Friday, January 11, 2008

Projects Update Part One (What the heck have I actually accomplished??)

After talking to my Aunt Tina she challenged me to tell her what projects I have actually finished, from my blog she sees a lot of projects started but she is not sure where they are at and wants to know what I am accomplishing. I think that is fair so I am going to go through the different things I have been working on and where they stand currently.

First I am going to give a quick summary of each group and or project. Then I will go into detail on the 6 main ones.

The main projects and groups I am working with are:
1. The Anse La Liberte Sea Turtle Sanctuary, working with the Saint Lucia National Trust to develop the 133 acre preserve near Canaries into a Sea Turtle Sanctuary and Bungalows for eco-tourism.
2. Canaries Creole Pot, the vendors and members responsible for biweekly street party.
3. Canabelle Soap Co-op, an 8-10 member co-op of mostly unemployed women producing all natural soap.
4. Canaries Community Club, the local development group for Canaries Village.
5. The Old Church Development, working with the Catholic Church and Community Club to renovate the old church into a craft and gift market, leaving the upstairs area for Canabelle soap.
6. The Rabbit Project, a project to provide training, rabbits and supplies to boost the income of the poorest families in the village.

Other small projects of note that have already been finished:
A.Cricket World Cup for Canaries, helped write a proposal that provided $36,000EC to help fund activities and development in Canaries for Cricket World Cup.
B. The National Development Foundation Canaries Kids Camp, helped organize, plan and work at the Canaries one week kids camp.
C. Navy Work Day, applied and received funding and volunteers to help repair part of the Old Church Building from the US Navy and Peace Corps.

Project One: The Anse La Liberte Sea Turtle Sanctuary

This project has had most of my attention for the past 2 months. It is an incredible vision for development between Canaries and Anse La Raye. It will help save a species from extinction, add a valuable product to the Saint Lucia tourism package, provide employment and training and help in other conservation work the Trust is involved in.

Thanks to Anderson Lake for listening to my idea, for being the first one to believe in it and most importantly passing it on to the right person.

Thanks to Bishnu Tulsie for having the vision to make this project reality, most things in life start as really great ideas but end there because it is so hard to find someone to share the vision. I am thankful that I had someone who could see the potential of this project and also act on it by funding my trip to Bequia to do a feasibility study. Lastly I need to thank Orton King for sharing his passion, his labor of love, saving the Hawksbill from extinction and educating the beautiful people of the Caribbean.

Currently the rough draft of the proposal is done, it includes concept drawing for every component of the project that I am quite proud of, these were done through Google Sketch Up and Google Earth, thank you again Google Team for the amazing software. I cannot go into any more detail on the plan for confidentiality purposes except to say that we are in the process of building support for the project across the island.

With the proposal, concept drawings, Turtle Sanctuary DVD and the respect and reputation the Saint Lucia National Trust we will most likely be successful.

Project Two: Canaries Creole Pot
Canaries Creole Pot has certainly been a tremendous experience to me, an experience learning how to network with the Ministries, main sponsors (Distillery, Brewery) through Mrs Edwards example. The street party has had its up and downs with vending booths not being delivered, rain storms, and a few less vendors. However it is strong in the fact that we now have nearly complete sponsorship to cover our street party costs. The other exciting part is the funding from the Basic Needs Trust Fund, through Lisa and our former CDO Urania Joseph we were able to pursue these funds of some 37-45,000 EC. I have been caught up in the Sanctuary project and I will be working with Creole Pot to begin gathering the 3 estimates we need to fix the Jetti for boat traffic and the estimates to fix the main bathroom on High St.

I will also be pursuing the ministry of planning to receive permission to put up some billboards to advertise the street party.

One other setback I must mention was the start of a shuttle bus service from Soufriere to Canaries. The idea was to bring more visitors to the street party by providing transport. It never really took over even after 2 months of advertising on the radio a few times and pushing it with fliers and a loudspeaker advertisement every other week. I am still trying to figure out what I am supposed to learn from that failure, I will have to get back to you on that one :)

Creole Pot is also working with the Distillery and Tourism Board to receive our own permanent tents which would be a huge step forward. Each tent costs around $6,000 EC were asking for 8. The Brewery is going to help by providing a shipping container near the playing field to store our tents and tables in. I expect the Street Party to develop to a new level in the next 6 months as we work on the venue improvements.

Project 3: Canabelle Soap Womens Co-op
We are making progress here, thanks mainly to Bonnie and Connie and Bonnie's Mom.

With funding they raised we have been able to purchase a heavy duty blender and food processor, safety gloves and glasses, and external hardrive to back up their soap design templates and soon a new color printer from the states.

The President of Canabelle thanking Bonnie and Connie.

Our next step is to put together a proposal to submit to the government, and the Taiwanese, Japanese and Canadian Development groups to gather funding to take Canabelle to the next level in their product and production. The proposal was perhaps 70% done before I passed it on to Hallie the new Canaries Peace Corps volunteer. My hands are in too many fires at this point and she needs the proposal writing experience. She is doing a great job finishing some of the financial figures now and I look forward to seeing it soon so we can begin submitting it.

We still have not had a chance to move Canabelle into the Old Church, the upstairs area is not safe enough and the repairs to the doors have not been completed to the point that the building will be secure. After the National Stake Holders meeting on the 15th I will pushing Community Club to organize the completion of this.

Will wrap up the other 3 projects in another blog entry later, thanks for reading people!

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