In the words of Mr Carlton ‘CP’ Hall, the sweetest Christmas is around the corner! What are you anticipating the most? Is it time with family, gifts, food or nine morning fun? Your Christmas experience these days may be a little different to the way it was when you were younger but we cannot let life’s troubles and our responsibilities drown out our fond memories of Christmas past.
I’m sure you remember the days when you had to do Christmas cleaning, against your will as a child, while listening to parang only to find yourself singing and dancing to the sweet sounds of Scrunter or the great Baron. You knew exactly what was coming when your mother would turn on the radio and gather cleaning supplies; you’d be wiping down furniture, cleaning windows, and scrubbing and sweeping floors until you were too tired to lift a finger. But it was okay because your reward would be a piece of freshly baked bread or cake or maybe a cold Vita Malt (What is Christmas without Vita Malt?).
Do you recall struggling to wake up early for Nine Mornings? Just thinking about all the activities would give you a surge of excitement. You’d be so enthusiastic knowing you could be up on stage partaking in one of the many games being hosted by CP and when the joke segment came around you’d laugh your belly full. All the while you’re surrounded by the food and drinks of the season. Leaving the festivities behind was always bittersweet as you always wished it was never-ending but the need for sleep or important obligations would eventually set in. So you’d do a little window shopping walking to the bus stop or car on your way home.
One of the most memorable parts of a Vincy Christmas is the lighting up in our communities. This tradition along with house to house serenading, seems to be dwindling but I hope we can keep them alive as they give us an opportunity to come together in peace and love and harmony.
“Me aunty send down barrel!” You know you’re in the thick of the season when you hear these words and you couldn’t wait to see what’s inside. In the last few days before Christmas day, Kingstown is filled to capacity. The supermarket lines are long as people make last minute purchases to ensure that everything is perfect on the big day. As a child, these are the days you would dread as you walk for hours with your parents through Town. Your only consolation is the possibility that they would buy you a toy so you continuously beg in hopes that they’ll give in to your request.
Whether you’re 5 or 50 there is always a certain sense of elation waking up on Christmas morning, a feeling of magic in the air while you look around at your well-decorated home and the delicious scents wafting from the kitchen throughout the day make your mouth water. This is the day of the great feast! Baked pork and chicken, stewed beef, macaroni pie, shepherd’s pie, lasagna, potato salad, stewed, pigeon peas, you name it! Can you almost feel the burning now as Ginger beer hits the back of your throat and you shudder in delight of the taste? Or the fizz you feel in your chest as you quickly gulp down one of our locally made soft drinks? What about the Sorrel? Most of us enjoy a cold glass with our Christmas lunch. Several ham sandwiches will be eaten on this day and you can’t forget the black or fruit cake and of course there’s Black Wine.
Our traditions are unique and important. I hope they will be passed on from generation to generation so we can keep Christmas in SVG alive. Merry Vincy Christmas!
Photo credit: The St.Vincent & The Grenadines Tourist Office, Calvert Jones and Ricky Hill.
Article submitted by: Rashida Munroe.
Arts, Business Buzz, Buzz, Community Buzz, Culture, Entertainment, Events, Fashion & Beauty, LifeStyles, Main Blog, Vinci Foods
We’re all about our blue, yellow and green throughout the month of October. We anticipate the days when we can come out in our colours and proudly wave the national flag and declare that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the piece of rock in the Caribbean Sea that we are glad to call home. This year after the annual Independence Day parade we had even more activities through which we could express our Vincy pride thanks to Invest SVG. The Everything Vincy Exhibition held at the E.T Joshua Airport over a three day period (October 27th-29th), was the place to be during the independence weekend. This new initiative is aimed at highlighting the products and services that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has to offer and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit as we continue on in nation building. Training workshops were also offered to the business owners who took part in the exhibition to gain knowledge on topics such as customer service and marketing which equips the business owners with tools that would help them take their businesses to the next level. This initiative is one that we are happy to see so well executed and the patrons are excited to attend in the coming years as it gets bigger and better. This is part 2 of the article where we bring you a little insight on some of the exhibitors and their products. If you haven’t read part 1 as yet, click here to view it!
