Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Most Beautiful Sunset I have ever seen.

The Most Beautiful sunset I have ever seen.

This was taken in my village of Canaries.

The most Beautiful women in Saint Lucia, my host mom Agatha Francis.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Peace Corps Thanksgiving

Were privileged in Saint Lucia as Peace Corps volunteers, the office actually give us a budget for two turkeys, we all pitched in with me pealing potatoes for the mashed potatoes, Kate Raftery also joined us.

AD and Jennifer, don't they look like a happy couple, that is one happy man there.

The Big Spread!

Tam and Alesha, one of the few men who can sport a pink polo and look good.

Two Hoosiers.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

2 Development Projects

Here are two projects that need monetary help to assist the citizens of Canaries that I am working on. They both focus on unemployment, Canarians suffer the highest rate of unemployment on the island at a staggering 30.6% per the Saint Lucian Ministry of Social Transformation.

As a Peace Corps volunteer the majority of the activities I have been focusing on have to deal with economic development since that is the most critical issue for Canaries Village. I have identified two projects that need seed money to help provide more employment and economic opportunities for a group 8-10 single unemployed mothers. The second project involves a group of unemployed young men.

"Sea Moss Project"
First of all what is Sea Moss? Sea Moss is a form of seaweed renowned for its nutritious and energy-giving properties. Of the hundreds of Caribbean varieties of sea moss, the two most popular in St Lucia are the local gracilaria, and euchema from Belize.

Sea Moss is probably one of the easiest self sustaining businesses to start. Essentially Sea Moss is grown on 100-200 ft ropes that are 150-300 feet out from the shore. The rope lines float just below the surface of the water by attaching large plastic bottles to the rope at 10ft intervals which also act as marker for boats to avoid. The Sea Moss ropes are anchored below to the ocean bottom using very large stones rapped in old fishnet and steal bands attached to the rope. Sea Moss is grown by purchasing a starter stock. The moss is attached to the 3 ply rope by twisting the rope to separate the 3 strands and then the Sea Moss is pinned between. The starter pieces of moss are placed at 8ft intervals. After about 6-8 weeks the entire line will be covered in Sea Moss.

See the below picture for the concept.

The sea moss is then harvested leaving enough on the rope for it to regenerate. It is then dried and bagged and sold individually to people and as a main ingredient to drink companies, candles makers, and food processors. The going price for one large bag of dried sea moss is $50EC (about $18.65US) which is considerable.

I have identified 2 young unemployed men and another entrepreneurial man (he sells sea shells to passing yachts’ from his Kayak) that are excited to start the project.

The Sea Moss will be grown in Anse la Liberte beach that has a protected area of water

See the below picture of Anse la Liberte.

We will raise sponsorship locally to purchase the following materials to begin the self sustaining project of Sea Moss Farming. ($1US dollar equals $2.68EC.)

  • 300ft of half inch 3 ply rope. $288 EC in US $107.66
  • Starter Sea Moss. $100 EC in US $37.31
  • Construction of a Drying Rack using a local carpenter. $120 EC in US $44.77
  • Old fishnet and steel bands to anchor the rope. $50 EC in US $18.65

Other successes on the island with Sea Moss farming: Phillip Simeon from another village on the eastside island has been a fisherman most of his life, but several years ago he realized he could get a better income from farming Sea Moss. In another village called Praslin a group of women have decided to cultivate Sea Moss even though its considered a male activity. Now they've taken the business a step further. Greta Joseph recruited other women and they eventually started their own company selling a drink made with boiled and strained sea moss, sugar, and fruit. The demand for this natural energy drink has increased to the point where the women are considering bringing in more people to help with the processing.

“Rabbit Project”

The main project I am working on in Canaries Village is the Creole Pot Street party.

The Canaries Creole Pot provides economic stimulus and employment for 10-12 vendors whom demographically are single unemployed mothers who look to this event as a valuable means of support. The featured dish of the Canaries Creole Pots is traditional Creole Rabbit Stew cooked in red wine and coconut cream. As our signature dish our vendors spend considerable amount of their money purchasing the rabbit and are finding it very difficult to turn a profit when the rabbit is $16EC per pound.

My proposals is to think local and grow local and most importantly to bring the cost of the rabbit down so these ladies can make a profit. A profit that can go directly back to their families to pay for costs such as school books and uniforms for their children. This Rabbit Raising project will greatly enhance the capacity of the Canaries Creole Pot vendors as they strive to develop and grow the event by subsidizing the Rabbit costs from $16EC per pound to a price of $7EC per pound (at cost price).

Some brief information about Creole Pot that comes directly from the promotional brochures we have developed: The Canaries Creole Pot Street Party is the best way to experience Caribbean Kweyol flavor and culture in the intimate small fishing village of Canaries. Experience a street party with “LIVE” Kweyol Music with the West Coast Band. They will be mixing in Soka and traditional Kweyol songs with some classics from Bob Marley starting at 6pm. Taste genuine Kweyol Cuisine from our Food Health Certified Vendors. Have the Rabbit Kweyol Platter, serving our signature dish of stewed rabbit in red wine and coconut cream with all the traditional sides like breadfruit and dasheen. For the less adventurous we always have plenty of BBQ chicken and fish. We also offer traditional Vegetarian Rasta food that’s always fresh and organic.

The rabbits will initially be raised by me with assistance from the vendor’s children and will gradually be turned over to the vendors as they empower themselves. We will seek assistance from BNTF and PRF two development groups to provide assistance with the start up costs of building a hutch using local wood and bamboo. It will measure 10ft across and will have 5 separate pens. See example picture below.

