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St. Lucia Photo Journal Digest

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Global Volunteers service programs adhere to our over arching Philosophy of Service in every community Specifically local people are always in charge of work projects and volunteers contribute to community driven initiatives alongside local people At all times we observe our policy stating Safety Trumps Everything Orientation sessions are conducted on the first day in country and morning and evening meetings give volunteers time to organize and review activities The team journal shared at morning meetings is a mainstay of every Global Volunteers program A daily collaborative report by one or two team members it reflects on the day s work and experiences In many partner communities volunteers contribute to several projects in different locations during the day Through the team journal volunteers hear about the projects and experiences of their teammates While such journaling requires effort most volunteers report they love the variety of recollections and stories The journal becomes an enjoyable way to communicate shared and individual memories and becomes a unique keepsake for each volunteer team Volunteers tell us that many years later the team journal allows them to reminisce and cherish their time spent with local people and teammates This journal digest complete with photos is a collection of journal excerpts from volunteers serving in Anse la Raye St Lucia 2

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M e s s a g e o f t h e The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing Walt Disney D a y

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SUNDAY TIM J o u r n a l E n t r y Welcome to the first journal report of our team in St Lucia We are 13 members coming to combine our collective skills and shared experiences and to work with local people to wage peace and promote justice Our first bus ride together was from the airport in the south of the island to drive along the Atlantic and shortly cross up the central mountains then down to the Caribbean side about halfway to a district of Anse la Raye to the beautiful mangrove resort of JJ s Paradise the closest housing suitable to the project sites of the area After cabin assignments and moving supplies to the cabins built along a loop road on the mountainside overlooking the bay we were soon being molded into a team by our capable former teacher principal now Global Volunteer Team Leader from this area Chem A rather sleep deprived group attempted to share our names backgrounds families and previous experiences with Global Volunteers or overseas experiences A good way to see the work sites and be introduced to the people was voted upon and we determined to attend Mass at 10 00 the next morning no shorts please and oh it may be a couple of hours long After our meeting we made our way in the dark to our respective cabins to the music of jungle rhythm and percussion section of cicadas tree frogs and crickets This was not enough to hamper slumber Sunrise in the jungle and palm and flower bedecked landscapes buds in the mangroves and harbor ships reflecting on glass smooth waters captured my morning walk I had reviewed the seven page notes Chem previously sent as a review to how the local people determined what needs to address with the heading 12 Essential Services each divided into 4 subpoints from 3 needs 4

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SUNDAY Cognition Hunger and Health From these the projects assigned to us were determined The why of our mission history was explained when Chem related how St Lucia has the lowest IQ on international scores After a delicious oatmeal and omelet breakfast driver Ian took the team to Anse la Raye with Chem relaying an informative narrative of local sites and past history As we passed banana plantations with little stands in front of blue bags protecting the banana bunches hanging throughout plantation fields we were told these were former sugar cane plantations England and France established the slave labored plantations and fought over colonizing the island 14 times only to abolish slave trade in 1838 They were part of the ugly historical slave sugar rum debacle of history Now with 85 unemployment I have to marvel at her dedication and pride when she told us February 27 1979 was Independence Day We re driving on the left side I think I know who won These scars of wars and injustices and humankind s inhumanity should give us plenty to pray about In spite of that history our group was greeted with smiles and handshakes at church which indeed was a way to expose us to the culture and be introduced to the people After a seafood shepherds pie chicken beans vegetable and salad buffet back at JJ s our afternoon team goal session produced the following team goals 1 To create happy memories 2 To build relationships 3 To empower females 4 To encourage good nutrition through gardening 5 To improve academic progress 5

