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AS BAJAN AS FLYING FISH – Grin and bear it


B.C. Pires

AS BAJAN AS FLYING FISH – Grin and bear it

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My name is Desmond Gibbs, and I do odd jobs.  
I’ve been in the Oistins area for 12 years now. What brought me to Oistins? Moving house! 
My family only got ’bout four in it. On my mother’s side, they got a medium-sized family. Her father had ’bout 12 children.
A big family I would call, like, 14 or 15. 
I never felt to leave Barbados. Not even to see Trinidad, where my mother come from.
I might go to Canada or England. Because things out there more reasonable. And to see the snow. I seen the snow, but only on TV. 
Barbados things have got very expensive. One time, $100 could bring a lot of groceries but now you got to spend $200 or $300 to get basics. Luckily, I got a breadfruit tree opposite me. 
I’m a Catholic but I don’t go to church. Once you believe in God fully, and try and do the right, honest things, that’s all you got to worry ’bout. Once your name is not in the holy book, you go straight down to Hell. He upstairs might refuse but He downstairs don’t! He’ll welcome you and torment you for the rest of your life. 
School was all right. It wasn’t more like fun for me. It was more educational. I would say I was a good student. I may not have been a bright student but I was a good-behaved student.  
Cricket is all right but it’s too kinda slow and boring. I prefer football, car racing, exciting things. I never raced cars but I went to watch it once. 
I don’t drive. I never had the opportunity to learn. Some day, some day.
I ride a bicycle to get about. You ain’t got to worry about the insurance or gas or nothing. Just might have to fix a tyre or something. I don’t know how to do that kind of odd job, though. 
I walk most places. I just live short from everywhere I want to go.
If I got to go to Bridgetown, I catch a ZR van. I ride from Oistins to St George already, though, to see my old man. 
Nobody in my life ever told me I had pretty eyes. Maybe one or two remarks at school but not really. 
I don’t have a family of my own. But some day, some day. Like the driver’s permit.
When you got your own house, get a nice job for yourself and everything work out.
Right now, I live at home with my sister, brother and mother. We try and get along good with one another.  
I got two dogs and one cat. He is trouble but he is a nice cat. He will lie in your lap and let you pat his head but don’t leave nothing there on the table – he will take it.  
I could do things to help myself. Roast a breadfruit. Cook rice, macaroni, everything. 
I like Christmas. Seeing all the pretty lights, the people excited. Plus, too, I get more work, help putting up lights ’round the house, a little painting. 
I keep a beard and moustache and, when I get fed up, I shave it off, but is grow back real quick. Just like the fingernails.
When your face clean, you’s miss it when you look in the mirror. I’ll shave anytime I have a job interview. The people want you to look decent on the job, not like a vagabond or something. 
Things didn’t work out at school, really, so I left early. Financial reasons, too, right. School fees are a bit high.  
I always go forward with a positive mind, even if something don’t happen. The morning I did the 11-Plus I wasn’t nervous at all-at all. What is for you won’t go past you. I leave it up to the Lord. And I got a bursary to the Adventist [School].  
I used to do security guard work but, at the moment, I do little odd jobs. Like doing shopping for people, going to the supermarket, cutting lawns. You got to do something honest in order to survive. I’ll get work through a neighbour calling me. Or I will offer assistance. You see somebody might want their grass cut or yard swept, just ask them! They either tell you yes or no.  
Trouble don’t stop like the rain. Easier to get in than get out.  
I wouldn’t call myself poor. But it could be a lot better. If I have a hard day, I try to get the problems off my mind. Talk to somebody. Even if they can’t help, you might feel better by letting somebody know your problem. 
Drinking never appealed to me – the burning of the rum.
Cigarettes might not be good for you but is something to do. Poor people will drink rum and smoke cigarettes to kill time. Poor man’ thing. 
Work is real hard to find in this country. I advise everybody, if you got a job, try and keep it. 
I’ll wake up most mornings ’round seven, eight. Drink a cup of tea, smoke a cigarette, then come out and see what the world has to offer. Sometimes I get work three or four days. Sometimes only two or one. You got to make that last whole week. 
The best thing about doing odd jobs is getting to meet different people. The bad thing is when people try to exploit you.  Somebody might want a big yard swept up and give you $20, when they know, and you know, the job worth more than that. I won’t do a job like that because I would feel bad [that] I did it. If they pay properly, I willing to do the job well and feel happy. 
A Bajan is a fun-loving, hard-working person.  
To me, Barbados means love and affection.

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