Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From Shelby's Blog

Shelby is a Peace Corps Volunteer working in St. Vincent. Her blog is at

tuesday, november 11, 2008

Hello again! Sorry I haven't posted in a while - I didn't have a lot of access to internet after I moved out from my host family. As some of you may have guessed, I am writing you using my NEW INTERNET CONNECTION! Be prepared for some serious blog-age.

So, let me update you a little on what I have been doing the past couple of weeks. I have been working full time at Emmanuel High School. We are doing reading assessments right now, which are pretty time consuming. We have to assess each student individually and each assessment takes between 10 - 20 minutes. The assessments consist of 6 passages, which the students read aloud and 4 - 8 comprehension questions per passage. We have finished with one Form 1 class (7th grade) and one Form 3 class (9th grade), but we still have one Form 2 (8th grade) and three Form 3 classes to do! As each class has between 35 and 40 students, this is quite a task! The nice thing about the evaluations is that they allow us to identify and group students who need a little more help - starting in January, I will be taking those groups out of class to work with them.

I also began working at the Marriaqua Government School this past Monday. I will be going in Monday mornings to work with the 2nd and 3rd grade students. I will be working mainly on literacy there as well.
Last Thursday and Friday, I attended an HIV/AIDS workshop in town. We discussed ways to educate the public about HIV prevention and I am going to use that information to work with an adolescent health group that I hope to re-start soon. The group was begun by the PCV before me, and I hope that the members are interested in continuing to meet.

On the 1st of November, I went with my host family to Union Island, one of the Grenadines, where we watched a Pan Against Crime performance. The ride over on the boat was 4 1/2 hours each way! It was also really choppy, but fortunately, I slept most of the way (otherwise, I might have been seasick for 9 hours!). Union Island is a really beautiful place, but unfortunately we didn't get there until the late afternoon, so I didn't get to explore too much before dark. It's really an interesting comparison to St. Vincent - I thought that St. Vincent was pretty un-populated, but when compared to Union Island, it is like New York City!

I think that all the Grenadines are pretty sparsely populated, although I expect they are hopping during tourist season. Of the 120,000 people who live in SVG, I think only about 15,000 live on the Grenadines. And about 30 - 40,000 live in Kingstown. I am posting pictures of Union Island and also of Bequia, where I spent my independence holiday. SVG Independence was October 27th, 1979, so the country is 29 years old (just 7 years older than me!). Next year will be the 30th anniversary of independence and the whole year will be spent in celebration! The government is inviting all the SVG ex-pats back to the island and there will be festivals and celebrations all year long. I'm really excited to be a part of that!

This weekend, two PCVs are having a wedding ceremony in Bequia. Their service dates were pushed up at the last minute so they didn't have time for a ceremony before they left to serve in SVG, just an appointment at the courthouse. I think this arrangement is even better, though - where better to have a wedding than on a beautiful Grenadine Island? We were able to rent two apartments to hold everyone, and the tourist season doesn't start until early December, so we got cheaper rates! We'll be there Saturday and Sunday and most of us will return early Monday to our jobs.

I have to give a shout-out to our new president-elect, Barrack Obama. We were able to congregate in Kingstown for the election (courtesy of the American Embassy, who also provided free food - we will go almost anywhere for free food!). It was a great night and I for one am hopeful and excited about what the next 4 years will bring.

I also have to give a shout-out to the 4th graders at Tomahawk Elementary School in Overland Park. I am corresponding with them through letters and through this blog and I am really excited to tell them of my adventures and to hear all about theirs. Keep up the hard work in school and always be excited about life - with those tools, you can do absolutely anything.

posted by shelby at 10:01 am