Saturday, March 17, 2007

New Years Eve on Petit Piton

Nicholas approached me with a novel idea. Instead of getting drunk like everyone else to usher in the New Year why not hike 2,438ft to sit on top of a volcanoes to watch the fireworks explode below in Soufriere?

for more technical info on the Pitons go here

I agreed, I am always a sucker for doing something different.

A few things that Nicholas assured me:
1. He knew how to get to the top.
2. We would get tents and tarps from Michael the Souf volunteer.

Well here is picture that shows how Nick had no idea where the path was, we spent 1-2hours bouldering these rocks until by blind luck we found the path.

I would like to take a moment to point out that my buddy Nick lost the path at LEAST 5 times thankfully I found it and kept us on the right way.

The hike is basically at a 35 degree angle. Multiple times we encountered parts that could only be crossed by using hanging ropes. It was wild!

Nick what did you get me into buddy?

PS did i mention we passed through a rain forest to get to the top.

With our excellent climbing ability and timing we managed to still find ourselves climbing at night. I was pretty exhausted at this point, but I have to say I was having a good time.

We sumitted, time to break out the Champagne to summon in the new year.

Notice the pinky finger!

Well that night was something else, we had no tents, and no tarps. I laid on the ground covered by a sheet and Nick slept in his bag. It was bizarre night, we would watch terrible dark storm clouds head towards our volcano and at the last minute they would break apart at the last minute before reaching us on the peak. We saw the fireworks below, but to be honest we were to high up to really appreciate them. Well our luck went south after the fireworks, we were repeatedly soaked through the night. At one point I was doing jumping jack at two AM drinking a choice beverage just to warm myself up. I prayed for daylight and it did finally come.

Here is the view in the morning.


No comment.

Souf in the morning mist.

We loving referred to this part as the birth canal, we passed through this in night so we had no picture, I can say that it is painful to slide down between a tight rock passage holding onto a rough rope. Honestly if I had not been caving in Budapest before I may have panicked when I became stuck. Both of our cell phones died painful deaths being crushed in our pockets passing through this part.

We made it to the bottom, after this we went straight to the mineral springs to soak out the sprains and sore muscles.

After reflection we can both say every minute was worth it. If it had not been for Nick I would not have done it, so props to him. We had a great time, sure we had a lack of planning but for guys that just adds to the fun of it.

No Brakes!

In a few moments you will see perhaps the funniest pictures I have seen on island that were taken candidly. These pictures tell the rest of the story . Maybe it was even funnier because if God had not been merciful you probably would have seen a news report back in the states to this effect:

"3 Peace Corps volunteers die tragically along with Eastern Caribbean (EC) Director and Country Director after brakes failed in Saint Lucia."

So the story before the pictures. I was picked up by Kate the EC director and Sharmon the St. Lucia director to attend a close of service party (COS)for some volunteers preparing to go back to the states.

They had also picked up two other volunteers, Nicholas from Anse Le Raye and Star from Marigot Bay. We were driving down the west side of the Island which has the Piton's (two inactive volcanoes) that are driven past, the roads are incredibly curvy and steep as you go down the coast that would make any Nascar driver envious. The roads are surrounded by a tropical rain forest that is all around with an occasional Horse or Cow on the road for good measure.

As we were just coming into Soufriere I was running my mouth bragging about the work I had been doing with the Canaries Street Party when we hit an incredible pot hole. A pot hole that was so large it nearly swallowed the car. We popped up on the other side. When Nick and I looked back to see what we had hit we saw a homeless street lady clapping for us in maniac glee impressed by our impact. Then Nick noticed our rim covers spinning in the street next to the lady which had exploded off from the impact.

We turned back to tell Kate when we heard her quitly say, "The brakes are gone."
The BRAKES are gone!!! Kate maneuvered the car through the street missing beggars and pedestrians handling it beautifully with no brake control. She took us uphill until our forward motion stopped and placed it in park. Now mind you the brakes did fail before we hit the pothole/gutter so it was not Kates fault, in fact it was probably a good move that helped slow down the car.

These gorgeous pictures perfectly show the aftermath, enjoy.

Yes, yes I had no idea what I was looking for or pointing at, but I can say that I did feel better after opening the hood. Look at Sharmons expression, PRICELESS! Click on the picture to zoom in for a closer look at Sharmons expression.

