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Landrina ah woman to her word

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Way back in 1986, dat’s over twenty-one years ago, ah group of us students who were attending Spanish classes at the Venezuelan Institute were invited by the Professor in charge to form a Folk Group. It was exciting from the start, de songs were in Spanish; de Rhythms Paranda and Gaita all sounded so different; even de instruments de Cuatro and Drums were played differently to how we play dem here in SVG. Everybody seemed to have gone crazy foh de I-dare. De group was big, too big and we gave it ah warm and friendly name, El Grupo Amistad.{{more}}

Since we were beginners just learning de language our vocab was restricted to words like “buenos dias y si senor”, we therefore had ah serious problem wid everything, interpretation, pronunciation, lyrics and diction. But among us was Landrina, ah young lady who had just done “A” Level Spanish and was at de classes only foh revision sake. She was real fluent and knew when to roll her tongue like ah Spaniard, so even though she did not have de greatest singing voice, we realized dat her skills in de language was more dan enough to qualify her as ah permanent fixture in de group.

Den out ah de blues, one evening during one of our practice sessions, she handed us an invitation. It was ah pleasant surprise, she was getting married, she gave us ah “Sketchy” description of her husband to be, de lucky guy, who was also one ah de top men in de Ministry of Finance, he still is, so dey were both lucky. We were happy foh her but when we expressed our fear of losing her, she said: “Nothing will stop me from being a member of dis group.” Den we asked her what about when de children start coming, she said: “All of us will be coming to practice sessions when de time comes”.

If we needed any proof of Landrina’s sincere love and affection foh de members of de Group, it all came out at de wedding. There was a special table for El Grupo Amistad members, someone was assigned to take care of us and we did not forget to misbehave, sharing group jokes, heckling one another, no doubt aided and abetted with some good wines and champagne. I believe dat Landrina’s wedding party germinated a bond among de members of de group dat made us almost inseparable, it opened our eyes to future “ get together” and we have had ah few good parties and picnics over de years.

True to form Landrina kept her word, her pre-wedding promise and when Lucene, baby No.1 came along, she was only months ole when Mommy dragged her along, bright and early in pampers foh practice. By de time Lucene was three years ole she knew every one ah de songs dat de group sang, when she couldn’t figure out de words in Spanish she improvised wid baby language like: “ me nah war nah Guinness, me wan ah Mart”! She had de melodies right on, but de lyrics was always ah laugh.

Twenty-one years is ah long time, de Group grew from strength to strength and so did Landrina’s family, during dat time Lucene breezed thru school and University, but Landrina never dropped her membership from de Group, bringing along babies number two and three to practice, somehow dey were not as lively as Lucene. Work related duties demanded dat she took sabbatical to attend de Met Officers Course in T’n’T and ah second break to do some advance studies later on, but when de studies were over she rekindled her membership. She seldom missed ah group function, picnic or party, and would always remind us: “not on ah Friday night, dat’s de man’s night out”! Seems like she didn’t believe in baby-sitters, if she couldn’t take de kids along den she will stay at home wid dem. Landrina always had her priorities right, family first, group and anything else after.

At de end of one of our practice sessions last year, she dropped ah piece ah sad news on us, dat she was diagnosed with breast cancer and dat she will be taking an operation and treatment. “But” she insisted, “ I am going to fight it and I’m not missing any of my practice sessions”. She looked so well after dat, her spirits were always up, she never lost any body weight, she performed wid de group during de Christmas season, and we never bothered to even discuss her health, after all we felt dat unless “looks is still deceiving” she got to be OK.

But on Monday when Aubrey Gould, de Secretary of de Group called to ask me if ah heard any news at all, den he added: “ did yuh hear anything about Landrina, dat she passed away”? Shocked and short ah words, ah did ah Commissioner Miller, yuh know like when de young Police Officer told him what happened to her, shocked as he was, (it is alleged) he told de young lady to tek ah few days off and compose herself. Well, no allege foh me, ah told Aubrey hang up de phone, tek ah break and cool off and compose himself, ah will call him back. Landrina actually passed away on Tuesday.

Being de wonderful family woman she was, loving Mom who was always extremely close to her kids, her passing is going to be ruff foh Sketch and de children, but in times like these we are reminded dat God is always dey, closer dan ah phone line away. He has never stopped being de great comforter He is, He can and will take care of all dey needs.

For El Grupo Amistad, her second family, it is ah sad day in de Group’s diary. Our condolences go out to de Edwards family; Landrina will be greatly missed, May de good Lord grant her ah peaceful rest.

And dat is all foh dis week, ah gone again.

One Love Bassy.

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