Brio Ché is the brainchild of Bernadette Warren (pictured above) who many may know as Camille. They provide a line of luxury health and beauty products which inlude virgin coconut oil, body scrubs, lotions, lips balms, foot soaks, soy scented candles and massage oils. After looking at the list of products offered by Brio Ché, you’ll notice that just about everything has coconut in it and here’s why. Bernadette was raised primarily by her grandmother and coconut was a huge part of how she earned a living. Along with selling vegetables, she would make and sell coconut snacks and coconut oil and the profits allowed her to provide for Bernadette. She also credits coconut oil as the reason she’s able to stay in good health as she would consume it and use in her hair and on her skin. When Bernadette started out making concoctions to soothe her own and her husband’s skin conditions, she did some research and she knew coconut oil had to be a part of it. The end products were all natural, organic and infused with herbs and healing plants. After they experienced how well the products worked for them and received great reviews from family and friends, she officially registered the Brio Ché business in 2013. The effort that goes into producing such a health conscious yet aesthetically appealing line of products is apparent even in the packaging (which Bernadette shares she plans to make even more eco-friendly). Very soon, you might be able to watch your purchases being made from start to finish; Ms. Warren has high hopes for the next phase of her business which could include a storefront with designated production and retail areas.
Since 1985, Nzimbu Browne has created art that thoroughly reflects the rhythm of Vincentian living. Our history, culture, traditions and landscapes are so eloquently expressed through collages made from what some would consider to be waste. “I take it up and add some intelligence into it” he said as he explained that dried banana leaves and coconut shells are his choice of medium. In addition to his beautiful collages, he also does tie-dye and makes drums. He refers to his creativity as his survival kit as this has been his way of earning a living for over 30 years and his passion and determination shines through in his work ethic. Browne expressed a desire to be on an international market to have his work appreciated and purchased by millions of people and says he’s ready and willing to put in the hard work that this will take.
Melissa Ashton’s Jewelry making talent is actually the gift she prayed for and she’s passionate about putting her blessing to good use. When she made her first pair of earrings she used her teeth to do what her hands couldn’t. Fortunately, her sister saw her need and bought her a pair of pliers which she still uses to this day. She attributes her success thus far to the fact that her aim is to make her customers happy which in turn gives her the greatest feeling of fulfillment. At the moment she makes earrings, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, beaded key-chains and has just started dabbling in the production of scented candles. She hopes to eventually have a storefront where she sells not only her jewelry but glass beads and the findings and components that are involved in the craft. She’s eager to continue building her business and see her small beginnings blossom into great achievements.
If you’re an avid snacker, chances are you’ve seen and probably buy several Cyrus Snacks. After retiring from her day job, in 2008 proud owner Betty Cyrus started making plantain chips for sale. Since then, sweet potato, breadfruit, spicy banana, eddoe and sweet cassava chips have been added to the line of snacks offered. It started out as her way of making use of the food items that she saw would go to waste. It has now blossomed into a substantial business that makes the snacks many Vincentians love to munch on. Betty’s products can be found in almost all of our major supermarkets but she hopes to eventually develop the demand necessary to export her snacks.
Michelle Bacchus Barbour the talent behind tasty creations of Me-Shelli Unique started out as a seamstress. Over ten years ago, she learnt the basics of baking from a friend and went on to try out new things to create cakes and cookies as requested by friends and family. She incorporated these two skills as well as her crafting abilities into a venture that would provide a one of a kind wedding package. This package included custom clothing for the bridal party, handmade bouquets and of course, she could provide the wedding cake. Over time, she became more renowned for her baking than her sewing and so she has decided to stick with it.
The Richmond Vale Academy’s attendance was a timely reminder of the role we play in global warming and climate change. This organization has researched and taught lessons on climate change and initiated projects that include beach cleanups, tree planting and setting up model gardens. They also produce informative radio and television programs and hold open days to help spread their message. The team was eager to share flyers and have insightful conversations with the attendees in hopes that more of us will become Climate Activists and fight to make our country more energy, food and disaster secure. Climate change is real and we have to work together to build a nation that can withstand and overcome its effects.
The exhbitors mentioned are only a sample of what the Everything Vincy Exhibtion had to offer. Some of the other businesses that attended the event included Immense Bags, Link Up, Erica’s Country Style, Escape Health and Day Spa, Fanfare Events, Searles Agro Products, Mudulla Propagation, East Caribbean Group of Companies (ECGC) and so much more. We can’t wait for next year’s Exhibition!
If you haven’t read part 1 as yet, click here to view it!
