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.

The Contest Finale– Global Volunteers Questions

Learn more about Global Volunteers by determining whether the nine statements below are true or false.  (And being the visual person that I am, I had to throw in photos for your — and my — entertainment.)

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.
  5. The fee Global Volunteers pay covers food, water, lodging, local transportation, program related and administrative expenses.  They also pay for their flight/transportation to the country.

Waiting for our “end of day” meeting to start.  Every week day the 9 teams on the St. Lucia project share their thoughts and the day’s accomplishments.

From the left:

Steve, Elmer, Ruth, Sue and Brenda

6. Anse La Raye, St. Lucia is the newest Global Volunteers site.

7. The St. Lucia project is one of the largest to date, in terms of the number of volunteers on site.

Front row: Norina, Bonnie, Edith, Steve, Jane, Ruth.  Second row: Gabi, me, Jeanne, Sally, Martha, Brenda, Sue, Marianne, Dotty and Elmer.  Last row: Jim, Kathie, Tom, Laurie, Marsha, Tom, Warren, Kathy, Jan and Ron. (Warren and Ron were the team leaders).

8. Although the volunteers work hard during the week, they are free on the weekends to explore the island .

The beach near Rodney Bay, the north part of the island.

Kid Step Preschool Kiddies Homey Day Care Center

9.  Many Global Volunteers get “hooked” and serve on additional programs.

And that, my friends (sisters and cousins to be exact) is the end of the contest questions!

Part 2 of the Contest

Well, gang, you did much better with these questions!

I’m sure Grammy is smiling down on her granddaughters, pleased to know that we still remember the many things she taught us. (Some things right, some–well, less accurate…but she still was a good ol’ gal)

Question 4: The cruise ships dock at which St. Lucian city?
The correct answer is Castries (also the answer to question 9), But the names of the ports works too.

The Celebrity ship is bigger than the office building across the street.  Yikes!

Here’s a view of the port from one of the scenic overlooks we visited with Jeffrey and Ashley on our Sunday off.  That Celebrity ship is on the right in the photo below.  if you look carefully, you can make out the office building.  See what I mean?  Sorry for the blurry photos.  I was using my iPhone for these.  Didn’t want to be weighed down with my regular camera.

Question 5: Which two countries spent 150 years fighting over St. Lucia?
Yes, the French and the British were duking it out and yes, the last country standing was Great Britain.  Hail Britannia!  Notice the flag on the sailboat in Marigot Bay, the nearest town–the one with the bank that wouldn’t accept my ATM or credit card.

Question 6: In what year did St. Lucia become independent?
Yep, It was 1979. Sorry, no visuals for that question–other than the mental picture that Lissy provided.

Question 7: What St. Lucian poet received the Nobel prize for Literature in 1992?

Sorry ladies, but spelling DOES count, so Lindy and Sue get extra credit for getting it right.  Kristy gets a point for creativity and for making me laugh.

The Square named for Derek Walcott is right across the street from the Basilica.  I wonder if that is why the cherub (facing the Basilica) has a leaf growing in a strategic place?

The Basilica is quite beautiful. I was fascinated by the ceiling!  I also stopped in at the Pentecostal service down the street.  The service took place in a small auditorium, with a stage, and white plastic chairs.  The congregation was standing, swaying and singing–and were most kind and welcoming.  I stayed to sing one song with them, but had to get back to my traveling buddies.  But I digress.  Back to the contest.

Question 8: St. Lucia makes a unique kind of ketchup. What is unusual about it? (and do you think it might be one of the prizes?)

Yes indeed–it IS banana ketchup.

So, the score to date is:   Lindy 8 points, Lis and Sue tied with 7 points, Sandy 5, Kristy 3, Jim 0 – and Mike has already received his prize, so he is out of the competition.

One more set of questions–this one will be about Global Volunteers–and then the contest closes.  Prizes to be awarded the first weekend in May.







The Anse La Raye Marathon

Running with the bulls in Spain would probably feel tame after running the “marathon” with the Kid Step Preschool students.

Like all marathoners, the kids “trained” for the big event.  Here are the “Rising Fives” (the oldest children) with Teacher Henry, two days before the event. The kids are wearing the name tags that I made for them.  Hey, at my age, I need all the help I can get remembering names! 

Don’t you just love the ribbons in the little girls’ hair?

Time for an action shot. The photographer has figured out that while she is taking pictures, she is exempt from running!

The marathon commenced at 10 AM, however we began getting the kids ready to walk the three blocks to the starting point at 9:15.  Boy, did we need every single minute!

My wonderful volunteer partner, Edith, is in the white hat, leading the way, carrying one of the younger children.

The children were divided into three teams, which is the reason for the yellow, green and blue tee shirts.

Look at the little girl on the the right.  At the time, I didn’t notice  Nyla  lifting Sapphire’s skirt.  I love the look on Nyla’s face.

Was this a big event?  Well, most of the town turned out to watch.  Fortunately, some of the parents and older siblings joined the race, holding the runner’s hand.  That was a great relief, because the streets of Anse La Raye are not the smoothest.  I had been worried about scraped knees and elbows, but luckily no one fell.

FINALLY, everyone was at the starting point.  Notice the white truck in the photo above?  We even had police protection, ready to divert any traffic that might appear.

And We’re OFF!!

When we turned the corner, we saw the entire student population from the “Infant” school (our K through 2nd grade equivalent), and the 4 Global Volunteers from that site lined up on the street, cheering wildly.  Had I not been running, that too would have been captured by my camera.

Not to worry, though.  I had another chance, when they followed us back to Kid Step Preschool, and milled about outside.  This made  for an exciting and chaotic day for the preschoolers!

It took a while, but finally the crowd dispersed.

How to get the kiddies settled, after all that excitement?  Art!  Who knew that a little paper, water and paint could calm everybody down?  (I tried hard not to have favorites, but little Jaydin, below, sure made it hard.  They were all cute, sweet and precious, but I couldn’t resist those big, beautiful eyes!)

What a wonderful day! How great that most of the community participated.  Hard to tell who had the most fun–the kids or me.  I’m calling it a tie.

Tomorrow, contest answers and the last set of questions!