Sunday, December 23, 2007

Nick Klinger and the Haircut Confession

Me and Marcy tried to persuade him to grow it long and strong while in Peace Corps where having long hair does not effect your corporate aspirations.

We tried with arguments like, "when will you ever be able to grow your hair long, you know if you ever tried to grow it long in the US no one would ever take you seriously.

Despite all this he decided to cut because "she says I am more attractive with short hair".

Personally I thought it was lame and that she should love you no matter what your hair looks like especially since his dad grew it long before he was married.

BUT, he stuck with getting cut because he promised her.

I would call that love.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Radio Interview in Saint Vincent on the Turtle Sanctuary

Here is a radio interview I did with James and Amanda two PCV's running a morning talk show on one of the local radio stations in Saint Vincent. I was able to record part of it, unfortunately it did not capture the whole broadcast where I thanked Orton and went into more detail about the purposes of the Turtle Sanctuary. Thanks James and Amanda, ps do you have a copy of the whole version?

Click the link below to hear the interview in QuickTime.

2007-12-19 09-50-21.mp3

Yours in community and development work,

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Concept Drawings for Anse La Liberte Turtle Sanctuary

Here are the new concept drawings for the Anse la Liberte Turtle Sanctuary. They represent all my learned experience from spending a week and a half working with Orton. Some things cannot be shown like having the building on 10 degree slope for drainage or having the bottom of the pool shaped in a slight cone to the middle to aid in drainage and cleaning. These drawings will be used as we work with NGO's and Ministries on the island to develop this project and secure funding, like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words or a concept drawing for that matter.

These drawing represent 48 hours of continuous work on the pc and are correct to scale. Sorry Marcy for doing nothing but this. Thank you google for allowing this software to be free so I could do this work.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary on Bequia Island, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

I had an amazing time with Orton at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary. Its impossible to cover all that I learned, the video above does the best job. I produced the video using Adobe Premier (took 12hrs to make) and I recorded everything on my little Fujifilm Z3, an amazing little camera that is serving me well.

I will be working hard this week writing a proposal for Saint Lucia to have a sanctuary along with revising the concept drawings.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

7,4 Earthquake Hit the Islands Today, Scary Stuff Man

A earthquake hit today, I was working in my house when it hit, it was pretty damn scary, it shook me and another Peace Corps volunteer Hallie for about a minute, I only caught the last 10 seconds of it on video below. My heart was pounding like crazy afterwards.

Notice the powerlines moving and the camera shaking still, that was the ground not me. It was interesting seeing Anne's reaction across the street, she came out singing praises to God as the last tremors hit. Well back to packing for Bequia, here is an article below from the BBC talking about the Earthquake hitting Martinque.

Strong earthquake hits Martinique

The quake's epicentre was 40km from Fort-de-France, Martinique
A strong earthquake measuring 7.4 magnitude has hit near the island of Martinique in the eastern Caribbean, the US Geological Survey has said.

The earthquake struck at 1500 (1900 GMT) off the north-west coast of Martinique at a depth of 145.4 kilometres (90.4 miles).

No casualties have been reported and no major tsunami warning has been given.

There have been unconfirmed reports that some buildings have collapsed in Martinique's capital, Fort-de-France.

The earthquake was centred 40km (25 miles) north-west of Fort-de-France, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

'Everything shook'

"For the moment, a building and a bank have collapsed. There is panic, but we do not know if there are casualties," a police source in Fort-de-France told the French news agency AFP.

Callers to Radio Martinique described their fear as the quake struck.

"My house shook so hard I thought it was going to fall. The door, the windows, everything shook," the Associated Press reported one caller as saying.

Map showing earthquake zone
"I wouldn't expect major damage because the quake has some depth," Don Blakeman, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado told AP.

There were also reports that the islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica had felt the quake strongly.

Residents on islands further across the eastern Caribbean - as far away as Puerto Rico to the north and Trinidad and Tobago to the south - told the USGS that they had felt the quake.

The tremor was also felt hundreds of miles away in South America.

In the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, 500 miles (800km) from the epicentre, some people evacuated office buildings, Reuters news agency reported.

Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary Here I Come

Hello All You Keeping Track of My Caribbean Adventures,

I leave this Saturday to spend 10 days working at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary in Bequia with the founder and owner Brother Orton. Here is the letter explaining the purpose of the trip. Wish me luck, this has incredible potential and I am truly excited.

Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary Trip Feasibility Study

In the continued effort to develop the Canaries Basin area to alleviate unemployment Community Club and I have been working jointly with the Saint Lucia National Trust. We are seeking to develop the campsite area in Anse La Liberte into an employment and income generating area. One of the main ways is to build an attraction that will draw tourists, especially tourists looking for an eco friendly experience. After many hours of research the best way to accomplish this is to convert the camping area into low cost huts and open a turtle sanctuary below the camping platforms. We are currently in the discovery stage of the process and the Saint Lucia Trust would like to send me on feasibility study/work trip for 10 days to Bequia Island to visit Brother Orton at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary which is near Saint Vincent.

The goal of the trip is three fold:
1- to acquire the knowledge of the daily workings of a turtle sanctuary through hands on training.
2- to develop expertise in the care and raising knowledge of this endangered species.
3- to analyze the business aspect of a turtle sanctuary from the following aspects:
A-Infrastructure costs of building a facility.
B-Maintenance and food costs.
C-Daily Work flow.
E-Operation budget
F-Fundraising through private and international groups.

By assessing all these areas during the 10 day trip, we will be able to access the feasibility of starting a sanctuary in Saint Lucia. This will be instrumental in writing a proposal with the experience and expertise of spending a week and half working at a turtle sanctuary. The experience will be captured using video and photos along with detailed notes for easy skills transference to members of both the Trust and Community Club. This working knowledge and developing partnership with the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary will give our proposal the weight and credibility needed to pursue funding and if the project is pursued those skills and knowledge will be transferred to the National Trust and Community Club. Lastly, it will help us develop a solid relationship with a possible “sister” sanctuary that we can share knowledge and resources with to assist in the development of an eco sensitive tourism product in order to preserve a species and a precious asset to Saint Lucia’s people and tourism.
After I return I will meet with the Trust members and Edsel to submit a full report with all the information that was gathered so we can continue working on the proposal.
I would like to request permission to leave for this work trip from Peace Corps,
Thank you for considering this request, below is the flight information details from Liat and the contact information for Brother Orton,
Lee Klejnot, Canaries Peace Corps Volunteer

Orton G. King
P.O. Box 36
Union Vale, Bequia
St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Cell: 784 493 3231 784 532 8013
Tel: 784.458.3245 784 458 3596
Fax: 784 457 3322

Friday, November 09, 2007

Baby Bunnies are so Cute, Farkel, and $52,000 EC.

Hello All,

Its time for a big update on a lot of different things going on. First I celebrated by 29th B-day on October 23rd, if you missed it you can still send me cookies or licorice :) Thanks to the friends who made it, and Marcy for organizing it and making it a surprise.

I regret to say that we had someone bail out of farkel despite our best efforts, here is the incriminating evidence, farkel may be forever ruined in Saint Lucia because of our former PST 1 EC 76 Trainer Edmund. Sorry James.

So we finally have baby bunnies and they are super cute.

I had given up hope and was making arrangements to have the rabbit hutch and bunnies taken to Anse La Verdue where it was a bit more quite and isolated. The mothers kept giving birth but they would never feed the babies. We figured out that it was the loud barking of the neighbors dog that was throwing off the breeding of the rabbits and causing the mothers to abandon their babies. So we moved the cage as far away as possible and walla, we have bunnies.

Me and Marcy will be visiting the family for Christmas Dec 27th-January 3rd, thank you Aunts and Uncles for helping us on the the plane tickets.

I am working with the Saint Lucia National Trust on an idea I came up with to start a Turtle Sanctuary in Anje La Liberte, a preserve of 133 acres of pristine land on the Caribbean Sea/West side of the island. I have finished the concept drawings using an amazing drafting program called Google Sketch Up, its free so try it out, make sure you do the tutorial, thank you Google Team!

Hmm Apple stock is at a record high at over $180 so I am pretty happy about that also. Lastly we just received word from the Basic Needs Trust Fund that Creole Pot will be receiving $52,000 EC for training and infrastructure improvements...did you see that $52,000, wow, so more on that later, thank you Lisa and the Basic Needs Trust Fund and Caribbean Development Bank.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Canaries Village Documentary Focusing on Canaries Creole Pot and Canabelle Soap

Here is great video of Canaries Village that was produced by the Ministry of Agriculture. It is great because it give you a taste of what life is like for me here and it also shows you two of the main groups I am involved with including Canaries Creole Pot and Canabelle Soap.

So sit back and enjoy.

Loving life, Leo. PS All the tourists in the video are actually Peace Corps volunteers that are serving on the island in other villages. GO EC76!!!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Coal Pot Soap Makers, Dominica

Mrs. Avriel James the Director of Coal Pot Soap.

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting with The Coal Pot a Dominica, natural soap maker. "Thanks Jerome for the tip on them."

