(and Fall Foliage Fiesta winner announced!)
It's been a bit since I've written, but I haven't felt quite inspired to write lately...until my humorous evening tonight. So, Peace Corps Grenada had it's annual Christmas party tonight. It was hosted by Maureen, one of the volunteers who lives in Gouyave. Gouyave is on the western side of the island and is located pretty centrally for 90% of the volutneers who live either south of there in St. George's, or just north in Victoria. Well, for Jon, JP and I, the northern and eastern dwellers, it's a bit more of a ride. A little background of Gouyave--the town can be compared to the "rebel in the family". If there's trouble happening, it's usually in Gouyave and the people there are quite, ah-hem, outspoken--even for Grenadians. It's been described by one PCV and Gouyave resident as the "seedy" area of Grenada. However described, it's not really the kind of place you want to be walking after dark if you're a white person and don't know the area. Not necessarily because of the danger, but rather because you really stick out and the "Gouyavians" won't be afraid to let you know that and hassle you about it. So, it's about 6:30 when the party breaks up and everyone leaves with their gift from the gift exchange. JP had scored a cutlass (machete) wrapped in brown paper as his gift, Jon was carrying a brown shopping bag with leftovers from the party and I had my backpack because I'd been treking around the island all day already. So, the three of us and our random collection of items are trying to catch a bus up north to Sauteurs, so that JP can head home and Jon and I can catch a connecting bus to our respective towns. Because there's not much happening north of Gouyave, the busses are quite limited on a Saturday after dark...tonight being no exception. So we wait a good 15 or 20 minutes to find a bus going all the way to Sauteurs. One finally passes, but it is already packed. The conductor fits one or two others at the bus stand on, but having no room right now for three, tells us to meet him down the road at the "pool" (meaning the nutmeg pool/receiving station). So, we hussle down the road, walking quickly to catch our precious bus to Sauteurs. We get to the pool and don't see it and figure he must have just left. We wait a couple minutes for the next bus when we see the conductor down the road shouting at us to come to the bus. So we start running. Now, you need to know Grenadians don't run unless there's a fire or possibly if they've just committed a crime. So, there we are, 3 white people, running down the stretch of Gouyave, backpack bobbing, cutlass swinging and shopping bag banging. The Gouyave boys hanging out that night were alarmed to not only see white people, not only to see white people running, but white people running with a cutlass, shopping bag and backpack. The combination was too much and as we're running, I hear them yelling "Slow down!" "What you runnin' for?" and finally "Catch them, catch them!" Surely, we've just done something we need to be caught for. Luckily, there was no fire nor had they committed a crime, so they kept on sitting and I'm quite sure had a good laugh and possibly some creative theories about us as we arrived at the bus. We packed in as number 18, 19 and 20 on the 18 passenger bus and made it safely up to Sauteurs. Whew!
I've had a good couple of weeks and have finally arrived at the beginning of the holiday break. Grenadian schools have 3 weeks off and they're in full swing preparing for Christmas. It still strikes me as odd that Christmas is actually coming as I continue to sweat my way through each day. With the help of some decorations, Christmas tunes and mental focus, I'm starting to get in the Christmas mood though. Despite my wishes that I could be with my friends and family at this time, I'm looking forward to experiencing what Christmas is like in Grenada and how the people here celebrate the birth of Jesus. My mom is flying down here on Dec. 29 and will be hanging out with me for a week. I'm really looking forward to her visit and am excited to have my first visitor (one of many hopefully!) to show off my new home to!
Finally, thanks to all of you who enthusiastically participated in the Fall Foliage Fiesta. I had a lot of incredibly beautiful entries and more importantly (to me) had a lot of fun opening the entries and hearing from all of you who entered. I had a team of volunteers do the voting for the most beautiful and it is my privilege to announce the winner is....(drum roll)....PAM WYLIE! Pam is a retired para-professional from CMS. She and her husband (a retired National Park Ranger) are long time nature lovers and entered the contest with enthusiasm and incredible entries. I must say there were some serious rivals from Vermont-dwellers, but in the end, Pam's two entries won a tie for most beautiful. In addition, a late entry from Pam was a 14 inch maple leaf from Yosemite National Park in California! This leaf is amazing and arrived safely in Grenada in a 16"x 20"envelope! However, since Pam already won most beautiful and because I'm a bit biased as contest judge, I am going to declare the beautiful Emily Bolt (who happens to be my niece) the winner of the biggest category with her home made 26"x 26" leaf.