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“At a very early age, I had to forage for myself. The challenges were many, and there was nobody to spoon-feed me, so I went out and learned very quickly. I always believe that a child who struggles to get what he or she wants in life is a better child in the long run.”By Leon SuseranLike many other persons we have featured in this column, Levi Lawrence Nedd had it rough growing up. He lived with foster parents and had little or no knowledge of his biological mother or father, Levi Nedd and Vilma Andrews. As a result, he had to fend for himself and learn a lot of tasks that children should not really have to learn. He cooked, washed and sold on the streets, just to get by.At the tender age of nine, Nedd planted rice and fetched firewood for baking in the home. He also walked the streets selling bread, cakes and provisions as well as planting cassava, plantains, bananas and legumes on the familyLevi Neddfarm.Young Levi was also very active in the Lutheran Church at D’Edward Village and also became a Sunday School teacher. It was in church where he sang his first song at age nine—‘Our Father’ and since then he developed a passion for singing. He received requests for three encore performances.Not surprisingly, Nedd came from a family that sang. He recalled his uncle John Braithwaite more popularly known as ‘Johnny Braff’ and one of his brothers in the United States, as part of a large band. As he looks back at those days, he saw the purpose of it all. He now sees the bigger picture and appreciates the lessons life has taught him. Those struggles have shaped him into who he is today.This week’s ‘Special Person’ can be described as one-of-a-kind. Levi Nedd has a wealth of talent and has been sharing it all over for many years. He has nurtured his love for sports—volleyball to be precise—over the years and has won dozens—yes—dozens of trophies performing at various athletic events, nationally and internationally.He is the national volleyball head coach and is one of the few-afro-Guyanese whose love and passion for chutney music is as great as it comes. Yes, he writes and sings his own chutney songs!And Levi Nedd has spent the past ten years nurturing and training the future of the sugar industry. He is the person in charge at the hostel of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Training Centre at Port Mourant (GTC/PM) on the Corentyne, where he is the ‘Sir’ and ‘Father figure’ to over 115 young apprentices.Young Levi moved with his foster parents from Stanleytown in New Amsterdam to D’ Edward on the West Bank of Berbice where he attended the Rosignol Primary School and due to poverty, could not have attended the school at which he gained a place, the New Amsterdam Multilateral School – so he attended one much closer to home,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, Rosignol Secondary.After high school and the exams, Nedd, being sponsored by Blairmont Estate, entered for training at the GuySuCo Training School as a Fitter Machinist in 1979 and graduated in 1983, after which he worked at theGoalkeeper Nedd (2nd from right, back row) with the GuySuCo Berbice football team in 1980Estate. He also talked briefly about his “return” to Islam in 1981, a religion he has become fascinated with over the years, since he stated it was the religion of his ancestry (his father practiced it at a young age and converted to Christianity).In 1990, he moved completely from working at the factory to being assigned as Industrial Welfare Officer, and dealt with workers’ issues and problems.During this time and also way before,Wholesale Jerseys USA, Nedd was quite a sportsman. He won several titles, including Champion Athlete for the GuySuCo sports countrywide. He was also a national athlete. He threw the javelin and mastered high jumps at the Schools’ Nationals Championships in Georgetown. However, due to poverty, Nedd could not pursue his dream of becoming a “real sportsman”.Sports suddenly became something he played only for pleasure. He played First Division Cricket while in school.Nedd, who speaks fluent French, spent a long time in the French island of Martinique playing professional football and made the national volleyball team in July 1984 – playing against countries such as Barbados, Russia, St. Lucia and Suriname – and was adjudged Best Player several times in a row. His excellent sports skills earned him world travels to over 28 countries, playing volleyball especially. He captained the National Volleyball Team on several occasions, too.In 1990, he attended Coaching Sessions and this eventually resulted in him becoming the National Coach of the Guyana Volleyball Association (GVA). He also has Coaching Certificates in Football and Table Tennis. Nedd did not neglect his academic studies. He was the Best Graduating Social Work student at the University of Guyana and is a recognized Social Worker in the Berbice area. Those are just a few of the many caps our ‘Special Person’ wears, and he wears them very, very well.His international stints did not end there. He represented Guyana in Hungary at the Olympic Solidarity Programme (OSP) in 2001, and participated in a special course—which he topped —beating the other 37 countries that participated. He was presented with a Medal and presented the Valedictory Speech.Performing a chutney rendition at the GuySuCo Apprentices’ Graduation in July this yearSeeing the rich talent that Nedd had to offer, the sugar company made him a Community Development Officer (CDO) in 1991 to look into the operations of the numerous Community Centres that the sugar corporation had across Guyana.Nedd also acted as Human Resources Officer (HRO) at Skeldon and Blairmont Estates.He