Photos by Ricky Hill, exclusively for Express Vinci®
© 2016. All rights reserved
Arts, Buzz, Community Buzz, Culture, Entertainment, Events, Fashion & Beauty, History, LifeStyles, Main Blog
We’re all about our blue, yellow and green throughout the month of October. We anticipate the days when we can come out in our colours and proudly wave the national flag and declare that St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the piece of rock in the Caribbean Sea that we are glad to call home. This year after the annual Independence Day parade we had even more activities through which we could express our Vincy pride thanks to Invest SVG. The Everything Vincy Exhibition held at the E.T Joshua Airport over a three day period (October 27th-29th), was the place to be during the independence weekend. This new initiative is aimed at highlighting the products and services that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has to offer and encouraging entrepreneurial spirit as we continue on in nation building. Training workshops were also offered to the business owners who took part in the exhibition to gain knowledge on topics such as customer service and marketing which equips the business owners with tools that would help them take their businesses to the next level. This initiative is one that we are happy to see so well executed and the patrons are excited to attend in the coming years as it gets bigger and better. Here’s a little insight on some of the exhibitors and their products.
Eight years ago, Christal Oliver the founder of Olive art Designs, was a lab technician at the St. Vincent Girls’ High school with some free time and a hobby. This was the beginning of her journey to business owner. She hand-sewed bags at the time as a way to overcome boredom but her peers had such a positive response to the items she made that is wasn’t too long until she saw the opportunity to make her pastime into something greater.She decided to invest in a sewing machine to experiment. Experimentation led to new creations and opportunities and Olive Art designs is the end result of a young lady following her passion, believing in her vision and striving to give her very best to her customers. She credits her success thus far to patience, practice and persistence, and she’s always reading and learning so as to execute new ideas that could help her improve her business. She makes high quality custom handbags for every occasion and hopes that her creations will allow her to put St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the map, as she endeavors to cross boundaries regionally and internationally showcasing and gaining appreciation for her handiwork.
About six months ago, Rene Benn had a literal dream. A dream that one day, she went ‘dumpster-diving’! In the dream, she was accompanied by her husband and they were taking some huge bottles out of the trash. She then proceeded to decorate the bottles and they turned out beautifully. She awoke from her dream and realized what a great idea it was and Rene’s Ornamentations was born. She collected bottles and jars from her friends and family and any shops that were willing to give them to her. The artistic ability came naturally and she transforms trash to treasure creating vases and candle holders by hand. Her desire is to have a storefront for this venture as currently she only makes her items by order and uses social media to showcase them.
The Kalinago Tribe Essential Oils were definitely one of the standout items. There was basil, lemongrass, ginger, peppermint and many more to choose from. Each essential oil has its list of health benefits and the potency is unmistakable. The business was founded over 15 years ago by Augustine Sutherland and he’s proud to say that every ingredient is tested and harvested here from our rugged rocky mountains and undergoes a steam distillation process to produce these pure organic essential oils. In the beginning as a trained hair and scalp specialist, he would make small batches of the oils to combat problems his clients were experiencing and it has grown since then into a business that offers also eucalyptus inhalers and infused massage oils. His hope is to have the oils certified as organic by the agricultural department so that the world would know that the products are of the highest quality and are prepared with our health in mind.
Grow In Time is a creative social enterprise that seeks to bring together rehabilitation, land conservation and poverty alleviation in one project. Over the past two years a sustainable livelihood project has been implemented in our two correctional institutions that is coordinated by Vonnie Roudette. Through this initiative inmates are being taught and certified in their training to make mats, baskets and other products from Vetiver grass and Grow in time its marketing arm. This venture gives the individuals the skills they need to create an alternative way of earning a living. One of the best benefits of this project is that it takes much less money to start a business making the grass products than to start a business involving other skills that one may learn while incarcerated. The individuals are given a feeling of empowerment and this causes a huge positive change in their self image as they are given an opportunity to take care of their loved ones and contribute to their communities. The conservation aspect is in regards to the grass that is used. The grass is an excellent solution for soil erosion and great for slope stabilization, so this will tie into the next phase of the project which will be the planting initiative that will be executed by the former inmates. It is still early in the game but the results so far have show that all the individuals who have received the training have not committed any further offences and they report a more positive outlook on life. The products are simply exquisite and the initiative is a life-changing one.
