Boochoon Samaroo is like a walking treasure chest of knowledge.
A man who enjoys reminiscing on the past, Samaroo brings his memories to life for the people of Churkoo Village, Princes Town, who says he has the gift of gab.
Born March 21, 1918, Samaroo has seen much in his lifetime. The centenarian will celebrate his 102nd birthday on Saturday (March 21).
The Trinidad and Tobago he knew as a young man comprised of dirt roads and railroad tracks. Where the main mode of transport was by train, horse, bicycle or just walking.
Samaroo’s son Ramdeo says his father was a yard boy.
“As my father often said to me, I worked on the white man’s sugar estates.”
Born and raised in Churkoo Village, Samaroo lost both his parents at the tender age of four and was sent to live with his uncle in the community.
For Samaroo, life would have its fair share of ups and downs.
His exciting tales of an earlier time in Trinidad’s history has earned him the title as the oldest storyteller in the village.
Samaroo has no siblings, but feels at home, entertaining a small crowd. His family says he has never lacked for company and enjoys meeting new people.
In a telephone interview with the Express on Monday, Ramdeo described his father as hard-working, fun-loving, and very sociable.
He says his father’s honesty and determination to improve his lot in life has made him into the man he is today.
He said, “My dad never finished school. He only got to first standard, and by the age of 10 he began working in the sugar estates. As a yard boy he cared for animals, and did other manual jobs. In his late 20s, he met my mother Sankallia, and they were married until she passed away in 1998.”
Samaroo had nine children; two are deceased.
The seasoned wordsmith has 15 grandchildren, six great grandchildren, and three great, great grandchildren.
Ramdeo says his father is a man of integrity, and one of his common phrases is “Doh rob nobody.”
“My dad is a firm believer to never take something that does not belong to you,” he said.
Like any true West Indian, Samaroo is a huge cricket fan. Though his steps have slowed down a bit, his family says it does not stop him from enjoying the game. Whether it is a one-day match or test cricket, he could be found in his favourite armchair in front of the television.
When he is not indoors, Samaroo could be seen tending to his garden.
The affable storyteller worked in the sugar industry for 40 years, and later went on to take up a position as a caretaker at the Water and Sewerage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.
“My dad rode his bicycle from Princes Town to WASA in San Fernando every day for work. He did that for 15 years until his retirement in 1973,” Ramdeo said.
According to the Samaroo's family, the one thing their father never misses is the news.
Whether it is on the radio or television his attention is always fixed to what is happening in the country.
“For a man his age, he is in good health. He does not move as fast as he used to, but he is mobile. He also has never suffered with any major illnesses.” Ramdeo said.
The centenarian will have a quiet birthday celebration on Saturday, at his home at Lapai Road, surrounded by family and friends.