August 6, 1990

I met with everyone this morning after a hard night’s sleep during which I sweat enough to be totally wet. Our complete group took a transport up to Trafalgar to Fet Kai Che, a festival to celebrate crop-over.

On our way up the hill we saw the Leathums standing in front of a house. We waved to them and Jay, Mikki, and I stopped to talk to them while everyone else headed for the Falls. Mrs. Leathum went up the hill with us to see the produce display and the art exhibit. We noticed Don and Bill had already returned from the Falls. 

Before heading for the Falls ourself we stopped at Mary Ann’s. The walk to the falls was long but worth it. The falls were high and there were huge rocks below where currents went through and pools of cold water gathered. Jay walked further down and cooled off in the water. We met a Canadian student from UVA down there.

After a hot walk back to the village, we had some chicken, pop corn, and soft drinks at the fete.

Before the day was over, Don agreed to take over Laurie Pratt’s house.

August 6


August 5, 1990

The meal at noon provided the major excitement today. After eating portions of everything on my plate, I noticed a small, white grub worm crawling next to my rice. The expression on my face was enough for Bill to ask me if I swallowed a bone. I wish it were only that. My appetite was ruined. I finished my chicken and plantains but did not eat anything else.

Bill said it was probably nothing to worry about. It was probably just a worm similar to the ones in apples. He conjectured it may have come from the lettuce. I had some lettuce. He did not and he did not see anything crawling on his plate.

I don’t think I ate any of the worms. At least I hope I didn’t. I checked our PC medical book, Where There Is No Doctor. There were no pictures exactly like the worms I saw. I am still very nervous but will just have to wait and see.

Catherine and Yolanda arrived. They called to make arrangements for a trip tomorrow to the Trafalgar fete celebrating the end of the harvest. I also talked to Mikki, Jay, Brad, and Don today.

August 5

Dominica St. Lucia

August 4, 1990

Today was a day without any early activities and I slept until 6 when I heard Dave getting ready to leave. I joined him for breakfast without changing from my pajamas. We watched TV because we wanted to see if there were any last minute delays or accelerations of flights. There was a flight whose time was moved up 2 hrs. this week. Madeline was emotional. As Dave left she had a tear in her eye and David kissed and hugged her goodbye.

While they were at the airport, I listened to the Time on their stereo and had room in the living room to exercise. I also called Susan to let her know I should be taken off the list of people who did not need a ride. I learned early this morning that the Clauzels were not planning on taking me to the airport. The day before I told Susan they would, contrary to what Madeline told Susan.

The Time

When they came back they knew. Susan was at the airport leaving for Barbados and told them about the message I left for her. They told me they would take me.

Before I went to the airport with them Catherine and I met Sue at the market and I bought them a gift, an ice pick. She said they needed one last night. When I gave it to her, she had a couple of tears in her eyes and kissed me. I returned a kiss before they left me at the airport.

The flight was direct, late, and ended with an unexpectedly smooth landing. Brad and Mary Ann and another PCV who was in Trinidad during the coup met us and took us to our newest homestay. Her name is Molly Fontaine. 

While Bill and I were getting to know her, he spoke a lot of patois, I only said “wi.” Bill and I took a walk after dinner and got to know each other better. I found out he was married.

I came back and read my magazines.  Controversy was one of them. I had received two issues in the mail, one I already had, and a letter from the Eastern [High School] gang [where I taught before Peace Corps]. I was very happy to receive some mail from friends.

August 4

Dominica St. Lucia

July 26, 1990

Television is relatively new to the masses down here. More and more houses in the Caribbean have their own television in color with cable. They pay about $40 EC (approximately $16 US). However the price includes a movie channel like HBO or Showtime. Wrestling and Soap Operas are the most popular presentations. 

“The Young and the Restless” and the CBS soaps that get shown are watched at the snackette near the Shillingford house in Grand Bay by everyone, young and old, male and female, in the nearby neighborhood. Wrestling gets watched by males and females. Mrs. Leathum was watching one night while we were at the house and seemed genuinely interested as if it were real. Everyone else there, Brad, Jay, and Mikki, laughed and I confessed that I was a fan. Mr. Shillingford also watched it when I was at his house and asked me about my favorite wrestlers. Mrs. Leathum said they’ve put on wrestling shows in Roseau. I don’t know who came. Jay told Mr. Leathum that it was fake when he asked Jay. Pat Klinger, a Dominican PCV, said they believe it is real because it is on TV.

Catherine must have joined me at the beach. Pigeon Point is in the background.

Not about about my day in St. Lucia, but I did write at the top of the page: went to Vigie Beach.

Relaxing after a hard day of training on Vigie beach near Couples hotel in St. Lucia. July 1990

written on July 26


July 23, 1990

I slept on and off but overall pretty well until 5AM when Brad’s alarm clock went off. Don was in the shower again so I waited in line. I let Catherine use the toilet before I took my shower with some bug. Of course it was cold but it was a shower hose.

I went back to my room and used the sink to prepare for the day. I wore a wrinkled shirt, black pants, white socks, and my Reeboks. I forgot my toothpaste and had to wait for Brad to get up before I brushed my teeth.

After waiting a few moments, we had a breakfast of juice, coffee, and toast and loaded into the transport to the airport. We all made it on this time. We left late and had to get off the plane in Martinique.

Yolanda, Bill, Catherine, Don, Brad, and Sue loading into the transport at the Floral Gardens guest house. July 1990

While we were waiting for another plane, I bought water and a danish. It cost me about $3 US. I also paid for Don’s beer ($2 US) because he only had coins with which he paid me. We got back on the flight and took a 15 minute trip to St. Lucia where Felix was waiting.

We received our spending money and rode to the school where the training was. The others were on a scavenger hunt and we went off for refreshments.

After 12 we headed back to the school, listened to the results of the scavenger hunt for various cites in St. Lucia. We signed up for interviews and received T/D shots.

Following these activities we went for a walk and ate at “Flintstones.” I had chicken, bread, and lime juice. I had soursop ice cream for dessert which tasted just like Brad’s Passion Fruit ice cream which tasted just like vanilla.

The training session resumed with skits. Ours was the shortest and least telling of the trainees’ adventures in their countries. We also had an explanation for the creole training.

After training Dave Matheny and I were picked up by our Homestays for St. Lucia. They are a retired couple who lived in England many years. We got the chance to watch the Bush announcement of his Supreme Court nominee and had tuna for dinner.

July 23


July 22, 1990

The move to St. Lucia started with me removing clothes from the line. The clothes were extremely wrinkled after sitting in a hot washing machine during the afternoon. Frustrated, I ironed them and packed everything away.

After packing, we said our goodbyes to the Shillingfords, gave them our gift (Lennox Honeychurch’s Island Culture), and walked down for breakfast. We said our goodbyes to the Leathums and gave them their gift (a map of Dominica).

We finally picked up, got our suitcases and left for a spaghetti dinner at APCD MaryAnn Murray’s house. I met some more PCVs and RPCVs who returned to Dominica. Tony was working on a masters through Pitt and attended McDowell High School [where my niece and nephew went to school] since he was originally from Erie [PA]. His dad is in charge of hiring.

Brad, Don, and Maryann at the spaghetti dinner at Maryann’s house in Trafalgar. July 1990

We left Trafalgar for the airport to catch our flight to St. Lucia. Two of the volunteers were bumped and eventually we were all bumped and taken to a guest house not far from Melville Hall Airport. We were given very beautiful rooms and a beautiful meal.

The meal was a choice of chicken, beef, or fish. I chose chicken. We were served in addition to the chicken, a dasheen puff, rice, carrots, lettuce, banana salad, a cucumber slice, and beets. For dessert I had fruit cake which was fresh and delicious.

After that the manager showed us the craft shop. They had hats like the one Catherine made Brad and Sue. However they charged $25 EC fro the hats. Although I liked the thermometer I decided to pass on souvineers [sic] and went to bed.

July 22


July 21, 1990

We went for a late breakfast after ironing, showering, and putting in laundry. Mikki and Jay had already gone into town house-hunting so Brad and I went back to the Shillingfords’ house for the morning. I read my international version of Newsweek and watched cartoons with Devi. I got to see “Beetlejuice.” The Shillingfords decided to all go to town and leave Brad and me on our own. Mr. Shillingford told me if I had a daughter with a black woman it would be the same color as his daughter Sheree. Mr. Shillingford proudly told Brad and me once before that his grandfather was white.

After they left we watched TV including “The Naked Gun” on HBO and went to lunch. After playing cards and meeting with Don and Sue we went to Don’s homestay to get Sue’s and Brad’s hats made by Catherine of Grand Bay. We also walked to the bay and got our feet wet and other parts. My shorts and shirt are still damp. Sue saw a scorpion on the coast.

Brad and I went to the Shillingfords because I had to hang up clothes which were no longer being washed once the water went off. Teresa hung them up although I’m not positive they were thoroughly rinsed. We went for dinner played cards some more and I lost again. We got the chance to watch wrestling with Mrs. Leathum. She was really into it. It was TBS wrestling. Brad and I left to get back and prepare for tomorrow’s move to St. Lucia.

July 21


July 20, 1990

After finding some dry clothes on the line I dressed up for today’s activities. Brad and I left for breakfast on foot. We left after eating custard, bananas, bread, juice, and meat.

Upon arriving at the school we had a combined class (all 9 of us) in patois and a lesson in singing the National Anthem. I was the worst singer of the nine, but I figure if I sing it loud enough it won’t sound too bad in St. Lucia.

After that we got on transport to town. I sat on a block behind a rasta whose locks got closer to my mouth as he leaned back in the overcrowded bus.

When we made it to town I exchanged some money, bought postcards, a t-shirt, and flags to wave when we sing the national anthem of Dominica. Our planned session on family relationships was canceled when the speaker did not arrive. I went shopping again for plastic shoes (Toyotas in green, yellow, and red) and the papers with the Peace Corps articles. We listened to the current PCVs’ suggestions on housing at 1 pm. 

After those words of wisdom, I played around with the spreadsheets and database programs on the Peace Corps Macintosh. Brad and I then went shopping for gifts for our homestays. We bought a map for the Leathums and a book for the Shillingfords.

Mikki and Jay joined for another cramped ride home. This time Mikki almost didn’t make it without puking. Mr. Shillingford was home and offered us beers when we arrived. Brad and I were let known that alcohol-drinking was the proper, manly thing to do in Dominica. I had a beer but Brad doesn’t drink. Mr. Shillingford was amused that I could drink about 4 beers with friends compared to his 20.

We ran down for dinner shortly after and then Brad, Sue, and I visited Don. I had an attack of diarrhea and [had] some tea to cure it. We saw Don’s homestay, Catherine, make a hat. We finally made it home and happily because tonight there were lights and power.

July 20


July 19, 1990

After a horrible night’s sleep of roosters (starting at 3AM) and Sheree crying we woke up and went to breakfast early in order to get to Rouseau in time for a Portsmouth transport. The transport left around 9 and we arrived at the Portsmouth Secondary School after 10.

Brad and I gave our qualifications to Mrs. Murdock who will be leaving the position of principal soon to travel with her husband, the former APCD of Dominica. She filled us in about the school, introduced us to Brian, who is a Math teacher there, and gave us the books we will be using. They seem very easy to me. Mr. Fabien was also there.

After that meeting, he drove us to the Catholic Presbytary, where we met Father Reggie. Like Athlene Murdock he promised to keep an eye open for housing possibilities for us.

Following that meeting we had a long wait for transport back to Rouseau. On Thursdays Rouseau used to close down in the afternoon and people are still in the habit of not going to town. Thursday is also the day the banana boats are loaded.

Finally we made it back for the rest of a dry speech on politics in Dominica. The speaker was so tall he almost walked into the overhead fan. Jay gave away the sandwiches Mrs. Leathum prepared for us but we didn’t take. I had some Kool-Aid at the Peace Corps office and a soda and Milo bar in Portsmouth.

We made it back to Grand Bay in a minivan that at one time held 20 or more people. We hung the clothes that were in the washer and put in one more load. Toni invited me up to his snackette and gave me a Coke. I also got a lesson on politics.

I left for dinner which included Macaroni & Cheese, played “Up & Down” and won my first time playing, by candlelight. The lights went off again.

written on July 20


July 18, 1990

Wednesday started with a patois lesson on verbs and tenses and the days of the week. Interviews were going on with our APCD MaryAnn Murray. I had to wait for an hour for it. It was primarily a chance for her to get to know us better. At lunchtime we hd tuna and tasted fried breadfruit which is similar to french fries. After lunch we heard from Chief Education Officer Anthony Lockhart. Mrs. Shillingford confirmed what he said. We learned that their education system is only for the best and the standards are much higher than those in the U.S. We worked in the cemetery from 5-6:30 moving stones from the lawn, cutting plant growth, and raking up dead grass. Bill, Sue, Mikki, Jay, Brad and I made some small improvements. During our dinner which included a custard and Kool-Aid the lights went out. Apparently they usually go out on Thursdays because of the work on the hydro-electric plant but they also went out .. today.

written on July 19