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MONDAY PAUL J o u r n a l E n t r y Returning to St Lucia has been truly a joyous experience for Darby and me It is our third consecutive year on this beautiful island and the second year for service with Global Volunteers To our surprise the first face that greeted us upon arrival was Karen who we met during our service last year It was a happy reunion We all appreciated each other s friendship shared values and insights It was like we had never left My first day back with the C A R E program was equally satisfying Meeting each of the staff and getting a warm hug and welcome was both rewarding and reinforced my sense that what we are doing in Anse la Raye is appreciated Again it was like I had never left I was able to connect with some of the students I had worked with last year The most gratifying report was about one student He had been a charming little con artist under achieving with tons of potential I learned that he had been elevated to a student leadership role since I last saw him I am very proud of his accomplishment Darby reflected that working with one two and three year olds is a universal experience Their joy their laughter their excitement and their curiosity were no different than any experience she had in the States We sang the same nursery rhymes Head Shoulders Knees and Toes If You re Happy and You Know It and Itsy Bitsy Spider Hands and faces had to be wiped shoelaces had to be tied cookie crumbs had to be swept off the floor The love the joy and the hugs are universal The connection between service years is palpable for us 6

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TUESDAY HELEN J o u r n a l E n t r y The last few days were somewhat of a breakthrough The principal of our primary school had had a talk with our seven children about why Maryann and I had come all this way to be with them and give them individual attention I am not sure how much of that talk they retained but the children seemed to be more interactive and productive after that We came up with some new strategies for the children We let them just have fun by playing a memory game or other strategy games and then afterwards doing some reading spelling or mathematics Those who played the memory game won fairly giving them much joy and hopefully built their confidence to some degree Just seeing a few of the children who generally did not even smile or even speak to us laugh or begin to open up and talk to us was I feel good progress Yesterday all of the children were quite conversant and I even received hugs from the two girls This felt very sweet to me One girl later in the day came to us quite upset and in tears She had not been allowed to go to a track run because she hadn t completed her homework At first she just cried but she was willing to talk about it and we listened and talked to her She seemed calmer when she left to go back to her classroom A few of the children genuinely wanted to learn and tried their best to read spell and do mathematics I helped a little girl with her homework a few times which entailed answering questions reading those questions and writing the answers 7

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SUNDAY I gave the two girls a mathematics homework assignment and also to draw a picture of their families Both brought their homework back the next day and were quite proud of themselves I put a fun sticker on each of their papers because they had done such a good job It was delightful to see their lovely smiles Children need individual attention and to know that someone cares and that someone is interested in them and encourages them One of the highlights yesterday was that Maryann and I were invited to play ping pong during our break The children started streaming into the room to watch us It was fun and interactive and I also felt that some of the teachers were more accepting and inclusive of us I didn t even mind that Maryann was the ping pong champion of the day 8

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M e s s a g e o f t h e If you look at what you have in life you ll always have more If you look at what you don t have in life you ll never have enough Oprah Winfrey D a y

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WEDNESDAY LINDA J o u r n a l E n t r y The EarthBox team started the day collecting material for the plantings of the day and watered the ten boxes at the Church of the Nativity that were planted the day before Our next stop was a pre school ECDC where we were to plant four EarthBoxes We worked with Sieve from the school and Lisa a Global Volunteers staff We prepared the boxes and then we invited the children to do the final planting of the seedlings This was a learning experience for them and they will have the opportunity to observe the growth and production of the plants that they took part in starting We along with Chem then filled dolomite into small quart bags for other EarthBoxes to be planted After lunch we went to plant five EarthBoxes at the Primary School We worked with the caretaker Jonah there Jonah took us on an extensive tour of the gardens and pointed out all of the vegetables being grown these included tomatoes cabbage peppers corn eggplant spinach okra sweet potatoes cantaloupe and tofu The school team continued teaching with the 1st and 2nd grade students at the Infant School Barb taught arithmetic while Kenita instructed in reading Barb used some creative real world situations with the students Kenita was pleased to recognize the advanced intelligence of one boy whose reading skills seemed to be far above others his age As a demonstration of the local culture I visited a table at the vendors market in town I purchased a bowl made from the calabash tree It featured images of the island s symbols including the coconut tree Piton volcanos the hummingbird and the hibiscus flower We feel we have made progress toward our team goals 10

