Time for another adventure

I leave on Saturday, March 10 to serve on a Global Volunteers project in St. Lucia.  I’ve never been to the island, but from what I’ve read, it is very lush and beautiful.  Unfortunately almost 30% of its population live in poverty.  Community leaders in Anse la Raye invited Global Volunteers to send teams to help deliver essential services to the children in their village with the hope that by working together, over time, the cycle of poverty will be broken.

The St. Lucia project is new.  I will be a member of only the second team, so this will be a learning experience for everyone.  I just got my assignment and was thrilled to learn that my team will be working with 75 preschoolers, from infants to age 5.

The first team returned a few weeks ago with lots of helpful information, including a list of things that the preschool needs.  Books, school supplies, soap, hand sanitizer and baby bibs were in short supply, so for this trip, I am packing very differently.  Ah, Dr. Seuss, I’ve missed you.  We spent oh, so many nights together.  This will be a fond trip down memory lane.

Good thing I own a luggage scale.  This stuff alone puts me at 29 pounds!  Fortunately, I have never been a fashionista because this stuff took up half of the one checked bag I’m allowed.

I chose to work with Global Volunteers because I love their philosophy.  Teams only serve where they are invited.  They work under the direction of local leaders, doing whatever those leaders request.  Because self-reliance is a primary goal, the volunteers work hand in hand with the locals.  In fact a key requirement is that there be at least as many locals working on a project as there are volunteers.

There is no proselytizing–no hidden religious or political agendas, other than a desire to promote world peace.

The organization cautions its volunteers to remain flexible, noting that things don’t always turn out as planned.  Well, considering that my INITIAL plan was to serve in Italy last October, and I had to cancel because my retina inconveniently decided to detach 6 days before I was scheduled to leave, I figure I’ve had a bit of experience with plan changes.

I’ll be going on this trip alone.  I don’t know anything about the other volunteers on this second team–how many, where they are from, who they are, but all will be revealed by next Saturday night.  We will be working all this first weekend, but will have a break the second weekend, so I’m hoping to get a chance to see the island.

Adventure awaits!

And the answers are….

Okay, so I guess I got a little carried away with the questions.  Here they are again, with the answers.  I promise, the next ones will be easier.

Which of the following will I NOT be bringing?  (# 5 and #6)

  1. A seasickness patch left over from the Antarctica voyage – Yep, I’m bringing this.  The boat for the Galapagos part of the trip is very small, so we are taking no chances.
  2. Coca tea bags from the Peru trip, to help avoid altitude sickness  Yep, I do whatever I can to avoid any possibility for pain.  The change in altitude from Newark to Quito is about 2 miles.  eek.
  3. My long underwear (also from Antarctica).  Yep, Quito is in the mountains and it gets cold at night.  My silk underwear doesn’t take up much room,  I can wear it under lightweight clothes, which saves space in my luggage.
  4. My windbreaker from my bike trip.  Rain is predicted for every day that we are in Quito.  This windbreaker has a hood, so I won’t need an unbrella…and it is really lightweight.
  5. My flotation belt from my water aerobics class.  Nah–they will provide life jackets when needed.
  6. My teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini (from my adolescence).  There hasn’t been a bikini in my bureau for at least 30 years. But as you know, I do keep my clothes for a long, long time–just not my swimwear.
  7. Wine glasses and bottle armor for “trip wine”.  Oh yeah.  I have two plastic wine glasses, and a special bag for transporting wine so that it doesn’t break or leak all over the inside of the luggage.  Hey, you can’t expect wine stores in the Amazon, can you?  Who knows,  a bottle of vino from a duty-free shop could end up being one of the prizes!

Next question will be about the trip activities. Which ones do you think will be offered?

(All except #6 and 7)

  1. Blow gun contest.  Absolutely.  Hmmm.  I better pretend I’m Bill Clinton and make sure I don’t inhale.
  2. Snorkeling.  Yes Indeed.  Not during the Amazon part of the trip…in the Galapagos.  Swim with the penguins, or something like that. 
  3. Chicha (beer) making lesson.  Definitely a highlight
  4. Raft making.  Surprising, but yes.
  5. Floating on the raft that we made.  I’m a little concerned about this one.  This will definitely be a joint project with Mike!
  6. Piranha fishing.  Not intentionally–unless my leg (or some other part of my body) hangs off the home made raft, a piranha is swimming by, and decides to latch on. 
  7. Piranha cooking and eating.  I don’t think so, although Fanny’s recipe sure made it sound delicious. 
  8. A day trip to a spa.  Oh yes.  We are spending a day at the Papallacta Hot Springs, where they have thermal baths.  Full report will be forthcoming.
  9. Shopping for contest prizes.  Well, of course.  We will be going to Otavalo Market, where Fanny tells me they have beautiful handicrafts. 

So, here’s the score so far.  For this first attempt, I am awarding bonus points:

Fanny and Melissa got the first question half right, so they each get 10 points.  And they each got 7 out of 9 right, so that brings them up to 17.  BUT

Fanny gets 10 bonus points for being the first to answer, plus 5 for adding a  piranha recipe, for a total of 32 points.

Melissa gets 5 bonus points for making me laugh, 8 bonus points for being second to answer for a total of 30.

Sue (also known as anonymous) got the first question partially right for 10 points, and 4 out of 9  for the second one, plus 5 bonus points for trying, for a total of 19.

Lindy got the first question half right.  She was the only one that knew I wouldn’t bring a floatation device–and she was the only one that thought I still would wear a bikini!  So, 10 points for  first question, and she got 5 of the second question, for a total of 15.

Bonus points for trying, plus bonus points for knowing the words to the Peter Paul and Mary song brings Lindy up to a grand total of 25.

Not to worry–there is still time to rock this contest.  (But I think Sandy is trying for another paper thong).

On your mark, get set…

“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go” –Peter, Paul and Mary

Contest Time!
We’ll start with a packing question. The trip will be thirteen days long, and we are limited to 44 pounds.  I’ll be bringing along some treasures from past trips. Which of the following will I NOT be bringing?

  1. A seasickness patch left over from the Antarctica voyage
  2. Coca tea bags from the Peru trip, to help avoid altitude sickness
  3. My long underwear (also from Antarctica)
  4. My windbreaker from my bike trip
  5. My flotation belt from my water aerobics class
  6. My teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini (from my adolescence)
  7. Wine glasses and bottle armor for “trip wine”

Hint:  I’m bringing 5 of the 7 items.

Next question will be about the trip activities. Which ones do you think will be offered?

  1. Blow gun contest
  2. Snorkeling
  3. Chicha (beer) making lesson
  4. Raft making
  5. Floating on the raft that we made
  6. Piranha fishing
  7. Piranha cooking and eating
  8. A day trip to a spa
  9. Shopping for contest prizes

Another hint.  We are doing 7 of the 9.  You get one point for every one that you correctly pick and lose one point for picking something we aren’t going to be doing.

So, let the contest begin!  Contest closes Monday afternoon, and the answers will be posted then.