Thursday, April 2, 2009

Good Bye Flat Erika!

This is Karen. I've had a great time with Flat Erika and her blog. I just took Jay and Kevin to the airport and with tears in my eyes said goodbye to the two flat girls and the boys.

This morning we woke early, drank coffee on the balcony and went for a walk. We walked over to my favorite beautiful spot in my village and sat there in silence for quite sometime.

I thought about the last six weeks and how much fun it has been to "link up" with Flat Erika.

First, you learned about history

You came to the island as we were celebrating Saint Lucian Independence. You learned about the first people on the island, the peaceful Arawaks and then the Caribs, the fierce fighters who practiced cannibalism.

Then I took you to Pigeon Point so you could see where some of the battles between the French and English were fought. You heard about slavery and how hard it was for the people. You also know the people of Saint Lucia are bi-lingual, speaking both Kweyol and English; and of course you know about the traditional dress as both Flat Erika and Flat Autumn will return with a new outfit.

Next you learned about nature and the island's beauty

Wonderful critters, volcano's, and natural hot springs are things locals never tire of. You also learned about the very special Rastafarian, Sly Joseph, who is making his own electricity and growing his own food on the land.

Third, I hope I was able to capture the wonderful people in my village

They are gentle, warm and caring. Some are very poor with no electricity and running water. They live in a perpetual state of camping. You learned about fishermen and how they fish. You learned that a fisherman is not afraid to cross the rough sea, taking his family to visit friends and family on Martinique. You heard the music that can be heard every day while riding the buses or passing by restaurants.

Then you learned about Peace Corps Volunteers and what they do

I took you to Monroe College; we welcomed the newest group of Peace Corps Volunteers on the island. We went to Castries to escort the girls in Junior Achievement; attended the games of disabled people on the island; and we toured visitors from a ship around our village.

That was just Saint Lucia. We went to Martinique and Dominica

We learned that Martinique belongs to the French; their money is the Euro, and it feels a lot like visiting Paris. Then we went to Dominica and hiked through the rain forest summiting at the second highest Piton on the island and then visited Trafalgar Falls.

I enjoyed every minute of it and I will see all my 3D family and friends in December!

So I will leave you with our last morning together in the village with the sounds of the furious Atlantic Ocean.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Our Last Goodbyes

Everyone here is so nice. We are spending our last night with a best friends on the island.

Bea and Neil came to say goodbye. They were Karen's host family when Karen was in Peace Corps Training.

John and Elizabeth had us over for dinner. They are Karen's friends. Karen rents her house from them. Jay was happy because Elizabeth made Dasheen, a root vegetable. It tastes like a potato and is one of Jay's favorites.


Well, after we left the island in Martinique we took the boat to Dominica. A lot of people don't pronounce Dominica correctly. It sounds like "dominoes" It's pronounced "Dom-in-ee-ka".

We all loved this island! We want to come back. Dominica has a lot of rivers and waterfalls. It is only 29 miles long and 16 miles wide. That's not very big. It is the most under-developed island. It also is the home to the a very small population of Caribs, the people who inhabited the land hundreds of years ago!

We stayed in a retreat in the rainforest. The retreat had waterfalls and beautiful plants. There were also four natural hot springs; one right outside our door!

There were a lot of land crabs. Karen was in the hot spring one night and a crab came right up to her and just stared at her! She said that she moved closer to it and it started threatening her with it's pincher. It made Karen laugh because the little crab thought it was so tough!

Our room had three bedrooms and it was very nice. One night we came home and there were four gecko's in our room! They were pretty big. The rooms had no windows; only shutters and so they came in when the shutters were open. At night we could hear all the sounds of the rain forest. It was really pretty noisy!

A short walk from the retreat is Trafalgar Falls. It has two very big waterfalls! We climbed over the rocks and spent a lot of times just thinking about the beauty there.

Then we climbed around the rocks and found some hot springs to soak in. The springs are hot because of the island is volcanic.

