Patricia Hunte said she now knew more about Barbados than her birth country of St Vincent. (Picture by Ricardo Leacock)
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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.
PATRICIA HUNTE migrated to Barbados from St Vincent at age 22 to earn a better life for her family.
Now, 34 years later, Hunte can look back at a life where she now knows more about her new home than her old one.
“I first came to Barbados in 1982 where I was working as a maid for private houses. The work was hard – work usually is – but the money decent,” she said.
Patricia Hunte showing half a “belly” pumpkin – which she said was a big seller years ago.
Hunte, now a produce vendor operating along Fairchild Street, The City, said her original intention was to come to Barbados and earn money for her two children back in St Vincent. Well, actually, her true original aim was to visit a pen pal.
“I came here on vacation as I had a pen pal here. I tried to get an extension to stay longer but I couldn’t so I went back home and came back again,” she said.
Upon her return, Hunte decided to go to work and the rest, as they say, was history.
“At first, I didn’t think I would live here – I had to work to send money for my children – but that changed. I then decided to bring my children here and I had them for about five years but they said they missed their grandmother so they went back home. Now, they are all big men and women with their own children,” she said.
Hunte said a further three children born here helped her to make the decision to stay in Barbados. She also changed jobs.
“I was a maid for seven years then I start doing this. The sales weren’t that bright at first but it pick up over time as the Guyanese used to buy a lot,” she said.
However, the good times came to an end after many of the Guyanese living here were deported. She said their leaving directly affected her sales.
“Since they get send back sales start to go down and right now sales slow, especially as people don’t have the same sort of money to spend,” she said.
Hunte tried to recall her youth in St Vincent but said it was not that easy as she had spent so many years here.
“I can’t remember much now. I can tell you more about Barbados than St Vincent but I remember back then in St Vincent, if someone was digging wee potato or picking breadfruit, you help them and you can get some but not here, everything is to sell.
“I went back in May last year and the place changed up, there is a lot of development now,” she said.
Even so, Hunte said the people of Barbados were what made the island great. She said Barbadians treated her well when she first came and this had not changed since.
“I like it here, if I didn’t, I would not stay here so long. Barbados is still a place where you can make a living,” she said. (CA)