I’m in love!!!

Beautiful, funny, cute, smart, precious….I could go on and on about these kids. Suffice it to say that my heart has been stolen by these little munchkins.

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I brought name tags so that I could more easily memorize their names, and I thought it would help those that don’t yet know how to spell and write their names. They really liked it. In fact, if I didn’t get out the name tag fast enough, they reminded me to get with it!

Dotty and I are loving our assignment. Yes, it is noisy, but hey, what do you expect from a bunch of kids under 5. Today we used the board books that I brought and they were a hit with all of the younger kids. Tomorrow will be Cat in the Hat day for the older kids.

After lunch the kids rest, which gave Dotty and me a chance to stroll around the town. Good news, boys and girls. There WILL be a contest. You know how I feel about dropping dollars into the local economy, so I will be picking up a few odds and ends for prizes. All I have to do is figure out the questions. Then Game ON!! (Mike and Augusta, since neither of you are with me, you get a chance to play too). I can’t do a packing question this time around because you have already seen the contents of my luggage in previous posts. I am sure I’ll come up with something eventually.

More photos of the objects of my affection. Notice how neat and clean they are…perfect in every way.

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“Be flexible, so you don’t get bent out of shape”

We start every day with an inspirational thought. Jim’s quote reminded us that we should expect and accept the unexpected.

Yesterday we were welcomed to the Anse le Raye community by Father Athanase Joseph at the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin. He is convinced that Divine Providence sent Global Volunteers to his parish, and expressed gratitude for all that the first team accomplished in January.

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The service was almost three hours long, but the music was wonderful and the beautiful, well behaved children were fun to watch. Unlike the catholic church in the USA, you are allowed to bring water bottles with you and the younger children were allowed to move from pew to pew (if they were in the back of the church). I noticed that it didn’t matter whose child it was, the women acted as if every one belonged to her, interacting with whichever one happened to slide over to her.

Yesterday’s other major accomplishment was meeting all of the team members. Introductions were a variation of the game, “I’m going to the market”…then listing objects in alphabetical order, each person repeating the list from the beginning and adding on. I remember playing with my sisters on a road trip to Florida. (I even remember the first two objects were “aristocrat” and “bing”. Okay, so my sisters are weird…especially Sandy.) But back to the intros…the last person was tasked with repeating the 24 earlier names. It was actually an very effective way to get everyone’s names memorized! In the afternoon, we learned more about our fellow volunteers. Four of us are “virgin” volunteers. The rest have been on multiple projects, with some logging over twenty.

Today was our first day at the various sites. Four of us were assigned to the two preschools in town. I’ll be spending this week at the Kiddie Homey Day Center, and I’m delighted. 40 adorable, exuberant kids under age 5. This is my alternative to whining about not having a grandchild. (You’re welcome, Greg).

Dotty and I are following the recommendations of the first team, and are working with the kids in groups of two. When I asked one four year old girl if she knew how to spell her name, she said, “Miss, I could WRITE my name when I was THREE”. I guess she set ME straight.

The dinosaur coloring book I brought with me was quite popular. One three year old boy thought the dinosaur looked like a shark, or maybe a whale. He then launched into an enthusiastic story about a whale “vomiting” and Jonah had “feesh” all over his head! Once I heard the name Jonah, I figured it out.

I’m looking forward to seeing these little cuties tomorrow! Here’s Dotty with one of our charges.

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One plane, two plane, jet plane, blue plane

Fortunately, our pilots realized there was a computer problem while we were still on the runway. Back to the gate, onto another plane, then three hours later we were off. Kudos to Jet Blue for making it as painless as possible. We were lucky to have a relatively mellow crowd on the plane, so grumping was almost non-existent.

I noticed a yellow Global Volunteer tag in an overhead bin, so I used my keen investigative skills to locate Jeanne. Knowing I would not be the only latecomer was quite comforting. I was confident that together we’d figure out a way to get to the hotel.

Luckily, our team leader Warren was kind enough to wait for us, so after clearing customs we hopped into the van and headed for JJ’s paradise. The hour and a half ride up, down and around the mountain could be described by numerous adjectives, but I’m going to stick with “memorable”. Suffice it to say that we were grateful that Warren was behind the wheel and used to driving on the opposite side of the road.

We joined the rest of the team at dinner, but Warren saved introductions for Sunday morning.  In his introductory comments, he told us that the first team, in January build a very solid base upon which we can build.

He also told us the St. Lucia project is unique in that the teams are bigger, and we are being dispersed throughout the community. In his words, “there are lots of moving parts”. The 27 of us are formed into teams for the infant school, preschool, primary school, secondary school, medical, home visits, computer education,construction and community gardens.

He left us with this thought for our first day:
“Leap and the net will appear.”

Here are some visuals of my home for the next two weeks:

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My room—WAAAY up the hillside.

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