by Deacon Sheldon Narine
Carifesta XIV came to a close at the Queen’s Park Savannah last Sunday. It was an exciting ten days and I had the privilege to attend the following events with my wife, family and friends: Opening ceremony at the Savannah (August 16); Moon Over A Rainbow Shawl, NAPA (August 17); Rhythms of the Caribbean, Queens Hall (August 18); Salt No Seasoning, NAPA (August 19); All Jazzed Up, NAPA (August 20); Temple in the Sea, Queens Hall (August 22); Trinidad night, Grand Stand (August 23) and the Closing ceremony, Savannah (August 25).
In addition to these events, I visited the Grand Market on five different days interacting with vendors and visitors for several hours.
As I participated in the various events, I reflected on the creativity of the people of the Caribbean and the amazing gifts and talents Almighty God has bestowed on all. The celebration showcased performance art, literary art, artisans and craft, fashion, food and so much more. This is truly all God’s work. Our life is a gift from God, what we do with it, is our gift to Him.
The second thing that struck me, was the harmony among the thousands of people attending the events. There was no violence, obscene language, arguments, disagreements or conflict, but order and peace.
The patience of the people who lined up in sun and rain for four to five hours to get a ticket and those who came hours early to get into the closing ceremony was remarkable. Crime was absent from the festival. Truly the Prince of Peace was in charge. Long may it continue.
We are called to make the stranger welcome. Trinidad and Tobago did that in no small measure providing accommodation, transport, arranging logistics, offering words of encouragement and being generous with our applause and praise.
No foreign or local performer was booed or catcalls made and every delegation was welcomed. Patrons were patient with acts that were not as exciting as others and everyone was willing to learn new artforms and cultures. New friendships were formed and the bonds of unity forged among the people of the Caribbean.
The genuine love, care and concern for humanity was evident, every day. Persons were kind and considerate and tried to assist each other and there were many friendships rekindled since the Grand Market became a melting pot and a place where you were sure to meet old friends you did not see in donkey years.
From the local ice cream vendor who made charcoal and avocado ice cream without sugar and who insisted I sample her different juices each day, to the folks from Guadeloupe who introduced me to bake with breadfruit flour, the event was a gastronomical delight. The Lord truly provides!
There were times I felt we were experiencing a taste of heaven because of the goodwill, love, concern, care, support, and kindness among all present. The interaction of the different countries and culture was a joy to behold and the words of Jesus came to me as He instructed us that we have a new commandment to love one another.
The local vendors including the nuts man, sno cone, coconut, doubles and others were able to earn additional funds to take care of their families. By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread (Gen 3:19).
As I reflect on Carifesta 2019, the words that come to me are creativity, patience, hospitality, generosity, encouragement, teamwork and love—all values of the Kingdom of God.