Our awesome Tobago field trip
by Zaria Francis
and Jael Rockcliffe
Std 5 students, St Gabriel’s Girls’ RC
On Thursday, May 25 to Sunday 28, 28 of the post-SEA students of St Gabriel’s Girls’ RC, and 14 adults (three teachers and 11 mothers), participated in a field trip to Tobago.
This trip was held to afford the students the opportunity to report on various ecosystems and natural habitats visited. Additionally, it was held to foster and demonstrate an awareness of and appreciation for our beautiful sister isle. The trip was designed to provide the students the opportunity to practise the values of responsibility, respect, and co-operation through communal living as well as to nurture the students’ faith and spirituality.
There was much excitement in the weeks and days leading up to the trip as our teachers planned and organised every detail. All our luggage and foodstuff were sent the previous day aboard our two maxi taxis that journeyed across on the ferry.
On Thursday, therefore, we arrived at 5.15 a.m. wearing our full school uniforms at school with only our hand luggage and constant joyful chatter. We were shuttled to Piarco International Airport aboard a PTSC bus.
At the airport, we ate breakfast after checking in. We boarded the plane that took the entire group to beautiful Tobago where a packed itinerary awaited our participation.
Our group arrived at the ANR Robinson International Airport at 11.05 a.m. Then, we walked to Store Bay where we took some class photos while awaiting our transport.
When the two maxis arrived, our group departed Store Bay and began the drive to Scarborough RC School where we were warmly greeted by the principal and given a tour by the welcoming Standard 5 teachers. We were fascinated by the sheer size and architectural design of the school.
We went to the Standard Five classrooms and met our peers face to face. Although the school facilities are advanced, the classrooms are not equipped with air conditioning units like ours, but they are designed with unusual windows in the form of wooden shutters through which you can feel the sea breeze sweeping through your hair as if you were driving along the coast.
We were welcomed and presented with a token of appreciation for visiting their school and in return, we presented snack bags for the class.
We left the school and arrived at the Botanical Gardens, where we took numerous photos. Then, we visited the historic and picturesque Fort King George.
In addition to learning about the origins and purpose of the fort, we took photos and purchased souvenirs. Afterwards, we proceeded to our safe and comfortable lodging, the IV Kings Guest House in Bethel, where we engaged in various activities.
The next day, after eating breakfast, we prepared to go on our island tour. Using the Northside Road, we passed through many villages such as Plymouth, Moriah, Runnemede, Castara, Bethesda and Tablepiece. On the way, we visited Fort James and the Mystery Tomb where we took photos and attempted to solve the mystery.
We were able to appreciate the scenic views overlooking Castara Bay, Englishman’s Bay and Parlatuvier Bay. We stopped at Parlatuvier to do a short hike to view the gorgeous Parlatuvier Waterfalls.
After this, we took the Windward Road to see that part of the island. We visited the Main Ridge Visitor Centre and as we continued driving, we stopped at a natural spring drain where clean and refreshing, potable water was collected in bottles by the parents and students.
On our way back to the guest house, we passed various communities such as Delaford, Argyle, Roxborough, Goodwood and Bacolet. After dinner, we, as well as the teachers and parents, all partook in numerous fun drama activities which were conducted by our drama teacher, Winnifred Asson.
On Saturday morning, after breakfast, we donned our swimsuits and departed for Buccoo Bay to access the Buccoo Reef and Nylon Pool. We were split into two groups and each group boarded a glass bottom boat. We saw several types of coral, and we had a lot of fun learning about the different marine life there, as well as bathing in the pristine Nylon Pool. We were excited to see two sea turtles darting around in the clear waters.
Then, after disembarking at Pigeon Point, we went to Store Bay. Back at the guest house, we said goodbye to our Trinidad drivers who returned on the evening sailing to Trinidad and said hello to our Tobago drivers.
A few hours later, the entire group prepared for Holy Mass at St Joseph’s RC Church. Fr Leslie Tang Kai was the celebrant for this Spirit-filled, Pentecost liturgy.
After Mass, we returned to the guest house, changed, ate dinner, and played group games like Uno, Dominoes, and card games.
On Sunday morning, we had breakfast, took a relaxing walk in the nearby savannah, and bathed in the pool. Then, we packed up for departure to the airport. Although our flight was delayed, we arrived safely back in Trinidad and at school, were reunited with our jubilant parents.
This trip was a fantastic and educational experience for us where we were able to bond with each other and our teachers and the ‘aunties and grannies’ who took care of us.
For some of us, it was a time for ‘firsts’ – the first time at the airport and first plane ride. It was our first time on a boat and our first time away from home and our parents.
We are grateful for the experience and thank all the adults who organised and ensured a safe and memorable field trip to Tobago.