Arima, the name of Trinidad & Tobago’s fourth largest town communicates to the senses. Arima brings to mind the sounds of parang, images of the Dial and the scenic vistas of Asa Wright Nature Reserve. At the foothills of the Northern Range, there is a meeting of the minds on the first Monday of every month: Nepuyo Toastmasters Club. On July 22, the club observes its fourth anniversary.
The members of Nepuyo, the youngest club of Toastmasters District 81 Area 12, are proud of what they have accomplished in four years. Nepuyo has produced four competent communicators and one Advanced Communicator Bronze in the Toastmasters educational program. Toastmaster Joseph Jason Cotton, the second place winner of the Toastmasters Caribbean Speech Contest 2011 is a member.
Toastmasters International, founded in 1924, in California USA, is a nonprofit educational organization that develops members’ communication and leadership skills; producing engaging public speakers who deliver sharply timed talks. The first Toastmasters Club in T&T was formed in the 1980s. In 2008 with the support of the Arima Borough Corporation, then Mayor Adrian Cabralis, was instrumental in the chartering the Nepuyo club. Mr. Cabralis, a long time toastmaster, said of the initiative, “The objective of starting a Toastmasters club in the East was to further develop the art and craft of communication amongst residents of Arima and environs.” He went on to add, “They say the Dial gives the people of Arima a sense of time. Similarly at every Toastmasters meeting someone fills the role of timekeeper and speeches are timed. The common themes of the program and the town align perfectly”.
Adrian continued by relating the story of the cacique Hyarima (believed to have been a member of the Nepuyo tribe). The warrior chief convinced and led other tribes in Trinidad and Tobago to resist Spanish colonization. Therefore, in homage to him and his great skill in military communications and leadership, it was suggested by a primary school Vice Principal that the proposed Toastmasters Club be the namesake of the people for whom he fought.
Mr. Cabralis explained that Nepuyo Toastmasters is a focal point for developing the communication and leadership capacity of Arima. The Speaker of the House of both Trinidad & Tobago’s first Independent Parliament and first Republican Parliament Mr. Arnold Thomasos hailed from Arima. Cabralis also spoke of the legendary songwriting and composing of Aldwyn “Lord Kitchener” Roberts.
Current Club President Nadine Benjamin, who succeeded Cabralis in July, says the new executive will focus on holistic self-development of the membership. Nadine affirmed, “Toastmasters taught me how to express myself and present ideas to my Line Managers with confidence”.
Members are busy polishing their public speaking skills for the Club level of the Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests, which takes place on August 6th.
Send anniversary wishes at the Area Facebook or join the conversation on Twitter #Nepuyo4thAnniv