“My son Ajohny enjoys watering the plants.  He is two years and four months old.  I hold him up to the Earth Box, he waters it.” Zarana proudly pointed at her Earth Box, which was flourishing on a board creatively invented by one of her brothers.  With a beautiful smile, Zarana said “I love Earth Box.”  Another RCP mom, Karen, was a lot outgoing, chatting with us and holding her 6-month old son Nature, “ When I harvest cucumbers, I shared with my neighbors.  I gave each one of them one cucumber.  She laughed and continued “now they are jealous of my Earth Box….oh, yes, I want to have another one!  It is easy to take care of.  I want to plant tomatoes and spinach.”

The visits to eleven RCP moms’ homes to check on Earth Boxes were the highlight of my day.  Their smiles, enthusiasm, excitement and pride are contagious.


Our day started with a routine 7:30 am breakfast.  Fresh smiles, morning greetings, discussions about the Spa Day and other projects and perseverant search for coffee, sugar or banana jam, patient waiting for the last basket of French toast decorated our breakfast room in a Global Volunteers’ way.  After we heard from Carol and Edith yesterday’s journal and the message of the day, Bud and Warren announced the transportation arrangement.  The very noticeable changes from yesterday were that announcement was made only twice and Carl’s name was mentioned only once.  And even the electronic device caught on one of the characteristics of an effective team, “cooperative”.  The document didn’t disappear.


Team 7 is ready!  Up the hill went the three vans, driven by Warren, Bud and Ean.  Edward and I were joining Dawn and Wayne in the Earth Box team, to visit RCP mom’s homes.  Four of us met Carol and JoAnne at the library, waiting to be picked up by one of the caregivers.  We were told one of them had left early today to go to the other side of the mountain.  The librarian welcomed us and offered us the meeting table and chairs.  As the Earth Box was trying to obtain insights from the RCP team about the moms, the latter tried to pick on our brain about ideas about the SPA day, at one point, even to convince Edward he can be good at foot massage.  Soon, one of the caregivers arrived and asked the Earth Box team to follow her.  She was obviously aware of the assignment of our team and was on the task to show us around.  A big applauds to Warren and Bud’s coordination!  And great appreciation, on be half of all the Global Volunteers staff on this team, to volunteers for your flexibility and for sharing what you have learned about the project with us, as each one of us rotates to different assignments.


Then it returned to the beginning of my journal.  We visited a total of eleven moms and observed a consensus of pride and excitement about the earth box they have received and interest in receiving more earth boxes in the future.  Some of them face the challenge with space.  A couple of them have insect problems with the crops.  A few other were confused about when would be the right time to harvest.  However, most of moms seemed having mastered the basics of growing in an Earth Box.  Dawn and Wayne worked together as a team, rotating between asking questions and taking notes.  Edward’s input was very much appreciated by the moms.


We returned to the hotel around noon and started staff meeting at 1:00 pm.  We discussed the interdependence of the 12 essential services, under three overarching categories and the critical importance of comprehensive services to local communities.  After a few staff presented on each category, with research data, presentations and videos, countries managers shared the progress made in the services delivered in each of their countries.  Conversations continued about challenges encountered, hopes for the future and follow-up actions.  We also took a field trip to visit Mr. Henry who is a retired agriculture extension officer.  He has opened his seeding company in 2010 and has been providing seedling to the Earth Box team.  Mr. Henry impressed all of us, with his knowledge about crops, seedling techniques, as well as his generous and genuine support to the project.


At the 5 pm meeting, we heard from all service projects about their day.  The field event had affected quite a few volunteers’ schedule.  Many of them joined their students and teachers and cheered for their teams, while others returned to the hotel and spent the afternoon in the resource room.  Aside from comments about today being another good day, it seems that all of us have started to learn the ropes.  Debbi shared with us her observation of the lunch program at the secondary school.  Carl talked about spending a lot of time with two aggressive boys.  At different locations, challenges were handled graciously with understanding, flexibility and cultural sensitivity.  Team 7 is striving.


Marigot Bay has become our home, soothing our tiredness from the day and embrace our commitment towards serving the community and creativity.  What can be better than a dinner, with a beautiful view of the bay at Julietta’s restaurant?  The evening ended with the China country presentation.  I would say the chocolate marketing strategy worked well, but I should have listened to JoAnn to distribute them at the end, rather at the beginning.
-Hu Di
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