From a very young age Anita Garraway knew she wanted to be her own boss and have her own business. As a child she would make and sell crochet crafts, cupcakes and fudge. In 1997 she got the opportunity to do an agro-processing course that laid the foundation for Aurora’s. She learned the skills necessary to produce and bottle her green seasoning, pepper sauces and pepper relish, as well as processing fish and chicken ham. She also produces gluten free breadfruit cakes, beetroot and Black cakes without egg. Her products can be found in supermarkets throughout St. Vincent. After so many years of hard work and sacrifices, she can now say that she is living her dream.
Natalie Cato of Kato’s Katering invited the patrons to ‘Feel the fun’ with samples of her premium rum punch, Red bikini. The Red Bikini is a rich and smooth concoction of fruit juice, spices and local rum and the premium taste is unmistakable. Ms Cato has perfected the recipe over the past few years and has now started promoting the product. Her hope is to get the product on the shelves in our supermarkets. Currently it is only produced by order and sourced directly from her.
Click here to read part 2 and find out more about the exhibitors and their products and services from the event!
Photos by Ricky Hill, exclusively for Express Vinci®
© 2017. All rights reserved
The 2017 Calypso semi-finals held on Friday night, 30th June, at the Victoria Park was indeed a fantastic musical experience. As the first show on the official ten day Vincy Mas festival, it featured twenty two of the nations outstanding calypsonians, ranging from the youthful but experienced Kristianna Christopher to seasoned veterans like, Patches, Fya Empress, Vibrating Scakes , Sulle and Brother Ebony.
The show started on time and flowed well; except for one or two small glitches it was well executed. Free of the on-stage props that will form part of the calypso finals; this show was a lyrical interaction between the calypsonians as social commentators and the expectant audience.
In this time of potentially intense political interactions, most of the singers focused their attention elsewhere: youth and crime, infidelity, emotional and physical abuse, and other real social matters that are important to our lives as Vincentians every day. The songs were informative,melodious, and some satirical and humorous. A combination that resulted in an excellent experience.
Of course I have my favourites, but will refrain from mentioning at this time.
My feelings are numerous and can’t all be articulated in this post. It serves to say though that we are a superbly talented nation and even though the carnival/summer festival season has been extended well beyond the ten days of Vincy Mas, the range of activities are such that calypso in particular and Vincy music in particular are not given the kind of exposure they deserve.
Our musicians and singers should be able to practise their craft effectively all year round; and to make a living as artists is a right they have earned but is yet to be realised. Lance Chapman, Friday night’s guest-artist alluded to this in his melodious and well articulated rendition.
The time seems to be right for a Vincentian Music Festival that will be independent and separate from Carnival and Vincy Mas. This could be a collaboration between private promoters and the department of culture: a week of concerts to showcase Vincentian Music of all genres, perhaps in October, when we celebrate our nation’s independence. No competition needed.
The ten calypsonians moving on to the Calypso Finals scheduled for Sunday 9th July 2017 are :
Glenroy “Sulle” Caesar, Robert “Patches” King, Shernelle “Skarpyon” Williams, Shaunelle Mc Kenzie, Sheena Collis, Lornette “Fya Empress” Nedd, Glenford “Azarah” Charles, Cecile “Lil Bit” Murray, Joanna Christopher, and Kenneth”Vibrating Scakes” Alleyne.
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© 2017. All rights reserved.
After years of planning, Arrington Burgin, a well known sporting enthusiast, football coach, and fitness instructor, has realised his dream of acquiring an innovative special taxi service, which caters to members of the public who are experiencing mobility problems.
As May 2017 comes to an end, we are pleased to share with you this story by a guest writer about the challenges she faced with a health condition that is fairly prevalent, but not well understood. May is the month in which we celebrate our mothers, and so we think it is a good time to focus on a health condition that is unique to women of childbearing age. If you have any thoughts after reading this story, please feel free to leave a comment for our writer.
For years, I suffered from terrible period pain that worsened as I got older. More so, every doctor that I went to would tell me that my experience was normal, and would send me on my way with painkillers and anti-nausea medication; none of which would work. Eventually, I was diagnosed with menorrhagia (abnormally heavy or prolonged period) when my period began lasting for 10 and often times more days.
I was tired. During my periods I was nauseous, had restless sleep, experienced severe pain in my back, stomach and legs, and spent way too much money buying feminine products due to an extremely heavy flow which was now lasting up to 14 days.
I couldn’t take it anymore! In 2013, I made my first appointment with my current doctor who sent me for an abdominal ultrasound to aid our understanding of what was happening to me. The results showed that I had several small fibroids that did not require surgery. She however placed me on oral contraceptives to regulate my period, and this helped.
