It has been a while since I decided to write. Before you get started, I just want you to know that it is going to be personal.
As some of you probably know I went back home in the Caribbean last month. Before I already planned to go back, I lost someone who was like a mother to me. I was absolutely devastated because losing someone who used to look after you when you was a kid is never easy. When the volcano was acting up in Montserrat, my parents had to leave me in Antigua so they could go back to Montserrat to work. I was scared and sad because I did not understand why did they leave me with a stranger. When they left, my godmother took me and made me feel welcome in her house in Antigua. But having that thought when I was a kid, I did think that my parents did not want me so that is why they left me with her. But that is not the reason why they left me. They left me because in 1995, the year I was born the volcano destroyed Montserrat. My parents lost everything, house, money, food, anything you could think of. So when they left me with my Godmother, they had to go back to find a way to get their lives back together and I can tell that it was not easy for them.
But, let me tell you about my godmother who passed away just before I went to the Caribbean. When I heard the news, I was really torn and heartbroken because she is a person who looked after me when I was a kid. She was a mother who made a massive impact on my life, she made me who I am and she put me where I am today and I would never forget that. She is an amazing mother who always wants what is best for us. It is sad how life just come and go and losing someone that we love the most. I would never forget everything she has done for me and everything about her. She is in God’s hand. When I was at the funeral, the minister said I did not just come to the funeral and preach about death. I came here to talk about redemption! For those of you who do not know what is ‘Redemption’ in the Christian bible, it means that we are saved by God from evil. She passed away because God saved her from suffering by the devil. I would not go too much about what does the bible say and so on because I believe people who are reading my blog may be Christians or not. But I am who I am and I am a Christian who always have faith in God. My godmother had a lot of pain when I heard the news that she was at the hospital but I had faith that she will get better. Sometimes you cannot question God or life about how you want it to be or what is it going to happen. This is why we have to treat every day as our last day.
During the time I was at Montserrat or Antigua, my friends kept asking me how come all the sudden I am in the Caribbean? I did not tell anyone that I was going apart from telling my close friends. Some of you may have seen my recent vlog when I said that I went back not because I needed a break but to learn. But, what did I learn when I went there? I learned about life. Antigua and Montserrat is my home and always will be my home. I went back because I wanted to know a little bit more about where I come from and how I grow as a person I am today. So I discovered how people see me differently, for instance, they used to know that ‘Thomas cannot talk or Thomas cannot hear.’ I was labelled “Deaf and Dumb” over there because they do not have the knowledge about Deaf people. I am not saying it is happening now over there but when I went back people in Montserrat was surprised that I can hear, talk and do you know what shocked them the most? I went there by myself without my parents. I usually go back with my mom but I did not this time. I went there because I wanted to asked questions about why people see me differently and how come it’s only now they see me as a normal person? They were surprised how my speech was good, they were surprised how I was capable coming to the Caribbean myself without having to rely on my mom and dad, and they were surprised about how I am coping so well in England. I used to hate going back to Antigua and Montserrat because everyone used to treat me like I am nothing to them. After when they heard about I being an athlete when I was a teenager, playing for GB deaf basketball, going different countries, going to university and published my first paper as an undergraduate student. They treat me as if I am famous over there when they heard the news about me doing so well. I am not doing it because I wanted to prove people wrong. I did all of this because as a deaf person I am capable to do anything and wanted to make sure that I get a good life. So I am grateful for people who always stand by my side and believed in me.
I want to talk to you about Montserrat and I will talk about Antigua another time soon. I was not born in Montserrat, I was born in Antigua. This is where my friends who want to get to know me get mixed up. My family comes from Montserrat and I stayed with my cousins. It has been 5 years since I went back and believe me Montserrat has changed so much… Not only because people treat me as a normal person. It’s because the atmosphere was different, everything over there is different. I am not sure if it is a good or bad thing. When I was there just for couple days, I was surprised how everyone in the island is so far behind. Montserrat have so much potential to change and become a better country and well advanced, but no everything out there is so old-fashioned. People looking at me like “Why does this person dress like that?” or “Where did you get this from?” and so on. As much as I love Montserrat, everyone out there is full of themselves and do not care about one another in my opinion. Why? because after what I discovered seeing the pictures and videos of Montserrat being completely destroyed by the volcano about 3/4 of the island. Everyone moved out of the country and they never come back home, well some. They lost everything because of the Volcano and it is still going on since 1995. The volcano is sleeping but it is still active. I am not going to talk a lot about Montserrat because I went there for personal reasons. Not just discovering life but something more to it and hopefully maybe one day I will tell you the real reason why. But all I can say is that I needed time off to figure out what I want to do and look forward to many things this year.