Connecting with Trinidadians

Francis, one of our fearless and wise Nature Seekers guides
Francis, one of our fearless and wise Nature Seekers guides

By Beth Ann White

My favorite part of the Trinidad trip was getting to know the locals. I absolutely love talking with people from a different culture and discovering what we have in common. By hearing the philosophical minds of these Trinidadians, I drew connections between my life and theirs and realized how alike we humans are. I find communication breaks down the material barriers which suggest we are different from each other and brings into light the Soul we all share.

Hanging out with Francis, weathering a storm while he tells us stories of his life
Hanging out with Francis, weathering a storm while he tells us stories of his life

When we went out in search for the Leatherback Sea Turtles, each team was assigned a Nature Seeker to be their guide throughout the night. Our groups would part into the separate zones and settle by a log for the stretch of the night. What better way to spend the evening than in conversation? I can remember two conversations in particular which are melded into my memory. One

Nature Seeker supporting the research we did
Nature Seeker supporting the research we did

was with Francis, one of the original Nature Seeker volunteers. He shared his wisdom with us from his past experiences and reiterated powerful words to live by, which I heard before in Suzan’s(the founder of Nature Seekers, and Francis’ sister) talk about how to successfully make a change.

Serving us fresh coconut - the guides told us about the different stages of a coconut and the water and "jelly" or meat inside. Mmm, delicious!
Serving us fresh coconut – the guides told us about the different stages of a coconut and the water and “jelly” or meat inside. Mmm, delicious!

Another conversation was with John, also a Nature Seekers guide. I learned he’s married with two kids and only five years older than me. He had his first kid when he

More coconut
More coconut

was my age and still finished college! This is crazy for me to think about.  John let us in on the mind of a Trinidadian and explained why we receive the attention we do in town (they treat us as if we are celebrities!). It was enlightening to hear his perspective on race and just life in general.

I was amazed to see what deep thinkers the people in this country are. Not that I thought otherwise, I just didn’t expect to hear

Suzan Lakhan-Baptiste, the founder of Nature Seekers and an amazing woman!
Suzan Lakhan-Baptiste, the founder of Nature Seekers and an amazing woman!

such inspirational words when I saw their village in such a different state than how I see most American suburbs. Although it was evident some families were surviving with the bare minimum, that didn’t seem to stop them from stretching their minds far beyond material limitations. Witnessing these people carry so much hope has served as a valuable lesson. It is clear Suzan has started a ripple effect in this country, promoting a brighter future through sustainability. And all this came through her love of keeping the Leatherback alive.

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