Cyntra Smith came to Barbados to study and never returned home. (Picture by Lennox Devonish)
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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 fallen in love with our shores. We invite you to share with us or let us know of an interesting person we can feature each week.
IN OCTOBER OF 1984, with education first and foremost on her mind, Cyntra Smith packed her bags and left her homeland of Trinidad bound for Barbados.
Her plan at the time was to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus then return home.
However, Cyntra stayed and has called Barbados home for the past 31 years.
“I fell in love with the island. It was and still is so peaceful and quiet,” she told the WEEKEND NATION.
Having been brought up in a multi-racial and multi-ethnic society while growing up in Trinidad, she said it did not take long for her to get accustomed to the island’s culture.
“The only challenge I had was becoming familiar with the Barbadian dialect,” she playfully said.
Cyntra relaxing at home with her husband Alban and their dog Cleopatra.
Cyntra recalled that two years into her studies, she met Alban Smith, a Trinidadian who had migrated to Barbados in the 1960s. The couple were eventually married in 1989, shortly after her graduation.
Prior to her moving into her current home situated at Cane Garden, St Thomas, she previously lived at Connell Road, Free Hill, St Michael and Oxnards, St James for a number of years.
The accounts clerk in the Bursary at the UWI said she also taught at St George Secondary “for a few years” where she was affectionately referred to as “the Indian teacher.”
She said during her over three decades in Barbados she had witnessed several changes.
“I have seen the changing face of Barbados over the years, in terms of the infrastructure and the racial composition of its people. I have grown into this society, although I have to admit that I do miss Parang at Christmas and the celebration of the Hindu Festival of Lights, Diwali,” Cyntra said, as she laughingly recalled an occasion at a church service in Barbados to mark Trinidad’s independence, where she had problems remembering the words of the Trinidad national anthem.
“Whenever I travel to visit family or friends I always long to come back to this piece of rock.”
Cyntra readily admits that she has fallen in love with the island’s culture and food.
She said she especially loved cou-cou and visiting the various scenic spots across the island.
“I love corn meal cou-cou and saltfish gravy, even though I am still learning how to master the art of stirring cou-cou.
“When it’s time for relaxation, I enjoy hanging out at Merton’s Place in Half Moon Fort, St Lucy and at the Fish Net in Oistins. Barbados has a lot to offer with its pristine beaches, natural landscapes and beer,” she acknowledged.
Cyntra is also an avid writer and a certified dancer, who is trained in Indian classical and Indian folk dancing, and is also a member of the Modern Ballroom Dance Club. (RB)