Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Coconut Shredding Monster

I made and edited a video! This is my first attempted a tinkering around with some editing software on my computer. Of course, it is staring Dora, she provides the most entertainment around here. The chickens are a close second, lizards in third, and the goats dead last. So I wouldn't count on the goats staring in my feature films any time soon. You have to click on the link to see it...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

February 2013

our resident artist, Calo, making some signs in preparation for the Peter Tosh Festival

You can put signs anywhere here
the home economics ladies pick names to determine the order of loan payouts for the group's ROSCA/Partner Plan

The local home economics extension officer demonstrates how to make a chicken-ham

Una and Dewey
Recent envracy lesson for my class at the basic school. the kids read to me this time!

Jamaica Day at the basic school

Ali, Autumn, and Adri came down for a visit during the Peter Tosh Festival. during a little down time at the bar it became apparent that Ali still did not know how to play dominoes. a must in Jamaica! so we three decided to show her the basics. 

She can be a big cuddly baby sometimes....but cuddle time doesn't usually last more than 2 mins.

Big Bubba likes to make a lot of nose right next to my side of the bed at night. i just hope all his ruckus means less spiders in the house. spider bites are by far my least favorite type of bites. 

Monitoring in the Fish Sanctuary

As a part of my primary project, the BBFFS game wardens and i began monitoring in the Bluefields Bay fish sanctuary. The monitoring project is funded by Caribsave to measure the biomass of the Bay (marine species, population, etc.). The process required a team to go out to sea every two days for a month, pull up all ten traps, collect data on the marine life in the traps by anesthetizing the fish, measuring and weighing them, then putting the fish back in fresh sea water to re-cooperate before placing them back in the sanctuary. I took part in all aspects of carrying out this project. 

Cutting wire mesh for the traps

Game wardens connecting sides of the traps by tying little pieces of stiff wire together. this part really tears up your fingers.!
We got help building traps from the local fishermen who are also members of the BBFFS
Loading up the finished traps on a fishing boat
Taking the traps out to sea

Dropping them overboard and marking their location with a GPS

Pulling up the traps to check the catch. they get pretty scummy and smelly while sitting on the sea floor for a month.
Sometimes we caught these pinchy guys
I still cant figure out how starfish get in the traps but they sure are pretty

measuring a sleeping fish

We even pulled up an octopus. soon after I took this picture he slid right through the mesh. amazing creatures!
these guys inflate when being handled but are forced to deflate once they are put to sleep
flounders are by far the strangest looking fish. both eyes are on one the same side of the body. 

January 2013

Lizzy has become a documented occupant of our household
Dora seems to be full grown and likes to sleep in doorways

There is always a sunset to be captured

This goat in our yard had kiddies

Broke-leg goat had kiddies, too
We are had a wonderfully delicious lunch with Calo and Heidi
The BBFFS Game Wardens got a new patrol boat!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

December 2012

December has come and gone. Now January is here and it almost over. Time flies when family and friends come visit! Here is a photo journey since I last updated you in December. (Please disregard any spelling errors you may find in any posts from here on out because the “i” “k” “8” and comma keys no longer work on my poor little computer :/ 

Pictures from the Organic Expo and Sorrel Festival hosted by Kevin's farmers group

A local youth telling a Jamaican story

All set up and ready to start n the Marketplace

Beeston Spring historical display

Live Music!

kids getting treated to ice cream and gift bags

Mini vacation with visiting friend Mike in Montego Bay
Makes you want to come visit too, right?

Christmas time in Jamaica

Kevin's jalapeno harvest

Beeston Spring 140 year old church that overlooks the Bluefields Bay

Christmas Eve hike with PCV Chelsea (right) to meet up with PCV Adri (left) in her community, Beeston Spring

Opening presents on Christmas morning sent from "foreign"

Deep fried everything! it was a delicious dinner thanks to PCV Tom's culinary skillz
Childrens' Treat Day hosted by my organization on Boxing Day (December 26th)
Chelsea helping out with the pinata (prize kite). this specific activity took all the adult help we could get... 

 New Years Eve
PCV Jedd getting crazy with his NYE party hats

Lighting Chinese lanterns to celebrate the new year 
Chinese lantern to getting ready to be soar over sea

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sandy, Dengue, AVM, and More!