I have to again commend Kate and Sharmon on how well they both handled it.

It was a good time and certainly made a great story.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Canaries Kindergarten Girls Sack Race

Here is the cutest video you will ever see of the Canaries Kindergarten Girls sack race.

The Primary and Infant Schools would like to thank the Canaries United Kingdom Association for there sponsorship to help make this great day of sports and fun possible.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dinner with Ambassador Ourisman.

Here are some pictures of the lovely dinner we had with Ambassador Ourisman. It was a extremely lovely evening.

Ambassador Ourisman

Surf and Turf



Cheers baby!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bunny Love

First of all I would like to state that I am leaning away from producing the bunnies to help subsidize the Creole Pot Street Parties vendors main dish, "Creole Rabbit Stew in Coconut Milk and Red Wine". I am finding that they are just to cute.

Instead I am looking into starting a Bunny Co-op. The basic idea is to start a 3 week training course where for each day of the week I have different member of the class assist in feeding the rabbits. On Saturday mornings we will have a short 1 hour class to cover economics of bunny raising, hutch design,and so forth.

At the end of the 3 or 6 week period the students will each receive a female rabbit if they meet the following conditions.

1. Have a 3 cage hutch. (working on a design that uses bamboo a free and wonderfully handy material)
2. They have a 50 pound bag of feed. (32EC)
3. A self watering system for the rabbit.

Here are two 50 pd bags of feed, notice it says Wayne Feed, my father worked for Wayne feed in Fort Wayne Indiana, small world huh?

Here is a picture of the self watering system that uses materials that are normally thrown away. Its basically a gravity design where the stick inside keeps the bottle above the water level but once the rabbit drinks it refills until it is level again.

This is critical since rabbits most commonly die of dehyradation in hot climates. I picked this design up from a Mother (a cool hippie magazine) article.

This is the nursing box, it takes 28 days from fertilzation for the rabbits to give birth, a few days before birth the mother rabbit pulls fur from her chest. At that point you seperate her from the other rabbits and place her fur in the breeder box where she will have the baby bunnies. They are hairless for about 2 weeks.

I am going to have to seek more sponsorship in the community as I will be going through 3 bags of grain a month now. I am going to try to get some fundraising from Community Club, the Poverty Reduction Fund and a few private donors. Who knows, it is worth a try. I would need their sponsorship for feed and building materials for the trainees when they are making their own hutches. I have been using bananna leaves and other edible fauna to try to stretch out the feed.

I think this is the best Peace Corp way to spread this opportunity around Canaries for other people to have an easy economic activity. The main point of Peace Corp is to not provide money but instead training to help people improve their lives hopefully.

Take care everyone and pray that the rabbits do not eat me out of house and home.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Canaries Heritage Month Promo Video, its AWESOME!

Here is the Canaries Heritage Month Promo Video. Its a great video showcasing the talent and potential Canaries Village has. Thanks to everyone who has helped to make this possible. Shane Cherry provided the great voice over work.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Figures, Costs, Demension and Info on Rabbit Hutch

Okay continued progress is being made on the rabbit hutch project. But first some quick info on dimensions and material costs.

The cage is 10"x2"x28" (PS thats HUGE)
It has 5 seperate cages.
It was designed by Michael Ward the Soufriere PCV.
It was built be the students of the Soufriere Enrichement Centre with hthe instructions and supervison of Michael.

Material Used and Costs given in EC$
2 4x8 3/8 Pressure treated plywood 145.71
5 2x4 x12 Pressure Treated 151.60
1lb of Headless 2"nails 4.95
2lb of 3" nails 7.50
1lb of galvanized nails for roof 3.99
Tin Snips for cutting tin metal for roof 9.99
10ft of wire mesh, sides of cage and cage seperators 50.00
2yrds 1/2 wire mesh for bottom of cage 45.50 (baby rats cut feet on bigger wire)
5 brass hinges, for doors 14.75
30 1'Drywall screws, for hinges and clasps 3.00
5 clasps, to lock cages 11.25
1 bottle of wood glue 15.95
(labor was donated my Michael and Souf youth)
(galvanized sheet metal for roof was donated)
Total Cost $464.19

Thanks again for the fantastic workmanship and time from Michael and the young people of Soufriere who helped make this project possible.