ALTA Students in the Time of Covid

i Aug 12th No Comments by

Life during Covid has been a struggle. While some of us have languished or have barely coped, some have been able to thrive, grasping opportunities that came with lockdown and the many restrictions.

Over the next few weeks, we will get a glimpse into the lives of a few ALTA women and how they responded to the pandemic. These excerpts have already appeared in ‘We Learn Women’s Perspective’, an US-based online publication of writing for women learners. This year the theme was Women in the Time of Covid.

Today we feature the writing from an ALTA-V student, who has signed herself simply as N. In her own words, she tells how despite fear and uncertainty she was able to find some positives. She bonded with friends and family and improved herself by taking advantage of ALTA online classes.

Embrace the opportunity to learn and improve despite Covid 19

A Friday I will not forget, March 12th 2020. I was having pizza and wine with friends after work and we heard on the news that Trinidad had its first confirmed Covid 19 case and all schools will be closing.

I am one of those people that says, “God is a Trini” and “Covid won’t reach us”. Fear stepped in as I started to wonder if anyone at the restaurant had the virus and I immediately wanted to go home. I felt the need to be with my family.

We paid the bill and I headed home thinking about what was going to happen. Is the government going to shut down the country, do we have enough food? We need to have cash in hand.

When I arrived home my husband was there flicking the television channel from local channel, CNC3, to CNN and BBC. I rushed to my pantry and started making a list of the things we needed to stock up on.

My daughter was just happy she did not have school. I had hundreds of messages, from the many group chats with friends, family and colleagues touching base, advising each other what to do, what to buy and how to keep ourselves safe.

Early the next day I headed to PriceSmart Members Club where I felt all Trinidadians went. There were no trolleys, long lines – everyone was just panic buying. People felt scared. There were long lines at every supermarket and pharmacy because they were ensuring they had sufficient food and medical supplies.

For some reason everyone seemed to be stocking up on toilet paper and paper towels. Most of the women I know felt scared and took every possible precaution to keep their families safe.

As the days went by more Covid cases were reported. There were some residents returning from a cruise, many of whom were infected with the virus and some deaths were recorded. As the number of deaths increased, so did the restrictions. The government announced the lockdown, only allowing essential services to open, those being supermarkets and pharmacies. We were advised to wear face masks and the washing of hands became the norm everywhere.

Being employed in an organization that was deemed an essential service, things got rough for me. To manage the emotions and uncertainty that the employees expressed was the biggest challenge the organization had to deal with during the lockdown. Everyone was scared, the employees complained that they felt unsafe and were putting their families at risk. My family felt sad and unsafe because I had to go out some days. The staff went into survival mode, and are still surviving with God’s grace.

Despite the lockdown and the feeling of fear and uncertainty, there were some positives for me and many of my friends and relatives. It brought us closer together just by constantly checking on each other, ensuring that everyone was okay and had everything they needed. I cooked things I never thought I could, enjoyed baking with my daughter, had many movie nights and resumed ALTA.

I was very happy when my ALTA tutor reached out to me asking if I would like to participate in a class via Zoom. We started classes and I was able to complete that level and move on to the next level.

I enjoy these online classes immensely as the tutors make learning easy and interesting. I also love learning in the comfort of my home and will encourage anyone to join ALTA online classes, embrace the opportunity to learn and improve themselves despite Covid 19.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining an ALTA-V class, enhancing their literacy through ALTA Online Level 1 or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email

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