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THURSDAY MICAH J o u r n a l E n t r y I noticed him my first day at Adalyn Leonce As all the other children clamored for our attention he sat quietly in his seat intently watching the commotion going on around him His big brown eyes and quiet demeanor made me pause and wonder what is he thinking Later that day we went outside for playtime Again I noticed him standing quietly So I grabbed a ball and we started kicking it between us I asked him his name but he whispered it so softly that I couldn t hear As we were kicking the ball other children would join in He would patiently wait for his turn and then kick the ball to me A few times when I praised him on his strong kicks a ghost of a smile would appear on his lips The next day I was able to work one on one with him The teacher told me his name and even had to spell it for me Niyareh We sat in the library and I asked him to write his name He just shook his head and wouldn t pick up the pencil So I changed tactics Let s read a book I suggested Again I saw the hint of a smile So I picked a book about colors Quietly Niyareh told me each color We then moved on to shapes and he knew most of these as well The end of his tongue would be poking out as he concentrated and again the smile would return every time I said Good job I began to search him out each morning I arrived so I could say hello I also made sure I hugged him during the morning assembly when the class sang Hug Somebody I watched Niyareh interact with his classmates and I realized he was kind and loving to them He offered food to his friends at his table he shared blocks with his friends while others were hoarding them and he hugged a classmate who was sitting alone during assembly Something about Niyareh s gentle soul and sweet disposition has touched my heart I will always remember him as I return to my daily life I hope that this memory will give me pause when I am complaining or short tempered and remind me to slow down take a breath and hug somebody and tell them that I love them 11

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FRIDAY NANCY J o u r n a l E n t r y I ve been here five days now and seen felt and learned more than I could have imagined The trip has been an ideal mixture of experiencing a very different culture feeling like I m making a difference fun and adventure I ve enjoyed several chance encounters with local people including Charles lacking teeth and clean clothes but brimming with warmth Madeline striking up a conversation with me as I walk by her card table with a few bags of chips and candies for sale as I pass through the village on my way to and from Kathy s Infant School over lunch and a number of Rasta men who have greeted me openly and in a friendly fashion I feel like a welcome visitor and appreciated for volunteering with the kids not a tourist Chem is the ideal host and leader I feel I have learned so much from her as she answers Kathy s and my endless questions drives us to and fro eats meals with us and shares stories of her life and St Lucia The school kids have enriched my experience immeasurably I ve learned about differences in learning and tried different approaches to teach I take delight when I see progress and also seeing hands thrust in the air and big smiles when I enter a classroom Going outside to greet the championship 5th grade boys returning from their competition with other schools as they sang and showed off their trophy to the cheering student body was really a neat feeling Altogether a memorable experience 12

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M e s s a g e o f t h e Always remember that you are absolutely unique Just like everyone else Margaret Mead D a y

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SATURDAY SUNDAY ANGEL J o u r n a l E n t r y Yvonne and I visited the local street vendors again today and I purchased a dress hat and necklace to support the local merchants and to bring home local merchandise We traveled to the Endovic Art Studio where hand carved sculptures made from local woods and roots are sold We all purchased various items I opted for a plaque made from the Laurier and Mabrey tree containing images of a coconut Tree of Life tree banana plant home and kitchen the Pitons and a sailboat Before departing we met the artist Vincent Joseph Endovic I explained the work that we were doing and the nature of our EarthBox He wished us well and invited our return Being a part of the community not just at our jobsites but going to Mass walking in the village stopping to talk to people learning some songs and traditional dances allows all of us to experience St Lucia its people and its culture in such a special and personal way Over the weekend we all had time to enjoy the beauty of other parts of St Lucia and experience it in a different way Our group had two phenomenal tour guides at Tet Paul Nature Trail and Botanical Gardens learning that many plants that live here can be medicinal used in foods or tea And that many of the plants that live here were brought from many countries all over the world On Sunday we were able to relax in the sun snorkel and swim in the Caribbean and see the land by water 14

