MY STORY: 18-year love affair with Barbados
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.
ISOLIN REID left her native St Vincent at age 18 for a new
Now at age 45, with a Barbadian husband and three children, Reid has lived here longer than in her homeland. This is her story.
“I grew up in an environment where my mother was selling ground provisions and fruit. It was not bad for me but when you get older, you look to move out on your own so when my sister invited me to come, I came here to work,” she said.
Reid, a produce vendor, said her initial intent was to work, earn money and go back home but circumstances prevailed and she extended her stay.
At first, Reid said she sold cooked food for a living but said there was not enough money in it so she switched to selling produce six months ago – just like her mother – which she said was working out better.
“I sell plantains, bananas, ginger, yam, dasheen. It’s be good on Saturdays – once you come out, you will make money, it is better than staying home doing nothing,” she said.
Reid said life in Barbados was not like in St Vincent. She said things were more expensive here and it was a bigger struggle to survive.
“In St Vincent, you can ask a neighbour for produce and be given more than enough to feed your family instead of having to buy everything like here. Over there, everybody lives in one house while here, you have to pay rent but I have made my life here and I am enjoying it. I have no regrets,” she said.
It was not all hardships, however, as Reid said the first time she had a television in her house was here, although she said she was never one to obsess over material things.
“Those things never bothered me. What I hold precious is honesty and kindness,” she said.
After Reid met her future husband and had her children, her fate was secured and Barbados was officially home. She said she had a good life and had some words of advice for anyone else also seeking to adopt Barbados as their new home.
“I would first ask them if they were sure and then tell them to stay away from bad company as well as to make a decision on what they wanted to do for a living and if they wanted to be self-employed or to work for someone.
“Living here is not bad but it is up to the individual. It is up to you to decide if you will make something out of your life or not,” she said. (CA)