Ian K Ramdhanie, MSc,
My name is Anthony Johnson but I A-K-A as “Strongy”. Unfortunately, I am a deportee. I came back from Brooklyn, New York, 17 years ago.
Boy days in Laventille was fun, kicking ball, playing basketball, flying kite. But the most best part was when you put a glass [on the toe of your shoe and put it by a girl’s shoes] and you sit down [and look at the reflection]. Kids will be kids. And all that is part of life.
I get my upper body definition from hard work. Pure hard work. Plenty hard work. When you work hard, you see improvements. And it gets the body clean.
I have a college education, nuh. I went to school in New York, nuh. I took an associate’s degree in psychology.
You know what is called, “a broken home”? That’s when you’re raised by one parent, not both parents, nuh. And that is force them to be led astray by male figures who are adults, who are older. I was misled in that way. But I burn to learn, you know?
I have plenty regrets about leaving Brooklyn. I left a wife, children, house, car, everything. I miss my children. My wife married again. It’s all good.
I groom back into my country now. I’s a native here. I wasn’t brought here, I didn’t come here, I was born here.
I come from a very big family. My mother had nine boys and three girls. My father had five boys and one girl. That is a big family. And I’s the baby. I have three children in New York and one here.
Since I had a little accident here in Woodbrook with these gyro-men, I haven’t been able to go and see my son. It scar me mentally and physically, mentally most of all. I don’t know how to deal with my son, because of the bruises I suffer from my head and the stitches and thing, nuh. And I felt I should have been compensated for it. And I didn’t get it.
I not racial, you understand, but these fellas feel, because they’re white, and they come in a Third World country that’s run by blacks, they feel like we seeing poverty. So they feel they could pay they way through. And put us against one another, for them to see their way. They succeeding in a lot of ways, as far as it goes with the authorities.
In some ways, I face hostility on the Avenue. They try to make it seem like is a joke but is total disrespect. You don’t pay people to put human faeces on people’ clothes. You don’t pay people to destroy people’s things. To disrespect people and laugh! I live on almost every street in Woodbrook and it was never so. As these fellas come, Woodbrook changed.
I earn most of my money in the week. Some days you make small money. Some days you make nothing.
Hear my way of relaxation: I go in the middle of the Savannah or in a cemetery and sit down. Or in the park where the mountains nearby. Where it quiet, nuh. You hears nothing. I sit down and get a peace of mind.
I take in Carnival from a distance. Labour Day in Brooklyn, my wife and children partying, but I don’t partake. Is a pagan holiday to me. Plenty blood does pass in those days, people get hurt.
I used to function as a Muslim but it come like I backsliding. Start back eating pork and thing. But I try to keep that discipline, nuh.
I charge $30 to wash outside a car. I know people will do inside and out for that money. But sometimes men watch the job I do and give me more than $30. Sometimes a man give you $100!
The best part of the job is when you getting pay! The bad part is when you not getting the work you want to get. Is very frustrating.
A Trini is a native. Being a Trini is being Trini to the bone, all the way inside. In Brooklyn, I was red, white and black inside.
Trinidad & Tobago is a unity to me. No one is better than one. We stand for the same God and understanding.