I've always wanted to have a butterfly collection and now I have one.
When I went to carnival in Trinidad, there were butterflies
everywhere. The elaborate and elegant costumes of the Carnival Kings
and Queens were the best man-made butterflies I have ever seen. These
butterflies are at least twenty feet high and twenty-five feet wide, and as
they flutter by I'm awestruck with their beauty.
Carnival butterflies aren't a product of evolution. They are the
result of the craftsmanship and hard work of ordinary people who have
extraordinary dreams. They aren't the work of professionals working in
high tech production facilities. They are backyard creations that
evolve in barns and shacks all over Trinidad.
All of the glitter and glitz in these costumes cost lots
of money - some cost more than fifty-thousand dollars to design and create.
Glamour and glory await the winners of the Carnival King and Queen
competitions in Port of Spain, and the prizes for the winners help defray
the expenses of building them.
We visited one backyard production facility where they
made the costume that came in second place at the King and Queen
competition. Inside the ramshackle barn, they were putting finishing
touches on their hopes for 2006. We weren't allowed to touch or
photograph it, and we understood why. These large costumes are fragile,
and if we inadvertently broke something or sullied it, they would have to
spend hours repairing the damage. The prohibition on photos was simply
a matter of self-defense. They were competing with dozens of other
designs and needed to produce something unique that startled the senses and
overwhelmed the competition. I'm sure carnival costume
espionage is alive and well in Trinidad.
If you would like to see more carnival costumes from the King and Queen
Competition, visit our photo galleries and click on "Trini Carnival Monarchs".
I guarantee you won't be disappointed. The butterfly collection
is one of the best you will ever see.
There's something wonderful in the human spirit that urges us to aspire to
greatness and to create beautiful things. God placed a desire
for excellence in our heart and mind, and that's one of the reasons I like
carnival. I see the glorious things that ordinary people can do when
they dream about butterflies and then make their dream come true.
I believe in people, and I believe in hope, because God made it possible for
ordinary people to do extraordinary things.