To say I was impressed in an understatement. I was inspired, motivated, renewed and encouraged by my short visit with them. The Coal Pot was started as training series to help the ladies on the island find gainful employment. Two Peace Corps volunteers assisted in this along with the eventual formation of the Coal Pot which is now 5 years old. It is now a private company managed by Mrs. Avriel James. She recognized its potential and sunk in her own private funds to turn it into the successful cottage industry it is today. She employs between 5-8 people at the Coal Pot.

Check out their great website here:

The Soap making company is located in the gorgeous ruins of an old plantation with fresh herbs grown in the backyard that are used directly for the soaps.

I could not help but notice this young man carefully hand selecting herbs for the Coal Pot in the backyard.

As I entered the building I was greeted by a very nice display area showing their natural soap and oils and other new products they are exploring.

I was given a tour of the facilities, they have separate rooms, one for cutting and creating the packaging materials.

A mixing room the contains the fragrances and natural ingredients.

A large room full of drying racks.

Another large room storing all the finished products.

I noticed better processes they have for the soap making including drying trays that are the size of the soap instead of a large flat tray that requires multiple cutting these only require one cut across the width of the soap.

So the basic idea at this point is to work with my CDO Urania, Mrs Edwards and my MaMa, Agatha to help Canabelle Soap. The basic idea would be to help them fix their accounting, purchase some safety equipment and a blender with the money raised by Bonnie and Connie. Write up a development plan to submit to government agencies and also submit one to the Canadian High Commission who Urania already has a wonderful relationship with the focus of the proposal on improving the soap making process and acquiring more equipment and raw materials.

Most of that would be accomplished through the help and experience of Mrs James. We would fly her in and pay her a consulting fee to help us improve our formula and production process along. I am extremely thankful to Mrs James for allowing me to see the facilities and taking the time to meet with me. She is going to be critical in helping us move forward to help develop this small fishing village of Canaries.

One of the ideas I have had for a long time was to create a smaller soap to target to the hotels for their guests. The Coal Pot is already way ahead of us as you can see in these pictures.

One of the key developments that will need to be made is to create a smaller soap to market to the hotels so our production can reach a steady rate to actually pay dividends back to ladies in the Soap Co-op.

So at this point it is up to me to get motivated to finish a development proposal for Canabelle that they agree with. This part is hard because I am still in the middle of the Old Church Development Proposal which needs a read through and changes by Community Club before we can take it to the church.

So we continue marching on for the development of Canaries! Woo-hooo!!!

Did I mention I am having the TIME OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you, thank you US tax payers , John Kennedy, US Congress, and the Executive branch for this experience.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Dominica = Gorgeous

I am back from mid-service training in Dominica. WOW what a gorgeous island! I thought Saint Lucia was beautiful but really when it comes to natural wonders and loveliness Dominica really stomps anyplace I have ever been.

Some quick info, Dom is considered the nature island of the Caribbean, its population is only 70,000 compared to Saint Lucia which is at 170,000 and its almost twice as big. This leads to less of an environmental impact. Its also interesting to note that 40% of their power is hydroelectric from their rivers.

I was just overwhelmed by the beauty, from the old colonial structures to the abundance of waterfalls, to the untainted streams I drank from with my hands.

Highlights for me were visiting the boiling lake, snorkeling the champagne bubble reef, and scuba diving with Aldive in Point Michelle

I had a great time with my friends and fellow Peace Corps Volunteers. Props to Jerome, and Lee who really went out of their way to help me have an excellent time.

Tim thanks for taking me down the 500ft sheer cliff to the waterfall that descends straight into the black sand beach on the Atlantic coast.

The Valley of Desolation and Boiling Lake

Soaking in one of the sulphur pools along the way.

Boiling Lake Video

Here is Spanny Waterfall

Melissa and Lando, fellow PCV's

Double Jump into the river, Nick and Jerome

Hog Call just for Nick

More back of the pickup transportation, the only way to see Dom.

Me and George a ritired American loving life in Dominica. Thanks for having me over for rum and spaghetti!

Oh and here is funny picture, remided me of Carol a friend of the family from Boston, that is exactly how she would pronounce it.

Oh and lastly great idea for the clothing swap Jordan.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Food and Rum Festival 2007

A nice Highlight Video of the Food and Rum festival.

Me and my Tameron another Peace Corps volunteer from Choiseul volunteered at the food and rum festival, this would be the second year in a row for me.

Last year it was Nick, and Ryan and myself that attended having the privilege of sampling all the best rums in the Caribbean and the delicious chocolates at the source; the Caribbean where the purest cocoa comes from before it is made in Europe and the US. This year it was just me and Tameron, we volunteered as survey takers. We sampled the rum and food through the day talking to visitors and having a amazing time.