We will be using native materials including bamboo wherever possible to keep the costs down and we also require a bar and lock to prevent theft.

The rabbit hutch will be constructed by another village where another older Peace Corps volunteer has a woodshop program working with at risk youth (teens that could fall into drug use).

We will need two 50pd bags of normal feed and one 50pd bag of enriched feed (has critical antibiotics and vitamins added to keep rabbits disease free). We will also need to purchase 1 buck and three doe rabbits of the White New Zealand/Flemish Giant cross breed from a breeder in Micoud Village.

Startup Costs:

  • Rabbit Hutch Cost: EC$486 in US$174.62
  • Start up feed. Cost: $150EC in US$55.97
  • Rabbits. 1 buck and two does at $60EC a piece =$180EC in US$67.16

Mail to:

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Captivating picture from Viva La Rose Celebration.

I like to call it "King without a thrown."

Preaching about the sandals. Keens and Crocs sandals Rule.

Here is rant on essential shoes to have here, or well anywhere you can wear Sandals.

Shoes are tough to come buy here in the Islands so please make sure buy yourself a set of Keens sports sandals and a pair of Crocs for the beach for yourself. The are essential haves for down here, yes the Keens are $90 bucks but they are worth every little cent. You can wear these hiking in the rain forest, in Castries, or with some Khakis and they look good, they protect your feet, keep them cool and protected. The Crocs are essential for the most comfortable sandal that you can wear on the beach, walk in the corral, anything and anywear. They are super light and they do not rot or stink after being exposed to salt water. You just rinse them off and you are good to go.

Keens website with the New H2's


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I love letters and packages! Support your Peace Corps Volunteer!

Christmas is approaching and have you thought of how YOU can support your Peace Corps volunteer??? I can tell you how, CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (home bake style where thier soft please). Letters are always enjoyed along with good paperbacks novels.

If your thinking of making a monetary donation rest assured that it will go directly towards getting diving certification for me after the new year. :)

Leo Klejnot
Canaries Post Office
Canaries, St. Lucia
West Indies

Volunteer Leo Klejnot
US Peace Corps
PO Box 123
Castries, St. Lucia
West Indies

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Peace Corps Inspector General and work for the week.

I have 3 major assignments this week. 1. I will be giving a presentation on Leadership and Group Dynamics to my fellow Peace Corps this Friday and I will also be giving a presentation as a workshop in Soufrie for a training session they are putting on. I have a proposal for world cup cricket that I will be working on for the Canaries Community Club. Lastly I also have a meeting with the Inspector Generals office from the Washington Peace Corps office. They will be here conducting interview with volunteers. Here is some info on it it below.

"Assistant Inspector General for Evaluations and Inspections, and blank Evaluator, of the Peace Corps Office of Inspector General (OIG) will visit Peace Corps/Eastern Caribbean to conduct a program evaluation beginning on or about November 6, 2006. The OIG is an independent office within the Peace Corps, reporting to the Director of the Peace Corps and to Congress.

The purpose of our visit is to conduct a comprehensive program evaluation that every Peace Corps post undergoes periodically and to make recommendations for corrective actions. To that end, we will interview a representative sample of Volunteers and their counterparts by group, project assignment, site location, and background. The information we receive from our interviews is the primary source on which we will base our conclusions.

Our interviews will allow for in-depth discussions about your project, training, living conditions, health care, safety, staff support, and transportation. The interviews will provide you with an opportunity to raise issues and share your experiences as Volunteers. We plan to spend approximately a half day with you and your counterpart and will work with you to minimize disruptions to your schedule.

In addition to conducting interviews, we would appreciate the opportunity to actually see your work “in action.” We will ask the Volunteers we interview to provide us with an informal demonstration of their typical work activities at their work sites (i.e., if you teach a health class, we would like to observe a class session).

The evaluation team is looking forward to meeting you. Thank you for your help."

They will be meeting with me and my community partner, I must confess I will be unhooking my AC for their visit, I have to be honest I would be a littl embarrasseded thinking of some of the other volunteers they have seen in Africa who are happy to have clean water and something besides goat head for dinner and here I am with AC for crying out loud. Yes, yes I do have a sense of modesty!!!

Take care everyone!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Some Pictures of my Village Canaries

Canaries Village

Canaries Street Shot

Canaries Fishing Boats

Canaries Old Church

Sea Side Picture of Canaries

The beach, the corral reef is towards the end, the beach is about a 5 min walk for me.

Top View of Canaries

Canaries River

River Shot 2


Mrs Edwards one of my main work partners for Kweyol Pot.

Long awaited pictures of my Pad!

Okay here are some long awaited pictures of my pad.

Outside of House

Outside of House 2

Front of House

Front Yard

Trying to snare a chicken.

Living Room

Front Living Room

Deep conversation in the Kitchen

Inside Kitchen

Kichen 2


Master Bedroom, since I had window screens installed I really don't need the masquito net anymore.

I am probably one of 13 Peace Corps volunteers with AC in the world. Total current volunteers is around 7800.

Spare Bedroom

3 wall mounted fans in the house, oh yeah baby!!!

Closets in spair bedroom

Side Yard


Backyard Bananna Tree

Damn chickens, bring earplugs cause they start crowing at 5am, I am used to it now. I plan on catching and eating a few before my two years up.

More damn chickens, really they are the only thing I have to complain about.

Catholic Church next door.

Infant school principal next door.