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SATURDAY SUNDAY We began by going to the Catholic Church service in Anse la Raye a short drive from our lodging I ll remember the joyful voices of the congregation the neat wooden roof looking like a great ship s hull and two beautiful girls sitting behind one another in the pews and communicating or just playing with hand gestures while their mothers sang and listened I ll especially remember a war embrace from the man standing beside me when the priest invited the congregation to give your neighbor a hug Then we walked around the small town seeing the small homes the public facilities the people clustered in small groups Sue and I decided to walk a bit I wanted to shop for earrings after losing mine and my yearly calabash carving from Zaria I found the perfect earrings beaded by her 12 year old daughter and the perfect carved calabash outlining the island and the Pitons As we were leaving we were chatting up a charming gentleman standing by Zaria s booth He said he was an author who wrote books about St Lucia I asked his name He introduced himself as Bryan Auguste Amazing He was the author of Anse la Raye A Scenic Fishing Village which the principal had shown us at his talk last Friday How fortuitous Sue and I eagerly each bought a copy Just the day before I had sent an email to the site listed on the inside cover of the book I had taken a photo when the book was passed around in the hopes of purchasing a book That email immediately bounced back to me I am thrilled to have this amazing touchstone book proudly signed by the author to bring home It will remind me of my love and devotion to a place that holds my heart Anse la Raye 15

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MONDAY NANCY J o u r n a l E n t r y After two days as a volunteer teaching rising 6th graders in St Lucia what has made the biggest impression on me is the eagerness of the children to learn My classroom consists of four very energetic boys but their energy is focused most of the time on wanting to learn When the morning bell rings signaling the start of the first period the boys come running into the classroom literally They then eagerly ask what they will be learning today If the material we re covering is too easy for them they beg for more challenging topics I can t help comparing this to American elementary schools Although my daughters are good students and attend good schools I never felt the same intense enthusiasm for learning in their schools I hope I will always remember and learn from the eagerness and enthusiasm of my four boys in St Lucia I really didn t know much at all about Saint Lucia before coming here I didn t even know where it was until we were on the plane But one of the main things I didn t know was what their school s system was like and the children s emotions towards school At home we probably have several different schools within 20 miles of our house and even with such easy access to the schools no one ever wants to go People show up late don t do their homework when we know they have everything they need to complete it But here the children come from other towns just to get an education Almost all of them come eager to learn something and wanting something new every day At the beginning of the day our students always ask us what we are doing today Once we tell them they just respond we want something harder and we have to try to find something they don t yet know about that said subject I try to think about what life at home would be like if we all acted the same way about school Everyone always on time and work completed just as it should be 17

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TUESDAY LISA J o u r n a l E n t r y Island Time was one of the first local sayings I heard upon arriving on the island and by far the most repeated Island Time As I listen to Chem and Lisa bicker about missed appointments I hear What is wrong with that girl She keeps island time you know Russell my roommate is working hard at the infant school teaching the kids how to read a clock and secretly I laugh inside because surely the children are aware it s Island Time The island is in no rush The people of St Lucia keep time to the beat of the mango tree Never quite certain when the next mango will drop or when the next opportunity will arise yet they rest assured it will and remain confident it will provide I remind myself throughout the day that at home I dream of long peaceful breakfasts by the sea yet while here I struggle to relax and want things done faster I have not yet accepted Island Time We start our morning with a quick meeting and a bite to eat then we pile into the van and head off to Anse la Raye The drivers here all beep their horns as if to say hello my friend I am here with you and wish not to harm you May we share the road It s a stark contrast to the streets back home where the drivers rage through their horns I wish you would I will end you I like to think I will take this home with me but sadly I know I will not Arriving in Anse la Raye it is short walk past the church graveyard to my job site The freshly piled dirt of a few days past serves as a reminder that nothing about today is guaranteed My workday begins at nine o clock island time this allows me an extra twenty minutes or so to walk the streets I am inspired by our first appointment She is so eager to receive her EarthBox that she is willing to cart it all the way to her house She also gives of herself and creates an EarthBox on behalf of her neighbor who was disposed 18

