HEART Trust/NTA

The Human Employment and Resource Training Trust, National Training Agency known to most Jamaicans simply as ‘HEART’ is a key driver on Jamaica’s road to development. Formed in 1982 and restructured by the amended HEART Act in 1991, the Organisation focuses primarily on stimulating economic growth and job creation. This can only be achieved through the creation of a highly skilled, productive and competitive workforce.
The HEART Trust/NTA operates 27 Technical and Vocational Education and Training locations which focus on providing a variety of training options to ALL Jamaicans seeking to advance their career options. With programmes geared at transforming the lives of school leavers as well as employed persons who require training and certification, HEART Trust/NTA is active in engaging members of the society.

I  was a HEART Trainee working for the SAGICOR. I remember the day that I was called and asked if I was interested in starting the programme, as they already had my resume in the system for a job that I applied for before but was not successful in the interview. I declined. As far as I was concerned, I have a degree, wah mi a do wid dat? 

I declined and told the rep that I’ll pass on this opportunity. It was as if God was talking to me right after. All I could think of was yah eediat? You only have a degree showing academic qualification but you can only get call centre work? Getting this would make job applications a bit easier for you.

So Jermaine decided to call back and I got the details for the interview. This was the first time in which I prayed so much to God for something I want. As far as I  was concerned, this is an opportunity I had to have and doing this could take me places.

On the day of the interview, while waiting to see the panel, I received another phone call from another company who wanted to do an interview for another call centre. The confidence I displayed during the phone call got me another one for the following week after the one I had that day. I was high for 10 minutes.

I walked into the interview at Sagicor and spoke with a level of confidence I tend to express alone in my room. They called me to start the next day……I cried.

My transition from a call centre to an office was and still is an interesting one. I had a culture shock where I was told it was OK if I had to leave to conduct business and go over my lunch hour (once i don’t abuse it). I’ll still get paid. I got the weekends off, I had my own desk and office items.

Then there was the negative side, not everyone was happy at my transition from one company to the next and the fact that I was a HEART trainee. As the stigma is still attached that you can’t do much with their certificate. Employees were shocked when I told them that I am involved in club activities, I write blogs and I was then the VP for my Optimist Club.

When I think about where I was before Sagicor and after I’m happy I made the decision to leave. Most of the persons I’ve met here started just like me and now hold permanent positions. So why can’t it be the same for me? 

There are basics to administrative duties that I didn’t know where important. Through the Business Administration programme I also received on the job training and I am able to make my experience here a better one. Most importantly, if you want to move up you HAFFI work. The more you know and apply yourself, the better it is for you. This doesn’t mean I have forgotten my previous jobs, as they have helped shape who I am. They have helped me to move out of my comfort zone and work to improving myself while here at Sagicor.

This new job has been a humbling one for me,  I have come to respect the HEART Trust NTA for what they have been doing over the years, to provide skills training to those who seek it. 

It has taught me that I should not limit myself to learn, I have grown in more ways than one and have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people. Even if my contract was not renewed ( it has). I can be assured that the experience gained from working with Sagicor can take me places.

 

Class of 73

Education in the 70’s was said to be better than what we are experiencing now. At Ackee Tree  All Age where the play is set, we are exposed to the opposite. One in which those who are considered slow, underprivileged and black have no place in the school system.

Grade 6Z hosts a class of students who are considered to be in the ‘dunce’ stream. Since they are a group that is considered to be slow and incompetent. There is no hope of getting them to sit the Common Entrance. With the introduction of “Sir” as their guiding light who was caught up in his own vision of a better society in which better schooling comes from teaching those who are more privileged. It seemed as if there was no hope for the students at the end of the year.

The same can be said for their principal who believes that that his friendship exists with the lighter class,  who for some strange reason left him to deal with his own people as a principal. So brainwashed by the view of a whiter society being the better one, he segregates himself from the black monkeys who are not able to function in society as their blackness attracts the sun which burns their brains. His name “Drop Shorts” begs to question his morality as a Reverend and Principal in the education system.

From this group we see the potential that exits, and even though they may play a lot and their grammar, deposition and behaviour may not be the best displayed, they do have dreams of becoming successful based on the things they are passionate about. This becomes evident in the challenge against the 6A class. Their stupidity could be considered their confidence, as they were relentless in  trying to answer their questions the best way they could by using their experiences to get the “correct” answers. This speaks to their street smart and that intelligence is not limited to just academics but also to your experiences.   This is an example of the willingness of those who are considered less fortunate, though they may not have the education that society dictates you to have, they are able to fend for themselves in society. When they do have children and are able to give them something better, they fight for it. This is why Hurricane Hotty marched down to the school and used her charms to get her way with the principal for her daughter to get an opportunity to a better life.

