Monday, May 23, 2011

A look in

Lately, there has been a lot of coversation over the effectiveness of Peace Corps. The onset of the 50th anniversary most likely has Peace Corps under the microscope. Or it could be the outrage of the murder case in Benin. Either way, I have been debating this since my first CD asked the question, "Should PC still be in the Eastern Caribbean?". Truth is, originally I wanted to scream out "NO!". After being here for a third year, my answer has changed.

It's been three years of arguing with people about these 3 things:
1. No, I am not a tourist. (locals)
2. No, I am not just on a two year vacation sitting and drinking margaritas on the beach. (Americans)
3. Yes, I do have a REAL job. (both)

After three years, I just learn to laugh at all three. What surprised me the most before was that no matter what you tell people, they just continue to say it. People listen, yes, but have a hard time understanding.

I have said that before, and I will be saying it for the rest of my life: you can say all you want, but the only person that understands Peace Corps is Peace Corps.

On to the next....

I was recently asked by my new CD why is it I chose to extend? And what contributed to me wanting to stay? My answer was surprising. I said, "Even though there are ups and downs in service, I have learned how to have balance...and this balance is what makes me love the island." Of course, there was a little more to it than that, but that was the jist.

At the same time I was saying this my new CD has sent out a letter written by a PCV in Mali from 20 years ago. His entire letter was about the importance of creating a balance in your service. You truly are the person that decides what your service is going to be. Even 20 years ago in Mali, there was a huge expat community and plenty of opportunity to spend time with other PCVs. It is up to you if you use the time to spend with locals. It is up to you to choose how much effort you put into a project. It is up to you to gain something from the experience.

This does not mean that Peace Corps has lost its significance. If anything, it has gained some. Nowadays, people have so much to do and so little time, they forget about the importance of everything they do. This is an opportunity to remember. People have gotten so wrapped up in how much money they make and what kind of car they drive. This is an opportunity to push that aside. People lose the face to face contact with others and work behind a computer. This is an opportunity to get back into the community. People think development work means to build something, bring in new technology or introduce ways to make money. This is an opportunity to know more.

There are plenty of areas in which the PC can improve in. But let's talk about the areas that PC does well in. While they have gotten a little too big, PC has allowed more volunteers to experience whatever they choose to experience. This is where I feel the PC is not the one that is disappointing like most articles will contribute to. It is up to the individual to take what they have and make something out of it. Yes, we could use a little more training prior. However, it is impossible for development work to be traced out 100% prior to the experience.

To be continued....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hurricane Tomas

Recently I experienced my first hurricane. Here is the account for it:


CASTRIES, St Lucia – At least 12 people were confirmed dead and several communities across the St Lucia remained cut off today following widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Tomas over the weekend.

Government said that the damage caused by the storm could surpass US$100 million.

(Currently rumored to be at 300 million US$ - Nov. 17th)

The southern town of Vieux-Fort was among the worst hit by the Category One storm, while five bodies including those of the owners of a popular craft shop in Soufriere, recovered from the wreckage of their homes that were hit by landslides.

“I would say to you right now we have 12 confirmed dead…unfortunately there are still people who are buried….,” Tourism Minister Allan Chastanet said on local radio.

He said that the roads to the town, where the famous Piton Mountains and the world’s only drive in volcano are located, are impassable and that the death toll could rise further.

Prime Minister Stephenson King had earlier said that an American visitor whose named was not disclosed, drowned on a north east coast beach while a 31 year-old woman died after her vehicle ran off the road and fell down a precipice.

King said he had taken an aerial survey of the storm damage and it is clear that there had been extensive damage.

“From the air, the southern town of Vieux Fort appeared to have received the brunt of Tomas’s fury and we will have to go into this area which was still blocked by landslides and virtually inaccessible to carry out a more detailed account of the damage,” he added.

Prime Minister King said that there were other persons missing from the town and that search and rescue teams were in the affected area.

“Soufriere is devastated, everyone is locked in and no one can leave or get in by road or by phone, so that there are persons who need help but cannot be reached,” the Prime Minister noted.

“It’s not just a question of clearing these roads because there are sections of the network that have completely disappeared so that we are just going to have to find another way in and out of the town,“ he said.

King said that a preliminary assessment of the damage caused by Tomas suggested that it was likely to cost the country in excess of US$100 million.

He said he had already contacted the United States government and Work Bank which had requested that measures be put in place to sources the emergency funding.


Since then, most of the island has been without water. The dam had some major damage done to it and the water is greatly contaminated. Cholera has had a minor outbreak so far; we have yet to experience anything like Haiti. It has been a learning process for me since this is my first hurricane. I have learned the following:

1. The government does not account for enough funding in their disaster relief plan.

2. You see the best and the worst in people during and after a natural disaster.

3. It is absolutely necessary when living on a tropical island to prepare a disaster kit ahead of time complete with candles, first aid, and clean water, water, water. You can never have enough water saved up.

4. Humor really helps during the clean up efforts. Some people have the amazing ability to get straight to work to clean up with no questions asked and a humorous attitude to provide to everyone.

