Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Good Life

I feel that I have not bragged enough about the good life here in St. Lucia. So I am going to dedicate this post to posting some of my favorite pictures of me having a blast here in Paradise to hopefully make all of you drool who have been thinking about visiting me. I am here for another year or so, so time is running out to take advantage of free accommodations, your own personal tour guide and resident expert (me). Salop!

Me on the Mystic Man a single mast sail boat cruising past my village of Canaries. Yes I am feeling very much on top of the world in that picture.

Me with my Aunties Cass and Tina and my buddy Nick and Marcy plus Jerome a buddy PCV from Dominica Island where the reality show Pirate Master is being filmed now.

This picture is for you Joe, that is me enjoying an amazing burger in View Fort at one of the resorts. A moment of silence please, to the Africa volunteers who are eating grubs and goat head God bless you.

I am having more fun then the kids in this picture.

Hiking with Tina and Marcy at the Saltibus waterfall, it was breathtaking and the rain forest was green and beautiful.

Hiking Gros Piton

Me and Uncle Jim at the Micoud Waterfall

A great shot of Tina and Cass having fun at the Mineral Springs

Another one of small waterfalls with Uncle Bruce and Tina.

Well these pics really only scrape the tip of the ice burg when it comes to the experience I am having here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Peace Corps Volunteer Stabbed in St. Vincent on Tuesday

This story is from one of my fellow EC 76ers. I post this to let people know that
you have to be careful.

On June 19, 2007 Paul was walking back from Petit Bordel Secondary School at
approximately 2:30pm after grading papers. As he walked up the hill towards
Chateaubelair, he noticed an altercation taking place between one of his
former Form 5 female students and an unknown male. As they walked down the
hill towards Paul, the altercation grew more heated, and Paul hurried up the
hill and stepped between the two individuals, telling them to calm down (or
in his words, "Breeze!"). He couldn't quite determine what the disagreement
was about, but to him, it sounded like the male was accusing the female of
witholding something of his (a shirt, he believed). The female was on her
way to graduation rehearsal and asked Paul to escort her the rest of the way
back down the hill. As he walked with her and several of her friends back
towards the school, the male grew agitated again asking about his shirt.
When the female replied that she would give it back to him tomorrow, he
became enraged and drew a knife. Paul immediately stepped back but continued
to hold up his forearm in an attempt to protect his former student, but the
suspect reached around Paul and grabbed a hold of the female in a very
aggressive manner. Because the events were unfolding so quickly, the rest of
the story is a bit blurred from Paul's perspective, but basically, the male
had wrestled the female to the ground and had torn her shirt off, leaving
her bare breasts exposed. As he stood over her poised to strike with a
8-inch kitchen knife, Paul took action and engaged the male, eventually
tumbling down a large embankment. It was during this time that Paul was
stabbed, though whether or not it was an accident remains uncertain.
Eventually when they stopped tumbling, the male sprang to his feet
approximately 3-5 feet further down the embankment from Paul. Paul then
picked up an old bamboo stick and made a feeble attempt at self-defense;
fortunately, the suspect ran around him and back up the hill towards the
female (she had already fled). Paul then looked down and realized he had
been stabbed. The knife entered at the top of the left shoulder, in between
the shoulder blade and the shoulder bone itself, and the exit wound was
located where the pectoralis muscle meets the armpit, approximately six
inches from his heart. He flagged down a passing truck and was taken to the
Chateaubelair medical clinic where he was treated then later moved to the
Kingstown hospital. The next day Paul was transported to the hospital in
St.Lucia for additional treatment. Paul is now being transported to
Washington D.C. to meet with the medical team to determine if additional
treatment will be needed.

The Peace Corps has two mottoes: "The toughest job that you'll ever love"
and "Life is calling...How far will you go?" This volunteer discovered it
is the toughest job that he had ever loved and he also went far. Far past
the roles and responsibilities of a Peace Corps Volunteer to save the life
of an individual. Repeatedly, he attempted to diffuse the situation and
going far enough to escort her as protection. This young female was a
former student of his at the school and daughter of a community member in
Chateaubelair, where he served two and a half years. He totally embraced
his community and in turn, they embraced him. Paul gave 110% of his time,
energy and talents with an open mind to this community being known as
"Mr.Chateaubelair". It would not be known what would have happened if Paul
did not intervene or was not present at this altercation, but the fact of
the matter is that he saved someone's life. We, the volunteers, believe
that Paul's story should be told and recognized. His actions should be
recognized by the United States Peace Corps and the Government of St.Vincent
and the Grenadines. In addition, the residents of Indianapolis,IN. (Paul's
hometown) should be aware of the actions of their "hometown hero". This
"model" Peace Corps Volunteer will definitely be recognized by the
volunteers serving on the island of St.Vincent. Peace Corps should be proud
of him because collectively the volunteers of EC Groups 74-76 are honored to
have worked with this noble volunteer.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Making Lasagna your mother would be proud of in St. Lucia

Lasagna Recipe is below my bragging, just scroll down to skip the obnoxiousness.

Its a tough life serving my country faithfully in the gorgeous tropical honeymoon island of St. Lucia in the West Indies. But, have no fear my fellow Americans and taxpayers. Have faith in me, I will survive somehow..... two coping mechanisms that help me get through the day (besides sandy beaches, palm trees, fresh tuna steaks, tasty libations, aqua blue Caribbean Ocean, all the mango's and pineapples I can eat) are Macy my love and Lasagna. All together in one beautiful picture. Pray for me, pray for me please :)

So enough bragging, I am going to post some pictures of the lasagna making process including the recipe using the limited selection of grocery store items available.

