KARACHI, Pakistan, CMC – West Indies Women touched down here Wednesday for their three-match Twenty20 International series against Pakistan, hailing the enhanced level of security for the historic tour. The Caribbean side trained in Dubai for the last week and will now take on the hosts in the first game here starting Thursday at Southend Club.Security here has been a major issue for international sides ever since the deadly attack on a Sri Lanka team bus 10 years ago in Lahore, leading to a cessation of international series in the often volatile nation.For West Indies Women, it is their first series in Pakistan in 15 years, and it follows on from their male counterparts’ similarly historic tour last April for three T20s, when they became the first major nation to stage a series in Pakistan since the attacks. “The security system is top class. There was security on both sides of the roads and these things show that everybody has put things in place and we are really lucky to be spending time here,” said Merissa Aguilleira, leading the side in absence of regular captain Stafanie Taylor who opted out of the tour over security concerns.Since the attacks, Pakistan have played all of their home series in the United Arab Emirates but cricket authorities here have been lobbying international sides in recent years, in a bid to have international cricket staged here again.In 1017, a World XI played three T20s against Pakistan in Lahore incident-free, prompting the Windies to tour the following year. And Aguilleira said the Windies Women were pleased to play their part in helping to revive cricket here.“I’m pleased we can bring back cricket to Pakistan because it’s really important. If we find ourselves in this position, I believe one of the teams would step up and try to help us,” the veteran said.“We are not playing ODIs here but eventually it will happen. I’m pleased that we as a team took the initiative to come over here. I am so thankful that we can contribute to bring back cricket to Pakistan.” West Indies have little time to acclimatise to conditions here with three matches in four days but Aguilleira backed her side to make the adjustments.We have a motto, two words our coach has given us: adapt and overcome. That is what we are trying to do,” she explained.“It is really difficult adapting in such quick time, but we are professional cricketers and we are willing and raring to go. We are excited for this tour.” West Indies face Pakistan in three ODIs starting in Dubai next week Thursday.
Social workers witness things and are part of people’s lives on a daily basis. They are trained to practice empathy and quite often feel the same as the people they serve. They carry the heavy burden of putting aside their values and assessing every situation uniquely.While some may view social work as “easy”, social workers quite often go above and beyond the call of duty. They often neglect their families and relationships, because they are constantly on call. They have to ensure that whenever a situation arises, they are available to deal with that situation to bring some relief to the parties.It is this act of serving humanity that led Otiffie Greene to the field. She has been working with the Child Care and Protection Agency for over seven years and amassed a wealth of knowledge when it comes to dealing with social issues. She has had her fair share of social issues as a child and young adult, so she uses these experiences and knowledge gained to assess and deal with issues as they arise.The 29-year-old is a product of the hinterland since she hails from the rural community of Ituni, which is some 36 miles from the mining town of Linden. She notes that the days spent there have helped shape her into the social worker that she is today:“Those memories are also shadowed with playful laughter and grief after losing my eldest brother when I was six years old. You may want to be asking yourself ‘what a six-year-old really know about death and grieving?’ Well, enough to tell you that my family was never the same after that experience. My mother was never the same. She became excessively overprotective especially with my younger brother.”Burdened by grief, Greene’s mother who was a nurse-midwife at the time began keeping her children close. She was a strong advocate for education and ensured that it was the top priority for her children. Greene and her siblings attended the lone nursery-primary school in the village and after sitting the Common Entrance Exams, she was awarded a place at the Berbice High School in Region Six.“Due to financial challenges, many children were unable to attend high school after completing the Grade Six Assessment. If they did, most often financial challenges tend to override their quest for high school education, and oftentimes resulted in school dropouts. My mother vowed that my siblings and I would never meet that fate. So the planning for me to attend High School began approximately two years before I even wrote the Grade Six Assessment or Common Entrance as it was known then.”She was awarded a hinterland scholarship to President’s College, but instead, her family decided that she and a relative were going to move to Fyrish Village in Berbice, so she could gain her education there. The sacrifice saw her family being split into two for the first time. Her grandmother took on the role of mothering her through high school while her mother stayed back with her younger siblings so they could have completed their education in Ituni.“Leaving my entire world back at the only place I knew as home was hard. I struggled at first to fit in. Life was quite different on the coast, but I ensured that I persevered if not for anything else, it was for the struggle and sacrifices of my mother and grandmother. After successfully passing eight subjects at the CSEC level, I graduated from the Berbice High School, and subsequently sought employment, as a means to support my future academic journey, since financial support was difficult to gain from my immediate family,” Greene explained.She gained employment as a preschool teacher and was actively involved in various activities and community development projects which provided her with several opportunities for advancement. She was pushed to achieve all she set out to and she took the world as her canvas and began painting the life she wanted.In 2010, she started to read for her Diploma in Social Work at the University of Guyana Berbice Campus and after she graduated, she gained employment with the Social Protection Ministry and remains there today.“September of the same year (2013), I returned to the University of Guyana and completed the Bachelor of Science in Social Work. My quest to continually improve professionally and academically resulted in numerous training opportunities, both local and overseas, bin Early Childhood Development, working with families, child abuse, counselling, addiction and the family among many others. In addition, I would have recently completed a certificate in Early Childhood Development.”When she first entered the field of social work, the major challenge was to prove that a young person could function in the field. Her maturity was questioned because of her age,but that did not deter her.“As a young person, I feel that social work is fulfilling, it provides many opportunities to address social ills in society as well as a vehicle to positively enhance the lives of children, families, and communities. It’s a vessel to strengthen social stability, something we will all benefit from in the long run. It may not be viable immediately, but trust me it’s impactful, for this generation and many more to come, ” Greene noted.“Social work is 24/7. It never ends. You’re always thinking of a way to help people even when you’re on vacation for instance or your services are sometimes needed beyond the 4:30 (16:30h) workday. This happens many times. Your commitment and dedication to the job are oftentimes tested during these times.”