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Shoy Samlal waters his plants.

There has been a surge in home gardening during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns worldwide.

People of all ages can enjoy gardening, but children, in particular, can have fun, play and develop self-confidence by spending time in the garden tending plants and watching them grow.

Gardening is also educational and an activity for them to be outdoors digging in the soil, away from video games and television.

Shoy Samlal. 11, from Palmiste, San Fernando, finds peace and relaxation tending to the plants and seedlings in his nursery after the SEA exam.

Speaking to the Kids’ Guardian on Monday Shoy said “I got into gardening in 2020. My mom wanted me to balance gaming and school with a healthy activity. It also gave me a chance to earn money to buy game cards.

“Presently I have about 50 seedlings in different stages. They are succulents, Butterfly pea and a few others.

“What I like about gardening is that it does not take a lot of time and I like watching the seedlings grow overnight. My favourite plant is the Butterfly pea.”

He said that there were no challenges while studying for the SEA exam and he passed for his first choice, Presentation College. Shoy disclosed that he did no extra time at all, just school hours studying for the exam.

Shoy’s advice for students who will be sitting the SEA exam in the future is that she should not take it too seriously because it is like any other end-of-term test.

His chores include feeding the parrots every day, watering the kitchen garden every other day, taking out the garbage and compost on weekends, picking Butterfly pea flowers and storing it in the fridge each day, checking/replenishing the bird feeder for wild birds in the yard and cleaning and vacuuming his bedroom and study space once a week.

He considers his mother, Anjani Samlal, his father, Peter Samlal, his grandfathers, Shoy Samlal and Vishnu Beharry and his father’s uncle, Andrew ‘Lecturer’ Bharath, a long time calypsonian as his mentors and role models.

The former Canaan Presbyterian Primary School student’s favourite subjects are Mathematics and Geography.

Shoy said he only saw his school friends and teachers in person for the SEA exam. They didn’t get to speak much, but it was still good to see how everyone had changed over the year and a half.

His hobbies are chess, Monopoly, gaming (Fortnite, Apex, Minecraft and others), tending to his nursery–Pandemic Project, propagating seedlings and succulents, and mixing soil and making Butterfly pea tea.

Among Shoy’s interests are space technology, colonising Mars, Ancient Aliens, History Channel series, coding and programming and one-day vlogging and graphic designing.

In the area of sports, he plays cricket, swimming and fishing, his favourite food is curry common fowl and paratha and his favourite dessert is sweet rice.

Shoy’s favourite television shows are the History Channel and Ancient Aliens, his favourite music genres are Hip Hop and Soca and his favourite singer Frank Sinatra.

Peter Samlal, Shoy’s father said both he and his wife, Anjani, encourage him in his pursuits and endeavours.

They allow him to make decisions and show him the positive in every situation.

Samlal explained that this was their way of keeping Shoy motivated and it encouraged him to be himself.

Anjani said Shoy enjoyed making Butterfly pea tea for his cousins; he adds citrus to turn it purple and turmeric to turn it green.

The proud mom said he was now learning about composting and cooking.

Anjani said Shoy also enjoys conversations about Apex, Fortnite and Minecraft and learning about how they can relate to real life, past, present and future.

Lessons from Shoy

Shoy had some little lessons to share:

•Balance your life, a little bit of this a little bit of that.

•Allocate income before getting it: spend 30 per cent, reinvest 30 per cent and save 40 per cent—Have a money ratio,

•Help the less fortunate.