Sunday, November 10, 2013

November Program Begins

It was a long, productive day!

It began with an 8:00 a.m. breakfast at Ben’s Hideaway.  A hearty start to the day with bacon, eggs, and toast was provided, as was an ample amount of coffee to knock us out of our recent-arrival stupor. 

After breakfast Warren ran a group of seven or so to the local bank for their first taste of EC, the local currency.  Then it was off to Anse La Raye and 10:00 mass at the Catholic Church. 

The drive down the Main Street of town was eye-opening.  It became immediately apparent, at least to me, that this town is not in good shape.   Modest structures in various states of disrepair dominated the scene.  It appeared as though the town had frozen in time several decades earlier and that little attempt to rehabilitate it has been made. 

The church, however, appeared to be well maintained; both its grounds and sanctuary.  When we arrived, just a few minutes before 10:00 a.m., attendance in the church was light.  Mass did not begin for about fifteen minutes more and by that time the place was almost full.  And mass was a rousing experience. 

The music and singing that was incorporated in the mass was much more than I recall from my Catholic days back in the 1970’s.  The rhythmic swaying of the choir and the congregation as they sang gave the experience a truly Caribbean feel.  This would have been frowned upon in the church of my youth.  The service wrapped up with a heartfelt song from the entire congregation singing to we Volunteers and telling us how loved we are.  Warren also expressed our gratitude to the congregation for our being invited to their community. 

Mass was followed with a brief meeting with some of the community members we will work with.  Principals from the primary and secondary school welcomed us, as did the director of the visiting mothers program and the community liason who works with the team on the earth box program.  Father Raj also expressed a warm welcome to the team. 

After a short drive back down the main street and the street that adjoins the beach, we returned to lunch at Ben’s Hideaway.  Lunch include our first taste of the “ground provisions” starches that make up such a large part of the local diet – plantain, green banana, sweet potato, breadfruit, and yam.  We now understand the belly-filling quality of these foods.

Warren then gathered us in the pavilion for our orientation meeting.  We discussed Global Volunteers' Philosophy, listed the goals we hope to achieve during our service program, and the characteristics of an effective team.  All but two of us had been through this before; it was my 16th time.  But I continue to realize the importance of this procedure as an effective way to prepare us for the work ahead. 

Warren also briefed us on the various institutions we would be serving, most dealing with childcare and education.  In addition, Warren and two volunteers will take on the Earth Box project and prepare the town for the imminent arrival of another 100 of them. 

The day drew close to an end with dinner back at Ben’s Hideaway.  Although it was just a few hours since we feasted on the belly-filling ground provisions

Our last task was ordering lunches and making our choice for tomorrow’s dinner.  After a lively discussion of the logistics and proper script for completing the order form, Barbara seemed satisfied with the final result.  Let’s hope the kitchen staff feels likewise.
, no one had trouble in downing their grilled chicken, local pork stew, or plate of vegetarian delights.  The garlic toast was a nice touch. 

- Keith Kresge

Message of the Day – Tuesday November 11, 2013

“Any serious attempt to do something worthwhile is ritualistic.” 
- Derek Wolcott, St. Lucian Nobel Prize Winner

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Back to Work

Monday morning~ After breakfast and morning meeting – we departed for our assignments.  Margaret & I were off to a meeting at Marigot Secondary School with Principal DuJohn, Vernett James, the youth officer from the Dept. of Ministry, and Ms Fitz &Ms James – teachers from the Home Economics & Agriculture program. We gathered to begin discussions about expanding the school farm, Earthbox program and creating a school feeding program to provide nutritious lunches to the students.  Currently, there is no government subsidy for such a program for Secondary schools in St Lucia.  We shared many great ideas and I am encouraged by the excitement from all who attended at working together to meet the nutritional needs of the students. 


The remainder of the afternoon I finalized a schedule to replant Earthboxes with mothers in the Roving Caregiver Program later in the week.  Additionally, we visited the shipping and brokerage firm in Castries in an attempt to complete the next step at getting the Earthbox supply shipment out of customs.  Sometimes, despite our best plans and intentions, circumstances arise which are beyond our control, as we learned we are still unable to have the shipment released.   Although, I find this setback discouraging, I decide to implement plan B as we drive back to Marigot. Tomorrow I will work to schedule nutrition and hand-washing lessons at the pre-schools for later in the week, if we are unable to replant Earthboxes. 

Monday proved to be somewhat challenging for other members of our team as well, and after such an energizing start to the week yesterday, our spirits were dampened as we gathered for our meeting this evening.  Father Warren gently reminded us, that although we may be discouraged that our plans did not go as we had hoped today, our challenges pale insignificantly to our friends in Anse La Raye. 

Today reminded me of a message from OgMandino, in book: The Greatest Salesman in the World: “Failure will never overtake you if your determination to succeed is strong enough”. 

A tasty dinner of fresh caught Mahi-Mahi, vegetables, and plaintains – along with laughter and a few songs around the table at Julietta’s, rejuvenated our spirits.  Tomorrow we begin anew. 


