Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Celebrating volunteerism

Published:Sunday | April 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Regarding the article 'Volun-teers build school' in your April 23 publication, it was pleasing to see the picture of the new school built by volunteers. Even more pleasing is the fact that the flame of volunteerism still burns.

More than three-score years ago, I attended a 'basic school' for which my parents paid three pence per week to the 'teacher'. The 'teacher', in her golden years, untrained and with limited education, taught many scores of little children to read and to write.

Many of those tiny tots grew up to be outstanding citizens, achieving in all professions as teachers, nurses, scientists, engineers, university professors and writers, even at our own University of the West Indies.

Our 'school' was built with coconut fronds that formed the roof and the 'walls'. We little ones, along with our older siblings, hauled the coconut limbs, cut by our fathers, for half a mile. The men from two villages made the frame, thatched the roof and installed the 'benches'.

At Christmas, there would be a concert. The men played guitars and an accordion. There were recitations and singing.

Later on, the citizens of Anchovy built their own play centre. I still remember carrying stones to help in building the foundation for the new school I attended before entering the elementary school.

The highlight of the play centre days was the visit by the great Louise Bennett who sang and danced and taught us games.

May the spirit of volunteerism live on and spread over the entire country! May the little students grow up to effect the transformation that the nation needs!

I am, etc.,

LOUIS A. HEMANS

lahemans@aol.com

Maryland, USA