26 October 2011

My Third Top 11

Only been here a year, and already I can fill up a list of these occasionally ironic, often comical, potentially awkward situations where I have revealed previously unknown connections to friends and acquaintances on island.  It may be a small world after all, but around here I like to refer to them as Small Island moments – because every time they happen, you can't help but be reminded just how small this island is.  So, without further ado,

My Top 11...
"Small Island" Moments

11    When I helped a fellow volunteer film the teaser for her Healthy Breakfast project (you can see the video here), the music was provided by two gentlemen volunteering from the Ministry of Culture, a Mr. Nigel Williams who played guitar, and a djembe player who introduced himself simply as "Roy."  Not a week later, when reading through some past SKN volunteers' blogs, I stumble across a picture of an old volunteer and her on-island percussion instructor, Mr. Royd.  It was the same man.
10    I made a friend playing soccer.  Justin is a showboating, flashy striker who has good touch on the ball, but takes lots of high-difficulty shots on goal.  Nonetheless, I didn't have too many allies on the pitch, so by passing him the ball a whole lot, I made an ally.  The following week, at work, some students in the A/C Repair class asked if their instructor Mr. Caines was in, and I said I wasn't sure.  That afternoon, Mr. Caines came by to take his class to the worksite – and he turned out to be Justin.
  The volunteer that lives closest to me lives in a duplex in Palmetto Point.  She told me once that I must enjoy working at the NSTP, and that I must be especially glad that the administrative assistant at the NSTP also works there, since she was so attractive.  Knowing that she had never been to my office, I asked what she was talking about, and how she knew who our administrative assistant was.  She said, "Oh, Tonesha's mother and stepfather are my landlords."
  I had a quick initiation into the Hash House Harriers, the so-called "drinking club with a running problem" that (at the time) boasted about 50 local members.  Part of the difficulty of being a Peace Corps Volunteer is not having our own transportation, and the Hash runs are held in obscure, sometimes difficult to reach places all around the island.  My neighbor, a retired British expatriate, plays chess, and when I had him over for a couple matches, I mentioned my difficulty in getting to the Hashes.  He said not to worry about it – he goes every month, and would give me a lift.
  Also living in the same duplex in Palmetto Point is a Peace Corps Response Volunteer, who, coincidentally, was planning a short trip back home at the same time I was returning for a friend's wedding.  As we had the same American Airlines flight out, we coordinated a Taxi together, sharing the cost.  A friend recommended a local driver out of Trinity (near Palmetto Point) and through discussion it turned out that the driver, Greg Seaton, was Tonesha's uncle, the brother of the PCRV's landlord.
  Mr. Lawrence is the second-stream 6th grade teacher at Dr. William Connor Primary.  A young, humorless, sharp wit, I had occasion to work closely with him on the Math Activities booklet.  He remained very distant through the process, as though he never really felt comfortable working with me.  My host father is a jovial, warm, well-to-do Nevisian who is content to employ some social connections to hang on to a few part-time jobs here and there, even after retirement.  One Sunday on the way home from attending church, he and I both spotted Mr. Lawrence walking with his daughter on the sidewalk.  My host father slowed and said, "Hang on, I should stop a minute to talk to my son and granddaughter."
  My girlfriend's air conditioning unit was faltering: the minimum temperature had risen noticeably, and when she turned it on, it took significantly longer to cool off the room.  Since the blower and display seemed unaffected, I assumed it had something to do with the refrigerant.  When she informed her landlady of the situation, she said the A/C repairman would be around to handle it that evening.  A few hours later, a girl drove up to the apartment and let out her boyfriend, apparently the A/C repairman, who turned out to be... Justin Caines.
  My first trip to Nevis, I broke my digital camera.  I spent the month following looking for suitable on-island replacements, of which there were none.  I tried all the tech stores I knew, including one upstairs at Port Zante.  I recall the man there was clearly a vocal American, and seemed willing but unable to help me find the quality of digital camera I was looking for, short of ordering it and incurring the unsavory customs tax.  Tuesday night trivia at Frigate Bay is a weekly ritual for me and another Peace Corps volunteer.  Through trivia, we have made friends with a number of non-locals, including Sam, a tall, loud young man with a bushy head of curly hair.  After a few weeks, I asked Sam what he did on-island – he said he owns and runs a tech store upstairs at Port Zante.
  Since meeting him, Mr. Greg Seaton has been my go-to taxi service whenever I've needed one – his cell number stays in my phone for emergencies.  When he picked me up to go to the airport, and noted where I lived, he asked if I had a girlfriend who was a Ross student.  Confused, I said I did, but how did he know?  He mentioned that he brought a girl over to my neighborhood a few weeks back, who said she was going to see her boyfriend.  Was I that boyfriend?  I couldn't say for sure, since I didn't remember my girlfriend mentioning anything about hitching a lift with a taxi.  He said she was dressed very exotically (think, say, East Indian exotic).  I conceded, astonished, that it must have been her.
  My first week in St. Kitts included a visit to my host father's church and an orientation at my new job site.  The pastor at church that first Sunday morning was the associate rector, the reverend Father Christopher Archibald.  On Thursday, my boss at work informed me that he was being promoted out of the organization, and they were advancing his subordinate, Mrs. June James, to be my new acting boss.  After the independence celebrations that September, when I heard Father Archibald deliver a rousing message at the State Service Mass, I was chatting about it with my boss, who casually informed me, "Oh, he's my brother."

And the number 1 Small Island moment...
  No island is "smaller" than Nevis.  When arriving at Nevis for an evening get-together, I took a late ferry and arrived after dark.  It was the first time finding my way around Charlestown on my own, and I got a little turned around, ending up at the Westbound bus stop when I was looking for the Eastbound bus stop.  One large figure, in his late 20s, noticed my wandering, and asked if I knew where I was going.  I assured him I was fine, and asked if the buses here went to Rawlins Ground.  He responded by asking me if I was going to the Peace Corps party in the country.  Dumbfounded, I figured it was useless to lie at this point, and said I was.  His eyes lit up, and said "Great!  That's where I'm going.  I'll show you how to get there!"

Status update coming up on Friday.  In the meantime, I have to further prepare for today's Intro to Computers lecture.

1 comment:

  1. I need great recommendations for good places for winter vacations. I can't stay in New England all winter. Which Caribbean island is best?