Friday, July 19, 2013

Nevis Summer Camp

Nevis Summer Camp
Neat early 18th Century Church
One day last week I was on my 2-mile walk and decided to go into a school office to see if they could use me to present a dental discussion to the students.  I found out that school was out for the summer the next day, so I told the administrator that if I am still here in September when school starts up again I would be happy to participate.  He was grateful for the offer.  I left the office and started walking up the hill when a young boy approaching me indicated that someone wanted to talk to me.  I turned around to see that one of the young ladies who had been in the office was trying to catch up with me.  I turned around and walked back to meet her.

She said she is a teacher at the school, and that she is running a summer camp for some kids and she would love to have me come and do a presentation at the camp.  I gave her my phone number so she could call me when she knew the specific schedule. The rest of the walk was the usual sweat-a-thon and I picked up a few mangoes along the way home.

On Monday I received a call from I-Shana, the young teacher, asking if we could come on Thursday morning to do the presentation.  We are excited to be doing anything constructive and useful, so we confirmed the time and started getting the presentation ready.  There is an abundance of material available online so it was not hard to put something together.  One of the problems was that the age range was from 3 to 11 years of age.  That is always a challenge since there is not much in common between those ages.
Emmaus Chapel
Thursday came and we went to the Emmaus Chapel where the camp was being held.  The kids and their teacher first had a little devotional with prayer and some songs.  The teacher is only 19 and has one year of education beyond high school, but she had control of the situation and the kids were enjoying it all.  When one little one would get out of hand I-Shana would firmly call on the child to come to her and she would then firmly but gently have the child sit on the edge of the stage next to her.  It was actually uplifting to see how she handled the situation.  There was a young man the same age there helping her with some of the technological stuff and just being an extra set of hands and feet.  The camp was for 5 days and cost the students (their parents) $10 for morning sessions and $15 for all day, from 0900 to 1600, Monday through Friday.  There were about 25 kids, so she was getting about $250 for the whole week.  That is EC money, so the US equivalent would be about $92.50US, which is for all the work that went into the program and having those kids for 30 hours.  She paid for the materials she used and she also gave some of the money to the church she was using.  That figures out to about $3 per hour gross and she still had to pay her costs.  Still, she was happy to do it and the kids loved it.  She will do the same thing after school starts up and then takes a month break for Christmas.
Elder Dr Patterson telling the tooth story
The dental presentation was okay.  The younger kids lasted about 3 minutes and some of the older ones were gone after about 5 minutes, but when I asked if there were any questions the older kids came up with some very sophisticated questions that led to some interesting discussion.  

This morning Jason, the young man who was helping with the tech stuff, called me to see if we could come to the church at 1430 this afternoon to receive a certificate for our participation.  When we left yesterday he had called on one of the girls to speak to us “on behalf of the entire group” to thank us for our participation, so we wanted to honor their efforts.  We ended up staying at the church for a couple of hours while they finished up the whole camp and gave everybody a certificate.  I-Shana even had me up there on the stage with her, handing out the papers to the kids who had participated and having them pose for a photo with me.  It was quite an honor.

While Gaye and I sat on one of the benches to await the ceremony, we were soon surrounded by all the little kids.  They wanted to give high fives and there were a couple of the smallest ones who just wanted to snuggle up to a grandpa and grandma and get a little hug.  It was fun.  The kids thought my bald head was really interesting and soon they had their hands and fingers running across my slick scalp. I was fine with that. 
Feel that slick head!
I asked one of them what had happened to my hair.  “Did you take it?”  “NO,” he said. When I asked him where it was he smiled and said it was in the street and was already blown away.

Also during the week Brother Thomas, a member of the St Kitts branch presidency and a returned missionary, came over from St Kitts to do some Family History work in the government office housing birth certificates.  He was looking for birth certificates for his great grandparents.  He paid a small fee and was given access to some large old records, the original copies of where births were recorded.  We were looking in the books that had 1890-1930 records from three of the parishes on Nevis.  It was really very interesting.  Many of the entries had a mother listed but no father. I looked on one side of the open book and he looked on the other page, so we covered the material in a couple of hours.  He actually found one of the birth certificates he was looking for.
Jared Thomas

Beautiful Penmanship!
The pages in the books had a column that contained expressions like Clr, Blk, Black, Brown, and Cold.  I asked him about those and he said that was for Colored (mixed-race between African and European), Black or Brown.  "What is Cold?" I asked him.  He said that refers to people who were "really dark."  I asked him what the purpose of race is.  He said that is a good question.  I asked him if most Black people think God is Black.  He said they do, just as most Chinese people think God looks Chinese.  It makes one think.  After all, God is the Father of us all.  Interesting.

We are doing fine.  Nevis is a very isolated spot.  The road around the island is only 17 miles long.  Charlestown, the largest population center, has about 1500 of the 7000 inhabitants of the island.  Will our new president move a pair of young missionaries here, will he leave us here alone for a while, or will he pull all the missionaries off the island?  Stay tuned.
Nevis Egg Plant is a little different variety than found on Tortola

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