Tuesday, August 22, 2006

very little internet for the next 6 weeks.

Hey everyone, internet is not very available until I get my own place, so bare with me.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I have a Cell Phone now.

Hello I have cell phone now.

You can call me on it anytime, it is FREE for me to except incoming calls. Outgoing calls are expensive for me $1.30 EC per minute so dont expect a call from me on my Peace Corps budget and if I do call you it will be to have you call me back.




Bad Chicken

I have suffered from food poisoning. For those of you who are good sensible folk with sensitive stomachs who would prefer not to know the details of my intestinal sufferings I would recommend that you skip this entry.

Lasty the language is a bit colorful so please understand this and do not take offense if you read this. There I have fulfilled my duty.

Those of you still reading I give you two thumbs up, you’re my kinda people. As Dave Mathews says, “There are two kinds of people in this world, those who look after they wipe and those who don’t.” Welcome aboard.

The past 36 hrs have been quite an experience. I would describe them as the “The flaming hot ass magma porridge craps from the depths of hell”

It started out with me eating a piece of chicken at around 11pm after getting spanked playing dominoes. I ate a room temperature piece of home raised chicken. First of all I should have known to NEVER eat chicken that’s room temperature, it should be either cold from the frig or hot from the stove.

So around 6am I woke up covered in sweat. I was thirstier then hippo stranded in the Sahara. I took out a two liter bottle of partially frozen water and drank the entire thing until my stomach was stretched out like pregnant women.

I went back to sleep for about an hour when I awakened with the nauseated feeling that I was going to vomit. I made it to the bathroom and chucked so hard I actually defecated in my pants at the same time. That was special  I have never had that happen. So there I am with my head in the toilet, one hand on the toilet handle, the other holding a roll of TP, my shorts down to my ankles while a wet spot of diarrhea dripped down the back of my leg because I was still vomiting so hard I could not clean myself.

Well I cleaned myself up again feeling better and went to training, it was about 30 min into class when I knew I needed to get home before I had a blowout. I huffed home crossing the backstreets pushing goats out of my way and clenching my cheeks praying to get home before Mr Hanky made an early Christmas visit.

When I arrived home I was able to experience the exact thing again except the “The flaming hot ass magma porridge craps from the depths of hell” had already ravaged my sphincter before so now I held on to the toilet while the tears rolling down my face from the pain. It felt like I was one of the Space shuttles trying to reenter the atmosphere butt first.

Well I survived, I called the Peace Corps PCMO and she recommended that I take Electrolytes from the Peace Corps medical kit cutting back on the water a little bit.

I did this, now for some reason as I was drinking all this water to stay hydrated my body made an executive decision. It said why should we use the bladder to pass the water? Why not just send it straight out Leo’s ass? So for the remainder of the day I blew water out of my butt like a bubbling sulfur spring. It is probably one of the more strange sensations. Now by now I considered my Anus a lost cause, any movement including wiping was excruciating. Then pure Leo GENIUS hit upon me, I would construct a heat shield around my Anus to alleviate the burning pain of passing molten ass water. I applied triple antibiotic to my bunghole and lo and behold it worked. I would recommend this to everyone! Trust me you will do anything when it feels like your reentering the earths atmosphere ass first.

I think I will be recovered by tomorrow in time for the Micoud day camp were throwing for 50-60 youth.

Two positive things I will share is that in my delirium I would like to commend the Peace Corps Medical Officer “PCMO”. She came and visited me personally within two hours bringing me antibiotics in case I received Salmonella poisoning. The Antibiotics stopped the puking.

Secondly in my delirium I came across two incredible ideas to make money, one an invention another a money making idea. The money making idea has the best potential. Joe look out! I will be sending you my business idea for the concept. PS your going to love it!

Monday, August 14, 2006

I have my dream post.

I will be officially staying in Saint Lucia in the village of Canaries

Go to this link to find out more info. http://www.planetware.com/st-lucia/canaries-stl-stl-can.htm

This is my dream post, its a smaller fishing village on the West side of the Saint Lucia on the coast towards the middle. It is on the Caribbean side of the ocean. "Calmer waves, great diving."

It is primarily a fishing village looking to develop in some tourism and other community projects.

I will be staying with a host family for 6 weeks before I will move out into my own apartment.

The assignment is to work in community development. I will basically be given 6 weeks to get to know all the players in the village and different projects going on so I can find my own niche. It could be working with the youth in the trades school, working with a church youth group, or perhaps helping develop their "fruit" festival, not sure if thats the name, I did not catch it all.

I am excited about the community I will be living with for the next two years.