A few months later, I moved to another country to pursue graduate studies; but soon after, I stopped taking the contraceptives because I was feeling better. Guess what happened? Yes, you are correct! My period started flowing heavy again and was more painful than before. I went to a doctor who sent me for an ultrasound which showed that in addition to the small fibroids, I now had a growth in my right ovary. My doctor was not sure what it was, so, I was sent for further tests including screening for ovarian cancer. Thankfully, the tests showed that the growth was only a cyst and I was treated with steroids which helped to reduce the size of the cyst and my symptoms improved.
I returned to St. Vincent in 2015 following the completion of my studies. As I was doing well, I decided not to follow-up with my doctor here. In 2016, my periods worsened and I was feeling fatigued. So, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor who recommended that I have an ultrasound and several lab tests done to determine my current health status.
While I waited for the results, I was placed on Tranexamic Acid to treat the heavy bleeding. After I received my lab results, I was prescribed Trihemic to improve my haemoglobin count and I was to restart oral contraceptives on the first day of my next period. The ultrasound showed that I had dominant fibroid nodules and an enlarged right ovary with a dominant cyst.
Over the course of several months, the cyst was monitored by several ultrasounds at different points during my menstrual cycle. The ultrasounds revealed that the cyst was increasing in size and in turn causing my ovary to get larger. In February 2017, I was told that surgery was needed to remove the cyst and most likely also the ovary that it was affecting. My doctor discussed with me that endometriosis was potentially the cause of the cyst and the other symptoms that I was experiencing.
I was scared. What did this mean for my future?
On February 22nd 2017, I was wheeled into the operating theater around 7:am. I had a myomectomy (removal of some of my fibroids) and a unilateral oophorectomy (removal of my right ovary with the cyst) via a laparotomy (incision through the abdominal wall). Surgery also confirmed that I had endometriosis.
Now, here I am with only one ovary and endometriosis. To be honest, at first I was worried about my future. Would I need further surgery? Would I be able to have biological children? Are the painful periods never going to stop? With time, I have realized that stressing about the unknown is counterproductive, it only gives me migraines! So, I take it one day at a time and I focus on the things that I can control, which include my diet and exercise.
Currently, the endometriosis is being treated with oral contraceptives which may help to slow down the growth of endometrial tissue. My doctor is strongly encouraging me to try to get pregnant soon because endometriosis affects fertility. However, I want to be married before I try to have children.
I felt hopeless as having a child was not in my immediate plans, but after talking with my doctor and much encouragement from my support system, I believe that there is hope. In the meantime, there is not much more that my doctor can do for me, except to monitor me and keep me on the oral contraceptives, pain medication, and anti-nausea medication.
I may eventually require further surgery and I face the challenge of infertility. However, I believe that there is nothing that I can go through that is out of God’s control.
Through it all, I have had amazing support from family and friends, particularly my mother and some of the most fabulous girlfriends ever. Their support means everything to me. Thank you guys so much!
End of Part One.
By: Odelia Thomas
© 2017. All rights reserved.
On Wednesday May 10th , 2017 , Vasita “Sita The Lyrical Diva” Caine endeavours to launch St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ first reality series. The show is entitled Split Personality: Life of a Female Lyricist, and will highlight her talent and more so her versatility as she makes her contribution to the upcoming 2017 “Vincy Mas” festival.
Sita, known for her energetic stage performances and provocative lyrics, made her entrance on the stage of the local music industry some seven years ago with a Dance-hall song called “Kitchen Dunce”. She is respected as SVG’s premier Dance-hall act and remains a force to be reckoned with when she performs live. She has since made some notable strides in the industry, some of which include:
- The first person to receive an award from SVG’s Association of Music Professionals (AM P) for her involvement in Dance-hall music
- The first person to receive an award from Association of Music Professionals (AMP) for her involvement in Dance-hall music twice.
- The first Vincentian Dance-hall artiste to travel and perform internationally.
- The first Vincentian Dance-hall artiste to be featured on a rhythm produced and distributed by an international recording artiste and record label.
- The first Vincentian Dance-hall artiste to film a music video in Jamaica.
- The first Vincentian Dance-hall artiste to participate in the Barbados Reggae festival.
According to Sita, the show is going to be very entertaining and unique. It is being filmed by Mr. Rasheid Sutherland of Boss Raw media and will feature a number of appearances from local and regional artistes, producers, and other persons involved in the music industry.
