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!

“Isn’t it nice to be home again”

It has taken me a few days to unpack, do laundry, pay bills, dig through mail, upload photos. I think part of me  (in addition to all of the skin that peeled off my back) is still in St. Lucia, because I awaken thinking about the children…then breakfast.  I can almost smell the bacon that Andrew cooked up for us every morning!

During breakfast, one volunteer would read her/his journal entry for the prior day.  Fool that I am, I signed up to do it the very last day, thinking that by then, I would have gotten the hang of journal writing a la Global Volunteers. What I DIDN’T consider was all the other things I needed to do before leaving:  packing, working on the team report, doing an evaluation, attending the final dinner, having one last “fling” with my new friends. I plan on going on many more Global Volunteer experiences, but for sure I WON’T be doing the last day’s journal.  I did get it done in time, so what the heck, I’ll share it with my Blog Buddies.  You, however, get a bonus that my team mates missed–visuals (and the captions that go with the visuals were not part of the journal).

Friday, March 23rd

The cricket match between the West Indies and Australia takes place today. This is a very big day for Anse La Raye, because the captain of the West Indies team is from their little village. To give you an idea of how big this is–the infant, primary and secondary schools are all closed today. Not so for Kid Step and Kiddie Homey Day Care, although we noticed that attendance was way down at both schools.

Today is also sports day at Kid Step, which means that the kiddies wear their different colored shirts identifying them as members of the blue, green or yellow teams. Edith and I expected to guide the children to the field in front of the medical center around 10 AM, however Ruth Fredericks stopped by to ask that we come to Kiddie Homey at 10.

Edith and I arrived to find  the children assembled in the big room. (Normally there are twice as many kids)

Marcia had taught the children a song about Charlie the fish, which they enthusiastically sang while the staff prepared for the farewell ceremony.

Brenda (one of the volunteers) is on the left; Ruth Frederick, the school administrator and teacher is on the right.

The four of us were seated together in front of the class, who proceeded to serenade us with songs about how special we were and how they loved us.This was followed by a solo about St Lucia performed by a very confident young girl with a beautiful voice. Miss Fredericks introduced her as a recent graduate of Kiddie Homey.

Each member of the staff had written a special individual tribute to each volunteer, which they read. They presented us with handmade cards, a beautiful framed photo of the children, and a huge glass full of the best vanilla and strawberry ice cream ever!

(I was so very touched by this gift.  I am quite aware of how difficult it must have been for them to create these personalized photos. It cost them considerable resources that are in very short supply–time, materials and money).

Miss Frederick wanted to make sure that we told Mr. Thomas and Mr. Thomas (fondly known as T Squared)  how much she appreciated their work on the door stoppers.

Edith and I then hustled over to the field. Some of the fathers had put up two white tents in front of the medical center. Another had brought over the school’s plastic chairs so the children could sit out of the sun when they were not competing.

Parents, aunts, grandparents and siblings were assembled on the field to cheer the children on and to photograph them as they raced to bring colored blocks, one at a time, from one goal back to the other.

A historical moment–Barack (blue shorts)  and McCain (red shorts) racing against each other.  This time, McCain won.

These little girls can MOVE! I love watching their faces while they are running.

Herman is intensely focused on this race!

Clowie was disappointed that she came in last.  Fortunately, her mom was there to comfort her.

Next up, relay race–pass the paint brush.  And the crowd went WILD!  Take a look!

I was impressed with the creativity of the teachers and the ingenious way they used common materials as teaching aids.

At the end of the races, they presented us with the cards they had made for each of us. I had watched them work on these cards thinking that these were materials for the kids. They traced the butterflies, colored them by hand, cut them out, pasted them on construction paper, and then wrote lovely messages in each during their lunch time, and while the children napped.

At noon, some members of the preschool team returned back to the hotel, but I was having way too much fun to leave. Wandering the streets provided an opportunity to chat with the locals.

I got a taste of what it must be like for friends of Angelina Jolie. People wanted to know if I was friends with Anse la Raye’s biggest celebrities, Gabi and Laurie.

Left to right: My new friends, Laurie, Dotty, Edith and Gabi.  All members of the “ladies who lunch” in Anse La Raye.  The empty chair belongs to me, the intrepid photographer.

I had time to poke my head in to say hello to Kathy and Jim at the medical center while the kids were having lunch, a little before 12. Then it was time to head over to the library to join in the party the roving caregivers were throwing for Laurie and Gabi. Well, timing is everything in life. My escort, one of the caregivers, spotted them at the end of the block ahead of us. Damn, I missed the birthday party, the wine, the toe nail polishing and the food. On the van home, I heard about the feast the medical team made for Jim and Kathy that started started shortly after I left. So much for the luck of the Irish!

But all was not lost. There was just enough time to visit the local salon to get transformed into Island Girls.

Braided and bedazzled, Laurie and I made our last trip to the market for a final opportunity to stimulate the local economy. I got a dress for our big night tonight, and added to my collection of bling.(See above)

After our dinner with the Anse La Raye partners, we plan on celebrating Laurie’s birthday with an encore of “girls gone wild” at JD’s restaurant. Lawrence, who also doubles as our security guard, is the main attraction at JDs, and we are his Global Volunteer groupies.

This has been my first Global Volunteer experience, but it won’t be my last. I have so much admiration for both Ruth Frederick and Wilcina Gabriel, who spend all day, every weekday showering their love, attention and patience on these beautiful, funny, energetic children. It was an amazing experience.

The evenings were such fun. I was glad to be able to spend time with such a diverse group of fascinating world travelers, and hope that the budding friendships will be like earth boxes and flourish and grow.