My mother was born Margaret Elizabeth Raghoonanan in Trinidad. She was named after Princess Margaret who visited the island on the year of her birth in 1955.
Her parents, Dolly and Sonny, were both sugarcane and rice farmers supporting a family of nine. In the early hours of the morning, my mother would tend to the farm animals, cook for the house and help raise her younger siblings.
My mother was born with a hereditary skin disorder, and upon regular hospital visits would observe the nurses in total admiration. Aged sixteen, a friend introduced her to the British Red Cross, where she began two years of first aid and basic nursing care. It was during this time she decided she wanted to become a nurse, and heard how reputable England was in providing first class medical training.
Mr Thompson, a white British medical doctor at the Texaco Oil Refinery, was renowned for helping the underprivileged, ailing and disabled. He saw my mother’s passion and potential and sent her to a children’s convalescent home, just behind San Fernando Hospital. Thrown in at the deep end, this was her first experience with patients.