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April 8, 2005

Guest Entry

From the files of my recently departed father (only from Grenada...don't worry, he's alive and well)

165 digital photos, 26,000 pencils, 14,000 erasers and 14,000 sharpeners later, we have left Grenada and Sara. We have been to many of the locations and places that Sara has written about, photographed and experienced. We made new friends, and experienced incredible sights and sounds. When was the last time that you were awakened by a rooster - if ever, or slowed down in the early morning, pre-dawn light to avoid a dog and her puppies sleeping almost in the middle of the road. It's warm there! How about going to the island of Carriacou and staying in an inn with large rooms, showers(cold!) for US $35.00 a night. Or a pig named Ivan wandering around the restaurant area. Oink-Oink. Probably will be the breakfast ham in a month or so. "Weed wacker" goats keep the grass short and the area clean. Ordering three pizzas - delicious. Good thing we were in no rush because they came one by one over the course of an hour or two. On the other hand, who was keeping track of time. We snorkeled, saw some starfish, blue luminous fish some arranged in schools like the Nemo movie, others with shining purple or turquoise dots. And flying fish too. And the schools we visited. Arranged on hill sides, some in UNICEF tents, most still without roofs. Packed with delightful children producing a cacophony of sound in classrooms in anything available, dressed in school uniforms in a rainbow of colors. Ties for secondary students, browns and yellows, blues and whites, red plaids, marvelous!! We were able to deliver supplies to about 10 scools. Bringing a bunch of chalk (purchased with the funds collected), the teachers thanked us and showing us the 4 stubs of chalk they had left for the rest of the year! Or riding the bus with the school children. A 15 passenger Toyota bus with 18 adults and a bunch of little kids. 3-4-5 year olds stand by the side of the road. The conductor picks them up, stands them in a small line on the bus and picks them out one by one and drops them off in front of their house. The driver scoots off with a little beep on the horn. I am impressed. Where would we allow that in the USA? Complete trust. Or getting a bus in St. Georges, the capital city. Sara's on board, in the back, Ann Mary is half through the door and looks like she has a seat. Not sure about Chuck but Rocky the conductor pushes me in. Whew! Sara figures that if she gets in and since she knows Rocky, he will make sure that we get in. Have to say that getting in is just that, no more. Ann Mary "sits on/between 2 seats" as she describes with little more than a a bun total. on either side. 19 people in a 15 passenger van is a bit crowded! 10 miles by the crow, bus time is 55 minutes. I wouldn't have missed that ride for anything. 30% grade in the road means don't shift until you have to. Then clutch and rev the engine up to 2800 RPM, down shift and tear out of there to the next spot like that. Aaagh! How can those buses last more than a year? Umm, Toyota is good!! although we did see an occasional red bus carcass along side the road. RIP. Thank the USA for The Peace Corps! The volunteers are unselfish, forgiving and accommodating. They put the best foot forward and they are universally known and respected. Thanks! And thanks to all of you who donated so generously. The supplies were needed and appreciated! Chuck and Ann Mary Dykstra