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Brilliant Financial Tips from Temple Yard

Odd Cents - Banking and Finance

Temple Yard (also known as the Yard) is a unique and culturally rich community in Bridgetown, Barbados that showcases the talents of the local Rastafarian family.

A couple Saturdays ago, I went into Bridgetown in search of ital food. I love ital food and it was the perfect precursor to a “no-meat week”. I am not vegetarian or vegan, but I like to incorporate these options into my diet from time to time.

Ital or ital food is a vegan/ vegetarian diet popularised by Rastafarians and people of Caribbean descent. It is built on the tenets of health, energy and spirituality and is believed to be a powerful way to strengthen the body and mind. The beauty about ital, is that it’s for anyone who wants to enjoy a natural diet and the benefits that come from eating clean and healthy.

My search for ital took me to Temple Yard, a community in Bridgetown that has been around for as far as I remember. This small, but powerful community is an open-air market where members of the local Rastafarian community ply their trades. It’s a market where one can find art, craft, sculptures, fresh fruit and vegetables, and shops that serve ital.

Financial Tips from Temple Yard

I’m always open to learning something new and finding useful lessons from life experiences. Even though I’ve been sharing my personal finance thoughts and tips on Odd Cents for a few years, I still see myself as a student sponge, sucking up knowledge day to day. As a result, my trip to Temple Yard was no different, and hence it became the source of inspiration and reflection in just a few minutes.

1. Use Your Talents Wisely

I have always respected the Rastafarian culture, because it encourages practitioners to use their talents. When you visit the Yard, you will find a myriad of artisans who are doing just that. Shops are workplaces for leathercrafters who make shoes, sandals, belts and bags; and art galleries for fine artists and sculptors who work with locally sourced wood and clay. Then, there are shops where chefs create tasty meals with peas, legumes, rice, fruits and vegetables and hints of coconut milk. The lesson from this experience is if you have a talent, you must put it to use. How will it benefit you (or the world) if you don’t use it?

2. Don’t Wait, Move Early

I left home late on that Saturday afternoon and it almost cost me a great meal. I had originally planned to go to another ital shop, but it was closed that particular day. Then, when I tried other shops, they were also closed. My s.o suggested Temple Yard and we were lucky to get something to eat. The lesson that I took from this was that if you’re going to do something, you have to get up and get going. Waiting around could be detrimental and cause you to lose out on specific opportunities. Even though I got a meal, it could have easily lost out on a meal. As they say, the early bird catches the worm.

3. Enjoy Your Life Wherever You Are

When we arrived in Temple Yard, there were lots of people, sitting around the shops talking and laughing and drinking. I told my s.o that it was refreshing to see so many people just relaxing and enjoying life in the midst of so much drama (a.k.a COVID-19). It made me look at my life in a different light. On my financial journey, I get so caught up in making sure that all of the dollars and cents are accounted for that I lose sight of the joys of living. In that brief moment of watching people, I realised that no matter what’s going on in life, you have to spend some time enjoying the journey.

4. Make the Most of What You Have

If you ever pass down Cheapside, you may not recognise the Yard. Although it’s one of the best places for souvenirs in Barbados, it does not have perfectly constructed shops. To be honest, it’s the rugged, yet sturdy construction that gives the area its appeal. These shops also showcase craftsmanship, but they also showcase the importance of making the most of what you have. Most of the shops are small, but they are more than enough for the owners to conduct and run their businesses. We get so caught up by what we don’t have, that we lose sight of the fact that we have more than enough to get going and make our marks.

5. There is Always a Need for Your Business

This financial tip is geared towards business owners and prospective entrepreneurs. As I mentioned earlier, I touched down in Temple Yard very late in the afternoon. The ital shop that we went to was the last one that was open at that time of the day. Even though I will not repeat this again, it was a valuable lesson about being present and having what the customer wants. The core foundation of a business is to provide what the customer wants, when they want it, and how they want it. The food shop owner was there when we needed him and as a result, he ended up with three sales. Don’t doubt your business unless you’re 100% sure that it’s not needed and that you do not have a large enough market.

If you’re interested in visiting Temple Yard, check out this short feature on the Visit Barbados website.