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16 October 2014

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My Special Grandfather

By Matthew Ward
July 2004, south east Wales
A digital story from Capture Wales

"My grandfather is really cool. Being of natural Carib and Arowak decent as supposed to African origin. He was taught from a young age determination and perseverance.

When he was nine and still living in his home in the Caribbean, his father died. This meant that it was up to him to help keep the family going. The plantation he and his brother worked was half sugar and half cocoa and coffee.

With Dominica being an island only as big as Glamorgan and only half as populated, a placement soon came up on a Merchant Navy ship, and he joined.

Aboard the ship my grandfather's life improved, but one day his friend had an accident which caused him to loose his sight. My grandfather kept a promise to stand by his friend's side through everything. For this reason, he came and lived in Wales.

Life was different here and my grandfather saw new inventions and ideas. One of these was the talking box. The radio became one of my grandfather's early treasured possessions.

He found work in Wales, and before long, met my grandmother. Having no western education my grandfather was forced to become a labourer.

Even though life was hard, he stuck by it and earned the respect of his neighbours and friends so that my grandfather's life became surer and grounded. Later on, my grandparents had three children, one of which was my mother.

My grandparents always felt it was important to be close to their children so we live near to them and my grandmother and grandfather have always been part of my life. I even lived with them for some years and my relationship with my grandfather became and stayed strong.

I still see him more than twice a week and his individual character has influenced me greatly, making me love and admire what he has done in his life and in mine - my special grandfather."

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm 15 years of age. All my life I've grown up in a religious environment - Christadelphian is my religion - and I follow my religion. I'm active and love sports, ranging from team sports like rugby to individual ones like cycling. I love English and media, which is why I chose to participate in the digital storytelling workshop.

What is your story about?
My grandfather: his past and present; his struggle to fit in and be part of a better life which offered him more. My grandfather has inspired me and helped me understand and appreciate him more. This story has showed me values and aspects I must change and meet in my own life.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
The final product. With the help of the team I was able, piece by piece, to create and finalise my story.

Your comments

"I really enjoyed hearing your story about your grandfather. My family comes from Jamaica, and moved to London, England years later when they had my dad, and aunt. I feel like I could relate. I think everyone should have a close relationship with their family like you and your grandpa. Thanks for sharing your story. " Alyssa Grant, Chatham, Canada.

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