Anyone who has ever struggled to find a first-rate carpenter, reliable plumber or a skilled tile mason in Saint Lucia can tell you what a headache that particular journey generates.
Not even considering that there is no local registry of skilled tradesmen it would appear that our people are all on the fast track to becoming lawyers and doctors. It’s still mind-boggling then to consider the mess that is our justice system and the perennial shortage of doctors and other medical personnel at our hospitals and health centres.
But back to our problem of finding skilled tradesfolk. It seems to stem from a young age when children are asked what they would like to become. The first thing to roll off the tongue is being a doctor or a nurse. Perhaps it is because doctors and nurses appear so frequently in their young lives and they are delighted that there is someone who can make other people feel better; perhaps it is conditioning by parents who believe these are the highest and noblest professions.
Either way, a children’s events company, Ti Mamai Events, undertook this summer to introduce its summer camp participants to the wide range of professions that abound in our world and hardly get a mention. For three weeks, Eliza Francis-Victor, director of the Vieux Fort-based company, took children aged 5 to 10 to visit several firms and organizations in Vieux Fort, Soufriere and Castries in an effort to encourage her charges to keep an open mind about the many jobs that people do around them to keep the island running.
The children made stops at the Office of the Prime Minister, Baron Foods, Hewanorra International Airport and the MET office, Great Vision Designs television studio where they recorded a brief talk show as hosts and guests, STAR Publishing, Alpha and Omega Lab Services, Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa, LUCELEC power station and the Atlantic Shores Riding Stable.
Other visits included a local farm where they began their own seasoning pepper garden, a beekeeping farm where some got to hold a bee for the first time, and a dive centre. There were also fun trips to Tet Paul and La Tille Waterfall.
Mrs Francis-Victor said she chose the theme ‘Jobs We Do’ for the summer activity in an effort to engage the children in learning about people who make the world work.
“Ti Mamai Events is all about children and hosting wholesome experiences for them. We seek in every activity to help them learn while they are having fun,” said Mrs Francis-Victor. “We keep them occupied during the school break and also we hope this camp will get them reading and thinking about the jobs people do. We want them to feel and know that they can accomplish, with hard work, any task they set for themselves and, in the process, make our island a better place to live.”
She continued: “But to ensure our future is brighter, we must invest much more in our children; invest in their education, not just academic, but ensure they develop a keen sense of learning and exploring. Let’s stop paying lip service and truly put the money where it matters: in our children.”
Professions in which the participants said they would like to engage include medical: becoming a doctor, paediatric brain surgeon; plus a paleontologist, veterinarian and artist.
Mrs Victor expressed deepest gratitude to everyone who ensured the success of the camp by allowing the students to visit and taking time to speak with them. For more about Ti Mamai Events, check FaceBook.