“I tried as much as possible to endorse mainly businesses that are one hundred percent (100%) Vincentian. I am pleased to be associated with the Paragon Modeling Agency and Invest SVG who are extremely excited about the project. The show is indeed reality and will hence, showcase everything that comes with it [reality!]: the good, the bad, my shortcomings, my strengths, likes, dislikes, including the difficulties I encounter in the music industry; everything.”
The series will be distributed via Social Media including the following Facebook and Instagram pages :
- Vasita Caine
- Sita Di Lyrical Diva
- Rasheid (Boss Raw)
- Austin “ZJ Powa” Cain
- @Austin Cain
The show is also scheduled to be distributed via the following Jamaican YouTube pages:
- AKAM Entertainment
Article and Photos submitted by: Vasita ” Sita Di Lyrical Diva” Caine.
We at Express Vinci extend best wishes to Vasita on her new venture!
© 2017. All rights reserved.
The SVG Rowing Association is making strides in ensuring that its athletes are motivated to perform at the highest level. The Nicha Branker led organisation received two training camps and a boat building technical session.
Then early in March, Coach Jonte James, and rowers Jaheed Thomas and Markell Holder went to Uruguay to train at The Club Mercedes, under the care and guidance of FISA expert Osvaldo Borchi and other Uruguayan coaches. This high level training is in preparation for the youth Olympic games.
They travelled to Brasilia for the South American Rowing Championships April 27-30 and return home May 02. Jaheed has been earmarked to participate in the Youth Olympic Games 2018 to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina from October 6-12th,2018.
Also during the month of March, para-rower Devin Richards from Victoria Village went to the USA also receiving training ahead of an international para-rowing competition.
While on camp, Richards was fortunate to be selected as a tester of a new para-rowing seat developed by RESOLUTE RACING. Reports indicate that his enthusiasm and demeanor inspired the coach to offer Devin further assistance in fitting him with new prosthesis. This resulted in him staying on until mid-April in Florida in this regard.
More athletes are expected to be recruited in the sport here, as Rowing St.Vincent at its base in Layou in March also received technical assistance to build six news boats for beginners. The venture was sponsored by FISA (World Rowing Federation- from the French, Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Aviron) and executed by their development officer over a one week period.
Rowing St.Vincent is looking forward to raising the level of competition and increasing rowing’s scope and creating camaraderie within the sport.
Article contributed by Justin Douglas. Photographs from SVG Rowing Association Facebook Page.
© 2017. All rights reserved.
CobraCamp is a fitness movement started by 23 year old Vincentian, Adriel Francois. Adriel is originally from Belair, but he eventually moved to Calder Ridge with his family. Currently he resides in Taiwan where he is studying chemical engineering at the National Taipei University of technology (NTUT). He has created CobraCamp to help persons attain their unique health and fitness goals by educating them about proper nutrition and exercise. He wants to help persons find a balance that allows them integrate physical fitness into their lifestyle and show that it doesn’t have to take up all your time or confine you to the gym.
His content is delivered primarily through his YouTube channel which currently has over 70, 000 subscribers and his following is growing rapidly. There are over 50 informative videos to choose from and he produces content both in English and Mandarin Chinese (subtitles available). The Cobra has competed in bodybuilding competitions and has the medals to show for it (see below). He admitted that even though they are not his favorite thing to do, they allow him to network and get his name out there in the fitness world.
One of the things that stand out about Adriel is his unwillingness to settle in mediocrity. This character trait was ingrained in him from a very young age by his parents. They pushed him to excel by encouraging him to give a hundred percent effort in everything he did. His dad in particular was very keen on teaching him the value of physical activity. He recalled numerous summer vacations where his TV time was limited and it was mandatory for him to go outside and play. Therefore, a lot of his childhood days were spent riding bikes, climbing trees and things of that nature. As a result, he developed a love for fitness that he carried with him right through his teens and now into adulthood.
His peers came to know him as the man to consult for everything fitness related, so throughout University he found himself coaching and sharing his knowledge. He began toying with the idea of pursuing a career in Health and Fitness, but initially shied away from it fearing that he would not be able to achieve financial stability. His girlfriend on the other hand (who he coaches), believed in his abilities and was convinced that his passion and work ethic would make a way for him to be successful. She was the one who urged him to create the YouTube page and she was there to help him during the startup stage. Since then, he has wholeheartedly taken the reins and is determined to turn heads and achieve great things with CobraCamp.
