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Readings Under the Trees—The Alta Tree

Part II
Thursday, May 24, 2018

In celebration of our 25th anniversary, Alta hosted an afternoon of Readings Under the Trees at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Port-of-Spain, in late March 2018. Alta Tutor Rosemarie Olliverre was the emcee for the ‘Alta Tree’ - the tree under which most Alta students read stories, poems and reflections of their time at Alta. Olliverre has written a reflection on the event which Alta began sharing last week. Continue reading for the final part of Olliverre’s piece.

Among the readers that day was Alta student, Kisha Le Maître who performed a poem she wrote entitled My Secret which ended with the line, “No longer keeping secrets, of myself I can be proud. Walking with my head held high, telling everyone around.” The audience nodded and clapped in approval of her honesty and courage.

Alta tutor Janet Joseph presented her own composition on her thoughts and experience after her car was wrecked. We could all relate to this and enjoyed her lively presentation. This was followed by a tribute from Lester Maitland to his tutors at the Harvard Centre. His delivery was so good; it is becoming evident that the time is fast approaching when Alta will have students who will one day become tutors!

There were many participants representing the different venues and they were all well received, but the most touching presentations came from those who shared their personal experiences of Alta. While some were very nervous and admitted to being so, they were brave enough to share original compositions of their struggle with literacy and the positive impact that the Alta programme has had on their lives. They read pieces that came straight from the heart. We all shared in their struggle and pain as well as their joy of overcoming adversity.

One performance after another punctuated with enthusiastic applause kept the audience engrossed and the time whizzed by. All too quickly it was time to wrap up but not before another kind of sharing began. Then the coolers opened, and it was time to mingle. There were lots of cool drinks, delicious sandwiches, sweet bread, pone, pholourie and plenty of chatter and laughter! The air was filled with contentment and hope as we shared not just food but our common aspirations.

As we walked out of the beautiful gardens, we felt inspired to become better human beings. We bonded on a deeper level, recognising the common thread running through our lives. We could achieve anything we really wanted and triumph over any challenge that life threw at us. We were all connected, all part of one big Alta family.


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