When asked, “What’s Trinidad like?” My best answer always is: “Freedom.”
The options are bountiful, and ideas can come to fruition with basic efforts. Entrepreneurship-wise, the culture is more one of support than struggle, by default. It's not necessarily a "fight to the finish" or a case of "spinnin' your wheels," the way some may feel running the daily grind stateside.
What do you want to do with yourself? The choice is yours. Want to go to school and learn forever? Education is bountiful and affordable; some students even get paid to take courses and attain certifications. Want to be a ragamuffin and live a life of relative breeze? You could get by just fine doing nothing if your personal needs are simple enough.
Relative to a place like the U.S., you also don’t feel that incessant looming Babylon pressure. You don’t have to worry about camera-automated traffic tickets, and you can freely park your car anywhere, anytime.
Rather than an aggressive task force that kills at will, Trini law enforcement agents are truly officers of the peace. Police SUVs here drive around with their blue lights flashing as default; not because they’re pulling someone over or trying to get somewhere in a hurry. It took me a couple weeks to not instinctively react with a subconscious panic upon encountering the harmless blue lights here in Trinidad. The other week, I was hanging the wash on the line on the side of the house and I actually saw two police officers slowly traveling down the main road on horseback. The male officer hailed me up with a wave. ;)
Got a crafting skill, artistic talent, green thumb or even just an eye for buying and merchandising? Everyone’s got a “hustle” here; at one point or another everyone will have something for sale. Weekday-working hospital nurses set up tables to sell their baked treats on the street on Saturdays. A chick will buy chocolate wafers by the box and sell them one by one on the sidewalk for a profit. People grow, harvest and sell their produce to the market vendors, who sell the items to the general public. At outdoor gatherings, guys walk around with clear backpacks full of cigarettes, hemp bidis, rolling papers and lighters for sale. If you can climb a coconut tree or procure a ladder high enough to reach, you can make $7-9 a pop selling young green coconut water and jelly out of your truck.
Got a batch of new clothing items from foreign? Let your neighbors know. Imagine for a moment how fitting and proper it is to sell incense in a place in the Caribbean. Even at nominal prices like $3-10, it adds up because people are always burning something round here.
I've not asked her, so this is an assumption, but it looks to me like the woman with the food business two doors down from me is building two mansions on the hill behind her tiny restaurant storefront. Breakfast sandwiches and Trini lunches can yield six-figure + results with time and perseverance.
Those with the will and spirit to be self-sufficient can do anything in Trinidad, without feeling like odds are stacked against them or that results are unobtainable. Try to set up a table and start selling lemonade or t-shirts or books in a Chicago park. The hounds’ll be on you in no time asking for permits, business registration and tax receipts!
I told the above scenario to our friends the other day, and the sistren chuckled and said, “Well, this IS a third world country, right?” and winked.
If this is third world, why worship the so-called “first”?