Although I sat most of the day there was a lot of action for me today. Bill’s alarm rang before 5am a few hours after I finally stopped tossing and turning. I wasn’t sure what it was and tried to go back to sleep after he shut it off. Luckily he told me it was time to get up.
Group leaders had to be in the lobby at 5:30 and I was in charge of Dominican volunteers. My job involved handing out passports, tickets, and tips.
Sometime after 6 we made it on the bus and arrived at the airport to struggle and push our luggage to check-in. Some people were worried about the weight of the luggage but we had no problem. One person from St. Vincent had their luggage out too early -they were to leave later in the day – and it ended up at the airport with us. Luckily it was noticed and sent back.
We flew to San Juan and then Antigua where our unity began to dissolve when the independent minds wandered off without notice.
We made it to Dominica around 5:40 p.m. It was NOT the airport the greeters expected. After customs searched our luggage, we took a ride lasting more than an hour through the forests of Dominica. It was totally green except for the blue stockings protecting bananas from insects.
We arrived and unloaded and met MaryAnn, Felix, and Judy. We received our itinerary and locations of work. It turned out I was going to Portsmouth alone, the only volunteer there. I was initially disappointed to be separated from the group but changed my mind after weighing the pluses and minuses.
We were served dinner which was very bland. I enjoyed the rice and beef the most. We also had good juice, a choice between cherry, guava, and passion fruit.
I ended the day packing for the next four weeks of training for my 2 yrs of service.
July 12, 1990
After eating a cinnamon roll and orange drink this morning we had a full day of Peace Corps training. We were told about the average age of our group, 46, and were given health tips for living on our island.
I got to know a few of the fellow volunteers going to Dominica. Brad, who just graduated from college, will be teaching science. Nikki and Jay will be teaching home exercise and math respectively. They are married and are a very nice couple. Bill joined us and Sandy who is finishing her service in Dominica for dinner at the Bayside Mall. It is a long walk to the mall and we were late because Sandy was kept busy by trying to make an exchange.
She told us that you can get HBO & Showtime on Dominica. It sounds pretty easy but we must also deal with mice and roaches.
We ended the night’s sessions with a talk on diversity and Brad, Mikki, and Jay and I played 500 Rummy. Jay won.
July 10 1990
The flight left the airport in Avoca 15 minutes late due to technical problems. The plane made it to Washington/Dulles in good time.
I called Clay but he wasn’t at work yet. I guess I could have called him at home, but I didn’t think about Clay being willing to call what may have been long distance from his home.
The second flight was on time but I had to sit next to two boneheads. One sounded like he had a phony British accent and the other sounded like “Rain Man” or a football player. They were going to the Bahamas and I was happy that I wasn’t.
I got my bags after the flight and took a $14 taxi ride to the hotel where my roommate had already arrived.
Bill will be an environmental educator on St. Kits. He is from New Jersey and went to the University of Vermont.
Today’s sessions started about 3 and lasted until 7. Some of the Dominican PCVs and I went to Bayside Mall for pizza.
9 July 1990