The next day we hiked to the second of the tallest mountain; The Morne Trois Piton! It is 4,450 feet. The second largest boiling lake is there. It took six hours and we were all congratulating ourselves when we finished the walk. Today, none of us are walking too well. We are all very sore!

As we left the dock to come home, we spotted a real Pirate Ship! Flat Autumn and I were scared, but Karen told us not to worry. This ship is used to entertain tourists and so we were in no danger. Both Flat Autumn and I were really relieved.

We boarded the boat and came back for our last night in Saint Lucia.


Hi Everyone! Flat Autumn and I went to Martinique with Karen, Jay and Kevin. We got on a boat that carries about 250 people. The boat is called a catamaran and it moves very fast through the water. It took 1-1/2 hours to get there. Martinique is another island in the Caribbean. It belongs to France. They speak French and their money is the Euro.

The water was very rough and sometimes people even were screaming like they do when the ride roller coasters!

Martinique is a lot like France. They have many outdoor cafes and lots of chocolate pastries! Karen really liked those!

We got to Martinique in the late afternoon and spent the night at a hotel. They were very nice there. They told Karen she did not have to pay for us to stay there. They said they never make Flat People pay because they don't take up much space.

The next morning we got up and went to another island!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saint Lucia Music

Hey everybody. Here's some real Saint Lucian music to listen to. I hear these all the time on the island.

I'm going to bring a CD back for us to listen to. That way we can remember Saint Lucia! I Hope you enjoy this.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Electricity made from water!

Well, 3D Erika, I have to tell you that now I've seen everything.

We met a real Rastafarian named Sly Joseph. He has land near Karen's village. His land has a waterfall and pools of water. There is a rope that Jay and Kevin used to swing into a very large pool of water. It was very beautiful there.

Mr. Joseph is very smart. He wrote a grant to the University of Vermont and they gave him money to build hydroelectric power on his property. I know hydroelectric is a big word and means that electricity is made by pumping water downhill. Then the water is sent back up the hill. Mr. Joseph's electricity is all made by pumping water from the waterfall. That means he doesn't have to pay an electric bill, but it also means that he is environmentally conscious.

Mr. Joseph eats mostly fruits and vegetables that are grown on his land. He shared a soursop with us and it tasted so good! It is a very sweet fruit.

Mr. Joseph also has a lot of pets. He has a donkey and a dog and fish that swim in his pond. He is a very nice man.

Mr. Joseph has an outside classroom where he brings children to teach them about sustainable living.

We learned that Mr. Joseph is far ahead of his time and we wish everyone could learn from him. He really cares about the earth and doesn't want to hurt it.

Fun times in a Real Volcano!

Hi 3D Erika and friends.

We had such a nice time yesterday. We had a very nice lunch at a very fancy restaurant between the two Pitons in Soufriere. Everyone is very proud of the Pitons. They are a national symbol here. The Pitons were considered sacred to the island's first inhabitants, the Arawaks and the Caribs. They are two huge volcanic mountains.

This is where we had lunch. Isn't it pretty? Jay didn't really want his picture taken, but Karen did it anyway. I think she is funny.

Well you will not believe what we did after lunch. We went right into a real volcano. It is right next to the Pitons in Soufriere which is on the western part of the island. You can look on the map to see where we were. The western part of the island is known for its beauty.

First we went to the Mineral Springs. It is so beautiful there. The springs are very warm because the water is heated in the volcano!! Lenny is our friend and couldn't wait to hold us for the video. Everyone had so much fun with us.

Anyway, we went right into the volcano. It is the worlds only drive-in volcano. How scary is that! Karen said not to worry because the volcano is dormant and we would likely be safe.

Anyway, we went into a stream where there are pools of very hot water and lots of mud from the ashes of the volcano.

Jay wanted to cover us with mud, but Karen said we could only watch here because she didn't want us to get dirty.

Karen, Jay and Kevin got mud all over their bodies! We all laughed very hard when we saw how silly they looked!