5. Things can always be much worse than they are.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's been too long.

It was brought to my attention by my own mother that I haven't posted on here since May. I can't believe that it has been almost six months since I last blogged. I've been living life in St. Lucia as normal as ever. Life here has become routine and predictable at most times now. I have a schedule and I'm okay with that.

I extended my contract with the Peace Corps for a third year in August. My new COS date will be November 2011. Imagine, at one point in my service, about the year mark, I was seriously debating going back to the states and now I actually put in a request to stay longer. LOL. Typical.

Since I extended my contract with the PC, I was given a month home leave - paid for by the PC. They actually treat you quite nice if you extend and you find that they are a little more relaxed on you. I have yet to visit the PC office since prior to my leave almost two months ago and they have yet to contact me. I guess they have eased up a little bit since I earned the third year.

Work is coming a little slow right now. It is the start of the school year for CARE and my counterpart for the NGO is in Trinidad on holiday leave. Since my work is different than the last two years for the majority of the work, it is dependent on the interaction with the two organizations before I begin the bulk of my work.

It is nice to be doing the majority of my work from home now. Less transportation money, and more time to do the work that I actually am signed up to do. Less busy work. The first two years, in addition to the valuable work that I was completing, I was filling the spare time with additional "busy work" just to make sure I was working. Now, I am purposely focusing on the work that I am signed up to be doing for my third year and not spending the extra time wasting my energy and steering off track.

I am very much excited for the next year and I am hoping that I get some valuable work done like the first two years.

Over the last month there has been a lot of crime increase in St. Lucia. There is a case of the missing Blackberry in my own apartment complex, about 4 shootings in my neighborhood (including one at the Prime Minister's office) and a few outside in the Castries area, quite a few robberies in my area and attempted break ins. I am not sure if it is the time of the year (with the holidays coming up) or it is actually getting worse. I am hoping it is the first of the two.

Other than that, volleyball is going well except we have a case of the missing team spirit. That is something that I miss about high school and college volleyball... we always were a family. With the teams in St. Lucia it seems that we lack the team unity that we need to succeed the way we can. First on the agenda: Come up with a team name.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

SLU DSP Volleyball

Well beach volleyball has pretty much taken up all of my spare time aside from work for the last few months... It has been some good training and preparing. My partner and I won 2nd place in the LIME/SLVBA tournament two weekends ago and a few of us are now preparing for the regional tournament next weekend. Exciting! I still have quite a few things to learn out on the sand, but I am really starting to love playing beach. Somehow it has pushed court volleyball further from my heart and taken over. :D Now I just need to start training harder and getting back into real shape. Time.

Ode to Carnival- the case of the real you

ODE to Carnival :

There once was a girl
that was just like a pearl
all shiny and sweet
from her, men eh never get any treat.

This girl wanted to dress up in satin and lace
and even put some paint on her face.
Her mother told her to keep it clean
Her pastor told her she was still just a teen.

Her father told her to wear them tights
and her boyfriend gave her just a few frights.
But when she heard the loud music so
Her hips starting rocking to and fro.

The boys on the block watched her slow wine
the girls even thought she was looking so fine.
Her movements were steady and slow to the touch
but eventually the rum got a little too much.

Her eyes were looking tight and dreary
her hair was looking sloppy and scary.
Her backside was starting to slouch
all she needed now was a couch.

She started to speak and couldn't say a word
but she could swear she was flying high as a bird.
Her smile got crooked and legs started to ease
And all of this just to be a tease.

Her clothes started falling off to the ground
all of this with all of Castries around.
She had a secret though you see
that there is something the boys couldn't free.

She was wearing a push up bra and a backside panty
everyone thought she was looking like candy.
When her bra fell of she was flopping like a slipper
and her backside was dropping just like a flipper.

So you see this pearl was really a stone
One that you might find all alone
Carnival costumes are sweet how they are
so girls don't be stretching too far.
Just be yourself- the real you is always up to par.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Impotence is not relevant

Funny things that happened to me:

- A teacher falls asleep while talking in mid-sentence during a staff meeting. Yes, it sounds like a movie.

- When giving a presentation at one of the schools in front of 50 instructors and counselors a man said "the key to achieving success is, in fact, impotence". He meant "importance", but in St. Lucia the "r's" are soft.

- (Ear muffs for this one if you are under 21) When I was leaving the office, I passed over the sky bridge on the main road in St. Lucia in the north. It had been raining for the first time in months so I did not have my umbrella. As I started to walk down the stairs, I was grossly surprised at the sight that was before me. A NAKED vagrant "jerking the chicken" was going at it quite reverently. He was wide out there in the open for all to see. I presumed that he wanted the free lube. The man who came down the stairs after me had to talk him back into his senses.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I am still speechless when it comes to this full grown cat that showed up on my porch last week. It's weird! I have never in my life seen a male cat come into another house with an already existing male cat. Amyys has always been protective about his home and his mother and yet or some reason he has no problem with this cat. Odd. Well, I'm not sure what is going to happen when I leave back for the states. Am I even able to bring back two cats realistically speaking? I don't think that this cat is going anywhere anytime soon so I might just have to.

Amyys is the one on the left and Siren is the one on the right.

Yes, I am the old cat lady. Thanks for reminding me.