“I was born in Trinidad, in a village named Barrackpore. It is in the middle of a sugar cane farming district and crude oil refinery sub-station depot extracting oil rigs locally.
My dad was a sub contractor for the oil company doing sesmic surveys to find oil. Our house & shop is located on a T-road junction where cane farmers brought their sugar cane in bull drawn carts to be weighed, sold and loaded onto the trains to be transported to factory. My shop is still there today”.
My family didn’t want me to come to London, they thought I was too young to be travelling to such an unknown place despite so many of my friends leaving. I was the eldest of ten children and had already trained as a nurse in Guyana. We lived in West Ruimveldt on a housing scheme next door to the Houston Sugar Plantation.
I finally persuaded my family to let me leave after my 21st birthday. I was getting a lot of marriage proposals in those days. Every Sunday women used to come to my parents house with gold bangles and necklaces, rings and other things to persuade my Mum and Dad to make a match with their sons. I was a good catch because I was a qualified nurse but they used to say no. They were fun times though.
My name is Jarmila Carter, Jaja (pronounced Yaya) for short. I came to this country as a 22 year old in 1968, from my home town of Prague, former Czechoslovakia, after the Russian occupation in the summer of that same year. I have never had a single regret about choosing England as my adopted country.
I was born in Sindh Province, which is in Pakistan now. My father brought me to Karachi, when I was three months old. Karachi is a seaport and our education was good because there were Art, Science, Law and Engineering colleges.
My father used to work in Quetta Baluchistan.
Unfortunately, my father and elder brother were killed in an earthquake in 1936 when 26,000 people lost their lives. As my mother was widowed she was unable to manage seven children without any income. Luckily the Earthquake Fund was raised and all seven children were given a free education.
My mother’s grandparents were Hindu’s, they were brave and poor enough to have travelled from Gorakhpur, North India, across the seas from Calcutta to the Caribbean island of Jamaica, in order to seek their fortune as indentured servants. After indentureship, both my great-grandfather and grandfather had been in retail businesses, and had large families to support.