Nourishing camaraderie with the UNV family
by Dr. Floriza Mendoza
Gran Couva, Trinidad: Just as photos and make-up fade with time, sometimes the colour of friendship can fade away - especially in the midst of the trials and worries of daily life. And just like a plant that needs sun and rain, friendship needs nurturing so it will grow and flourish.
From September 2003 until now, the seed of friendship among the UNV volunteers of Trinidad and Tobago had been sown during the orientation phase and only nourished during quarterly meetings, International Volunteer Day celebrations, and the activities of the whole UN family.
These had structured agendas and very limited time to sit, relax and connect with one another. Now and then, some clusters of UNV volunteers would agree to meet and ‘lime’ at certain places, sharing happy moments during birthday celebrations and sometimes sad moments at farewell parties.
I belong to the first batch of UNV volunteers, from whom only David Musa, BJ Lansana and myself persevered in this challenging journey. Some other friends in succeeding batches have come and gone, yet we never got the chance to ‘seal the bond’.
Well... ‘better late than never’, so that old cliché goes. Thanks to the ever-energetic team of Jens, Natalie and Rene, we had a very warm bonding at our first-ever UNV Family Day on Sunday 7 June 2009 at the La Vega Estate, Gran Couva, Trinidad.
We shared our experiences with one another, played games, exchanged recipe secrets, laughed at silly old jokes, savoured the beauty of nature’s best around us, and enjoyed the different national dishes and delicacies.
Me oh my... there was so much food that tasted ‘morish’!!! “Meh belly full but meh eyes ain’t full!!!” (In case you don’t understand the Trinidad lingo, it means ‘the food tasted so good, you can’t stop eating’.)
Even the kids had lots of fun. They freely ran around and up and down the hillside, watched other campers catch fish by the lakeside, played pillow games, took turns on the swing. Katrina, my daughter, definitely strengthened her bond with Bernice, the daughter of UNV volunteers Rolly and Venus Benigno.
The UNV Trinidad and Tobago family is smaller now, but I believe it is stronger. What remained of the crop is the crème de la crème, more succulent, seasoned in time, as it is nurtured by the warm sunshine of friendship, watered by the undying support from the whole UN family, and blessed by the everlasting grace from the Almighty.
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