The Unique Journey into Lopinot Village
Staff ArticleThe journey to Lopinot Village was indeed a unique one. The trees, the mountains, the flora and the fauna were all part of this wondrous and secreted part of Trinidad and Tobago. The trip was a relatively long one but every moment was enjoyable. It began by driving up the long and winding Lopinot Road. At almost every turn we stopped to admire the unique beauty of the surroundings, and proceeded to take pictures to share our experience with the rest of the world.
Posted: December 23, 2005
During the journey we encountered two young boys, Nigel and Jamal, who were very zealous about showing us around. They lead us down a stony slope until we encountered what seemed to be the lower part of the Lopinot river. The place was very scenic; trees of different sizes and textures, unique flora, rocks and pebbles shaped by the gushing waters of the clear and cool river. The young boys helped us in our exploration of the place and willingly told us about their lives in Lopinot. They intimated that they went to school outside the village but enjoyed spending time at home the most. Nigel and Jamal also take regular baths at the river and explore new regions of the terrain frequently. Eventually, they lead us back to the road to continue our journey. Although the experience of trekking to the river was a good one, our interaction with those two boys made it all the more better. They were highly intelligent, very welcoming, and willing to share what they knew to us.
Our journey upward revealed a small population and more of nature's beauty. The entire area was mountainous and the air was a bit thinner than it was on the flats yet there was a delicate moistness that pervaded the atmosphere. Eventually we came to the former estate of Count de Lopinot which is currently called Lopinot Historical Site. There we witnessed archaic structures that stood the test of time such as an old cocoa house and a dirt oven. It was evident that the place was well kept and embellished to attract sightseers. There we met Martin Gomez who shared with us some information about the place. In order to save his voice for his parang performances later that evening, he then advised us to get more of the history from Loudette Alexis. When we got to Loudette's home she was not available, so we took a moment to extract stories from her mother Lucy Dolabaille Alexis Guerrero and her sister Nola Alexis Stanley. Both Lucy and Nola willingly shared their experiences and knowledge about Lopinot village.
After the interviews and a good meal of some home-cooked pelau, we walked a short way to participate in the parang. By then the normally sparse population of Lopinot became full with people from all over the country who participated in the Lopinot Heritage Festival. Under the large tents housed parang supporters and items on display by members of different communities including the Carib community. Despite the fairly large crowd, the venue still expanded to accommodate more and more people ranging from the very young to the very old.
After we got more acquainted with the venue, we engaged in the house to house procession along with the parangderos and their supporters. We could not resist jibbing and jiving to the beat of the cuatro, the mandolin, the chac-chac, the other instruments and the melodic voices of the parangderos. It was clear that there existed some African influences in the parang especially evident in the call and response style and the complex rhythmic patterns in the music. After engaging in this traditional aspect of the villagers we returned to the tents to be serenaded further by the parangderos. The atmosphere was indeed festive as people danced and sang until the wee hours of the morning. This celebration is one that people should experience for themselves because words alone cannot express it. After a taste of the Lopinot environment and the music of parang, people will be begging for more.
A Brief History of Lopinot
Two Generations of Alexis' Share Memories of Lopinot
Lopinot/Parang in Lopinot Album:
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