Anicia Destang has had no regrets about moving to Barbados. (Picture by Christoff Griffith.)
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As part of the Nation Publishing Company’s 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations, the WEEKEND NATION team – through this series – This Is My Story – will be speaking to people who migrated to the island and visitors who have come and fallen in love with our shores. We invite you to share with us or point us in the direction of an interesting person we can feature each week.
WHEN ANICIA DESTANG reflects on the sacrifices she has made in her life for the betterment of her three children, tears well up in her eyes.
And she has Barbados to thank for it all.
Anicia was just a teenager when she made a decision to move here 39 years ago from her homeland of Bexom in St Lucia.
There was a price to pay for that decision, however, as she was forced to leave her three small children, ages four, two and one at home.
That move was driven by a plan to make a better life for her and her family.
Standing inside Anicia’s Fruits, Vegetables, Drinks and Snacks Variety situated in Suttle Street, The City, she would proudly agree that she has achieved her goal.
In an interview with the WEEKEND NATION, she said she initially came to Barbados due to a work opportunity.
“I was bringing produce from St Lucia to Barbados on the boat to sell. Some coconuts, oranges, grape fruits, yams, sweet potato, plantain . . . we used to come and sell here wholesale,” she said.
However, because of the constant moving between St Lucia and Barbados, Anicia knew it would have been tough on her children.
From her shop in Suttle Street, Anicia Destang proudly shows off some of her produce.
After some thought, she decided it was best for them to stay in St Lucia.
“It was really hard for me to leave them there because they were very young and their father wasn’t supporting them. I was like their mother and their father.
“But I was doing this for them. It was a sacrifice I felt I had to make, but at the end of the day I was doing it for them and for them to have a better life,” she explained.
Almost four decades later, Anicia stands by her decision.
“I am proud of what I have achieved. I came to Barbados and I worked really, really hard, because I knew that I had to provide for my family,” she said.
“When I look at my three children all grown up, I am so proud. I was able to bring all three of them to Barbados, send them to school and send them to college. It all worked out.”
Despite living the majority of her life in Barbados, Anicia still has her strong “Lucian accent”.
She says sometimes people refer to her as a foreigner, but she is quick to tell them that she has spent most of her life here in Barbados.
“They call me foreigner, but I tell them that I know more about Barbados than I do St Lucia. When I was in St Lucia I didn’t do much, but I came here to Barbados and I picked yams and sweet potatoes.
“I consider myself more a Bajan than a St Lucian,” she said while flashing a smile.
She also acknowledged that the opportunities afforded to her in Barbados would never have been available in St Lucia.
“Life has been good to me here. It provided me an opportunity to take care of my family and to live a good life. I don’t think if I had stayed in St Lucia things would have worked out as well as they did,” Anicia said. (RB)