Up Close … with Will Constant, aka Bazil-‘Ambition lies in one’s own hands’


15-November-2011

Will ConstantFire-fighter by day and bee-keeper by – well, by hobby, Will Constant had an interesting story to tell about courage, growing up fast and doing what you love with all your heart.

Happy beginnings

Will Constant, aka Bazil to all his friends, was born on June 23, 1973.
“I grew up right here at Sorento with my parents and my two siblings. It’s the only place I’ve known and I’m still here after all these years.

“It hasn’t always been such an easy going life; there were a lot of struggles involved, especially during our childhood.
“At first we were like any regular family, you know, happy, playful children, mum always there for us, dad providing for us through his hard work. He was a farmer.

“Maybe we took it for granted, I don’t know. But suddenly all this came crashing down around our ears.”

A man is born, a boy is lost

“I was still quite young but I still remember whispers of malis being done to mum circulating around family and friends. We never did find out the truth, but what happened for certain was that my mother, quite frankly, went insane,” Will said, his voice catching.

“The preparations leading up to our Holy Communion still haunts me until today. During one of her episodes, mum got so worked up and would not allow us to go on with our Holy Communion. My father had to sneak us out of the house and make clothing preparations with a neighbour for me and my younger sister who died not too long ago.  It’s one of the strangest memories I have of those times.

“I did my primary education at Glacis school up to P9 at the time but did not join the National Youth Service (NYS) when the time came.

“I was around fifteen at the time and had so many animals to take care of on my father’s farm. It wasn’t that he was against me going to NYS; just that he would have to sell all our beloved cows, goats, chickens, rabbits and all my other favourite animals because he would not be able to take care of them by himself.
“I couldn’t go through with it and stayed back to take care of them.”

Hard work and training

“At the age of 18, I decided to search for a job and started off at the Northolme Hotel in the kitchen. That only lasted for two weeks and soon after I found myself enrolling with the local Fire and Rescue Services Agency where I started my training soon after.

“Ever since I was very young, I used to love lighting small fires in the banana plantation or a heap of dry coconut leaves. I would then hose it down myself,” he said laughing. “I think even that early on I had a little fireman in me somewhere.”

“Upon entering the Agency, we had to do six weeks of training which was very hard. I remember it very vividly; I started on March 2 at 2pm. By the third day, I had already begun asking myself what in the world I was still doing there and by the end of the training, where at the beginning we had started off as twelve new recruits, only nine of us were left.

“Physically, it was very demanding at first but after about a week my body just seemed to adapt. I don’t regret a thing and I have managed to secure two courses so far, so yes, I’m proud of how far I’ve arrived. Perseverance is the key and I believe that ambition lies in your own hands, not your boss’, friends’ or family’s”. 

Facing my fears

“So far the most challenging things I have come across in my job were also the most frightening for me.
“I remember one incident when I had just started out. A car had somehow flipped over and landed into the sea along the north eastern coast and we had to go retrieve it – along with its two drowned passengers.

“That first encounter scared the life out of me but prepared me for the second which I think I managed to handle like a pro although I was still shaking in my boots.

“In this case, a pedestrian had unfortunately been the victim of a bus collision and he had been trapped between the wall and the vehicle.

“Let’s just say it was not a pretty sight and it involved a lot of misplaced body parts.
“After that, nothing could be thrown my way without me not being able to handle it.”

Trekking, music and bees

“In my spare time I usually find other things to do which I can add to my income. Otherwise, I go trekking in the forest looking for bee hives.”

Will must have seen the look on my face before adding, I suppose for my reassurance, that he enjoyed bee-keeping and collecting wild honey.

“I also enjoy listening to music as often as I can especially country music, some songs from our local artist Joseph Louise and some French songs.

“I’d listen to the younger local artists, but all they seem to go on about is heartbreak.”

Advice for youths wanting to become firefighters

“You have to be serious first and foremost. You don’t really have weekends anymore, or much partying and if you enjoy the occasional drink, well you have to say goodbye to that too – or at least limit it. A big emphasis is placed on discipline and that’s a good thing. I plan to go the distance and with God’s grace, I don’t see why it can’t be done.”

Compiled by Rebecca Chang-Tave

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