I can promise you I plan on going out with the fisherman. I plan on learning how to harpoon, my goal is to harpoon a 100 pound tuna and anything else that does not eat me first. Harpoon fishing is you basically cruising around in a brightly colored wood fishing boat with an old Yamaha outboard on the back looking for big fish. Once you spot one you cut the engine slip on your diving mask, grab your harpoon and dive in.
If you nail the fish with the harpoon you jump back in the boat and follow the buoy attached to it just like in the movie jaws, to follow the fish.

I also plan on building my own lobster trap out of chicken wire. As you can tell I am pretty much miserable. Seriously this is one of the best times of my life, college was good, studying abroad in Europe and back packing with my buddy Joe through Paris, Hungary, and Rome was awesome. This however is just too amazing. I mean you have this amazing Creole culture, the laid back incredible friendliness. Combine that with Reggae and its paradise on earth. How often do you go to work and pick a mango out of the tree above your head and eat it on the way in?

I also plan on having Chickens, I am going to name one drumstick and the other nugget. I deff plan on getting a lamb or goat. Its like having your own personal lawn mower, you tie them to a rope that 20 ft long thats attached to an allen block, move them to a different spot every 2 days and give them some water. That's it, no maintenance, and then you have a big party in a year and you have roast lamb. I think I am going to name my pet lamb lambchop or something so I do not become attached. :)

Will see, I will prob have to have a Saint Lucian help me slaughter it for the feast because I am wimp when it comes to animals, shoot I will probably take the lamb up to the moutain to let it go because I would be afraid someone would eat it once I left.

I am only 30 minutes away from Castries the capitol and airport so that is also wonderfull.

So thats it, I will post my address when I find out.

Reminder, today I find out my Island posting for the next 2 years!

Today is the day, I should have my island posting up before the end of night.

Excellent Advice on Jellyfish Stings thanks to Junnaid.

....regarding the jellyfish sting and urine .. I had heard about that from
friends in the UN.. they said that that the jellyfish use nematocysts to
inject venom .. it is like a whip with millions of microscopic fish hooks on
it that activate and puncture poison from those millions of small injections
upon contact.. so the first thing you want to do is not to trigger the
inactive nematocysts..if you scrub the wound .. or try to take it out by
pulling it the inactive nematocysts will activate and pour in more
poision... the trick is to pull it out somehow so that it does not trigger
more venom ( I have no idea how you do that!!) I hear it should be washed
with sea water and not fresh water ... do not use alcohol at all ... They
say that Nematocysts are inactivated by vinegar or dilute acetic acid If no
vinegar is available, then human urine will do..... If you have a choice in
the matter, use a man's urine rather than a woman's urine. This is because
females are more prone to occult urinary tract infections, thus introducing
bacteria. Male urine is considered sterile, since men are much less likely
to have a urinary tract infection.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Chicken Skit, Firebreathing from Segal, Fire Spinnig from Becky Lightfoot.

This is probably the coolest video clip I have taken. The first part is me making a jackass of myself with a few other volunteers. We were putting on skit for our host families in appreciation for hosting us. The only talent I really had to offer was juggling. Well instead of 4 of us juggling unripe mangos until we felt stupid I came up with a skit. Since Chickens wondering around the town is everyday seen I figured we would walk around acting like chickens eating cheese puffs until we laid enough eggs to juggle and then of Segal(Chris) would come in with his fire breathing to bail us out once it got to stupid and then Becky with her fire spinning rapped it up nicely. I would like to point out that he was spitting out pure kerosene from his mouth. Anyway enjoy everybody.

PS i find out Monday where I will be spending the next 2 years.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Rainbow in Laborie on the Beach, Sunburn and more.

I am going to throw up some pictures of the village Laborie and their beach. Its a gorgeous area, its a small village that's looking to build bed and breakfasts to attract tourists who are interested in more intimate and relaxed environment that will allow them to interact with locals and village life. They only have one and its a French lady who attracts only Germans and French. It would be the perfect spot for an American to set one up. They have a corral reef and a very active community. They are currently working on water monitoring project tracking run off from the village to protect the reef and the fishing. They have a fish festival once a year and now a Sea Urchin festival. At one point the sea Urchins were nearly wiped out but by educating the local fisherman and getting them involved in counting and conservation the population has recovered enough that they can sell them at the festival and make considerably more $$$.

I also had a vicious sunburn, some pics of me and other Volunteers in the pickup. A shot of the Angel Odessa with Winetia her Granny and my host mom. A hilarious shot of me an Aaron after we tipped over the picnic bench because we both set on the same side. Two hoosiers on their backs, imagine that.

A shot of Elizabeth one of the other volunteers as we had lunch on the Peer in Laborie. It was so nice with the sea breeze and the view of the beach and village.

A nice shot of the Rainbow shooting across the beach and finally one of what it would like if you took a plane to visit me.

Tomorrow is our main interview for placement, I am going to ask for Saint Lucia. My main arguments are my desire to learn the local dialect. The development that is here that should allow me to plug into another agency with my non-profit experience.

