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:


Mrs. B. said...

Lee, I just thought I would tell you that Bob Hoskins passed away last night. I thought you might want to send his wife, Marge, a card. Their address is 3888 Penbrook Lane, Lafayette, IN 47905. Sorry to be a bearer of sad news, but he is now with his Lord.

Big Country (Leo) said...


I am really sad to hear that, he was an important part of my life before I
could even remember him. I will send a card except it takes 4-6 weeks for one to arrive from here. Could I ask a favor? Could you give me your email
address and I can send you an email that you could put on a card and send for me?? I will owe you one.

Mrs. B. said...

Just send me what you want to say and I will send a card with your message. You have my email address. Have a great day! -Mrs. B.

Foster Child Advocate said...

Lee, it is amazing that so little money can be used to do so much. If I had any, I'd send it. Too bad my husband will be a student longer than you will be in the Peace Corps...once he gets done is about when we should start having some spare money. Keep up your good work, even if you are one of the pampered ones with your AC, beer and actual house. Here I thought you would be living in a hut, washing your clothes in a stream and boiling your drinking water. How is it that you always manage to come out on top?

Big Country (Leo) said...

Hey Foster Child Advocate!

HEY! About the Beer and AC....its a tough life, someone has to do it, and well I guess it had to be me!:)

I wanna be like Christ! said...

hey... i couldn't find the paypal link to donate... :(

Big Country (Leo) said...

Thanks for pointing that out, I have added a donation button above my profile and another at the bottom of the post for the two projects. Thanks!

eprise said...

:) thanks... Though I'm still having trouble donating, I figure it'll fix itself at some point. :) have fun in the warmth!

Big Country (Leo) said...

Thanks Eprise, I will double check it to see if its working.