Message of the day by Margaret: “We have flown the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers” – Dr. Martin Luther King

Friday, May 17, 2013

Last Dayin Anse la Raye

Our last day in Anse le Raye

We began with our breakfast at Ben's Hideaway, the daily reading of the daily journal, and Warren's announcements and assignments. Away we go in "white lightening" hindered briefly by Daryl's weedwacker and a box that got caught up under our carriage. Once we were on our way, up the "Christian" road, our first stop was the Parish Hall, where Tracy joined the Rovers for the Friday meeting, and Katie joined Dawn and Margaret for a busy morning of planting "Earth boxes", while Carita and Emily returned to kidstep.


Warren picked us up at noon, and we said our goodbyes to our site hosts. Many hugs, and thanks, before we headed up the hill out of the village for our final drive back to JJ's paradise.


Another fine meal at Ben's hideaway, after snacking on some fresh coconut buns that were picked up hot from the bakery by Dawn and Katie. A few of us washed down the meal with yet another Piton. The project reports were finished and emailed. Some went to the beach, others took care of packing...Warren had a much needed massage by Sam and the Marigot Bay club.


Our final meal, was across the bay...taken during happy hour. We had wonderful thin crust pizza's and two for one drinks, at Doolittles. We crossed Marigot bay in the dark, satiated, and happy with our new found friends, and two weeks of contributions to the community of Anse le Raye.


Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened. Dr Seuss

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Getting Everything Done

Yesterday was an exciting day for Dawn and Margret. The earth boxes got in and are speedily getting planted around Anse La Raye, getting as much done as they possibly could!

Katie and Tracy had a good day, Tracy hiking the hill for the first time in the morning and together walking two new friends around the town in the afternoon. They walked around the town at lunch giving fresh sweet buns to hard working volunteers and hungry residents and enjoyed some Pitons after work with Schinell.

Emily got to say goodbye to her kids from primary school and had a great day at Kid Step with Carita.

We had our last wonderful meal at Ben’s for dinner, I have never seen Carita eat so much! We then split off, Dawn getting some much needed wine and rest and some of us got head starts on our reports!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Essential Services in Anse la Raye

We continue in our second week on community projects to help deliver the 12 Essential Services required for children to reach their full potential.  This is the heart of The St. Lucia Project - minimizing factors inhibiting children's capacity, while optimizing those variables which will promote their full growth and development.  It's not easy - but it's so fulfilling!

School and Household Gardens, Child Nutrition, Micro-nutrient Supplementation

Dawn instructs preschoolers on the proper watering of school's Earth Boxes.
Establishing, planting, maintaining and harvesting school and household gardens using Earth Box® technology is a recurring project - and a long-term commitment - in The St. Lucia Project.  Most of the families we serve are under-nourished, and many children go to school without breakfast or lunch.  Earth Boxes are reliable and accessible sources of vegetables and fruits to supplement students' diets.

                    Health, Nutrition and Hygiene Education, HIV/AIDS prevention


Most new mothers in St. Lucia want to provide their best for their children.  However, pervasive poverty works against them in many ways.  Global Volunteers works with the Roving Caregivers to provide early childhood intervention, parent education, and health care assistance to parents who would otherwise have no access to such services.  Volunteer nurses, dieticians, physical therapists, medical students and the like provide care and offer updated information to outreach workers and parents.

General Education, Girl’s Education, Potable Water and Sanitation Facilities, Psychosocial Support

Carita instructs young students on colors and sounds.

Volunteers provide one-on-one assistance in reading, math, science, computer literacy, geography and the like at the preschool, elementary and secondary school levels.  Succeeding teams focus on special needs students with individual education requirements to provide continuity of service.  Often, volunteers as outside resources teach health, hygiene and nutrition education segments for entire classrooms.  As is true worldwide, repetition and interaction is key to successful adoption of important educational concepts at all ages.

Earthboxes Arrive!

They’re here, they’re here, the earth boxes have finally arrived after many days of anxious waiting!  So tomorrow the replanting begins!

Everyone reported a good day.  Dawn and Margaret did some impressive hand-washing presentations at some of the schools!

Tracy and Katie continued roving!

Emily and Carita had another fun and busy day at Kids Step!

Warren revealed another side of himself to the customs and post office ladies, witnessed only by Margaret.

We decided tonight whether we met our goals and we gave ourselves a “thumbs up”!

We also had another delicious dinner and lovely conversation at JD’s with our special guest Marie-Louise Reid. So ended Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Learing about Earthboxes

Breakfast as usual. Carita & Emily worked at Kids Step preschool and Katie showed up in the afternoon to help after finishing with her RCP visits.  Tracey had a good day with 4 family visits with Daniella to Roving Caregiver mothers and children.

Dawn, Warren, & Margaret visited FlavianIsimbert, the Primary School Principal to discuss an Earthbox- based school feeding program.  Dawn explained how the Earthboxes work and provided a copy of the Earthbox school curriculum, which incorporates science, math, nutrition, and language arts lessons into the gardening program.  We learned that half of the 150 students purchase school lunch.  He told us that it would save the school a great deal of money if they were able to grow vegetables to add to the lunches as they currently do not receive enough government assistance to add sufficient vegetables everyday to the students’ meals.  Additionally, he informed us that they don’t have enough plates, cups, or utensils and students have to bring them from home.  Sadly, not all students have them at home or sometimes forget and so they cannot participate in the lunch program.  We also discussed the development of the school literacy program. 

Following our evening meeting, the group enjoyed a good dinner at Ben’s Hideaway, which included freshly grilled tuna steaks.