That scene highlighted another issue that occurs in our society, where it’s who you know that allows for you to have a foot through the door. Who knew that Hurricane Hotty would be able to charm the principal and teacher to get her daughter a chance in life?

Fast forward to the future where they have their reunion and the students did get the opportunity to achieve their goals. Though it was no instantaneous, they got serious and motivated themselves towards a better life and not be a statistic of those who aren’t expected to amount to anything.

The message of the play teaches us that our current situation and people’s opinion of us is not what determines who we will be later on in life. Once we decide on what it is we want from this life and work towards it, who can stop us?

 

 

The Misidentification of Man

I was given the task of taking care of my younger brother, the house and my education at a young age. I was always a quiet child taking solace in my own time. This made me a significantly domestic young man. My first encounter of discrimination was when I was a child when my brother and I were younger. We were being introduced to my step father’s side of the family. My step father looked at my younger brother and said

“here is my son” and said to me “this is Troy (which is my nickname)”. My mother just stood there and accepted it, that I was just Troy… at that moment I felt that I was being misidentified.

Having saved my mom from suicide twice, had saved me from self sabotage making me altruistic. It was sort of a wake up call… With acts like that, it gave me the rite of passage as a youngster growing up. Staying up late, going out with friends-the works.

On the other hand, my orientation became the concern of many as I was not interested in a girlfriend did not want one. I was labelled as the girly nerd, because I was engrossed in books rather than manly things. Men are respected for having masculine abilities.  People did not see man, they saw a girly, quiet, too distant man in the form of a boy. Society had it switched.

In high school, I was able to set my mind to working  hard and making my family proud.  I am good at anything I put my mind to. In my school environment it was no different, teachers considered me to be narcissistic in first encounters and I had this sarcastic manner about it. I was not respected until they saw my grades.

Everyone in my family has some amount of disrespect for me because I’m different– I’m considered a disgrace. I’m too intelligent because I know stuff. I have to be gay.

Recently I took a taxi, I usually walk with a knife and whenever I’m entering taxis I take it out and have it close to my side, to avoid people saying that it’s sticking them. I was in the taxi, and there was a guy, who had on a really good pair of shoes that he wore well. I was staring at the shoes and felt him looking at me- I looked like a cruff then. I looked at him and followed his eyes, he saw my knife in my hand. Apparently I forgot to put it up. I asked “are you feeling threatened by me now?” He said “slightly, but hearing you speak. I know that you are not like the others”. Meanwhile, there was another guy who was at the front screwing the whole journey. Why? Because the guy with the shoes was gay. I was only judging based on his dapper shoes.

The scholarly definition of Respect is an epistemic virtue. Respect to the common man is relative and often times feelings are attached to what people see. I see Respect from the very root of the word. To look  at something clearly for what it is and not to attach your views or feelings to it. To see it clearly as it is in its own right and not in any predisposition.

 

***Name withheld to protect Identity

Mothers Day

On May 8, 2016, we celebrated the life and efforts of all  Mothers. Those that are alive, who have passed, biological and non-biological. I can imagine many of us shuffled to get the presents on time and got hints from our mothers on what they wanted and where they wanted to be.

I can recall many instances in which I’ve watched mothers conduct their duties and just stare in awe at how they did things effortlessly. They mess up at times, but watching how they fixed it is a God given gift to me.

Recently, there was a discussion about whether fathers should be celebrated on Mothers Day and this created two positions. One side agreed that they should be included; under the premise that they are single fathers taking on the responsibility of both parents. The others opposed because there is already a day for them, let us wait until that day, Fathers Day to recognize them.

Earlier this year, I was at my cousin’s baby shower and what stood out to me, was that they all spoke about one thing – Instinct. Most agreed that every pregnancy is different and the development between you and your child will also be. Your instinct will be your guide as to whether you’re doing the right or wrong thing, as you will know your child. What works and what doesn’t. However there’s nothing wrong with taking advice from others.

M

Hearing this, had me thinking about other things such as good mothers versus bad mothers. The one word that everyone can agree comes to mind when they think of mothers is nurture– mothers are nurturing. For instance in the book of Sybil where Sybil’s mother who was schizophrenic, inserted things into Sybil’s vagina causing her to be barren later in life. Many persons would think that Sybil’s mother was an evil woman.

Another instance is a mother who gives up her daughter to a man as a means of getting money, a mother who encourages her son to be involved in criminal activities as it promotes a better way of life and ignoring a child when they tell you that they are being abused by your partner. Being negative to the child when they make a mistake and  having your children sell on the street. Are all examples in which mothers would be considered bad.