worked in the Personnel Department and then became a Student Affairs Officer at GTC/PMTC in October 2003. On the cultural side of things, Nedd participated in numerous singing and chutney competitions. He knows how to entice and excite a crowd—whether it is GuySuCo’s Honour Roll Function, or an Indian Immigration Day function; a religious function or funeral; GTC/PM Graduation or birthdays—when Levi Nedd takes the microphone and starts to sing chutney, you become awestruck.He was an active member of the Kirtan Groups that went around, not only visiting places, but singing bhajans in the Berbice area as well. In 1997, he placed second at the National Chutney Singing Competition in Trinidad. He composes his own songs too. He sang with the likes of ‘Hitman’ as well as Canadian singers, and also performed at the Phagwah Melas in the United States. He sings Chowtal music too. Nedd was also quite the dancer of Indian music on stage.He later composed a CD which should have been released a few years ago. He stated that  ‘Ouchay—the Jhanjaat’, has thirteen chutney songs. His favourite hit is ‘Ouchay’.  When asked why he is passionate about the Chutney genre, he stated that he hails from a mixed bacground since his mother’s parents were East Indians.Also, he hopes that the Chutney music would “unite Guyanese given our ethnic differences”.“I can sing other music—I sing soul and oldies and pop/rock,Hank Aaron Braves Throwback Jersey, but Chutney can bridge some of the gaps in Guyana being socio-cultural and an Afro- Guyanese guy going on stage and doing these hits—I support everywhere and everything pertaining to culture and support other religions.”“Every time I go to the U.S.A, I am there signing—I sing for free,” he noted. “I don’t do it for any gains, but for the love of it, so that people can see what it is for Afro- Guyanese to go up there and do that.”Nedd as indicated before is passionate about Volleyball and Football and enjoys playing table tennis. He participated in ‘B’ Division tournaments. He and the Guyana team just returned from Suriname and competed in a Beach Volleyball tournament. The PMTC Alumni took two pairs and gained second place in thePosing with his numerous medals and trophies won in sports and for singing over the yearsFinals – a big achievement, he stated, for Guyana.And it doesn’t end there. Nedd is a teacher too at the GTC/PMTC where he lecturers English to the young apprentices. He is well- respected and looked up to by his young boys and girls. He is a disciplinarian (which he says he inherits from his mother who worked for the Englishmen in the sugar industry back then) and tries his utmost to instill a high level of discipline in them.“It’s exciting dealing with young people especially at this age and era—a guy at 51 having to support, develop and assist these youths to cope with the challenges of life and the (sugar) industry. This is a very, very difficult job.”“If you have passion for the job, you can win them and it’s a victory for you—it’s very challenging, you have to know them well and understand their music—their social life in this technological age and listen to them when they are not speaking.”He sees his current portfolio as one not where the salary counts, but as one “which is about how much you can do for young people in this country.”A typical day at the Training School begins at 04:00 hrs with physical fitness. On Sundays, he conducts inspection on the apprentices followed by religious services from the three denominations. During the week, Nedd supervises the apprentices and caters to their needs. He also does a lot of office and clerical work. He is very busy on any given day, since parents would be constantly calling or visiting, concerning the welfare of their children.With colleague Jaipersaud Dupchand at the Apprentice School in 1982He would also have to deal with matters and even problems that arise from time to time among the apprentices, like he recalled having to take one of them who fell sick, to the hospital, and they returned way after one in the morning, getting just three hours of sleep before the morning wake- up call. But he insists that the job of being in place of the parents is quite “satisfying.”“You feel good when you see them [the apprentices] coming in here from the start, not knowing anything much and they blossom out…”Having dealt with and trained over 700 apprentices over the past ten years, “the phone calls keep coming—at weekends a lot of them visit—those overseas would text or call.”For relaxation, Nedd reads and enjoys a good game of table tennis or dominoes.“I do a lot of reading and my favourite author at present is Jeffrey Archer as well as Sidney Sheldon,Nike Air Max 95 Mens, and as you know, I am into music too. Some weekends I just sit and sing—my two kids and I.”He is happily married to Elise Sophia Nedd and the union bore three children: Julian Joshua, Levi Jr., and Levina Elisha who passed away.Nedd is proud of his life achievements and appreciates the experiences life has thrown at him—both good and bad.“I am only here to disseminate those experiences to young people so they can understand what life is like and I am happily doing that.“I don’t take ‘no’ for an answer and I am very proactive—I think thisThrowing the shot put at GuySuCo’s sports event at Blairmont Ground in 1993.is what is propelling me in life—because at a very early age, I had to forage for myself and get stuff for myself and I had to survive—The challenges were many and there was nobody to spoon-feed me,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, so I went out and learned very quickly. I always believe that a child who struggles to get what he or she wants in life is a better child in the long run.”