he winner of the 11th annual Conde
Nast Traveler Essay contest was announced at the Caribbean Tourism
Conference in St. Thomas. Karice Redhead from Trinidad & Tobago
won a $2,000 scholarship for her essay on the theme, "How traveling
to your country can help build a bridge to peace." The contest drew
entries from students from more than 30 Caribbean nations. Here is
her essay, abridged:
Trinidad & Tobago are twin islands in the Caribbean.
These two little islands appear as just two dots on the map of the
world. Nevertheless, they can demonstrate to the world how people
love one another and live in peace and harmony.
We are a cosmopolitan country. The most dominant races are
the Indians and Africans, but we also have some Chinese, Syrians,
Portuguese, Whites and even some Caribs and Arawaks.
It is amazing to see how all these different races with
different cultures combine together to live as one nation.
There are a lot of mixed marriages, particularly between the
Indians and Africans. To a lesser extent there are intermarriages
among the other races.
By the next century, it is expected that the majority of our
people will be classified as "mixed race." This is a big lesson on
loving one another and living in peace with one another.
People who travel to my country could also experience how we
show respect and appreciation for the cultures of the different
races. There are varied cultural festivals, such as the Hindu
festival of Divali, the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr and the
Christian festival of Christmas.
Trinidadians and Tobagonians participate in the different
celebrations even though they are of different cultures. We are
proud to celebrate with them because we respect their right to
practice their culture.
We do not live in a country where there is war, nor do we
know what it is to experience internal fighting. This does not
happen here. We must be doing something right.
Naturally, we have our share of negatives ... but compared
to other countries ... our country is still a good place to live or
visit. Visitors who come to our shores can feel our warmth,
friendliness and hospitality. We are quick to share a joke and
laugh and we love to share our sun, sea and sand with those who
have and those who have not.
When visitors return to their homes, they are bound to say
that Trinidad is, indeed, a paradise. The message that goes out
with these visitors across the world is that we could do it, and
others could do it, too. The way we live with our fellow men is our
example and our contribution to building a "Bridge to