Global Volunteer Linda Roberts has served six different partner communities since 2015, and has no plans to slow down. The Florida retiree, who says “volunteering adds purpose to her life,” last served in Anse la Raye, St. Lucia, helping the community plant 94 EarthBoxes in two weeks! She shares her journal entry describing how their assignments led them toward their team goals – learning a new culture, enhancing the food supply, and improving childhood education.
By Linda Roberts
On our second day in Anse la Raye, Yvonne and I started our EarthBox “rounds” by collecting material for the plantings of the day. Our first stop was at the Church of the Nativity, where we watered the 10 gardens that were planted yesterday. Our next stop was Kid’s Step Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) where we were to plant four EarthBoxes. We worked with Sieve from the school and Lisa, a Global Volunteer staff.
“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”Og Mandino, author of The Greatest Salesman in the World
Before we finished the boxes, 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. Our St. Lucia Team Leader, Chem, joined us to help fill dolomite into small quart bags for other EarthBoxes to be planted.
This took us up to lunch. In the afternoon, we went to plant five Earthboxes at the Primary School. We worked with the caregiver Jonah there. Again, we invited several children to take part in the final planting of the seedlings. The school also has two greenhouses and a number of vegetable gardens for the school lunches. Jonah took us on an extensive tour of the gardens, and pointed out all of the vegetables being grown the traditional way – these included tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, corn, eggplant, spinach, okra, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and tofu. These gardens were developed with a grant from Antique. The EarthBoxes will be a source of lettuce that is not grown in these gardens.
“This was a learning experience for the students, and they will have the opportunity to observe the growth and production of the plants that they took part in starting.”Linda Roberts
Meanwhile, Barb and Kenita continued teaching the 1st and 2nd-grade students at the Infant School. Barb taught arithmetic while Kenita tutored reading. Both had to use some behavioral warnings to certain students, which were then followed. The team worked with six students; their proficiency varied. 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.
To cap off my day, I visited a table at the vendors’ market in town and purchased a bowl made from the calabash tree. It featured images of the island’s symbols, including the coconut tree, the Piton volcanoes, the hummingbird, and the hibiscus flower.
“We feel we have made progress toward three of our team goals – learning a new culture, enhancing the food supply, and improving childhood education in the first couple of days of our services.“Linda Roberts
We feel we have made progress toward three of our team goals – learning a new culture, enhancing the food supply, and improving childhood education in the first couple of days of our services. However, the long-term goal to raise the average IQ in St. Lucia will take considerably more effort as the country continues to rank second to last in the world for 2019. Every team contributes to their progress.