Peace Corps Here We Come!

By , June 4, 2017 1:19 pm

Photo of Mojitos @ the Ball and Chain, Little Havana MiamiOMG!!!! Where to start on this first post of our Peace Corps (Eastern Caribbean) adventure. Most of you all know that I (Christine) am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (96-98 Jamaica) and some of you know that it was a very difficult experience for various reasons. If it weren’t for my Peace Corps Fellows experience at Columbia Teachers College, I would never have wanted to do it again. Thankfully, I met people who served in many different countries and their stories were quite different from mine, so from then on, I knew I would do the Peace Corps again someday. Luckily, I met a great man who would be game to do it with me.

OK, so, fast forward to now. We left Seattle one week ago yesterday. We flew to Miami and got there in the wee hours of the morning. The first day was our day and we spent it in Little Havana; mostly at the Ball and Chain Restaurant. It was great; live music, dancing, Mojitos and Cuban sandwiches. What else do you need? In the evening, we headed to the hotel to meet our group. But, first, we got dressed “business casual”. This is our new normal in the Peace Corps. That means, a dress or nice slacks, and closed toed shoes. You must cover up all tattoos. One gal has a big tat on her foot so she wears long stockings with her dresses and it looks so stylish. We thought she was starting a trend but then we found out she is just covering up her tattoo. This is going to be an interesting adventure. We aren’t used to getting dressed up to go to work. At the moment, my feet are so swollen, I’m pretty sure my closed toed shoes won’t even fit.

So we had an entire day of staging in Miami before heading to St. Lucia. It was good fun!!! Lots ice breakers and information about what we are getting ourselves into. No one was scared off so off to the airport we all went at 5:30 am.

We made it to St. Lucia and it is very beautiful and tropical (translation: hot and humid). We stayed at a Pastoral Center for the first four days of our training. More ice breakers, logistics, rules, and medical—most of us had to have more shots—ugh! It was so fun hanging out with everyone all day and evening. One evening we went to the beach. It was all fun and games until another volunteer got pricked by a sea urchin about 22 times. Poor thing had to get them tweezed out by our medical officer.

Photo of the Eastern Caribbean Group #89

On Friday we headed across the island to our new training center where our host families met us. We had a fun ice breaker to figure out who our host mom was going to be. Her name is Shirley and she is a hoot. Her home is lovely and she is doing so much to make us feel at home. She has a 17 year old daughter named, Shania and a 27 year old son named Lashly. And now us…her job is to feed us three times per day, provide a bedroom with a lock, and show us around for the next seven weeks. So far, we are having a great time. I had a good laugh when her sister called from England and Shirley told her she had to go because she has a new family now. LOL – Of course, she was just kidding. We like her sense of humor.

Yesterday, she got her boyfriend, William, to take us to the beach. We also went to the grocery store. Paul and I were like little kids—we were so happy to see so many familiar things in the store. Before all that, we went to the center of our new village (which consists of a small grocery store, a butcher, a church and a rum bar) to see her twin brother, the butcher. It was great meeting everyone that went by – Shirley actually knows everyone. It is very important to greet everyone, I mean everyone, that goes by and also those who are hanging out on their veranda. I’m really going to like that part of our service. Tuesday we will be going to the training center ourselves so we will see how it all works.

Today is a chill day. It’s so very hot and my feet are swollen so we are taking it easy. We went over to the neighbor’s house to see them process the honey from the hive. We chewed on some honeycomb, which was so tasty.

Tonight we will BBQ and then head to a lime (which is a Saint Lucian dance party).

Should be good fun.

Until next time…

6 Responses to “Peace Corps Here We Come!”

  1. Dena says:

    Sooooo excited that the bertandpatty blog is back in action! Sounds like a great time. Very happy for you. Keep on bloggin …

  2. Dawn says:

    Yay! I’m so glad your group/host are amazing! What an adventure this will be! Can’t wait to hear more. xxxxx

  3. Jackie says:

    So happy to hear things are going so well. Sounds like so much fun. Can’t wait to follow your blog. Be safe.

  4. Mike G says:

    they got maker’s mark at the rum bar?!

    great post, christine! you live in paradise 🙂

  5. Angela says:

    Sounds like a great adventure! Keep the posts coming! I love the pictures!

  6. Jae says:

    Hey Paul, happy birthday! (7/25) Still have you on our IT calendar. You guys must be busy since I haven’t seen any update lately. Hope you have a great one and yes, we still miss you over here. Take care!

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