Friday, December 05, 2008

Another Peace Corps Blog

Hey everyone out there in Never Never Land.

Plenty of stuff since T-day and plenty coming up.

This past weekend, a few of the us in the village rescued and reclaimed some of the old steel pan drums that have been left to rot in a dilapidated shed. Perhaps 9+ years ago, there was a steel pan group--Pan Vibes--in the village. For reasons I am still researching, they broke apart. I am trying to reform some of the pan activity and fortunately there are other revival efforts going on within SVG. If I can prove there is sufficient community interest, we may be able to tap into deeper resources and expand our efforts. So far, all we have are 7 rusty and out-of-tune steel pan drums. Tomorrow afternoon, several of the kids, myself, and any adults (they seem to be the harder ones to motivate for now) will start sanding off the rust and trying to oil up the drums. Tuning will be a much harder issue and we'll need some technical help for that.

I've met with a member of a nearby Catholic Church parish; they own an old library/church building in the village that has been abandoned for quite awhile. The structure needs lots of work and I'm negotiating an opportunity to use the site as an annex extension for the pan music and other hands-on craft works and activities.

Wednesday night after some of my other meetings, I went down to our beachfront with a few of the guy--to one of the local bars set for tourists. There I met a few new faces and listened to some really cool jams by a few steel pan players, who happened to be catering tunes for tourists from 3 anchored yachts. I stayed up there for a couple hours and had a good time...they even had me play a cow bell. I'm no musician by any means, but they seemed excited just to have me playing along with them. Too bad I didn't have my camera with me, however they are a usual group down there and I'm sure to go back in the future.

Meeting Meeting Meetings seem key this week. I met with one of our former trainers for tea and got a bit of a history lesson of my area. Turns out he used to live here for many many years--1 of which was the principal of our primary school.

Further planning for the tutoring/homework club is underway. I'm trying to get some of the local teachers together so I can get their input and advice--but it has been like pulling teeth. Seems the closer to Christmas we get....the harder it is to get willing attention. Either way, the homework club is starting up with their next term--January 5th. I also want to see about some sort of study camp over the break--just to keep them fresh and have something to do instead of wander the streets

The tourism group I'm a part of is still doing their usual thing and we don't cover much ground. However, we were reassured that our beachfront area of Cumberland Bay will should begin construction of the new tourism and recreation facilities in early January. Our community is very divided on certain aspects of the project. As of the moment, there is a large community square that is used for concerts and festivals. The project will be getting rid of the square and combining its use the sports field into a 'rec' field. There are many here that don't like that idea--myself included.

Recently joined an adolescence group that meets at our local nurse's clinic. Yeah, I know I'm not a youngster anymore...but I hope to get in well with them, since the youth of the village are the real fuel for my efforts of volunteerism and NGO activity for the future. Apathy is deadly.

Went to a sports association meeting...we're almost done with our football (soccer) competition here on the North Leeward side. The finals are this upcoming Sunday and there is expected to be a rather large social bash afterwards. ^_^

I've spent quite a bit of time in Kingstown today and yesterday on my latest little side project. It stems from kids approaching me with homework--this time around with civics questions. I knew the answers, but wanted to show them where they could find their own solutions. We went to the Spring library to help them with questions such as identifying the names of current politicians and positions within the parliament. I was appalled to find there was absolutely no information on St Vincent and the Grenadines. Sure, we have a very small and limited library, but I figured the easiest thing and most logical thing would be to have information regarding one's home nation. Therefore most of my past 2 days has had me running all over to find several of the ministries and departments and attempt to collect print information that would serve nicely in a Vincentian reference section of our library. Many pounds of paperwork and ping-pong attempts to locate the right offices has lead to a somewhat successful venture. Some of the offices I talked to are still putting together info packages to pick up at a later day.

On a completely different tangent--some of the people here say I'm looking a bit thin. Now, I am getting lots of walking down and sweat more than I did back home. I would like to say that I don't eat as much processed foods as I did back home--but that's arguable since I tried to eat rather well then too. However, I weighed 183 lbs when I first got to the Caribbean and 173 when I finished our 7 weeks of training. I visited my medical officer today to get weighed and measure out at 166 now--another 7 pounds for a total of 17 since coming here just over 3 months ago. Yes, I had a talk with her to make sure that I'm ok and I don't want anyone to fret about it.

More banana farming early Sunday morning, yeah!
Somebody just gave me a bag of 5-finger fruit (starfruit) earlier today. There certainly are advantages to living in a more rural community with lots of fruit trees. ^_^

Oh yeah, just about EVERYBODY is gearing up for Christmas. They have a festival called 9 mornings that involves all sorts of activities and I haven't met person here yet that isn't psyched up for it. Can't say too much about it yet--since this will be my first. Read from the links to find out more--of course I'll add my own thoughts as I experience 9 mornings for myself.
But holiday fever has gripped the radio networks and I can almost guarantee that there is at least one, if not more, station at any given time that is playing various Christmas music. I don't recall radio stations doing that back home....not nearly this much.

I see now that my post is very....'all over the place'. Oh well--lots to cover and I'm tired.
G'night all.
Stay well and be happy,
ciao tutti
~your local wannabe jedi