Although he believes he still has a lot of work to do, he is already seeing the returns of his labour in the form of companies contacting him expressing a desire to have him endorse their products. Ultimately, he would like to produce merchandise of his own, provide large group classes and offer a mini course that educates persons about how to be their own personal trainer.
“Whether I am studying, working, whatever I do, I plan fitness into my life.”
It takes great discipline and dedication to do what Francois does. It is no small feat to put in the time and effort necessary to achieve your fitness goals, while being a full time well-performing University student and pursing a business venture at the same time. Adriel shared that what has allowed him to get to his current position is the understanding that you cannot have your cake and eat it too; sacrifices must be made to achieve greatness. Therefore, he uses strategic planning, time management and prioritizing to strike a balance that makes him happy.
When asked about who he looks up to Francois shared that he is no longer heavily influenced by renowned fitness gurus and bodybuilders. Instead, he is focused on self-development. If he is impressed by a particular trait in someone else or how a person managed to achieve a particular goal, he studies the situation to come up with ways he can integrate those features into his own being. When he was younger, he would watch in awe as other people perform incredible stunts like ‘the flag’ (pictured below) and eventually he got tired of just admiring. He made a conscious effort to become what he admires.
“This [CobraCamp] is my escape plan… I am trying to have a life where my work hours are not fixed, I can support myself financially and I get to do what I’m really passionate about.”
As mentioned before, Adriel is currently pursuing a degree in chemical engineering, but he says he would only settle on a career in this field if he absolutely has to. To him, that career path comes with rigidity and mundaneness and that sort of restriction is what he longs to evade. He regards his degree as a plan B and is doing everything in his power to make CobraCamp a successful Plan A. If things continue the way they have been going for him, there’s much to look forward to from this exceptional young man.
© 2017. All rights reserved.
In an afternoon ceremony on Thursday 16th March, 2017 at the Peace Memorial Hall, students of the Stylin’ Chic by Auldine Cosmetology Training Academy received their official certificates after 6 months of intense training. Through its training programme, the academy, over the past 15 years, has been providing young women with the skills they need to flourish in the areas of professional image, hair-cutting and hair-styling, makeup artistry, acrylic & nail care, as well as facials.
A total of twelve young ladies graduated, Ten of whom received certificates in Cosmetology and of the ten, six also received specialized certificates in the area of Acrylic & Nail design. Two individuals received certificates in Makeup Artistry.
The ceremony saw special recognition being given to Sylvonne Williams, the Valedictorian and recipient of the award for most outstanding student in cosmetology academics.
Her colleague, Marsha Williams was the recipient of the most outstanding student in Cosmetology practical award as well as the winner of the graduation ‘Hair battle,’ while Cara Chance was recognized for being the most improved student over the training period. Additionally, Mkada Ashton received a scholarship from tutor and cosmetologist, Mrs. Browne, in the field of Barbering.
Having received this training, the ladies can now compile their portfolio with their exam results to submit to the Sector Skills Development Agency in the Ministry of Education. They will then receive their Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) Level 1 Cosmetology Training Competency Certificate from the agency.
Key highlights from last Thursday’s graduation included a presentation by Dwight Lewis, Coordinator at the Sector Skills Development Agency in the Ministry of Education who encouraged the graduants to take their career to the next level by continuing their training; he further informed attendees that that the CVQ consists of five levels and by stepping up to Level 2, the students will be equipped to be autonomous workers.
Furthermore, he informed the graduates of the Prior Learning Assessment Recognition Programme being offered by the Sector Skills Development Agency, where individuals can become certified by having their assessments done in person at their workplace, once they have registered to be assessed.
The feature address was delivered by Barrister at Law, Mrs. Rochelle Forde-Duncan who has had the benefit of seeing dozens of young ladies being trained by the academy. Mrs. Forde-Duncan stressed among other things the importance of the students persevering, furthering their education in the area, as well as having good work ethics and maintaining good business relationships.
The Stylin’ Chic by Auldine Cosmetology Training Academy is led by owner and Cosmetologist Mrs. Auldine Browne who is currently completing her Level four assessor’s competency programme, which is the equivalent of an assessor’s Bachelor’s Degree, therefore making her more equipped to be an effective trainer.
Article Contributed By Candice Sealey of Ignite Consulting.
Contact Candice at email: firstname.lastname@example.org