Saturday, September 27, 2008

In regards to other blogs!

Ps. The other blogs that I am following (on my site it says that I am following them) are good sources of information about what life is like in St. Lucia, in addition to my own. Many times people write about an experience or a way of life in a way that is better described than my own blgos will do, or I just forget to write about it all together, so people PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read the other's blogs as well! Time to finish laundry and pray it doesn't rain when they are outside on the line!

So much to say, so little time!

So yesterday marked the mid-point of PST (pre-service training). I am both excited and nervous for the next three weeks to come. Assuming that we all make it through the seven weeks of PST, we are sworn-in on, funny enough, Ry's birthday: October 22nd. We move into our own places on October 19th, two days before the swearing-in. I love, love, love my family here but it will be nice to live on my own again, as I have grown quite accustomed to it back in the states. I found out where I will be living (not the exact house) but approx area, and I am pleasantly surprised. I am looking forward to moving closer to the town in which I will be working, Gros Islet.

The mid-training interview went pretty well, I would say. Just as most of my instructors have said in the past, I am quiet in class. Ha ha, what a surprise. I have never been one to be the loud and questionning student, so i am completely aware of being the quiet one. It just takes time. No worries for me.

I began to coach a futbol team at the primary school in Gros Islet on Tuesday, with the PE instructor, Mr. Long. He is only 25, but very knowledgeable in many areas. When it comes to discipling these energetic youth, I am taking notes Jamal! Not only do these kids have LOTS of energy, but they are anxious to get started playing the game. This is both good and bad. It is very hard for me to get them to do the basics. They are constantly trying to be "fancy" and do the more advanced stuff (which I lack at myself), but the basics are the most important part of the game! If you cannot pass straight nor dribble well, then your game is going to be incredibly weak. How do I get it across to these kids that I am trying to make them better players when all they want to do is show-off? That is why I am taking notes from Mr. Long. Though he has only been the PE instructor for a year, he knows how to talk to the kids. With my lack of experience in coaching St. Lucian youth, I will just have to try a variety of tactics to see which one works the best! I made the mistake of wearing a white shirt to practice the other day... it was raining and oh boy, was I dirty by the end of it. Reminder for next time, though the only other tshirt that I brought was one from Lifelong AIDS alliance that promotes condom usage... these kids might be a little young for that. Hmmmmm.

That is another project that I want to get involved with though, healthy lifestyles... in not only sporting but also AIDS and HIV education. I miss working at Lifelong, and I really hope to get involved in the work here... to a much greater extent. So, during the "3-month integration period" I will most likely be finding the right person that I can work with in healthy lifestyle education. Perhaps a few camps or classes can be held...endless possibilities I tell ya! So I am not quite set on this area of work quite yet, but there is interest.

I went out last weekend with my cousin, my brother-in-law, and his friends to the Gros Islet street fair. It was crazy! There was food, music and drinking. It was a lot of fun, and I'm sure that living in Gros Islet, I will find myself there on Friday nights quite often. It really did help me to get to know more people in the community though. It was good to see what all the "youth" of the community do on a weekend! I met a couple of people, which I have been talking to since... hopefully this is the start of making friends in St. Lucia??? The dancing, oh the dancing in St. Lucia... "wining" as they call it here... is very, uhmmm, fun to watch? :P I danced with Trevor, a new friend, and apparently I dance much like a St. Lucian. And apparently that is a good thing!

My brother and sister and cousin are flying to Canada next Sunday. :( They won't be back until Nov. 9th, which by then I will be moved out. It is going to be weird living alone in St. Lucia!

This morning I went to the Grow Well Flea Market Sale. Yay!!! I will be working with Grow Well Inc and the CARE program more in detail after the training. Today, though, I attempted to help a little but there were so many people there in such a small room, I really didn't have any capability of helping; other than making sure that people did not steal things. There was a ton of clothes there, some nice. I got a few things which only cost me a tiny amount of money... it was awesome!! My host mom found some nice things as well. Apparently the flea markets are big in St. Lucia... I am loving it!

Working with Grow Well on Thursday was interesting. The CARE program is such a great program, I am excited to be working with them. The program incorporates emphasis on developmental lessons rather than the typical lessons. For instance, Thursday we discussed Counseling (and what direction to take during an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy), Spirituality, Rap Session, and Public Speaking. It was interesting to see that during the Public Speaking, the students were asked to get up in front of the class and give an impromptu speech! What?!?! I was scared for them. Though after the first couple of tries, the students really began to get good at it. I admired their abilities to do that, as I am not a fan of public speaking myself. There is only one girl in the class, but I am going to try my best to get her to come out of her shell. We played monopoly during the break with the coordinator's 4 year old daughter. It was probably one of the best times during my stay so far in St. Lucia!!!

The boys (which are averaging an age of 16 but look 18-20 (yikes!)) taught me how to play St. Lucia-style dominoes. I won a couple of times then moved on. There are some kids in the class who like to draw, so I am thinking about maybe some arts and crafts that I can do! I finally invested in some colored pencils last week, and now I have spent some time drawing. Some of the students are really good at it. I'm not sure how long I am going to be helping Mr. Long with the futbol team, or how I am going to schedule the activities. It looks like I will be having to juggle them during the afternoon, unless CARE wants to fit them in during their lessons. Who knows! I'm sure it will become clearer as the weeks move on.

I am currently on my fourth book, and speeding through it quite fast. If anyone feels the need to send me some books, I would appreciate them, though I do have a library in the PC local office, I am sure I will get through all those pretty fast !! :D So one good thing is that I will be living SO close next to one of the only gyms and class centres on St. Lucia!! I'm still not sure how expensive it is, but I am hoping that maybe they need some help with classes or something and might give the poor ol' Peace Corps volunteer a break! I'm hoping that I can meet some people there to branch out communications for healthy lifestyles classes and creating sporting teams for youth and adults...

So it sounds like tonight I am going to a Beach party in Choc, tomorrow I am going to Laborie for a charity BBQ... I'm keeping pretty busy. Next Saturday we are going hiking with Justin, a PCV 77, which is awesome! Yay! I am hoping that I get to shadow one of the 77s so I can see what projects they are working on. It sounds like he had the same issues that I had coming in as far as being productive; but apparently most volunteers do. Since I have been here though, I find myself adopting the more of "it will come" perspective. I hear people say "it will come" all the time, and guess what, it does come! Just like the futbol team work, it came. So give it time, and it will come!

Other than that, lavi bon! (life is good in patois).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Message of the Day

On the radio this morning, the message was :

Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional. Give that a thought... I'll write more later about this...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Carrots, Eggs, and coffee beans...

Some friends of mine pointed out this story to me about a carrot, an egg, and a coffee bean. Very motivational for my service as a PCV and my life throughout the years...

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up; she was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as though once one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first she placed the carrots, in the ceond she placed the eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs put and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and she noted that they were soft. The mother than asked her daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked,

"What does it mean, mother?" Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks at your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the cofee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?