Some of these instances from the onset we can see as wrong, however we must understand that it is at times the surroundings that mothers are in that promote these behaviors. If it is considered the norm in one area, it would be very hard to convince them that it is something that needs to change.

It is not easy being a mother and until we are in the situation we will never understand what it means to make decisions such as those. I find it amazing that on Mothers Day we place such emphasis on these hardworking women. That’s the thing- women over the years have been witnesses and victims to MANY circumstances. Throughout the years, I believe we as women have learnt to adapt to certain situations and when faced with peril we get an inkling of what to do to make the situation better even when balancing a job, marriage and extra curricular activities added to being a mother.

Mo

I believe that women are born with an inner lioness in them, an innate supply of strength that prepares them for situations that they may face in life. Even if they are scared, it does not show,  as they are able to mask it so that they can stand their ground and make a point. At that moment nothing else matters.

HAITIAN

I remember when there was a robbery at my family’s jerk centre and my brother and his friend was there. Our house is right next to it so my mom and I were inside. The first shot was fired because my brother ran off and the second shot was for him. At that moment, my mother ran out of the house, asking what was wrong not knowing that she actually talking to the gunman, because all she could think of was that her son was out there- it was his birthday.

Persons may say that the emphasis  we place on our mothers is too much, that it’s just a day and what’s the big fuss about. After the day we go back to our old ways. I recommend that we not limit these acts of kindness to just Mothers Day, but do it everyday.

Before you disobey your mother leading to your ‘I told you so moment’. Take a look at your mother’s activities on a daily basis. The time she rises in the morning to get you ready for your day to when you leave her to go to bed. This woman can never be repaid and her love is inevitable, undying and unchanging. Sometimes she may say things like “no go out tonight because mi dream”… at times it’s best to listen to her and just do. She may explain or may not after her instructions. However trust her  and believe that what is being said further enhances your safety.

 

Mother

 

 

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. 

 

 

The Beaten’s Perspective

Many of us have had the touch of the leather belt on our skins because of the trouble we gave when we were younger. Some with a different level of trouble got the shoes, broom, fan belt, metre stick and even the wire. At the end of the day, we all turned out pretty good, we can can laugh at the moments in which we got it, what we tried to do to avoid it and what our parents did to get us to stay put an ‘tek lick’.

One of the effects is when we see younger siblings or relatives acting up, we the third party are offended at the responses and actions they let out. As we have always been told don’t spare the rod and spoil the child (the phrase was actually coined by Samuel Butler in 1664 in one of his poems).

Unfortunately, there are those who with those beatings got bruised, and abused in the process. This should not be the case as the repercussions of such acts do not help with nurturing the child to be better individuals. Many persons would argue that corporal punishment is not the way to go and that it should be ruled out of the nurturing process. Yes, you can always talk to your child and tell them that what they are doing or did was wrong and expect that from the negotiations things will change. Granted this does not include children who may have a mental dysfunction and would not understand at the moment the change you are trying to instill. This is for the children who are quite normal but are just rude.

So…. what do you do is when you reprimand your child or relative, and he/she still doesn’t get it?

Believe me, that first slap you give the child will have them shocked as they never expected it. Let’s be real, we do test our parents to know their limit. However there is a certain way to achieve this; if successful, each parent knows their child and knows the effect of some acts. “Just save the yeye” as many Jamaican parents would say.

As an older sibling and former beaten child, I believe these steps below can help to better nurture your kids in the way you want. In the end creating positive results than negative ones.

Step 1- Educate them

It’s always good before they act up to let them know where you stand on certain things. For example, if you are going to be on the road and know your budget cannot include KFC or Burger King. Tell them. Let there be that initial understanding that you will not be able to fulfill their needs at all times.

Step 2- Warn them

When that child begins to act up, warn them. Remind them that you are not able to buy the food and that you can get something else. If they continue then you let them know what will happen if they don’t stop. If the complaints still have not ceased, then you warn again.

Step 3- Administer the Punishment 

If they still continue this is it… you go in and just do it, don’t say I’m going to slap you now. Just do it.

Step 4- Debrief

After the act, this is the time, you sit with your child and let them know that what happened was because the act they did was bad. We are all human and at times we mess up. However, create that distinction between good and bad behaviour and also when beatings can be expected. This can then lessen the likelihood of you having to raise your hand.

Each child is different and once you share the same space with them,  you will then know how to treat each child accordingly. The steps mentioned above may not work all the time. However it should not allow for your frustrations to come through and you beat the child to a pulp.