St. Lucia

July 29, 1990

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.

July 29

St. Lucia

July 28, 1990

David Matheny, Antigua volunteer, and Madeline Clauzzel, our homestay, in St. Lucia. July 1990

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.

July 28

St. Lucia

July 27, 1990

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. 

Bill, Jay, Micki, Paul, Felix Henderson, Don, Brad, Yolanda, Sue, and Catherine training in St. Lucia. July 1990

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. 

July 27

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

St. Lucia

July 25, 1990

My abilities at ironing must have improved since my homestay did not make me take them off so she could iron them. The rain from tropical storm Arthur kept the chickens quiet so I was able to sleep until 5:30 after a night of having trouble falling asleep due to anal itching. They have predicted three hurricanes this season. I hope Arthur is a failed one of the three.

After two bananas, toast, and guava juice we went off to a day of discussions not lectures on education in the E.C. After a lunch of an apple and guava juice (I threw away my sandwiches again), we learned some dirty  words in patois. We also learned some dances and about common areas of stress. We were also treated to creole poetry and PSAs created by Felix

Don and Yolanda in the classroom for stage two training. July 1990

We arrived home for a casserole dinner and “Days of Our Lives” which Mary Frann of “Newhart” was a character. Like many people, Mrs. Clauzel wondered why she watched soaps even though it seemed stupid sometimes.

July 25

St. Lucia

July 24, 1990

For breakfast I would have loved to have eaten all of the damn chickens making noise outside my window at 5am. I read a chapter of Catch-22 and took a shower until it was time to eat. I ironed some of the wrinkles out of my pants but not enough to satisfy Mrs. Clauzel who made me take them off and ironed them for me before I left.

In addition to that she made us breakfast and our bag lunch. Breakfast was only toast and juice because unlike David, I passed on the egg. She made corned beef sandwiches which I didn’t eat. I only drank the juice and even passed on the mango.

After I drank the juice, I had my medical interview during which I confessed that I was not sexually active when asked what forms of contraceptives I used. My blood pressure was 110/60, told I was young and fit, and that I didn’t look my weight, 145 lbs. 

In addition to that interview I also had one with Dick Pyle, Country Director, whose wife is best friends with Mikki Jarvis [I think that was my college Spanish professor]. He was very good at complimenting me and acknowledging my skills and abilities.

July 24

St. Lucia

July 11, 1990

Today started out with breakfast at Burger King and a bus ride to the Federal Building for immunization. I had to get all the shots because of poor records. I received shots in the arm for yellow fever and MMR. I had an MMR shot during high school. I also had an oral vaccine for polio. It tasted horrible.

When I get shots in the arm the nurses asked me if I lifted – I said I did push-ups but that IS all. The same thing happened once before at Great Adventure. I guess I better keep up with the push-ups for the next two years.

After the shots a couple of us went to K-Mart. It took much longer than we thought. I was late for my group instructions, which I needed to lead my group safely to Dominica, i.e., get them passports and tickets.

My last American meal was a Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries. I got to play PAC-Mania, saw Die Hard 2, and caught some HBO before packing for tomorrow’s transition.

July 11 1990