14 November 2010

The March Against All Forms of Violence

The rally and march from Pond Hill to Charlestown was a rousing success: it boasted a substantial turnout, a clear message, media attention, and a stirring conclusion.  It began at the bus stop outside the neighborhood of a young lady that was tragically killed in a domestic violence altercation just a number of weeks ago.  A wreath was placed there, in her memory, and a speech was given, stating the purpose of our march and our resolve to see this trend of violence and abuse in homes discontinued.

Then about 30 strong began the walk down towards the square in Charlestown, with signs decrying the anti-violence message in countless different ways, and with heartening songs and chants to walk to.  Various groups joined in for stretches of the path, at times bringing our count to near 60, including a primary school class, a group of secondary school students, some other Peace Corps volunteers, and women and men from the communities we passed along the way.

Around 3:30 we reached the square in Charlestown, making the march portion of the event a full hour.  We were so many by this point that we had to spread out around the park as best we could; the park was already starting to crowd up with people from the island, since it was a Friday evening.  With heavy-duty amps blaring, we christened the march with stirring speeches from representatives of the Ministry of Social Development and VOW: Voices of Women, together with music and song suitable for the occasion.

The speeches culminated in a prayer and another moment of silence for the remembrance of the young lady, which segued into the final exhibit at sundown: a candlelight vigil.  A stirring ceremony, it began with the laying of a wreath at the base of the monument in the square, a wreath with a candle at the center, and every man and woman in attendance was given a candle to light from the flame of the wreathed candle, and pass that light on to a nearby participant.   

Similar to a Christmas Eve ceremony in the States, but instead of singing a song with candles lit, participants added their candles to the steps surrounding the monument, a symbol of solidarity with the deceased.Pretty soon, the base of the monument was brightly lit by a candle for each person who was made more aware of the evils of domestic abuse right in their own country.  I was honored to be a part of such an inspired project, not to mention motivated to see some degree of similar success with my own projects.

I attended this month's Hash on Saturday, a run around the grasses and up the cliffs at Banana Bay, one of the southernmost points on the island, directly facing Nevis.  It wasn't a tough run this time; however, much to my dismay, an ill-fated contingent of four of us hashers took a wrong turn up the side of one cliff, and only discovered our mistake once we reached an overlook that was in view of the line of hashers going a different direction.  So I guess I ended up doing a hash-and-a-half this time – suffice to say I was mortally exhausted when finished.  The moral of the story?  No good comes from being in the front of the pack at these things.  You just gotta be average and you'll do better than most!

My fellow PCVs, EC80s all, and I mark a successful day concluded


  1. I like this.
    I saw your parents at church this morning.
    I'm on skype right this instant. Where are YOU? I hope you're off doing something productive like saving the world or making conch fritters with that stuff from your freezer (or from the ocean if you like your seafood fresh).

  2. Girl, I be asleep at crazy hours like 10:56 PM, which btw is 4 minutes to midnight for me. You gotta find me earlier in the evening; else, here they would say "I be scarce."

    Hmm... Saving the world... check.
    Making conch fritters... *involuntary shudder*

  3. Ah, correction: All posts and comments are apparently in Atlantic Standard Time (GMT -4), which is one hour ahead of EST (GMT -5). So your post was indeed at 10:56 local time for me.

    ...I was asleep then too.