For Love of Tobago

Anjani Ganase, Trinbagonian marine biologist, believes that people and communities are just as important in shaping a place as the natural environment. Occasionally she intends to profile personalities that she considers curators of Tobago’s cultural and natural environment. This week, she invites Lindsay Hall to speak about her Tobago.
This feature was published first in the Tobago Newsday on Thursday 20th October 2016  
Follow Anjani on twitter: @AnjGanase

Tobago is a community of 61,000 persons who - although they share a common environment - still have unique experiences and stories living on this Caribbean island. This week Lindsay Hall tells her story, and relates why she became a yoga instructor and her hopes for change in Tobago’s education system. Lindsay is the daughter of Tony Hall, dramatist, and Mary Hall the Canadian born educator who founded and still teaches and runs the Michael K. Hall Community School in Tobago. M.K. Hall was named for Lindsay’s grandfather, the educator and father of sons Dennis “Sprangalang” and Tony. Lindsay was born the year after her parents moved to make Tobago their home, their dream since the seventies. She was six when the school was started, one of the first students there. The Halls are 30 years rooted in Tobago; Lindsay’s child will be the first Tobago-born in the family.

“My dream job growing up was to become an animal psychologist, Britney Spears back up dancer and later I wanted to become a Marine Biologist.” – Lindsay Hall, Carnbee

Lindsay Hall, Tobagonian spirit, yoga and dance instructor

I am a yoga and dance instructor. My profession is rooted in helping others find health by first finding and creating balance in their physical bodies. I chose this profession because I have always been very physically active (dancing my entire life and being very active generally) and over the years I have realized a connection between my physical wellbeing and my emotional and mental wellbeing. I helped heal myself emotionally and mentally by searching and exploring ways to help my physical body. I want to help others to do the same.

In my spare time I enjoy making jewellery or free diving, snorkelling and general beach going. The ocean is a place of peace for me. I grew up next to the sea; it's the place I go to when I simply want to feel good. 

My friend went to Hawaii and was blown away by the natural landscape and how kind and generous the people were. She talked about seeing a volcano erupting with lava flowing down the mountainside, doing night dives with manta rays and seeing sea turtles in the water of every beach she went to. She also talked about the lush greenery and how magical each of the islands she visited felt. Because of her stories, I've recently been thinking a lot about going to Hawaii to experience the magic she described.


What I like most about Tobago is its natural landscape and the unique Tobago vibe that goes along with it. The best part about living in Tobago for me is the freedom it allows me. I don't feel burdened by any system or any ideology. I feel free to create the life I want. Although I have many favourite places in Tobago, one that sticks out to me at the moment is the reef right in front of Little Tobago.

I would like to see Tobago become greener. If Tobago was actually a green island, I think that could be a real drawing card for tourists. I would like to see recycling, organic farming, the elimination of plastic bags and Styrofoam, introduction of renewable energy, and better laws and enforcement of laws for the protection of Tobago's wildlife and environment.

What I dislike about Tobago is that, unfortunately there are few outlets in Tobago for promoting innovative and creative thinking, whether it is through the arts or scientific research.  This prevents people from being able to think creatively or problem solve.  Generally, they don't want to think outside the box. Few Tobagonians have the confidence to genuinely think alternatively for fear of being different and thereby setting themselves up for ridicule by others; this mentality can be crippling. A shift in the focus of the education system that empowers students to become more free thinkers may be able to help with this. 

If I could address the government, I would want to discuss the need for education reform. I would tell them that if the approach to education shifted, the type of citizens created would change the landscape of this country for the better. If we gave our kids more outlets to be creative in a supported environment and nurtured all their interests instead of just praising the ones who are good at math and science and dismissing everyone else, we could create more balanced, productive, happier human beings. And yes, teaching yoga would be useful in our schools at every level.

Yoga on the beach: "My profession is rooted in helping others find health by first finding and creating balance in their physical bodies."


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