out myself. Just as the Forest Ranger knows the different tracks of the forest, so we as Trail Rangers should recognise the safe paths of life The more we overcome difficulties, the stronger we will become. Our greatest Trail Ranger was Christ himself who, in his boyhood days did all that was worthy of a son of man, and a son of God. He has left a trail forus to follow which if we follow, we would become the boys he would have us be, useful citizens of our Empire. And let us remember friends, that as we live in this world we are also making a trail which we will leave when wedie, and let that trail be such as may fit in as it is said in the Poem. "Lives of great men':. Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time Footprints, that perhaps another Sailing o'er life's solemn mains. A forlorn and shipwrecked brother Seeing, shall take heart again. Let us then be up and doing, With a heart for any fate, Still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labour and to wait. 120 ..

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APPENDIX III I am also copying the address read to Cyril when he was about to enter Queen's Royal College in 1933. Guaico Trail Ranger Camp Thursday 21st September, 1933 Master Cyril Mahase, Trail Ranger, Guaico. Dear Fellow Ranger, It is with a feeling of joy and sorrow that we meet this evening to say goodbye to you before you leave us to enter upon your new career as a student of Queen's Royal College We wish you all success in your studies and we hope that you will gain untold honours, and in the near future that you become a dis. tinguished son of the soil. We can assure you that you will be missed very much from the camp. Your kind ways have sunk deep into our hearts, and you are leaving many loving mends behind. You have filled the Office of Cache with credit and played the piano like a young master. We appreciate the keen interest you maintained as a member since its organisation You were absent very rarely and that was only through illness In conclusion we ask you to accept this small gift not for its value, but .for the love which the Camp has for such a useful member like you. I have already written the names of those who Signed. The following poem was written by an ex-pupil of this school, who became a Pupil Teacher, an Assistant Teacher, but had to leave, as he was Catholic and could not be promoted inany of our 121

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TRIBUTES schools He became a Head Teacher in one of his schools and later promoted to the Inspectorate. He resigned and is now residing in Canada with his family. He wrote this poem when he left our school, a very faithful ex-pupil My Teacher -Mr. Kenneth E. Mahase. At a School named Guaico Canadian Mission in the dim remembered past Once a great and noble teacher did his future with us cast. And he gave us of his wisdom in so generous a way, That all we did was marvel, for we found nothing to say. I was a child a wee small lad, but nature had her pranks. And in short time I grew up to be among the senior ranks. There with an honoured skilful art called Teaching (at its best) This teacher taught me all I know, And so he did the rest. And as the years flew onward A Pupil Teacher I became. But never yet, nor ever will be his guiding hand restrain. He has guided me from childhood, he shall guide me all my days For his Mottos and his principles are imbedded in my ways. 122

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APPENDIX III If ever deeds of nobleness, gratitude and love deserve. We will all do well to honour this teacher without reserve, And as a parting advice I pray you ever give heed To the wishes of this teacher be as pliable as a reed. This teacher's name I've not yet told is Kenneth E. Mahase. If ever man for others ran, then he has run this race And fully well does he deserve divine eternal rest. When his earthly tasks are over, he shall have done his best. 123

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APPEND I X I V ATLANTIC OCEAN .. .. -, "," :.. .... ... """ .t '" .. _. .., -,,-1 2 4 't -, -

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i l,"" II I l: I "' ..... i J ill-h I "" S 11----8 !. i I I i I i I !11-IJJlll l! dllll I -....... .. I lid !II J I n """ -,

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APPENDIX V I :From tfie :Famify Jiflbum \ \ --......; -11 -. 0' -j! 11
  • -E e '" 1 2 7

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    From Ihe Family Album .. 128

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    APPENDIX VI (1977) Ma with Russel (Timmy) Colin, Ian and Dave on the Guaico porch. 129

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    From the Family Album Barbara and Hyman 130

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    APPENDIX Above: From left Kenny, David Barbara with Gail and Derek on the Guaico porch. Below: (Daughter)Anna and Derek (Grandson) : 1 ; ... 131 -

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    From the Famil y A l b u m i! '<: ." .5>t: e5e 0 0 -... -" (j--" -o 132

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    APPENDIX VI Top: Back Row Allison and Rodney Front Sitting: Daryl Elaine Susan and Ted Dueck Below: From the left Cyril with Susan, Anna Inr. Ma Stella and Lenore 133

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    -Co> .. Above: Lenore and Colin Left: Lenore celebrates her national award MOM (Medal of Merit for Music) From the left : Cyril. Anna Inr Lenore and Bert '"' a 3 3 -c 3

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    APPENDIX VI --,.., c ... 1:: '" -E 135

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    From the Family Album I I I I I Dr. Anna Mahase lnr. LLD University of the West Indies, LLD Mt. Allison University Canada 136

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    APPENDIX VI Back R o w : Da ve and Kathy Fr ont R o w : Kar e n Indira Darryl. 19 92 137

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    Fro m Ihe Family Album Back Row : Ian and Christine Front Row : Christian, Sasha Syam. 1992 138

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    APPE NDIX VI ;;, E E -f-< -r -f, N "'" -:2:..; -11 1;1 5 g ., -"" -" i: "' ... -" ;:,- t-...., .., -E !: ... 139

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    From Ihe Family Album Il I Ii 4 8 -" '--c U "" .$ t E -f.< --'" <>: 8 "" e -i! "" Jl 140

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    APPENDIX VI .... 141

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    From Ihe Family Album Stella and Mitch 142

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    APPENDIX VI til -.. t! '" -" .,. 0 -, il .oOq -" ll:l ""'" f -, "--143

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    From Ihe Famil y A l b u m Lenore Musical Diredor, SACHS Choir and Steel Orchestra on tour Tor o nto, Canada 1983 144

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    -DATE DUE 20131 I I -. I i I I I DUE R ETURNED "MAY G T 3'iSZ .M33 A3 ) crq;;) ...


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