Senior profile: Ganesh Gangasingh

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Senior profile: Ganesh Gangasingh

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Off the coast of South America lie two small tropical islands, the larger of which contains over one million people. This island is not a world superpower. It has a stable economy and diverse culture, but most KHS students do not know its name. The island has most things the United States does, but to some, life anywhere but here is unimaginable. To Ganesh Gangasingh, however, Trinidad is another place to call home.

Ganesh’s father, Denish, was born in Trinidad in 1966 and shared his childhood with 13 siblings in what Ganesh described as a garage-sized home. So, when he got the chance as a 14-year-old to move to San Diego, California, Denish chose to become a US citizen, eventually graduating from the University of California San Diego as a doctor. Denish’s rough upbringing, according to Ganesh, has had a huge impact on his morals in life.

“When my dad was growing up he had absolutely no resources whatsoever,” Ganesh said. “[He] didn’t eat sometimes, and he had to walk like 8 miles to school. He was crazy about me getting some of his values and realizing the importance of things.”

Ganesh said his mother, Gaitry, lived on the opposite side of the spectrum, despite being raised in Trinidad as well. She already had family in Canada and traveled to North America often throughout her childhood, but when Denish graduated college she moved to the US to marry him. The two settled down in St. Louis when Ganesh was born.

“My first trip to America was coming to Disney World, and it was relatively new, so everything was just like ‘wow, fantasy,’” Gaitry said. “Disney was big.”

As Ganesh prepares for college at the University of Alabama, he said his father’s model and the culture he and Gaitry brought from Trinidad will follow him. His family still visits the island regularly, and his most recent trip was last year.

“When we go there usually we make the rounds to see both sides of the family, and we drive up and down the whole country,” Ganesh said. “Seeing broken-down homes people live in, it gets away from us sometimes the amount of luxury we have.”

Ganesh said he is lucky because Gaitry’s sister, who hosts them, has a nice home ready when they visit, and Ganesh has cousins close to his age to hang out and play soccer with. Still, Ganesh said his dad’s side of the family lives a drastically different life due to financial struggles.

“I’ve seen how the other half lives,” Ganesh said. “I don’t even mean what [we] would consider poor in St. Louis but genuine poverty. The poverty people read about where people don’t have indoor plumbing or clothes.”

Gaitry thinks Trinidad’s culture has put Ganesh’s education into perspective. Numerous colleges on the island have free tuition all the way to a bachelor’s degree, so the cost of some college tuitions in the US was a surprise. Ganesh said his relatives’ intelligence has put some pressure on him in school, but Gaitry said this is for the better.

“With the childhood I had, and the values I came away with from Trinidad, I feel like I brought some good values with me,” Gaitry said. “I’m trying to instill those values in my children.”

Ganesh, too, is grateful for his history and the influence his parents have had on his life. He said Trinidad gives him a reason to be grateful for where he and his family are today.

“It has taught me humility,” Ganesh said. “A lot of people see the side of me that’s rambunctious and boyish. In a situation where someone is needed to step up and do something or someone needs to take charge and be practical I’ve learned a lot of those lessons from my dad.”