Notes on the Canadian Mission to Trinidad, VII
A Letter from Mrs. Grant, 1882

~ W F M S ~


Dear Friend,

I am asked to write you and I will now try to do so, it is only fair, I suppose, to your friends at home to tell them of our work, for the more definite idea of what is done, the more interest will be felt.

From the beginning when we came here about eleven years ago, we saw that success in the mission would depend largely on getting an influence over the young... Mr. Grant has laboured far beyond his strength in getting schools opened and in directing and sustaining them when opened. With ill-qualified teachers, visits have to be made weekly; this is the most laborious part of the work...

~ At present eighteen schools are at work with about 800 children. To manage these schools, to gather the money necessary to pay teachers, is a weary strain, and beyond paying teachers, there is so much to be done by ourselves;
if books, pencils, slates, paper are wanted, many in the country schools look to us for them; and if ill they come to us for medicine; if in need of clothing they turn to us. It is quite impossible for friends at home to realize the extent of the work, the pressure it causes and the personal expenses to the mission family, particularly when so many children are under instruction.
But aid cometh, the Lord provides ~

This year in particular friends have been very mindful. I must name Antigonishe, Pictou, New Glasgow, Stellarton, and Truro. The ladies of these districts have helped us very much, their garments came in most seasonably, and the remnants of prints very acceptable. Eight of our schools are now on the list of Government assisted schools, and a condition on which aid is granted, is this, that needle work be taught. ...In our San Fernando school at our door, which is the best conducted, thirty little girls may be daily seen sewing, and the work of some is really very good. A few can sew up their own dresses, and some can cut them....
~ And it is pleasing to notice the influence of the schools on the girls and on their homes. Rich Indians here have few more domestic comforts than their poor neighbours; but I must tell you what delighted me very much a few mornings ago: I called quite unlooked for on one of our young women,everything in her room was clean and tidy, she had over her bed a nice white quilt and a neatly arranged mosquito netting, she was busy at a new sewing machine, given her by her young husband, and was sewing up plain garments for sale.

In three years the progress has been very marked. One school in San Fernando is now attended by about one hundred children. It was a pleasing sight to see one of our young men last Sabbath, himself intelligent, thoughtful, bring up a younger brother who also is a good English scholar to receive baptism; the elder assuming the obligation of the parent, for the mother is still a Hindoo, and the father a Brahminical Priest.
As the work of the Lord, pray for its success, believe me, my dear friends,

yours very truly,

Kate Grant
April 21st, 1882

(Mrs Grant would have been amazed to find forty years later that the number of schools had grown to 81; and the number of pupils to 15,000.
Further, this last number doubled in the thirty years that followed 1922).
These are extracts
of a letter published
under the heading "W.F.M.S."
(Women's Foreign Missionary Society)
in an unidentified contemporaneous periodical.

This item may not be further reproduced
without permission of the United Church Victoria University Archives.

Dr Grant in the Field
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