“Wunna ready?” Akeem Mason shouted across the pasture at the King George V Memorial Park on Easter Monday.
“Yes!” was the reply from several young St Philip men holding on to an eight-feet tall kite.
With the tug of a heavy duty rope from Mason and a skip and jump from the young men, the kite Baje, which had the colours of the national flag and the Broken Trident, zipped, buzzed and growled into the air.
Mason accompanied by DJ Dwayne Prodigy Pinder held the rope firmly as the kite danced and soared into the beautiful, blue, sunny sky garnering loud cheers from children and those gathered at the Park.
A huge smile breaks out on Mason’s face and he says, “a kite flying day without a huge kite is not kite flying. People come out to see a big kite, the excitement”.
Just moments before the young man from Marley Vale, St Philip spoke with Barbados TODAY about the second annual Kite Flying Extravaganza and Giveback, which began with his close friend John Jones who is a professional basketball player currently on contract in Australia.
For Mason, nothing was more satisfying than seeing the boys and girls anxious to own one of the 500 kite frames available.
“There are so many children who do not have and we just found it in our hearts to give back in the community to children who are less fortunate. Giving back through kites is the easiest way for me to do it, so I just run it by my partner John and we pushed it,” Mason explained
In the months leading up to the traditional Easter pastime Mason and his friends put in a labour of love.
“The target was 1,000 kites but due to time I was only able to make 500 because I am working right now. I come from work and work till like 1 a.m., to just push the kites because I know it is for the kids,” the young man who is a craftsman by trade said.
On a mat a few feet away were several young men who Mason described as “my partners, my team”, patiently showing the children how to fasten the missing pieces to their chosen kite frames.
“We chose to make the kites from scratch to let the children see what it is like. The children do not know what it is to make a kite they know video games. So the best way is to build it on site to show them the process so that when they go home they can probably do it themselves,” Mason who is in his early 20s said.
Last year the friends launched the initiative with their own money but this year they got help from some sponsors who heard about the event.
Member of Parliament from the area Michael Lashley also heard about the extravaganza and giveback and he made a contribution.
He was on hand on the day and handed over a monetary donation to Mason.
“I think it is a wonderful idea and positive program and involves an element of community spirit. It’s about bringing young people together and young people getting together and planning a project and I will be there to assist them. I think this project has great potential to be bigger and better. I see a lot of homemade kites are here and that is very interesting. It brings out creativity in the young people,” Lashley told Barbados TODAY.
Mason, Jones, Pinder and other associates plan on adding a competitive aspect to the event next year.
But in the meantime a good time was had at the Park as kite after kite made their way into the skies to the delight and screams of the children.
“It feels great, it feels great amazing. I can’t explain the feeling,” an emotional Mason said.