The way I see it, children need to be taught the historical facts about the former way of life of those of us from ‘the old school.’
I am not saying that they should necessarily be made to experience it personally but they should have a deep sense of appreciation for what we went through and then they would appreciate what they have now, a lot more.
I am convinced that the basic problem is that we are so bent on ensuring that they do not suffer similar hardships to what we went through, that they are pampered from baby to adolescence and the gratitude that some parents receive in return, are a set of insolent and ungrateful children.
One child at one of our secondary schools, informed me one day, when I went there to make a presentation, that all he had to do for the morning was wake up, get ready for school; eat breakfast and catch a bus to school. By the way, he lives close to the school but the parents gave him money to pay a bus and also money for lunch.
I saw a young girl at a particular shop one day, paying for her lunch which was a slice of pizza and a drink, with $20.00 US.
Well I newa!
In my days of going barefooted to Zion school, we had to look hog meat; go miles for water (buckets on our heads) and all kinds of other chores, before we left for school and still had to get to school early.
Bet you, if you tell anyone under 20 years old to go and bring a piece of FRENCH WEED for you, most of them would hardly know what you are talking about. They might bring a next kind of weed…..
However, one of the common features of my day was the PIT latrine. Most people had one and those who didn’t used the bushes.
It was a place that I frequented quite a lot, especially during my early years in High school and mainly to avoid chores while I completed reading another Hardy Boys; Nancy Drew; Sherlock Holmes; Biggles or another exciting Western.
You see in those days we borrowed books, either from the library or from each other, with the intention of reading overnight, for another exchange to take place the next day. So when my parents called for me, the logical excuse was that I was in the toilet. Not that the place was smelling good huh and sometimes there were cockroaches inside….
However, it is through such hours of reading that my literary skills and vocabulary developed.
In a certain island, a Public health Inspector came upon a home that did not have toilet facilities and he instructed the woman of the house to get one built in two weeks’ time, in accordance with the law.
She insisted that she and her children were comfortable using the bushes and besides they did not have the money to build one. He returned two weeks later and nothing was done. He then threatened to take her to court if it was not completed in another two weeks.
He returned two weeks later and to his joy, found a well-constructed pit latrine, complete with carpeted floor. He congratulated the woman and to his chagrin was told: “Well it is there now, so you can’t take me to court but we still using the bushes!’
Well I newa!
Here in Nevis, I had a real life experience as a Public Health Inspector, with a family that had no toilet facilities and was accustomed to using the bushes. The woman of the home wanted one because she was concerned about her four daughters. The man of the home saw it as no big deal. I spoke to him and told him of all the health and other benefits of having one and he refused. It was getting to the point where I would have been forced to serve him a notice and then it happened.
One of the neighbourhood boys cooped one of the daughters, while she was about to deposit in the bushes and attempted to rape her. The man got a pit latrine constructed within the week!
Now to our younger generation: I had a friend who is deceased now, whose mother took their daughter to St.Maarten for a brief holiday. When the daughter asked to use the bathroom (she grew up only knowing flush toilets mark you), she was pointed to a building out in the yard. She went outside and came back asking ‘what’s that?’ She was told that it was a pit latrine. She bluntly refused to use it and managed to hold out for nearly two days until she could not hold out anymore…
So, am not saying that the children of today should be forced to live that way but they should really be taught about these things so that they can appreciate their parents and the older generation a lot more.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?