Good bye Team Two, plus contest answers

It has taken me a while to write this post.  I guess I’m having a hard time acknowledging that the Team Two St. Lucia experience is officially over.

But on to the important stuff–the contest answers.  The following statements are all true.  Global Volunteers:

  1. Serve only where they are invited.
  2. Work under the direction of local leaders.
  3. Help local people do what they have already decided they want done.
  4. Send teams of volunteers to each community several times a year, serving on five continents and the Pacific area.  For the St. Lucia project, the hope is that there will be a team on site every month starting in 2013.
  5. The fee Global Volunteers pay covers food, water, lodging, local transportation, program related and administrative expenses.  The volunteers also pay for their flight/transportation to the country.  Yes, the volunteers pay their own way.  For those that want to fund raise, Global Volunteers will provide assistance.
  6. Anse La Raye, St. Lucia is the newest Global Volunteers site. Yes, we were only the second team to serve in St. Lucia.
  7. The St. Lucia project is one of the largest to date, in terms of the number of volunteers on site. Yes, normally there are fewer than 20 people on site.
  8. Although the volunteers work hard during the week, they are free on the weekends to explore the island.  And we did!
  9. Many Global Volunteers get “hooked” and serve on additional programs. Out of the 27 of us, only 4 were serving for the first time.  Everyone else had been on at least one other project.  Norina held the record, having working on more than 25 projects!

Drum roll, please:  The contest winners are (in order):  Lindy, Sue, Sandy, Lissy,  Kristy, Mike and Jim.  Congratulations to all!

As a farewell to team two, I’m including photos of other volunteers.  With 27 volunteers working on 9 different teams over the two-week period, I wasn’t able to get to know as many of the group as I would have liked.  What an interesting group it was!  Coming from different areas of the USA, and from various occupations, the group had collectively traveled to all 7 continents and well over 100 countries.  If you had a question about a particular country, it was quite likely that one of the other volunteers would have the answer, having been there and done just about everything!

Here we are in the bar, just before the farewell dinner: Jeanne, from New York (who I met on the plane), Norina, from Pennsylvania, Laurie from Colorado and me.

Moving over to Kid Step for week two gave me a chance to get to know Edith.   I enjoyed every minute I spent with this fascinating, kind woman.  I won’t reveal her age–I’ll just say that the calendar fibs–her varied interests (Tai Chi, ballroom dancing, foreign languages, travel), activity level and stamina convinced me that she is easily two decades younger than her driver’s license would indicate.

The kids made themselves comfortable.  Like children everywhere, they loved physical contact.  (And so did we!)

Jan, the baby of the group, is a teacher from Ct. who used the grant given by her school to come to St. Lucia during school vacation.  She and Kathy, the Earth Box team, worked really hard, out in the sun all day, visiting the different sites, teaching teachers and kids about planting and watering.  They never complained about the heat or humidity, and managed to keep smiling regardless of whatever challenges the day might bring.

Here are Tom and Jonah, demonstrating the partnership between local leader and Global Volunteer, as they finish repairs on the fence behind Kid Step.   Jonah’s three-year old daughter, Johanna, is one of the Kid Step students.

Bonnie, an attorney from Maine, has encyclopedic knowledge about plants, animals, insects, food, nutrition.  Her cabin was even higher up than mine.  I got this photo of her early one misty morning, when she was out watching the birds that stopped by for  breakfast.

Some people get the face they deserve. That is definitely the case with Jim–he is exactly the way he appears in this photo: kind, friendly, happy–an overall great guy, with a face to match.

Martha decided to join the “Globettes” (Jim’s name for Jeanne, Laurie and me) at JD’s restaurant on Marigot Bay.  This is where Lawrence, our night watchman,  performs a couple of nights a week until the late hour of 10 PM! Lindy wanted more photos of me. So here I am, in my room.  The mirror encouraged multitasking.  Hair combing was the ideal time to get in some squats!

St. Lucia, beyond the resorts

Most of the Global Volunteers’ work took place in Anse La Raye, which was about a 20 minute ride from our hotel in Marigot Bay.

Permit me to give you a tour of this sweet little town.  First a history lesson from the town square.  Sorry about the wire–I figured I’d better not mess with anything electrical!

We were in Anse La Raye during Lent, which meant that the fish fry described above was not as festive and exciting as it normally is, so none of us attended.

Here’s what the rest of the square looks like.

The first Sunday of our visit, the  Volunteers were introduced to the congregation.  During the service,  we were asked to stand and the entire congregation applauded for us, making us feel so very welcome.

Seems no matter where you go in the world, you can always find caffeinated, sugary drinks.

Here’s Edith leaving one of the town’s two bakeries.  This one has delicious rolls that you can get early in the morning, before starting work.

Then at noon time, Edgar has some wonderful creations.  I particularly liked his coconut squares.   And yes, that IS a NY Yankees cap that he is wearing!

Although the town lacks billboards, there is no shortage of inspirational messages.

For lack of a better name, we referred to this place as the “Bounty Rum”.  It was a gathering spot where we could get coffee, water, fruit juice and snacks.  We were always working, so we never got around to sampling any of the place’s name sake.

And while we are on the subject of food, this is the local ice cream store, where you can get a cone for $1 EC, or about $0.40 US.

Remember how clean the children are?  That is not something easily accomplished.  As we strolled through town we would often see uniforms hanging out to dry.  Recognize the little red skirt?  That’s the bottom half of the Kid Step uniform.

These ladies are working in the local open air laundry,  right by the ocean.  Talk about putting things into perspective–when I do laundry, I just press buttons!

This woman doesn’t need to go to the gym.  She got those muscles in her arms by scrubbing clothes.   Notice the wonderful smiles on these very gracious ladies. 

Right next to the laundry is the market for souvenirs.

The lady on the right told me if I bought something from her, she’d give me a very BIG smile.  This was not a problem, because I was trying to buy a little something at each stall anyway.

After chatting with them, I learned that they are sisters, and that I had been working with their little girls during my week at Kiddie Homey Day care.

Here are their daughters, Starr and Gladice.

Not every vendor can afford a store or a booth, so they spread their wares on a blanket on the street.

Below is the public shower and toilet for  town residents that don’t have indoor plumbing.  It is right across the street from Kid Step Day Care.  The facility  lacks a bathroom for adults, having only a toilet for the children, so the staff suggested that the volunteers  go next door to use the bathroom at Kiddies Homey Day Care.  The staff, however, used the public toilet. 

The town also had its share of beautifully decorated, well maintained homes.

I’ll end this post with the Primary School’s Motto, which tells you a lot about the spirit of the people with whom we came in contact.