Recently we shared about the values of our company. Values are also reflected in a country, in a people’s way of living and being. The values of a people, a nation, reflect what is important to the people of a country.
What is important for the people of Trinidad and Tobago? We hold many values dear. This is one of the topics I discuss with my assignees (expats) to help them understand what is important to our people. It helps them understand us better and can help them work with Trinidad and Tobago nationals better.
- Celebrating festivals (our unique cultural celebrations)
- Food (and drink)
We inherited a strong educational system from the British. Many of the systems and structures in our schools were patterned on and are a result of the British educational system and we have a very high literacy rate. This is true for most, if not all, of the English-speaking Caribbean.
In addition, education is provided free to children from early childhood all the way up to university with various government funding programmes being made available for those pursuing tertiary education. Finally, additional amenities have also been provided to our children over the years, including books, laptops, the ability to participate in various sporting activities and exposure to other extra-curricular activities as part of the school system. These opportunities have benefitted our children tremendously.
Our unique history has resulted in many cultures coming together and we celebrate each other’s foods, music, dance and festivals. From Carnival to Christmas to Divali to Eid to Emancipation to Easter. We celebrate many religious and national holidays – a total of 14 each year. We have a unique ability to live among people of varied backgrounds in relative harmony.
In our homes families can be nuclear (mother, father and children), extended, headed by
grandparents, single-parent and so on. Whichever the family type, Trinbagonian (and Caribbean) families are usually close-knit and somehow connected long beyond the age of adulthood. In other words, our children do not necessarily leave home at the age of 18. In fact, some adults move out only after getting married and some move into their in-laws homes after marriage. The main thing to note is that family is very important to us. This is connected to another important characteristic, which is that we are generally ‘collective’ or group-oriented in nature.
From pelau, to roti, to doubles, to saltfish buljol and accra, to black pudding, pastelle, Spanish rice, black cake, sorrel, and bake and shark, food and drink are a very important part of who we are. We celebrate everything with food, from baptisms and funerals, to graduation and marriage, food and drink are very important to us.
We are a people who operate by relationships (not tasks). The relationship very often takes
precedence over the task we are performing. Who you know is more important than what you know. If you know someone who can help you get something done faster, that is the route we will take. This can lead to a whole other discussion, but that is for another time. Suffice it to say that we maintain relationships from nursery school onward. We maintain contact with neighbourhood friends, university pals and work colleagues long after we have moved onto other pastures. Our colleagues are people we eat with in the lunch room and with whom we will often form long-term bonds. We place more importance on relationships than on tasks. There is a lot more to be said on this, but I will leave it here.
What would you add to this list of Trinbagonians' values? What else is important to us?
#values #culture #interculturalcoaching #crossculturalcoaching #Trinbagonians #RMC