I have no idea if I will get it, I am doing my best to push for it. I think its the best island because of all the resources and its new emphasis to opening to tourism and foreign investment makes it very friendly.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hilarious Day and Beach Pics of Marigot Bay

Yesterday was quite an eventful day. Cyrus my host brother and his girlfriend took me and Melissa another Peace Corps volunteer to Marigot Bay. It was amazingly beautiful as you can see.

After eating a few kwats (kind of like eating purple grapes with the jelly coating around them except they are as big as a tangerine) I strapped on my snorkel and stepped off into mother ocean.
My snorkel and mask worked perfect, I used the Mares Demon Mask $59 with a snorkel $40 that has some sort of dry snorkel technology

So I snorkeled out into the bay, it was great even without a corral reef. There were a few brain corrals, sea fans and sponges on the ocean floor. Things were going well in my new aquatic world until a little piece of jelly fish hit my shoulder. It stings like hornet, it is a funny thing cussing profanities when you have a snorkel in your mouth, it comes out something like this, "blub blub bluuuuubbbb blubba".

Well my profanities with the snorkel in mouth did not end there.

As I was snorkeling against a natural underwater rock wall admiring the sea fans, anenomies and brightly colored fish I noticed something moving directly below. I stopped and stared and recognized that 10ft directly below me was coral snake. I just chilled floating in the current watching him work his way on the bottom. From what I understand if your bit by one it is instant death.

After the snake passed by I thought would be time to head back in but not before I relieved myself. As I drifted enjoying my pee in the Caribbean ocean my back leg brushed into a black sea urchin (this one was about the size of a softball, jet black with spine that went out 8-12 inches), the pain from that was more of an immediate bluuuuubbbbaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! followed by many more blubba's.

Do you know what the recommended treatment for sea urchins stings is? Pee on it to sterilize it. Well as you can imagine I did not have a drop of urine left in me because I had just let it all out. I will mention that a peace corps girl stepped on one the day after, she had to take one of the guys back in the bushes with her so he could pee on her foot, can you imagine her sticking her foot out with her eyes closes as a guy urinates on her foot, she was so embarrassed she had tears in her eyes i heard.

So I continued my swim back to the beach with my remaining functional leg. It took some time. As I was getting close to shore I took my first step into the swallow water and just before my foot hit the bottom a full lion fish shot away DIRECTLY where my foot was going to descend. For those of you not familiar with lion fish, they are the fish that swim in the tanks by themselves because A. They pretty much swallow everything else whole B. They poisonous barbs on their back and fins. It was a very close call.

Well anyway the Bay was gorgeous, I chilled in the sun and relaxed the rest of the day.

Later that day we went to a local waterfall in the rain forest, it's fantastic. Further down they have a dam with a rope swing. The amazing thing about Saint Lucia is the amount of natural food, everywhere around you are delicious mango trees, avocado tree, bananas, orange, passion fruit. You cannot go hungry on this island if you tried. All this fruit is available to you directly above your head.

Later that night the Peace Corps volunteers piled into the back of a flatbed truck to the Dennery Village fish fry.

We made a pit stop at one of the chicken stands above Dennery where I put down a few tasty beverages. It particular one of the stronger libations is called spiced rum. It is in a clear jug filled with cinnamon wood, local roots, maybe some bat guano with a generous serving of clear rum. It tastes like Yeager with a little cherry cough syrup thrown in and it burns going down.

So my adventure starts again. Within a few minutes of arriving I feel a Saint Lucian lean heavily against me shaking my hand introducing himself by saying Iton! Iton! as he pumped my hand furiously. I was surprised to find that he was man with down syndrome. In Saint Lucia handicapped and disabled people are not treated very well and the government and PC (peacecorps) has been trying to turn that around with more special education and service announcements. Since he approached me I felt strongly that I should spend some time with him. He kept shaking my hand and pulling my arm telling me his name was "Iton". I kept repeating my name was Leo and I was happy to meet him. As he held on to my arm I headed towards the food tent. While he kept dragging my arm the other way towards the liquor tents telling me his name over and over again. "Iton!" "Iton!" "Iton!".

I suddenly noticed my trainer Erin. She is the main person responsible for training and probably a huge factor in deciding what Island I will be placed on so it seemed critical to make a good impression. When I noticed her I immediately introduced my friend. "Hello Erin meet my friend Iton." And that point Iton begun jumping up and down furiously quite irritated pointing at the Piton beer tent. At that point it all clicked as he began pulling me towards it. He had been saying "Piton! Piton!" for those of you playing the home game that is the local Saint Lucian beer. Let's just say I felt a little silly to say the least.

