Write Start (11-15): Ranissa Lochan meets Wendy Fitzwilliam on an unforgettable Carnival day

EPL Infrafred Sauna

“[…] Miss Wendy Fitzwilliam was crowned Miss Universe in the year 1998 and has truly been a strong motivation seeing that she, a young woman from a small twin island in the Caribbean conquered the world. 

“Her achievement has inspired me to think big and set unlimited goals for myself in life and I have faith in them because if she could have done it then I surely can to…”

Fourteen-year-old Bishop Anstey High School East student Ranissa Lochan is our second shortlisted fictional writer for the inaugural Wired868 Write Start competition. Her essay is in the 11-15 category entitled ‘The day I met my local hero’:

Photo: Lawyer, model and 1998 Miss Universe Wendy Fitzwilliam.

It was that time of year again; the streets were flooded with masqueraders dressed in vibrant colourful costumes. Soca music poured out of the ginormous speakers and people danced freely about while singing lustily along to the lyrics. 

Spectators and participants young and old gathered to celebrate this sensational occasion. As you might have guessed I am referring to the biggest most enthralling event in Trinidad and Tobago, Carnival. It was my favourite festival ever, the lively atmosphere, the music, the flamboyant colours but most of all, the parades.

It was all so captivating to me. Now, this particular carnival was quite special to me as it was the first time I was celebrating it in the capital city of Port-of -Spain! 

I stood anxiously at the front of the barrier watching the different bands assemble for the parade, my family and I were lucky to have gotten to be at the front of the crowd as the place was flooded with people. We had arrived early enough to see the bands prepare for their march. It was quite entertaining to see the masqueraders scramble about trying to find their positions.

Photo: Carnival mas at the Socadrome.
(Copyright Trinitraveller)

Looking around I saw so many people, it was like the whole of Trinidad had gathered in that one spot to see the parade of the bands. After about 15 minutes the music was turned down and a man then came on the mic and announced the parade was about to begin. I could have died of excitement right there and then.

The music was then turned back up and the bands began to progress forward. The first band was dressed as monarch butterflies, the pattern on the wings were so very well detailed and each person’s wings had a different design. The second band which was my personal favourite was dressed as hummingbirds. They all looked elegant and astounding, especially the queen!

Their feathers were a perfect combination of blue, purple, green and red and their head pieces were adorned with tiny iridescent diamonds which glistened in the midday sun.  

It was like watching a movie except it was real life. Many more bands passed forward and soon it was time for the last group to perform. The masqueraders were dressed as peacocks with regal feathers sprouting from the back upwards and to top it off an aesthetically pleasing mask with small luminescent crystals embedded to the sides.

Photo: Model Wendy Fitzwilliam, the 1998 Miss Universe, plays with Harts for Carnival.
(Copyright Sureash Cholai/ Newsday)

As they came forward I could make out a familiar individual. When they came closer I realised that my suspicion was right, it was indeed her dancing right there. I shouted her name “Miss Wendy!!!!!!” and waved at her hysterically until she saw me and immediately began laughing.

She danced her way over to where I was standing and then gestured to me to follow her, I willingly accepted and I went out into the parade to dance with her. It was one of the most unbelievably magical moments of my life, I couldn’t stop smiling as my heart pounded immensely it felt as if my heart was about to explode. 

We glided across the stage dancing rhythmically until their performance time was over. After taking a short five minute break, she said it was time for me to go back to my parents. While walking back I expressed to her in an awkward but excited way how honoured I was to meet her let alone dance with her. When we finally reached back to the place where my parents were, she stooped down gave me a hug and then she gave me a feather from her costume.

After she left I described in vivid details to my parents the entire experience and the rollercoaster of emotions I felt. It was the only story I told for the ride home and probably the rest of the year.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Wendy Fitzwilliam was crowned Miss Universe in Honolulu, Hawaii on 12 May 1998.
(Copyright AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara)

Miss Wendy Fitzwilliam was crowned Miss Universe in the year 1998 and has truly been a strong motivation seeing that she, a young woman from a small twin Island in the Caribbean conquered the world. Her achievement has inspired me to think big and set unlimited goals for myself in life and I have faith in them because if she could have done it then I surely can to.

As Miss Fitzwilliam once said “You don’t effect change without putting yourself out there, without taking risks.” 

Editor’s Note: Wired868 will announce the winners of the inaugural Write Start competition on 13 December 2021. The first place winner will get TT$6,000, a six-month mobile plan from bmobile, and two complimentary movie tickets to CinemaONE.

Click HERE for more information on the Wired868 Write Start prize structure and do share your favourite essays!

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One comment

  1. Mr. Liburd, this Write Start competition is an excellent initiative by your Wired868 and deserves tumultuous applause.

    The two (2) essays, thus far, are impressive but more importantly, the competition will hopefully serve to inspire the young ones to improve their writing skills which seem to be lacking in today’s world. Ask Mr. Earl Best if yuh think ah lie. 🙂

    Good job.

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