A Dream

Horace Scobie





Six decades ago, Florence Scobie took a well-earned holiday. She spent time with friends in Tobago and also, in Belmont with her Cousin Evelyn and Nens Doona and Elsie. She recorded a “very pleasant time spent with” these older relatives.

Promise to do better

To show how much she enjoyed being with the trio, she put a dollar in the thank-you letter she sent them. Light-heartedly, she wrote, "when I get rich, I will surely do better."

Life was full of promise. After a busy decade, leisure time left the letter writer "looking better," as a namesake put it, "than when I left home." The young teacher lived the dream of grandmothers Florence and Mary, who both dreamed of better lives for their children.  

A Sense of Purpose

Mary named her son, Alpheus. The name had nothing to do with his birthplace, Lambeau in Tobago, or Cumana village, where he lived in Trinidad. However, it suggested a school at Maracas, Trinidad, that set him thinking.

When Alpheus heard of that school, he left Cumana. True to his odd-sounding name, he made his way into what, to others, was “a new-fangled belief originating in a foreign country.”1

For Alpheus, the "new-fangled belief" opened a door. Inside that door, some saw “hundreds of natives taking work in mission or primary schools who are not yet members.”2 For my father, however, "taking work" meant making dreams come true.

Work at Maracas transformed life for the former student of Anglais Anglican School in Cumana. For him, attending school in Port of Spain was out of the question. The closest possible school, St Andrew's High, also called Dasent High School, or Breadfruit Lodge, was a private secondary institution.

Though Dasent High was then about to open, the three dollar monthly tuition fee was as unthinkable for Alpheus as travel to Port of Spain. ((Soo, Charles Kong. “Eastlyn Errol Dasent, 1916-1994: Pioneer of Education in the East” Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, Sep 2018.)) 

In those circumstances, Adventist post-primary education offered a custom fit for persons like Alpheus. As his youngest child observed nine decades later, entrance to Caribbean Training College (CTC) depended on his willingness to bring a cutlass or hoe to school.3

At age twenty-five, Mary’s son, Alpheus seized the opportunity to help build a school like no other. CTC would address his dreams directly, as lesson two shows. 

" "

Florence and Horace in 2004, looking over the hillside site of Phillipi House, Moriah, Tobago. The rusted boiler (water tank) at left is the sole remains of the House devastated, like most others on the island by hurricane Flora in 1963.
To the right, on another hillside, is a neighbouring home (painted white). Above it is the Post Office. Atop that hill sits the Office of the Public Works Department. 

  1. Murray, Eric John. A history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Trinidad and Tobago, 1891-1981. 1982. College Press, Trinidad and Tobago. 56. []
  2. Rogers, H E. “The Progress of the Message” Central Union Outlook, 23 Sep 1930. 8. []
  3. Scobie, Beverly. Via the Roundabout. 2022. Paria Publishing, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 129-30. []


Hurricane Flora, 1963

Devastation that took place on Florence's birthday marked the end of residence on Tobago by our close family.

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