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TUESDAY The EarthBoxes are heavy and cumbersome Combined with the bad roads it is not an easy task to transport them in the carts Her willingness to do so gives me hope that her plants will be successful Sadly not all of the appointments are kept We spent some time driving to the homes in search of these young ladies Anse la Raye is a tight knit community and while the girls are not home it is no wonder where they are Chem openly laments There are only two things these girls are interested in rum and boys This is okay because I am a big woman with a strong back and I will come and take their EarthBoxes and I will tell them to pass straight In town the market lines the street Each vendor parrots the last come closer my friend come come and have a look my boy The market is filled with items clearly made somewhere else Another stark reminder of how limited the resources are on the island Returning to the resort at the end of the day we all head to the bay The next few hours are spent sunning snorkeling and enjoying coconut rum Ahh Island time I am just beginning to enjoy this slower pace and ironically it s too late In a few days I ll be back in the hustle and bustle where Island Time cannot exist However certain aspects will remain On the first day I said I wanted to plant a seed and I meant I wanted to leave something here I realize now that I ll be taking that seed with me in several forms The most important being to appreciate and utilize the endless resources I have at my disposal To make do with something readily available and to be flexible and adapt whenever possible And maybe just maybe I won t be such a jerk when I honk my horn 19

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M e s s a g e o f t h e The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched they must be felt with the heart Helen Keller D a y

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WEDNESDAY BILL J o u r n a l E n t r y I am lulled to sleep each night by the chorus of tree frogs I know I am in a lovely tropical setting when I open the drape in the morning and see St Lucia s prime crop of bananas The teaching team of John Barb Kenita and I combined its work at the Infant School Barb gave a 30 problem math test to her students Performance varied but at least one girl and one boy had near perfect scores Kenita read a true book about a dog named Shep The Turnpike Dog The children really enjoyed it and could read the words We are really enjoying our school Our children are soft spoken Some will give us hugs when we finish Most are well behaved Our big wish would be to have a quiet place to work with them As seniors we frequently have to ask them to repeat themselves Our other team members are our very hard working gardeners They prepare EarthBoxes to grow vegetables for the local people Today they continued planting boxes at residents homes They visited four homes and planted six EarthBoxes for a cumulative total of 59 so far Barb joined them in planting two of the boxes so that she could take part in the process They have the hardest job in the tropical heat Kudos to them To end our busy day we had a lovely quiet dinner at Julietta s Her fish was marlin that all of the fish lovers enjoyed She has a lovely setting high in the hills overlooking our bay below 21

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THURSDAY SUE J o u r n a l E n t r y Teaching in the Anse La Raye Infant School has been an amazing experience The children are beautiful in spirit and energy All are polite and welcoming and those on my tutoring list are eager to learn and please Even kids not on my list want attention which is sweet In addition the teachers are also welcoming always asking how I am doing smiling each time and seeming to be sincere They are patient when I have to interrupt for my next student The teachers are amazing and somehow manage the chaos The children love to talk about their families especially their brothers and sisters Family is clearly a priority here This morning the grade K children were gathered in the courtyard wearing bright green red blue and yellow uniforms And their smiles radiated All were very friendly toward me and it made me feel very good Some of the children are at a very basic reading level while others are more advanced In both cases their eyes light up when they get it and I praise them often I am particularly impressed with Magnus His passion for youth development is palpable and I wish for him much success in his adventure On a fun note my wonderful partner in volunteering Alan and I took a water taxi across the bay last night and accompanied a young couple we met on the way to a restaurant and bar called Mygo There we met a delightful young bartender who kept us informed entertained and lubricated I hope to return before the end of the week Chem has been a font of knowledge about the village the island and the OECS She patiently fields our barrage of questions I have learned a great deal about Saint Lucia and feel very fortunate to have been part of such a great team of volunteers It is hard to put into words the lessons I have learned here at the school from Chem from the children and the others I have met This experience has been everything I hoped it would be and more Looking forward to our last day 22

