As the world celebrates Father's Day today, Guardian Media looks at how different types of dads function in their daily roles.
THE STAY-AT-HOME DAD
Kierron Yip Ngow
Kierron Yip Ngow never planned on becoming a "stay-at-home dad" however, after facing two retrenchments, one occurring a mere two weeks after his daughter's birth, he told his wife that as difficult as the decision was he would stay at home and take care of their baby while sending out resumes.
"When I was put on the breadline, I was devastated. I went into a mini-depression, not even my wife knew." He was worried about how the bills were going to be paid and how he would be able to provide for his newborn. "You don't expect to be unemployed as a man, you are expected to be the provider."
By the time the next few job opportunities came his way, Yip Ngow felt so attached to his daughter that being away from her became more challenging. He called it "withdrawal syndrome" .
"I understood why women found it so difficult to return to work after pregnancy," he said.
Soon after, the economy experienced a downturn and Yip Ngow would find himself on the breadline for a second time. Jobs were not forthcoming.
Yip Ngow continued to hold down the fort at home. He cleaned, cooked and got his daughter ready for school, took her to lessons and helped out any way he could. "I want to raise an independent young woman who can make decisions. I am so blessed to be at home when she comes home."
In 2013 Yip Ngow started his photography company which he manages at home while taking care of his daughter. He has the undying support of his wife whom he described as his "pillar of strength".
"It's nothing to be ashamed of, stay-at-home dads have an essential place in society." He said that if there were more stay-at-home dads, this would play a significant role in reducing crime. "Nobody wants a wallop from their dad," he said jokingly. "That level of discipline must come back. Fathers also need to know their role, step up and take responsibility for their children."
Yip Ngow's wish for fathers everywhere is that they are granted longer paternity leave.
"Pregnancy is one foot in the grave, men should not be afraid to faint a few days after delivery."
He would also like employers to grant flexi-time to fathers to take and receive their children from school.
THE SINGLE DAD
After 14 years, Curtis Thomas' relationship with his wife came to an end.
"She wanted to move on, so I decided that they are my kids, my responsibility, so I'm going to stand up and do whatever it takes to take care of my children."
Initially, Thomas took on the responsibility for the five children, two of which were his stepchildren. They, however, eventually went to live with their father's relatives.
Thomas reminisces on happier times where he was able to take his three children to the movies, to the zoo and to shop comfortably for them. This was before his retrenchment in 2016. Thomas now performs odd jobs such as construction and painting in order to pay his rent and provide for his three children. "I will swallow my pride, go on my knees and do whatever work that needs to be done to take care of my children."
Despite not being able to afford all his childrens' textbooks they are doing well in school, something Thomas is particularly proud of. Teachers would often compliment him on how hard working, caring and well mannered his children are at school. His two daughters are aspiring to become doctors while his son is into arts and entertainment.
Thomas often emphasises the importance of hard work and dedication to his children in order to reach their goals.
His daddy duties begin quite early in the morning, preparing breakfast before getting them ready for school. Then it's off to his job. On returning home, he prepares dinner, supervises homework and gets a debriefing of the daily activities. "I try to give them as much of me as possible. I am a nurse, provider, friend, and protector. There's no me time, but it's alright."
A few months after the relationship ended, his eldest daughter experienced her first monthly cycle. "I didn't know what to do. He had to call aunts and other female relatives to tell him what to do. This is usually a conversation between mother and daughter. There were so many things I didn't know...I had to learn to plait."
He is proud to know that he is raising well-behaved children. "I don't think that anyone in my community can say anything bad about my kids. They are loving and affectionate. I teach them to work as a team, even my son plaits his sisters' hair."
Though being a single parent has its ongoing challenges, particularly the financial aspect, Thomas wouldn't trade it for the world. "I only want the best for them, they are my inspiration and I want to see them get big. The greatest gift is to love your children and when they love you back, it's nothing short of rewarding. No one should turn their back on their children."
THE FOOTBALL DAD
Anthony "Dada" Wickham
Anthony "Dada" Wickham has been coaching young footballers for over 40 years. His coaching career began when he was 16 years old at South East Port-of-Spain. He is now head coach at Trendsetter Hawks Football Academy in the Port-of-Spain area. A mentor and father to many, he has been helping the youth achieve their goals both on and off the field.
National footballers such as Denzil Theobald, Kerwin Jemmott, and Jemol Williams all kicked off their football careers at Trendsetter Hawks. The club consists of more than 120 members and has been serving the community for over 35 years. Wickham said the success that came along with the club has been amazing and has been the main factor in the club's continuation.
"Football is a way for some of these youths to move out of the ghetto. Some of them aren't as academically inclined and football serves as a way out for them. Some even hope to benefit from scholarships due to football."
Wickham is aware of the stigma that comes with living in East Port-of-Spain and is determined to show the youths of his club that a better life exists. "It was only last year three teams from different age groups in the club visited Spain for a tournament."
Wickham said that many of the club's members tragically lost their fathers to crime in the area. Wickham considers himself a father figure to them since they look to him to fill that gap. Wickham believes that the support of both parents can go a long way in their development.
"You see it on the football field when their parents are there, they make the extra effort."
Wickham is elated to see his club bearing fruit from the work he has done over the years. The club has recently competed in the U-17 Elite National League where they emerged victorious copping both "Big Four"and League titles. He is confident that the club will produce the MVP as well. Wickham wants the people of East Port-of-Spain to rally around his academy for the upcoming Republic Cup tournaments this weekend.
THE DISABLED DAD
On the night of June 10, 2005, after visiting a friend in Port-of-Spain, Kerwin Thomas was robbed and shot five times in his back, stomach, and thighs.
Thomas was rushed to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. He woke up to the news that he would never walk again.
"I was a bit delusional, I asked myself how does someone like me become subjected to something this cruel."
At the time, his daughter, Kerziah was only nine months old and son, Sydney was two years. Thomas admitted that picking up the pieces was difficult. "How do I become mobile again?" he asked himself.
At the time of the shooting, he was enrolled in school and was employed as an air condition technician where his scope of work included climbing ladders, etc. Thomas was unable to return to work. For him, the biggest fear was how he was ever going to provide for his children again.
"My children became the strength I needed to propel me forward."
He soon enrolled at Star Broadcasting and UWI to continue his studies. The urge for Thomas to become more involved in his children's lives became greater. He saw an opportunity to transport his children and other students in the community to and from school, and he did that. "It was an avenue to be actively involved in my children's lives."
Thomas has since found employment as a personal development officer at a government ministry and continues to elevate himself both spiritually and mentally. "It's been a long journey, the process still continues, but I believe I've come a long way," he added.
His wish is that fathers return to spirituality and bring their children up in the way God wants them to. "I believe that we have drifted so far from our spirituality." He is advising fathers to hold on to their children and be the mentor that they need. "It's not only about the financial aspect but about the holistic development of a child that would nurture them into well rounded model citizens of society."