After that I split a lobster with my fellow Indiana Hoosier Aaron and started dancing to the local Reggae. I was skanking up a storm, for those of you not familiar with that dance its comes from Ska music which had a direct beat like Reggae. I was busting a move and managed to get the rest of the Peace Corps dancing. During our dance I suddenly noticed that everyone was starting at me 15 minutes into jamming out. I turn around and low and behold there were 30 local Dennery boys watching me dance. We pulled them into our dancing ring and had a blast.

Now this is where the diaper/no front teeth/sea witch lady comes in. As I was skanking this old, old lady comes out of nowhere, jumps up and start dancing with me. I figured what the heck, she is harmless so we started dancing while everybody was laughing. Well, then she started thrusting again me and sticking her tongue out through her toothless mouth like she wanted more than a dance. That's when the "Run Forrest Run!" defense swung into action. I spun her around 3 times in a row until she was dizzy and bolted. Later on she went after Aaron giving him a love nip on the neck that he had for three days.

It was a blast and I had a very good time. That's enough for now. Take care everybody and thanks for the comments at my blog, keep em coming.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Tomo my bodyguard.

My host mom sent Tomo to escort me home again, he is my personal body guard at this point. She knows I get lost in my own bathtub so she sends him out to get me at the school to make sure I get home safe.

This is a shot Lucius's brother Richard Fredrick who is now a congressman in Central Castries.

Training was good today, we had a local Saint Lucian artist present to us. He presented the non PC part of the reality of Saint Lucia and the integration attempts we will be making. It was very good to hear his unfiltered views so our rose colored glasses could clear slightly before we try to integrate into out new communities in the next few weeks.

As part of our training we have to provide a culture presentation. I am going to juggling with a few other while Chris (Sagal) blows flaming fireballs out of his mouth with rubbing alcohol, its going to be pretty wild.

The real test will be the two day camp we will be running for the local Micoud youth. Should be about 75 young children.

The training has been good, our presenter Erin a former Peace Corps volunteer has been excellent, she has a great vocab and is passionate about it. The fact that shes quite attractive does not hurt either :)

I am putting a picture up of the coast, not a pretty shot but it shows you the
amazing features Saint Lucia has, I will get some nice beach pics this weekend.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Day 3 of Training.

Day 3 of Training.

Another day of training, today we covered asset based community development vs deficiency community development. The Peace Corps model and approach is asset based. The mentality is to approach the community recognizing the resources already available and then actively integrating with the community to work together in identifying and working to correct the issue. The disadvantage of the deficiency based model is that expert sources and financing are brought in to address issues that are in more of a laundry list format. After the tasks are accomplished the funding and experts leave. The community has to in a sense focus on there problems to receive the outside help to solve them which results in lack of personal responsibility and community involvement which is critical to long term change.

I am very thankful that my Peace Corps assignment does not include secondary language as a major component. If I stay in Saint Lucia I will have to learn Patois the Creole French dialect which is quite friendly and beautiful. I think I can pick it up given the time. In order to really start I need to learn how the French alphabet sounds out words. That part is really throwing me in trying to learn the language.

I would recommend that any Peace Corps volunteer bring the latest portable gaming system, it will make you an instant hit with children in your host family. Just be careful and let them know they are responsible for its safety. My DS Lite has certainly given me a LOT of mileage with Tomo.

It was fun to have Tomo and Leon waiting for me after school to walk me home. As we passed by one of their friends houses who had an enclosed garden he dropped us fruit from the garden wall he was resting on. I feasted on star fruit (5 finger fruit), it was yellow in color instead of the green we find in the grocery store. The quality of the taste was incomparable. It was so refreshing and sweet, it was strange to bite into the fruit like and apple but instead of tough skin and semi sweet core your mouth was instantly filled with sweet juice. You can eat the entire fruit. So they took me home, we dropped by the local mart and I bought them some m&m’s for being my bodyguards for the trip home. Between the two of them I think they weigh 80pds wet.

Tonight I learned how to cut Pineapple with Wanita. The pineapple was so fricken good, it was literally like eating candy it was tasty. Comparing pineapple in the US to Saint Lucian pineapple is like comparing the flavor of Kraft singles cheese to a fine Brie or aged cheese.

After we pealed the pineapple we save the skins to make a delicious juice. You boil a little water and add the pineapple peals. After it boils for a while you turn in off and blend it straning out the juice. Then you add a few generous heaps of brown sugar and some orange juice and you have the perfect tasty beverage. I cannot wait to try it with Rum.

I am very thankfull I did not bring my alarm clark when I have pefectly good one in the form of a rooster who likes to announce every new day outside of my window. I know it sounds crazy but I actually like him better then an alarm clock. The best part of all is if you get sick of your alarm clock you can have the simple satifaction of eating him.

Well that’s enough adventure writing for this week. Stay tuned for more adventure in Peace Corps aka Beach Corps in the Caribbean. Thank you US taxpayers for your continued support. 