First let me point out that a pan of lasagna give you 8 servings, as in my size serving. Secondly your main cost is the Hot Italian Sausage and Cream Cheese both of which you only use a small quantity leaving you enough for another entire Lasagna meal. Total cost is 60.25 EC HOWEVER the next time you make it it will ONLY cost you 33.80EC because you will still have 3 sausage left and 3/4 a container of cream cheese left. Your looking at a cost of 5EC per slice of Lasagna and the best part is Lasagna tastes even better after its been refrigerated and warmed up again.

Costs and ingredients

Box of Lasagna noodles 5EC
Package of Hot Italian Sausage 18.99, package of 5 you only use 2 of them . 18EC
(Found at the Castries or View Fort Super J only)
One roll of Ground Turkey Sausage 5EC
Can of Spaghetti Sauce 5.25EC
Block of Cheddar Cheese 10EC
One Garlic Clove .50EC
One Big onion or two small 2.50EC
Small Bunch of Basil and Rosemary Oregano 4EC
(fresh from the market
1 plain Yogurt 2.50EC
(Castries or Viewfort Super J only)
Cream Cheese (Philadelphia) use a quarter stick 7.99EC

Directions Below:

1. First thaw out your ground turkey and two sausages in a container of water.
2. Dice your onions, garlic and herbs.
3. Shred your 10EC block of cheese.
4. Slice up the sausage
5. Add your onions, garlic and herbs, ground turkey and sausage together with Spaghetti sauce and simmer until sausage is cooked thoroughly.
6. Boil a large pan of water adding a bit of oil to keep lasagna noodles from sticking.
7. Add your Noodles to the water and cook for 10 min or until tender.
8. Make your own perfect cheese sauce. Take a small saucepan and add all of your cheese sauce ingredients at once. Small can of evaporated milk (you can use a quarter cup or regular milk but it will make the cheese sauce thin and watery)one small yogurt, a quarter stick of cream cheese and half of the cheese you shredded.
9. Cook on LOW HEAT until all ingredients are dissolved together into a cheese sauce. Immediately turn of the heat and remove the pan to cool or the cheese and yogurt will separate. If the sauce is thin you used regular milk/you used to much milk, cook longer on low heat until it thickens. Be careful though, it could start to separate.
10. Oil your lasagna pan to keep the noodles from sticking/burning, making sure your pan is minimum of 3 inches deep on the sides so you can stack at least 4 layers. (you can use Pyrex glass containers also)
Drain your noodles, and make your first layer of noodles on the bottom. Try to make the layers only one noodle layer thick.
11. Spoon in your meat sauce in on your first layer of noodles and then cover with another layer of noodles, spoon in your cheese sauce on this layer and then sprinkle a bit of the shredded cheese on top for extra gooey cheesy goodness. Repeat steps until your on your final later of noodles, poor remaining meat sauce, then cover meat sauce with remaining cheese sauce and then cover with a final generous topping of the shredded cheese. (if you run out shredded cheese feel free to shred some more)

This is a shot of the final layer, feel free to use a lot more cheese.

St. Lucia stoves have no temperature gauge and range widely in temp. You need to check your lasagna every 6 minutes. When you see the cheese on top is light brown pull it. If you like your first layer a bit crispy let it stay until it all a light brown. It takes about 10-12 min on my stove for no crispy, about 4 more minutes makes it crispy. Let it cool for 15 min and serve with bread. (ps bread is great, helps you keep down to one serving to save costs and its great to sop up the sauce)


Please leave a post after you make me and Marcies lasagna recipe!


Friday, June 15, 2007

Old Church Development: Pictures and Measurments.

Progress is progress.

Last weekend I went with Erickson to assist him in measuring the old church. He is an architect who is on the Community Club and I am very thankful for him. The estimate he is doing for us for free would normally cost $2000-$5000 EC. Yet he donates his time and expertise to help the community. Props to him.

It was strange having to break back into the old church, we had to board it up with nails and chunks of wood a month ago in an attempt to keep street bums and drunks out. We had to break back in and open up the building so we could shoot pictures and take measurements. I can tell you first hand it was easier to break back in then to re-secure the building. Erickson will be putting together an estimate for the churches repair in the next month so we can begin going to other community groups to get commitments on their contributions to the rebuilding. The plan is to get as many community groups and organization involved in this project so that when we apply to large funding agencies they will be able to see that it is clearly a community project. Not just a few citizens wanting the renovations.

Funding agencies are especially keen on this these days because they know unless a project has broad based community support it can fail and funds can be misappropriated.

So enough on that here are some more pictures of the building. When the proposal is close to finished with an actual budget I will post it.

Front of the church

Side of the Church with Erickson measuring.

Side of the church, shot of one of the main doors that needs to repaired.

Inside of the Church from the upstairs balcony.

A shot of the second set of main doors.

A dedication plaque to the old priest who worked in Canaries

A shot from the bottom floor of the upstairs balcony where Cannabelle will work. We are currently working with the Archdicoses to allow them to use the upstairs for 10 years rent free since we are pursueing funding to renovate the old church.

Last shot showing Erickson working on sketchs for the renovation.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Cocoa Boy and Baby Bunnies Born.

Cocoa Boy is a cousin of Handy who lives next door, he assists Handy every morning with feeding the rabbits. Check out his eyes, cute kid. Were also looking for a sponsor for him to have his own rabbit cage with Handy.

We now have baby bunnies finally. We really had no warning, normally the rabbit pulls her fur 24hrs before she gave birth and pulled her fur after. This is not the ideal situation because that means the newborns lay on the wire exposed.

I have began my work with Cannabelle soap this week, I will give you more info on that later and we have taken measurments and pictures of the old church for the development proposal, more on that later.

Take care everyone,