Sep 14, 2012

Laventille, Trinidad | Part 1

Part 1:Laventille, Then & Now | Introduction | Information:San Diego Lee | Written by Santiwah

The following short story was written by my friend who prefers to go by the name of San Diego Lee. This is part one and hopefully Lee will subsequently send follow up stories about the Laventille he knew and grew up in before migrating to San Diego, California. 

Part 1: Laventille, Then & Now
How many times have you heard someone say that the 'ole time days' were better than what the young people are experiencing today? Well when I was a child growing up in Laventille, Trinidad my hometown did not have the bad reputation that has given it the notoriety as one of the worse places to visit in Trinidad. That reputation comes because of violence now ravaging the country. I miss the 'good ole days' when I lived and roamed freely in my home town of Laventille. 

Now to continue my story I must make one confession. I never knew the boundaries of Laventille as a kid and to this day, after leaving Trinidad for decades, I still don’t know where the boundaries are located. Laventille has changed and so too have the boundaries... I believe. The village has expanded and grown in terms of the areas that they are now recognizing as Laventille. 

Here is a little background information about the area. Laventille road starts at Piccadilly Street and Prince Street and winds its way uphill all the way back to several areas that include Morvant, Never Dirty, Barataria and some say as far as San Juan. You can walk to Gonzales, Morvant, Belmont and what is also known as the second Laventille “the other Laventille” as we call it; the one on the Eastern Main road (maybe that is where my WACK Radio shout-box friend Lai Lai grew up). As a kid I roamed all these areas. Laventille road comes to a fork at the top of the hill and that road takes you down to Picton road - a place we called "John John". It then goes back to the Eastern Main road to the Tokyo area, yes the steel band Tokyo. Tokyo, if you don't know is an old rival of Desperadoes steel band. 

Farther up the hill there is another main road named St. Babbs. This road will take you 'straight down' (Trinidad vernacular) to Belmont by way of Belle Eau Road. There are many alley ways that take you into all those and other neighborhoods such as Gonzales and Belmont. Are you confused now and can you you tell me the boundaries of Laventille? That is my predicament! 

As a kid I went to school in Gonzales, a short walk from Laventille. I used to roam all over Belmont, Port-of-Spain and even as far as the Queens Park Savannah. Gosh, whenever I reminisce about my childhood and the many rendezvous in the vicinity of Laventille it brings tears to my eyes. Those were the 'good ole days' and I wished the children growing up in the area today could have experienced life the way I knew it in the Laventille that, once upon a time, I  loved so much. Much has changed and today Laventille has a bad name... this is sad.  

Laventille then and now... now cannot compare to the time I lived in Laventille. Yes progress has brought better roads and homes but the hospitality of the people cannot be compared. I shed a tear when ever I read the daily newspapers from my homeland. Let us all prayer that peace and love can prevail not only in Laventille but my homeland of Trinidad and Tobago.

Next - Part 2... Some History on Desperadoes






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