bb: Hi Karima, thanks for taking part. Tell us about yourself…?
KB: I am nineteen. I was born on 1 October 1986, under the sign of Libra.
bb: what is your background?
KB: I was born in Antigua, but came home to Barbuda when I was a few days old. Eric Burton is my grandfather. I was a student at the Holy Trinity School from Kindergarten until I left in Form IV. I was a prefect. I found the school challenging, especially maths, which was my favourite subject.
bb: you went to the States to study
KB: Yes, I spent two years at the DeWitt Clinton High School in The Bronx, where I made the Honour Roll in both years. Although I lived with relatives I did miss Barbuda at first, but I came to enjoy the diverse, new environment and the opportunities offered. I was on the basketball team and played in a number of tournaments against different schools. I met many girls who have become my good friends now. I have kept in touch though with my HTS classmates, Samantha and Rhyser for example.
bb: oh yes, that’s why you’re here now
KB: They sent me a ticket for a month to come to play for the New Era Basketball team. We played in the Gillian Brazier Tournament in Antigua, which we won in 2004, but we came fourth this December.
bb: you are training for an unusual career
KB: I am training to be a commercial airline pilot. It has always been my goal, my dream. I went to City College in New York for a year to get credits in the core classes in liberal arts and science and then I transferred to Vaughan College in Queens, where I’m following a programme in aircraft operation. I have completed the first semester and have three years left.
bb: have you flown yet?
KB: I have flown for four hours in a Cesna 152 with an instructor at Farmingdale, Long Island. I shall have my private pilot’s license by the end of the summer. I shall have to fly 40 hours, 20 with an instructor and 20 solo. After that I must learn to fly with instruments only, which is much harder. I fly twice a week, usually on weekends. My ultimate goal is to fly for a large commercial airline like Continental, American, or BWIA.
bb: this must be an extremely expensive course
KB: It certainly is. The flying lessons are US$300 per hour.
bb: how do you finance it?
KB: I have a scholarship from the Coco Point Trust Fund and the Barbuda Council for four years. I wrote to the Fund outlining what I wanted to do and now they work along with the Council to pay my tuition fees. Any student in Barbuda who has a dream should write to them, they have been very good to me and I am very grateful.
bb: what advice do you have for the young people of Barbuda?
KB: I would say set a goal, then plan and work to attain it. Nothing comes easily in life, everything worthwhile takes hard work, dedication, and time. Nothing is attained quickly, patience is a virtue.
bb: Thank you Karima, we wish you well for the future