It is December now and that means I am officially past due on a blog post. A LOT has happened since my last post so I will try to sum it up with some bullet points:
  •   Hurricane Sandy struck the island and we lost power for 2.5 days. Luckily our water never went out on our road. Other parts of our community were not so lucky and are still trying to get their water back. There were a lot of trees and debris down in this area but nothing like the damage to the eastern side of the island. Kevin and I hunkered down in our little cabin with Dora for the majority of the afternoon while the hurricane passed over the island. The most exciting thing that happened during the hurricane is Dora’s discovery of herself in the mirror. To pass the time, Kevin and I played Yahtzee, where I beat Kevin 4 games in a row, in between wringing out towels soaked with rainwater coming through the walls of our house. Kevin blogged about the hurricane, you can read his post here.
  • Soon after our electricity came back on Kevin came down with dengue fever. There is an outbreak on the island and it has gotten worse since Hurricane Sandy. It can only be contracted through mosquito bites so I couldn’t get it from Kevin directly. Nevertheless, it was a miserable and exhausting experience for both of us. You can read about the crazy symptoms in Kevin’s blog post soon to come.
  •  Since October the ladies in Kevin’s organic farmers group have been meeting every week to work on craft items and baked goods recipes to sell at the upcoming 2nd Annual Bluefields Organic Expo and Sorrel Festival. During the Week of Dengue, the ladies in Kevin’s organic farmers group decided to start a ROSCA (Rotating Savings and Credit Association) which is a fancy term for a partner savings plan. Here in Jamaica they are just called partner plans. The partner plan was a way for the ladies to save money to buy the tools they needed to make their crafts and buy shares in the farmers group. They each put in $200 Jamaican Dollars ($2.30 USD) into a pot and 2 members of the group split the pot each week. This continues for 10 week (we have 20 people contributing to the partner plan including Kevin and myself). I attend the meetings every week and assist in making crafts to sell. I am knitting things like pot holders and rasta hats.
Crafts ready to be sold at the Organic Expo

Anita stirring up the fritter batter with sorrel
  • Also during the Week of Dengue my organization hosted a really big event to launch the Caribsave funding partnership for the Jamaican Fish Sanctuaries. You can read about it here on the BBFFS website that I am currently in the process of updating after a LONG period of stagnation. During the event I made some researcher friends from Canada and took them snorkeling in the bay the next week. We snorkeled around the ecoreef and coral reefs. It was fun!
Partnership launch at the Belmont Fishing Beach
  • Then, still recovering, Kevin and I attended a Bluefields CDC lionfish fry fundraiser. It was delicious.
  •   In the meantime, since we got back from the states in mid October, I had been furiously planning the All Volunteer Meeting (AVM) with the other Volunteer Advisory Council representatives. This was a BIG task and we spoke to each other many times every week to straighten out all the details of the meeting scheduled for the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. This was a monumental task and consumed a lot of my time. But in the end it was extremely rewarding. More on that later...
  • Then after the lionfish fry, Kevin and I went to Negril for a day because we needed to get out of the cabin! Kevin literally had cabin fever and I needed a day off. We spent the day watching OSU beat Wisconsin, jumping off cliffs into the ocean with fellow PCVs, swimming in a beautiful seaside pool, and then ended the day by watching the sunset at the western most point of the island. 
Negril claims to have the best sunsets in the world. I certainly can't complain :)
  • Revived by our mini R&R we headed off to Kingston to eat a real Thanksgiving dinner with the USAID Mission Director for Jamaica. It was truly a memorable experience.
  • Then we were off to the races again to actually hold a successful AVM. It was two days of mandatory PC meetings and PCV lead training sessions with fun games and a Thanksgiving potluck to boot. It is always hectic when PCVs get together but soo much fun. I am thankful for getting to know and working with the incredibly inventive and talented PCVs on this island. They are all inspiring people
  • Then this past week I had the most normal week in Bluefields since I can remember. I met with the lady farmers (as I like to call them) to work on our crafts and test out some sorrel recipes for the expo. They made sorrel fritters and sorrel fruit cake. Both were purple and tasty. I worked on the business plan for the Bluefields Fishers & Farmers Gear Store and Market Place and Made a Sea Turtle awareness flyer to be passed out in the community.
  • This last Friday and Saturday I went to Negril with other PCVs to volunteer at the Reggae Marathon. We all met up on Friday to check-in, get assigned a volunteer job, and to go to an endless pasta dinner provided by the marathon. It was an early night because the marathon was scheduled to start at 5:15am in order to ensure that the race is complete by the time the sun is high in the sky. By 5:00am on Saturday, cars with massive sound systems lined the streets of Negril, to blast some really good reggae. I passed out water and cheered on the PCVs running in the race. Fun times.
My life will probably slowdown a bit since we are entering into the Christmas season. Stores are stocked with decorations and sorrel is everywhere. Here, sorrel is to Christmas as turkey is to Thanksgiving there. However, the change in season has made it so I can’t stand listening to the radio right now because of all the shopping advertisements. The materialism of the season has permeated this culture as well and it really irks me to have to listen to the advertisements selling the ideal of “more is better” and pressuring people into buying “necessary” presents on credit when I am working to alleviate poverty in a rural community with high unemployment. On the bright side, my organization hosts an annual children’s treat day on December 26th for the families in the community. They rent a bounce-a-bouts, merry-go-rounds, organize other kid-loving activities, and pass out toys and food to the children. They also award a scholarship to a deserving youth to help fund their university education. If you want to donate to the children’s treat day please email ( ) to find out how you can help.