A pioneer, public servant and patriot who came quietly and worked effortlessly to mold and enrich T&T’s national fabric.
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Ras Wash is a High Wash
My name is Devanand “Ras” Balai and I am the “Ras” in Ras Car Wash.
I born and grow right there in Chaguanas. Went Chaguanas Government Primary. Chaguanas Junior Sec. Chaguanas Senior Sec. School was all right but I didn’t do too well. Sometimes I’s regret. But school is not for some people.
I went Tobago once but I never really travel nowhere. Tobago nice and I would go again, but is just with the work, customers to deal with, it hard to get time off. You know how is go.
I like to relax with the wife, Reena. We have two girls, Crystal, 14, and Emily, ten. We get along real good.
I used to work Coosal, paving road, and I get fed up of the hot sun work. I say, man, I have this piece of land here, let me try and open up a little business. That time, everybody start to open car wash, so I say I will open mines. I start to clean little cars and thing. Me ent have to work for nobody. I start from there and I never stop. That is about five, six years now.
I have my little shed with a little bench and thing. That is for the little customers and thing.
Normally is about four o’ we in the car wash but, when them fellas get a little construction work, they gone. When them ent working construction, they come back. Is never be me alone, though. I have to get a company with me, because sometimes is be real work!
On a busy day, if I have about four workers, we wash about 50, 60 cars. A car wash is $40, inside-out, vacuum, wipe out, Armour-All, pressure wash under your four fenders.
We doesn’t really jam music in the car wash. But we have we little radio to keep we going.
I have a few tattoos. I have a big one on my back. Is a little pain but, once you want style, you have to bear the pain. In a way, I happy with my tattoos because it look good, but, in a way, you really shouldn’t do it. They’s always say it ent good to mark up your skin.
I don’t have a Rasta philosophy, all that Rasta-Rasta-Rasta (thing). I just have a ras. I just like the locks, so I grow it.
I’m a born Hindu but I don’t really go no temple, don’t do no prayers, and I eat everything. I’m a Rasta Hindu eating pork. Everything, I eating.
I listen to a little Bob Marley, little calypso, little dub. Can’t handle the rock. Too loud, too noisy.
I don’t worry too much ‘bout Trinidad because I don’t really pay attention to what going on out there. I concern myself with my car wash. Work for my dollar every day. Mind myself and mines. Who dead out there, dead out there, I don’t business. I making my dollar and, when I done, I inside!
I start with my shed, everything, I build up everything. I run all the pipes coming from the roof down to the barrels. I full the barrels straight from the tap, the main. If water lock off, I use water from my tank. We doesn’t use hose, we dip out water from the barrel and rinse. That’s save plenty water. Water cost high.
If people in a hurry, and according to the condition of the car, if it clean inside, you go get it in 25-30 minutes. If your car dirty, it could take a little while, a 45 minutes or more.
Sometimes, we’s get cars so dirty, you’s be vacuuming and you start to feel you will never done vacuuming. The condition it in! Some people’s keep a nasty car, I telling you.
We’s be more busier in the dry season. Nobody don’t wash they car when the rain falling. If the rain fall, we close off, but once you get the weather, you will get the work.
The best thing about the job is working in the shade. After working paving road, you glad to be in a shed with a little water.
The bad thing is the rain. It does slow down production.
Trini people is really free people. You do what you want, go when you want, come when you want, drink when you want, smoke what you want.
T&T is paradise. Is true.
Read a longer version of this feature at www.BCRaw.com