Here are some pictures of the booths and displays.

Chocolate and Rum Pairing

Great Videos of two of the Steel Pan Bands at the Festival

The Food and Rum festival originated as an idea from Chef Orlando from Ladera Resort who shared it with the now Minister of Tourism Allen Chastanet. Allen worked with the Saint Lucia Tourism Board and MACO a Caribbean fashion magazine that focuses on promoting the housing, culture, clothing and food of the Caribbean. Together they launched the first Food and Rum festival. The focuses is to showcase the Caribbeans Rum of course with Caribbean cuisine. Caribbean does have something to offer to the worlds foods and is maturing as a serious cuisine. Yes, Caribbean food is characterized as overcooked and over seasoned, that goes back to the early cooking learned during slavery when not cooking something through could kill you. A renaissance is now happening where foods are being cooked to al dente instead of dry and spices and fresh ingredients that are available in abundance in the islands are being used to flavor dishes properly.

The other main focuses of the festival is the Chocolate and Rum pairing which was for me the highlight of the Food and Rum festival in Saint Lucia. An owner of a chocolate plantation from Trinidad provided a Rum and Chocolate Pairing demonstration. His knowledge and presentation is very impressive, the Chocolates were amazing, some costing a 100 Euros a bar. Pairing them with different rums, some like the award winning El Dorado 15 year rum that has an amazing smoky complex flavor that compliments the chocolate perfectly.

Here are are series of short clips from the chocolate and rum pairing.






Monday, August 27, 2007

Navy Work Day in Canaries! It was awesome!

The Canaries work day was a great success.

My fellow Peace Corps volunteers and staff really came through for me and Canaries. The Navy was set to arrive at 9:20-10:00am but they did not actually arrive until 1:00pm due to docking issues. It was pretty much Peace Corps volunteers doing the work until then and a great amount was accomplished in that time laying the groundwork for the Navy volunteers from the ship USS MITSCHER (DDG 57).

Here we are getting instructions from Michael.

The basic goals of the day were to rebuild the old church doors and fix the window shutters and secure them along with the rest of the building so vagrants would no longer break into the church along with repair of the stairwell leading up to the balcony.

Nick and Michael tearing out a rotten section of the old door.

Tameron, notice the safety glassed Remey and Marina, safety is always first for PCV's. :)

When the Navy did arrive they did great work particularly in repairing the stairwell and securing the windows along with all the other work.

We also had some great help from Canaries people who repaired some of the mortar and chopped down some fig trees that were growing into the mortar of the church.

One of the young men from Canaries mixing cement for mortar repair.

Short Video of the Navy volunteers working along with everyone else.

You can see the work here of basically rebuilding the entire door.

Props to John for coming out and helping.

Your first question in this picture may be, why are they cutting up an old wood pallet. One of things you will quickly learn in the Caribbean is to use all of you availabe resources. We tore apart the pallets to provide filler wood for the door frames. This saved us from cutting up good expensive wood for this. Alex and Dre are taking care of the demolition of that pallet here.

Another clip showing everyone at work.

One of the Navy volunteers repairing the church window.

Me and the Canabelle ladies who were on site selling their soap.

Here is a shot of one of the bottom of the doors where the rotten wood was cut out and replaced with new.

LANDO, fellow Hoosier extraordinaire! Notice the door on the right, it was completly repaired and painted white.

Here are some great shots of the Navy volunteers handing out toys and presents to the needy children. The first one is of down syndrome boy, he is an incredibly sweet kid, I hope no one took his bunny from him.

One of the local fisherman came over and wanted to help, I told him its the dirties most dangerous job, he said give it to me, so we placed the latter on the side of the church and we went up with my cutluss and chopped out the tree that was destroying the buildings mortar.

I would like to thank Michael first for supplying a large amount of tools and bringing his expertise to the job by breaking people into work teams.

I would like the thank these PCV's who came and supported me and Canaries.
Megan M. and her man John
Megan G.

Not the greatest group picture, I am the person you cannot see at all with the sun behind me.

I would like to also give a big thanks to Kate the EC director for meeting the $400 US need for the project when funding fell through, thanks for stepping in with that.

I would like to thank the new Deputy Assistant Director Helen. Thanks for getting the Navy donations to Canaries.

To Sharmon I know you would have loved to come, we missed you, thanks Hillary, and Hermina and also Remey.

Thanks to Community Club for providing the other matching dollars to make the project possible from the Poverty Reduction Funding. Thanks Erickson for drawing up the plans and material lists and respect to Edsel, John and the other members.

Thank you Navy volunteers from USS MITSCHER we really appreciate your donations and time that you gave to this little fishing village.