Horizon at Sandy Point

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beyond Beetham

People forget that Beetham is just a name. Edward Beetham was the last British governor of Trinidad and Tobago (1955-1960). We named a highway after him, and the housing development at the end of the St Ann's river to replace the galvanise and tin shanties of squatters. Fifty years later, it is a suburb of Trinidad's capital Port-of-Spain still in the throes of growing up from the dregs and detritus of the river mouth. Progress may be halting but it is happening.
Beyond Borders: plants growing through fences

Swing high!

Cabbage among roses!

Many individuals and organisations make a community: no one more important than any other. The Rose Foundation in association with bpTT lead the initiative to plant gardens in Beetham, one aspect of the Beyond Borders programme that includes mentoring children in everything from gardening to etiquette. Hope is replacing Hellyard. The River of Life is the new route that runs from the Bus Route to the Highway. Nation Park, Team Spirit Park and Butterfly Park, these are not just names but purpose and process.
On the banks of the River of Life, looking to Northern Range

Peppers on the bank of River of Life, looking towards Beetham Highway

Village street

Roaming with bikes on the streets of Beetham

Picket fence from recycled pallets

Tifari Sobers gardener of Team Spirit Park stands on a rubble rock left after Beetham the highway was created.

Two kinds of thyme!

In the short period of the gardens competition, fruit, flowers and vegetables are being cherished all over Beetham, gardens of hope and change. Lisa King started with lady slippers and zinnias but she harvests the tamarind from the tree that towers over her house for a delightful and flavourful chutney. There are mature tamarind and downs trees all over.  Tifari Sobers in Team Spirit Park has reaped six harvests since last October. He has put up a fruit stall to sell fresh herbs and vegetables, and fruit brought in from family in Chaguanas. Lynette Bravo recently married the pieman and moved her garden next door to the new home. The pieman's son just opened a cool cosy corner cafe to sell pies and punches.

It's late afternoon on a Saturday in March 2017. Sterling Belgrove, chief of The Rose Foundation, and his wife Marcia, lead the group judging the gardens competition. In the weeks leading up to the distribution of plants and starter materials, he says, some 40 tons of rubble and trash were removed. Houses now sport Beyond Borders banners to signify that they are part of the beautification and gardening initiative. The handful of gardener-homeowners on each street is already seeding community pride and the joy of green and growing nature.

Lady slippers and zinnias

Tamarind  and coconut
She makes tamarind chutney

Beyond Borders: plants will peep through fences

Mini maze in this garden

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