Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Big Spring Water Supply Dedication

Monday morning was the official dedication and opening of the Chesterfied water supply system. Chesterfield is actually across the river from Castleton and is accessible only by a makeshift footbridge. I arrived in Castleton on Sunday night to find that footbridge washed out. Then the food for the next day arrived and we had to carry it across the river. So we began. Then it started to rain. Then it started getting dark. Fortunately all the food made it across without getting dunked or saturated. I did get saturated but at least not dunked. The next day the soon-to-be new PCVs from the wat-san sector arrived and successfully navigated the river. Of course we Chacos people had the easiest time of it. :) The ceremony started late (of course) but wrapped up early (amazingly). We did a little tour of the system. It contains 2 standpipes (one is pictured on the left), one storage tank, one entombment, and a little over a mile of pipe. Elizabeth talked about the amount of work and cooperation that had gone into it, and I gave a brief design overview. After we came back down the hillside, we were treated to a wonderful meal of curry chicken, rice and peas, boiled bananas, and boiled dumplings. Pictures from the day can be found at (this is a different webshots account).

The trainees seemed to enjoy seeing the project, and various community members expressed gratitude for the system, which alleviates the difficulty of climbing a steep slope to get water from the spring. I didn't really feel like I had done that much. SPA grants had funded it, and Elizabeth had rallied the community through some difficult times to get the work done. In the end though, I realized it was the result of everyone's effort, and I am glad that I was a small part of that. They say more often than not we PCVs don't see or appreciate the impact that we have during our service. Now I have gotten to see a project that I worked on get completed, and for that I am most grateful.

The new group swears in this weekend. I'm going to Kingston with Jenny to see the ceremony and celebrate their milestone. Wow, I can't believe it's been a year since I first became a PCV.

Peace from MoBay,

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Summer Camp Fever

The last two weeks really kept me hoppin' as summer camp fever hit MoBay. PCVs Robin, Julie, and me along with Flankers community counterparts Allen, Julianne, Charm, and Mrs. Nash ran summer camps for ages 6-10 the first week and ages 11-16 the second. We had about 50 kids everyday! We played games, did crafts, and talked about the environment, health, and safety. This is me discussing their posters on disease transmission routes and blocks ("F" diagrams for water sanitation folks). One of the coolest projects we did was an "eco-sculpture." I sorta got the idea after reading Essa's blog entry about using recycled materials in arts and crafts (, and Robin had wanted to do a thing with empty paper towels rolls she was collecting. In the end, we sent the older kids out into the community and had them collect trash - 3 bottles, 2 cans, something red, something shiny, etc. Then we asked them to make something out of the materials and awarded prizes. This is the group that won. Their scene is one of a mother making the beds while her grimacing son takes out the trash. Way to get the theme guys! At the end we took the kids on an "underseas tour" (a boat with big glass windows in the hull) and hosted dance competition. Watching 8-10 year olds do the dutty whine has definitely given me an appreciation for where Jamaicans learn to dance. Or should I say when...

I also helped out PCVs Lauren and Malaika with Lauren's Marine Park Camp. On Thursday we gave the kids a chance to try out scuba equipment for a minute and swam around with them. Friday afternoon it was raining so I helped entertain them with some rounds of Simon Sez. Between the past weeks' camps, most of the other PCVs and I hosted the new trainees to give them a brief taste of PCV life. Most of the new vols will be in more rural settings. But we got to share a few stories and all had fun. My webshots account ( has pics from that weekend and these camps except for the post-party from Flankers. Send me an email if you want a link to these.

I'm heading back out to Castleton tomorrow for the ribbon cutting on the water supply system Monday morning. The water sanitation sector trainees are going there for the ceremony as well. I'm looking forward to sharing a little about the work we've done there. Then I'll be back in Kingston on Friday for their swearing in. Wow - hard to believe the next group is here and ready to start serving.

That's it again for now. Peace to all,