Chemida Popo-Cox was born and raised in St. Lucia and joined Global Volunteers staff as Country Manager for St. Lucia in 2014. She leads teams working with our community partners of Anse La Raye and manages all aspects of those programs. When she’s not leading teams, Chemida works as a Volunteer Preparations Coordinator, preparing volunteers for their up and coming service programs worldwide. When you volunteer with us in St. Lucia, Chemida will ably guide you in all things related to culture, development, and volunteer service in St. Lucia.
Chemida is the eighth of twelve children born and raised in the village of Anse La Raye on the western coast of St Lucia. While growing up, she didn’t have access to electricity or running water, and her siblings became each other’s best friends. For them, every day was an adventure. After completing their household chores, they would roam the surrounding hills in search of wild fruits, nuts, and frequently found themselves on one of the beaches near their home, where they would swim, play and fish with small nets.
Although she still loved the woods and beaches, her carefree life ended when, for the first time, she failed an English test. Chemida realized that she was spending too little time studying, so she began to read more. That decision was life-changing! She began her career in teaching after obtaining certification from the local college. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Teacher Technology Education at the New York City College of Technology, becoming the first of her siblings to go to college and gain a bachelor’s degree. After a failed relationship (resulting in her loving son, Stone), she met the love of her life, Simon Cox, and fell madly in love with him. A year later, they were married, and their happiness was completed with the birth of their beautiful daughter, Rue.
Chemida is an incredible team leader. She is highly professional and efficient. She multi-tasks exceptionally well, and is always attentive to our needs as volunteers. She is truly committed to her job and her community. She made the experience unforgettable.Terrance Albach, St. Lucia volunteer
A short Interview with Chemida:
What drew you to work for Global Volunteers?
It’s simple, Global Volunteers’ Philosophy of Service! Volunteers travel in St Lucia, creating mutual connections and understanding between themselves and local people as they interact with, or work alongside one another. It provides a glimpse of how beautiful relationships, in general, can be if we learn to respect and work with each other. I call this “humanity at work.”
Chem’s efforts to accommodate each of our interests and skill sets were extraordinary! Her contributions to our experience were invaluable.Darlene Budd, Professor and three-time Global Volunteer
What is one of your favorite parts of your job?
Being a team leader, I have the opportunity to interact with many of my fellow community members, and although I enjoy working with them, it’s more rewarding spending time with the little ones – the preschoolers; chatting with them helps me see the world through their eyes, and gives me the motivation to continue working. It’s also very satisfying to listen to the volunteers’ accounts of the day’s activities during our afternoon discussions. Especially when I hear that a child experienced the ‘ah-ha‘ moment for being able to know or do something that they couldn’t have done previously. It makes me happy to know that the volunteers know that they are useful and that they are making a difference.
Why should volunteers spend a week or two in your community?
I invite volunteers to serve in our small fishing village of Anse La Raye, “bay of rays” in English, to have the opportunity to do all these things:
- work with us on improving our lives and community.
- experience St Lucian culture.
- be surrounded by happy people.
- bask on lovely beaches, and experience beautiful sunsets.
- understand how simple life can be.
Additionally, our warm smiles, friendliness, and welcoming nature will enable volunteers to feel that they are a part of our community!
Chem was everything – a gracious host, cultural ambassador and “dorm mother.” No problem was too big or too small for her to tackle with tact, aplomb, and kindness. She was highly organized and efficient.Monique LaMontagne, St. Lucia volunteer
Why do you recommend a Global Volunteers service program in St Lucia?
St. Lucia is one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, which is easily accessible by air via its two airports. Travel in St Lucia is also easy, as we have a good network of roads that serve the island. We also boast about our hospitable people, verdant hills, lush vegetation, and sandy beaches. Our tropical climate is inviting, and our local cuisine exquisite. The Pitons will amaze you, and bathing in our drive-in volcano will invigorate you and help you feel ten years younger. So, come volunteer and travel in St Lucia, we offer lots of attractions for tourists and visitors alike. Here are some of the activities you can take part in during your spare time in St. Lucia: Cultural Tours, boat tours, sunset cruising, snorkeling, hiking, and camping, 4WD, ATV and off the road tours.
Chemida off the clock:
Chemida spends much of her free time with her family enjoying outdoor activities such as boat rides, fishing, swimming, and spending time at the beach. She’s also a keen farmer, which enables her to provide fresh, wholesome foods for her family.