In the Face of Uncertainty

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Cutlass knife used by my father and grandfather to chop and cultivate sugarcane
Cutlass knife used by my father and grandfather to chop and cultivate sugarcane

My father, one of three brothers, was born and raised in Trinidad. He worked daily in the fields, but had the opportunity to attend secondary school. However, while he had studied to be an electrician, my mother was a younger sibling to seven other children. Her family didn’t have funding to further her education, but was proud to labor along her siblings. After my father found work in Guyana, he would soon meet my mother, later getting married, and having my older sister. As my father was finding electrical work hard to obtain in the Caribbean, my family would find connections in Florida through my uncle, believing that immigrating to America would provide better success. Through harsh months lodging in my uncle’s garage, with my father being laid off, my mom found a local job at Roti restaurant to provide a stable source of income. Subsequently, my father was able to reconnect to my aunt, who was living in an apartment in Queens at the time, and decided it was best for my family to move there. Finally, my family was able to settle down after my father found a stable job at an electrical company, and my mother as a private cook. Finding it financially possible to have a second child, my parents would have me several years later in a single-family household. My father kept this cutlass knife as a reminder of the family life my parents had left behind to take a chance of a better future for their children.

Place(s): Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Florida, New York
Year: 1994

– Neil

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant