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.
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.
Today a lot of people were feeling ill. Some may have been affected by the shot. Others may have been affected by the tap water they drank the last two weeks. Even the training staff was feeling ill maybe due to a meal.
For my last dinner with the Clauzels David and I were served tuna, kingfish, green beans with carrots, and peas with rice. We had jello and banana cake for dessert.
We’ve been fed well here in St. Lucia and I’ve felt well. I’ve eaten almost everything I’ve been served except for the lunches. The only lunch I’ve eaten are the Johnny-Cakes with ham, parts of the J-Cakes with cheese, and a couple of cold fish cakes. I’ve thrown the sandwiches away at lunchtime.
Even though I’ve been drinking the tap water at the school where our training was held, I’ve not had diarrhea or any illness. I felt feverish after the typhoid shot but otherwise have been healthy. I’ve even been perky the last couple of days.
Yesterday was the last small group discussion of phase 3. We have been having these discussions to review our inventories of community analysis, personal objectives and other topics. The whole purpose is to assess our own commitment to the Peace Corps. So far no one has dropped out and I for one have no plans to drop out.
In a few weeks I should be sending out a postcard to Harvard Law School to get information. I plan on going to law school, and I hope it’s Harvard, when I finish my two years in the Peace Corps. In some ways that is helping me to make it through because I do not want to have an early termination on my record and I want the full readjustment allowance.
Yesterday I spent the most money ever in St. Lucia. I went to Kentucky Fried Chicken with Don and Sue for lunch and joined a large group of volunteers at Key Largo Pizzeria in Rodney Bay. The prices were 8.75 for KFC and $17 for a pizza. Most of us were sore from our typhoid shot. Denise and Lee, two current volunteers, were also there as well.
written on Aug 3
All our flights have been taken care of by the Peace Corps training staff, but all of our flights to and from Dominica have been plagued with troubles.
First in Antigua after a confusing customs procedure and a long check-in at the LIAT counter, we arrived at Melville while all the Dominica volunteers were at Canefield waiting for us.
The second problem came in our plans to leave for St. Lucia training. We were first scheduled to leave 8am on Sunday but then the flight was switched from Canefield to a later flight at Melville. Because two volunteers were on stand-by we all got bumped and stayed at the Floral Gardens Guest House near Marigot.
The most recent problem has been trying to leave St. Lucia. We were scheduled to leave for Canefield on Saturday in two groups – a morning group and an afternoon, my group. Then we had to have 4 leave Friday and the rest on Sunday. I was going to leave Sunday until I found out today that now, I will be leaving Saturday with a couple others. I doubt that this will be the last change.
September is the month we start teaching. Today we heard about our pay. We get a living allowance of $1350 EC per month. This includes $24 US for travel and leave. We will get an amount equal to this to settle in on our island of assignment.
We also have been getting walking-around allowances of $10 EC a day. We received $100.00 in Dominica and $130 for St. Lucia. From what I hear the homestays have been getting $50 a day to take care of us. Madeline was talking about how she hasn’t gotten the rest yet.
In our handbook they have suggested percents for us in our budget. One thing I plan to do is save 10% in a savings account. We were told today that our pay would be placed in a checking account. Some volunteers said the checking did not earn interest so I plan on having a savings account for what I am not using.
We also get $200 per month as a readjustment allowance when we return to the states. Half of that I’ve asked to be placed in savings bonds.
It was hot and sweaty making it very difficult for me to sleep with all the sea water. I did get to brush my teeth before bed and wash a little bit. Because it was so hot, Madeline thought it was a sign of an earthquake or hurricane coming.
There have been two earthquakes since I came to the Caribbean. One was on July 12 while we were in a taxi coming from Melville Airport to Roseau. None of us felt it. The other was here on St. Lucia last week. It was in the middle of the night and although something woke me up, I am not sure it was the earthquake. I thought I felt the bed shake that night but again was not conscious enough to be certain.
The earthquakes may be related to St. Lucia’s volcanic activity which has increased recently and enough to change its status. Both St. Lucia and Dominica have volcanic activity and sulphur lakes but Dominica’s volcano is dormant, I think. This does not mean it is dead.
Either way I think the biggest concern is hurricanes. This concern will last until September.
I did not see any accidents today but did hear that yesterday’s accidents resulted in two deaths. Today was Sunday and it was a much quieter day.
To start the day Dave, Hugo, and I went to church. We met Catherine and Betty when we arrived at 7:30 mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The mass was much more typical of the mass at St. Hedwig’s [my church in Kingston, PA where I grew up] with the organ music and old white priest giving a mass shorter than the one in Grand Bay. Near the end of the mass David pointed out that there was a bat underneath my kneeler -right next to my foot. He pointed out later that there was a worm coming out of its head.
After church we ate breakfast, napped until noon, had lunch, and went to Vigie Beach. Catherine went along and while were there we saw Bill Gaynor, Carole, Brad, and Em.
When we arrived home we snacked, watched wrestling and Madeline getting excited over it. The water went off again today and returned barely near bed time.
Celebrations and relaxation occurred this weekend in the form of the “jump-up” and a picnic at the beach.
Last night David and I took a transport to a Texaco station to meet Mikki, Jay, and their homestay near where they lived. We then got another transport to Gros Islet’s “jump-up,” a party with music from huge stereos in the street and people selling food and drink. There were also some restaurant/bars that had their own music and enclosed dance floors. I impressed a few people with my dancing which was nothing too outstanding. I suppose I just exceeded their expectations.
The next day we left after 11AM for the Pigeon Point Beach above Gros Islet. The water was warm, clear, and beautiful. Madeline brought breadfruit salad which I had a small hand in preparing. I diced it and peeled some skin. The peeling was difficult for me with the knife.
Almost everyone was there. Bill Gaynor was not and David Matheny chose to explore the island. On the way back we saw two accidents on the highway.
Today in training we were warned about how rumors could bring us a separation if the rumors are about Peace Corps Volunteers using drugs. Richard Pyle explained this during his overview of policy in the Eastern Caribbean.
In addition to that and the creole lesson, we heard about the experience of a deaf Peace Corps volunteer, planning lessons in the EC, and we had to sing during our report on our language instruction. We sang the National Anthem of Dominica and a little ditty about how sweet Domnik is.
In the middle of all these activities Jay and I walked around town looking at all the stores. We went to an art gallery with all types of paintings about St. Lucia by St. Lucians. I bought two of the most expensive postcards ($1.50 EC).
Beside this nice, clean, organized gallery there are many other stores in St. Lucia. The supermarkets are well organized and products seem plentiful everywhere.
To celebrate the end of the week’s sessions a third of the PCVs went to the Pink Elephant for drinks. Most were Dominican.