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FRIDAY OLGA J o u r n a l E n t r y We are at the end of our two week session with Global Volunteers in Anse la Raye St Lucia It is an incredibly ambitious program covering two pre schools an infant school K 2 a primary school Grades 3 6 an alternative secondary program and an EarthBox program to encourage healthy nutrition An ambitious program requires a very competent leader and skilled caring volunteers Fortunately during our February 2020 session both were present Thank you Chem and fellow volunteers for making this a memorable and positive two weeks Chem was absolutely right that as soon as we began to feel connected with the children and settled into the flow of the program it s time to go Still I choose to believe that even this brief time together can be helpful for the children in Anse la Raye I hope that the personal attention and support will help them to feel more confident in their skills I hope that having this group of strangers come and within just a few days be able to reinforce for them that they are smart beautiful and skillful can help them to own those qualities within themselves As for our team I feel that these people whom I didn t even know few weeks ago are suddenly so special and important to me I see how sincerely they care and how willing they are to give of themselves for others And they sing some darn fine karaoke as well Of course I cannot say enough about Chem who embodies the ideal of leadership through service Her passion to empower her community and her generosity of spirit has been inspirational I am sad to leave but so grateful that my daughter and I could share this experience with such an amazing group of people Some of my time has been spent at the Kids Step pre school helping with three23

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FRIDAY year olds They are delightful and have much in common with three year olds from Canada though they have much more imaginative first names like Imani D Jalmino Nayelli Dernej and Amari Out of 41 children at the pre school there are no duplicate first names All the teachers at the pre school are caring and provide the structure needed for learning I sensed that they were grateful for the volunteer help because it made their demanding job a little easier Some of the instructions given to the children could apply to all of us in our daily lives A few examples Put your finger on your lips Listen Sing The word affection a noun has numerous meanings One definition is the feeling of liking or having fondness for something or someone Another definition is the state or process of being affected I believe that both definitions apply to my Global Volunteers work during the past two weeks in St Lucia All of my students have beautiful smiles eyes and faces I have enjoyed seeing their delight and frustration expressed every day in their eyes smiles and faces All of them are wonderful human beings and each has an unforgettable uniqueness I will miss these precious students These students have significantly affected me with both their endearing characteristics and their restlessness I am forever touched I wish now that in return affection was received by them from me 24

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FRIDAY Perhaps my students will remember something about these two weeks that will affect them Ruhamah remembered and was touched by her two week Global Volunteer experience of years ago so maybe my students will have similar thoughts and feelings if not now then in the years to follow Will they remember me as an older white married American female volunteer who forced them to read to write and to do math Or will they remember me as the volunteer who shared her Tanzanian safari video with them Will they remember that I taught them how to say the word for quot thank you quot in Swahili Or will I be remembered as the female volunteer who let them frequently get away with bad classroom behavior Or will they someday remember that during that hot and humid summer prior to their entering sixth grade at Anse La Raye Primary School I was one of the two volunteers who bought them ice cream at the end of the two week schooling torture Whatever will be the outcome affection seems to be the appropriate word to describe the teaching and work at Anse La Raye Primary School If the students have not been impacted at all by my volunteering may the remember at the very least that I was the volunteer who used those dreadful antonyms in the daily quot spelling words quot review And an antonym for loathing is affection There are many ways to travel but the difference between ordinary traveling and volunteering is the difference between seeing a new place and experiencing what life is like there It has been a pleasure meeting the people of Anse la Raye who I have found to be jovial friendly and resilient On display at one of the schools was the motto The difficulties in my path will not defeat my ambition We wish for Anse la Raye the fulfillment of your ambitions 25

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GLOBAL VOLUNTEERS 375 East Little Canada Road St Paul MN 55117 1628 USA 800 487 1074 toll free 651 482 0915 fax globalvolunteers org email globalvolunteers org GlobalVolunteers globalvolunteers globlvolunteers