Life in the Pandemic is the title of an anthology of poems from the Suburban Vicariate comprising poems from children at Catholic schools in the vicariate.
The anthology is another benefit of a training programme for teachers on poetry which took place January 31 to February 4 for teachers of the Infants first year and second year, Standards 1–4.
Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) Suburban Vicariate Manager, Aurea Honore said, “This was an effort to improve the literacy skills of the students in the Suburban Vicariate. It was also designed to expose the teachers to the strategies involved in the teaching of poetry.”
The workshops were conducted by Rinisse Walker, a confidence coach and a Spoken Word poet, and Georgia Fleming, Dean at Manzanilla Secondary and English Language and Literature teacher.
The children involved participated in an online function hosted by the Vicariate on World Poetry Day, March 21. One student from each school in the suburban area was chosen to represent their school. They were videotaped and the video sent to Miriam Lyons, a teacher at St Joseph Boys’ RC, who compiled the performances.
For the anthology, schools were asked to send a poem from a student representing the Infants, Junior, and Senior classes. The schools in the Suburban Vicariate are: Barataria (Dominic Savio) Boys’; Bourg Mulatresse; Curepe (Fatima) RC; Malick Girls’ RC; Maracas RC; Mt. Lambert RC; San Juan Boys’; San Juan Girls’; Santa Cruz RC; St Benedict’s RC; St David’s RC; St Joseph Boys’; St Joseph Girls’; Tunapuna Boys’; and Tunapuna Girls’.
Honore thanked all principals of the vicariate for their tremendous cooperation and Sharon Mangroo, Chief Executive Officer, CEBM who endorsed the project.
Honore mentioned retired principal Denyse Joseph Didier of St Joseph Boys’ and Kathleen Warner-Lall, retired principal from Mt Lambert RC, who were the forerunners of celebrating World Poetry Day at their schools.
The poems captured the children’s adjustment to online classes, their fears and awareness of the difficulties not only in their own family but in the society. Many of the poems were titled ‘Life in the Pandemic’.
Bliss Amaji, Standard One, St Benedict’s RC
It’s very difficult to use online learning
For me, I just wish it was school in the morning
The time spent with friends and teachers is not enough
I wish we didn’t have to learn in a rush
I’m sure I’ve done well my grades are up
This pandemic will soon, soon stop.
Treicy Sylvester, Standard Four, St David’s RC
A boring life since the pandemic start
My neighbour and them fighting hard to survive
No work or school, no play I stay inside every day
Oh, pandemic go away
So, I could be happy and safe.
Tiana Melville, Standard One, Bourg Mulatresse RC mentioned the negative effects of Covid with no school, play, many people dying, and alluded to her mother’s long day at work, “mommy coming home after dark” but she also put trust in God, who is “mighty and strong”. Melville had a hopeful outlook, “As we look forward to no mask, no distance apart, no extra washing of hands/And nothing to spoil our outdoor plans.”
Jenea Hernandez, Standard Four, Santa Cruz RC touched on the personal tragedy of Covid-19:
Five souls lost I felt like my family paid the ultimate cost
Some called it Corona
Some called it Covid
Around the world we were facing a pandemic My family, your family Individuals everywhere Were left in great despair.
The hard times were also highlighted, “No jobs, no school, little food/Bake and butter, bush tea, no bread”. After two years of Zoom and Google classroom, and her class in her bedroom,
Hernandez shared the optimism with news of vaccines ‘At last’ in 2021 and the hopeful signs with beaches and MovieTowne reopening.
Dimitri Y Rostant, Standard Four, St Joseph Boys’ RC, presented a funny poem from the perspective of a mask worn to prevent Covid. Titled, ‘Covid indignity’, it stated:
All yuh think you have things to quarrel about?
Think about me and my family
During this pandemic we suffer real INDIGNITY It’s dirty breath, nasty beard and make up all over meh face
Then they does put me in all kind of place
But the experience that really hurt meh soul is when you go to relieve yourself and you have poor me dangling by the toilet bowl (OH Geed!)
In ‘No Place Like Home’ Naomi Cooke, Standard Three, St Dominic Savio (Barataria Boys’ RC) shared the effects of rigours of pandemic protocols having to wear gloves, masks, and restricting visits to relatives. She said,
My, my, my mum’s gone crazy In this quarantine,
She needs everything clean I
f I have to sanitize once more I’ll scream!
Badly I need the beach,
For a time that was out of reach.
She believes that Covid can be defeated:
Our unity is our strength and
Together we’ll cheat you
You made a lot of people suffer
But daddy, aunty, granny, none of them afraid of you Bye Corona!