I am really loving life here in Dominica. I am pretty adventurous and am really trying to take advantage of all the opportunities I have to explore the island and try new things. About a month ago, my wonderful yoga teacher, Trudy, hosted a “Yoga by a Waterfall” retreat at an eco-resort near Roseau. We spend the morning practicing yoga, bathing in the waterfall, and swimming in the hot pools. Then we had a delicious brunch featuring local dishes — fruit, juice, bush tea (herbal tea), callaloo soup, coush coush (a purple potato-ish dish), fig pie (green bananas are called “figs” here, and they treat the green ones like potatoes), fish steamed in banana leaves… it was so yummy and was such a treat! After lunch we took a tour of the resort’s beautiful, tropical gardens — they were pretty amazing. It was a wonderful day definitely a once in a lifetime experience to do yoga by a waterfall!
So I’ve been a delinquent blogger lately… I know this because many friends have sent me emails saying “update your blog soon!” Sorry that you have to ask! I have been busy lately and have been enjoying the island and even forgetting to bring my camera with me everywhere (gasp!). And I feel like a blog post without photos is no good, no good at all. But I scrounged up some photos and poached a few too, so hopefully I won’t disappoint you! Here is what has been going on lately:
For Charlie, studying. Always. He is working super hard and did well on his first exam, which is awesome. He is trying to get his study routine down, but is struggling with information overload: tons and tons of material and the impossibility of studying and knowing every single darn thing, which is a hard thing to handle when you are expected to know every single darn thing. But he is doing well! He actually went and played tennis with a friend yesterday and went to “Yoga at the Desk” to help him de-stress, so all is well in the land of science.
I have been busy with friends (yes, Frannie, I finally have friends!), trips, volunteering, cooking, reading… I would like to fit in more art, more yoga (I have done some of both but not as much as I’d like), and more working out. This can be done. I am volunteering with a few different groups here on the island. The first is called CALLS and it is the alternative high school here in Dominica for students who have had to drop out of high school or leave school for one reason or another. Students choose to return school and attend CALLS and they all have pretty amazing stories and have gone through hardships that I cannot even imagine experiencing, especially as a high schooler. The students range in age from 15 to early 20s. I am working with a 17 year old boy who is hilarious. I meet with him 1 hour a week as a mentor/tutor and work with him on reading and English. After the CALLS students finish the 2 year program, they take the Dominica equivalent of a GED test. The school also provides the students with vocational training and summer internships in their area of interest. I am not sure who exactly runs the school, but there are some nuns there from Canada who are in charge of the mentoring/tutoring and there are also Peace Corps volunteers teaching there. I have only been twice so far, but it is a pretty cool experience. My latest challenge is finding a book on a third grade reading level on the topic of “drugs and the law” at my student’s request. I am pretty sure that will not happen, and luckily geared him towards mystery/crime type books. We’ll see.
I am also volunteering at InLightIn (pronounced “enlighten”), a group founded by a pastor on the island who was either a Ross student or spouse (can’t remember which) that provides a fun after school program for elementary school students in Portsmouth, the neighboring town, on Fridays. We play with kids, do a simple craft project, provide them with a snack, and teach them some sort of lesson about virtues like kindness or generosity. This past Friday we went to Portsmouth to hand out fliers and candy to get the students excited about starting InLightIn next week. It was such an incredible experience to meet the kids and see their homes. They all had the biggest smiles on their faces and were so excited to see the volunteers who they knew from previous semesters. So that is going to be really fun. Here are some photos of the kids from InLighIn poached from my friend Heidi’s blog. A few more pics…