Reaping for a Cause
August 24, 2021
And may God bless our nation…
August 24, 2021

The Goodness

Golda-Lee Bruce

By Golda Lee Bruce

When I left Trinidad and Tobago three years ago to take up a job in the US, I estimated that I could return home at least twice a year. This was an important calculation for me.

I knew that I could leave, but I also knew I could never stay away for too long. Like so many of us, I feel a strong connection to the land of my birth. It’s more than patriotism, I love where I’m from.

In the first year I was abroad, I returned home three times; twice for business and once for pleasure. The reasons for or lengths of the visits didn’t matter. As long as I could see the lush green of the Northern Range, take in the stillness of the Gulf of Paria and consume a warm Doubles by the roadside, I knew I could stave off homesickness for another six months.

Of all the gifts that my time in media gave me, the opportunity to observe the places and people of my country was the greatest. Being a reporter gave me accelerated access to the lives of “strangers.”

I’ve sat in hundreds of homes across the country. I would sometimes be covering political meetings or other events nearby and knock on the door of a home with an urgent request to use the facilities.

These encounters usually ended with me chatting at dining tables or on front porches for long periods. I’ve eaten a fireside dinner of smoked herring and dumplings with the Badal family as the sun set on their farm in Tabaquite.

I’ve rocked in a vessel off the north coast blanketed by darkness so thick that I could not see my own hands. I could only trust the hushed voices of the coast guard officers around me as we waited on patrol.

I have written news scripts in the moonlight while leaning on a transmission tower at the top of a hill in Calder Hall.

I have observed my homeland, from thousands of vantage points and I fell in love with what I saw. Yes, I’ve also observed tragedy, injustice, poverty and hardship. But the picture of a beautiful and resilient people on charming islands is never defeated in my mind.

I believe there is something very special about us, the people. Of the thousands of people I interacted with as a reporter, the vast majority exhibited something beyond kindness or a desire to impress. I would dare call it, goodness.

I once walked into the station where I worked and there was a man sitting in the lobby waiting for me. When I came through the door, he stood up and said, “excuse me Ms Golda.”

The man was tall and slim with dreadlocks. His hair was piled on his head. A construction hat sat on top of it. His boots were muddy. It was obvious that he had come straight from a building site.

He handed me a black plastic bag. It contained four tins of non-perishable food: sausages and peas. Dominica had just been ravaged by Hurricane Maria. We hadn’t started an official donation drive, but there he was ready to give, before the “giving” began. He said, “make sure this reach to Dominica please.” It was the goodness.

On another occasion I visited the home of a family on George Street in Port of Spain. I was there because one of the family’s daughters was showing real promise in her school’s music programme.

It was a small, well-kept apartment and the pride of the family was tangible. The girl’s father showed me the piano keys he had drawn, in their correct dimensions, on the family’s dining table. He did it to give his daughter a place to practise because they could not yet afford a piano. It was the goodness.

Perhaps you will argue that “the goodness” is not a characteristic shared by us all. To that I say, my experience has been otherwise. The goodness is always there. Sometimes it’s hidden under a thick layer of picong or behind the facade of indifference. But it is always there waiting to be triggered by a need.

When I talk about my great love for T&T, I am often told, “you feel that way because you’re not here.” But to the contrary, I have always felt this way. It’s only gotten stronger since leaving.

Because of the pandemic, I haven’t been able to keep up with my schedule of visits. I comfort myself with the belief that I am an ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago and my mission is to share her goodness with the world.


Golda Lee Bruce is a Caribbean storyteller. She was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago where she worked for many years as a journalist and news anchor. She is now a Communications Specialist working in Washington DC. Golda is married to Micheal; they have a son and a daughter. Her first book will be published in October 2021.