Greetings and thank you to Team One!

I’m so glad that some of the members of the first team found my blog, so I’m pleased to provide great news. The hand washing education, at least at the Kiddie Homey day care center, was wildly successful! The kids wash frequently, proudly and enthusiastically. I’ll try to take a picture before the end of my service, because it is something to behold. I had brought bottles of liquid soap with me and when one of the kiddies spotted it, she insisted that she needed to wash her hands. They are also quite fond of hand sanitizer. So Team One, savor your success. Michelle, I’ll take a closer look at the dispenser tomorrow, and will also check on Precious’ foot. I haven’t had a chance to work with Yasmine yet. She was out today, but if she is in tomorrow, I’ll get to her first thing.

I love the way Miss Frederick works with the kids. She reminds them every morning in song that they are”more precious than gold”. I’m hoping to get that morning song memorized before I leave.

Julie, if you have any questions about your project, let me know where you worked and I’ll check with those team mates for an update.

At our debrief tonight, the primary school team reported that the children were learning to write letters and could choose the recipient of their letter. Several opted to write to the January Global Volunteers, Vickie and Linda. Here are some verbatim quotes. “I loved how you treated me”. “I wish you could come back to see how I wash my hands”. Warren is going to try to get the letters to Vickie and Linda, but Julie and Michelle, if you are in touch with them, please let them know that they made their mark.

Today I found the wifi “sweet spot” by the pool, settled in with a glass of wine, thinking that I
would no longer have to sit in the reception area whenever I wanted Internet access. My success was sweet, but oh so brief. Oh well. I might not have Internet access by the pool, but at least I have my glass of wine, and cool water, so life continues to be good.

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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!

Finally! Day 2

We started with a tour at hacienda la compania, which was built about a hundred years ago on property that had been owned by the Jesuits.

We were fortunate enough to have breakfast in the hacienda dining room, and later we were given a tour by the señora, whose grandfather built the hacienda. Her grandmother’s furniture has all been preserved.

The very gracious and regal señora Maria Elena

This structure dates back to the Jesuit days, and was one of the original buildings.

we head off to the Amazon basin today, so the may not be any updates for a while.

 

Goodbye, 2011

Only one more day in 2011. For me, 2011 was a wonderful year. Our extended family grew through marriage and the arrival of a baby, our son started his MBA at the University of Virginia, we achieved a level of financial independence that allowed me to join Mike in retirement, and we were able to spend time with people that are important to us.

We started the year traveling to Antarctica with Lindblad and National Geographic. We boarded the ship in Ushuaia, Argentina, after a short cruise on a catamaran through the Beagle Channel.

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Here is the Antarctica welcoming committee.

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