Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tidal Fool

The house where I grew up had a farm pond just down the hill. Some of my fondest childhood memories stem from the many days I spent exploring the pond (and the spring that fed it). There were several times when I kept Mason jars of “pond critters” in my bedroom. When I was contemplating a major for college, Marine Biology was near the top of my list. Aquatic life has always been one of my interests.

On Friday afternoon, I decided to explore some of the tidal pools on the rocky ledges that are only exposed at low tide. I had first glimpsed these hard-to-reach tidal pools during my trip to the bat cave, but didn't have time to explore them—as I explained in the article I wrote about that adventure.

It requires some effort to reach this area—either by climbing down a steep hillside or wading through the surf from the beach to the rocks. Since my bat cave guide had taken me down the hillside on my previous trip, I decided to hike through the shallow, low tide water this time. Soon I was up on this pock-marked expanse between our beach area and the bat cave.

Because I was going to wade through the water, I brought with me the waterproof pouch that I had used back in West Virginia when kayaking. I don't really have a digital camera—I brought my old iPhone 4S on my Peace Corps journey that I use as a camera, phone, and web browsing device (when wifi is available).

However, in order to take pictures, you must remove the smartphone from the little dry bag hanging around my neck. After reaching the rocky flats and its tidal pools, I soon had out my smartphone, snapping pictures of the little fish, snails, crabs, etc. I was having a blast!

There is something about being next to the wild ocean—the surging surf, the salt spray in the air, the sound as the waves crash against the rocks. I'm glad I ended up on the Atlantic side rather than on the placid Caribbean side of the island. The magnetic appeal of the "motion of the ocean" is innate in most all of us. No wonder beach vacations are so popular!

I was being very protective of my camera at first, not wanting anything to happen to it. However, as the afternoon went on, I let my guard down. Just like the Sirens of Greek mythology luring sailors to their deaths, the tidal pools beckoned me closer to the edge of the ocean.

After taking a picture of the first sea urchin I had encountered in a tidal pool, I noticed there was a whole colony of these black, spiny creatures in a bigger pool nearer the edge. I knew it would make an excellent photograph for my blog, so I walked over to get a good shot.

Normally, the ocean runs in rhythm—most waves come in that are regular sized, but every so often a few larger waves roll in, before resuming normal size again until the next sequence. On rare occasions, a real outlier appears from nowhere—a bigger wave than the typical bigger waves. It was about the time that I bent over to snap my picture that a much larger wave than usual thunderclapped against the edge of the rocks.

I stood up quickly and turned my back to the sea, with my phone in front of my chest. Some of the water surged around my ankles, but I was in no danger of being swept off the rocks. However, the splash that had arched up into the air seemed to fall down on top of me a split second later. Unfortunately, a little bit of this “rain” got my smartphone, too.

My iPhone was in a protective cover of red soft plastic, hiding nearly everything but the front screen. I quickly wiped off the drops of seawater from the front and everywhere else. Then I noticed that the earphone jack seemed to have had a large drop hit directly into the hole. I immediately pursed my lips and sucked hard to draw out the water. I could taste the saltiness of the seawater that had lodged in the hole. Of all places for the few drops of water to hit this phone, this was probably the worst. The odds of such a lucky hit were probably the equivalent of Luke Skywalker bombing the Death Star.

What happened next is the point where I probably made a fatal mistake. I should have just called it quits, hiked back to the beach, gone straight home, and put the phone in a bag of rice. However, I thought I might have gotten lucky—maybe it didn't get that wet and was undamaged. I wouldn't know for sure until I tried it—right?

So I hit the power button and it came on—Hooray! I went ahead with my explorations and even took a couple more pictures. I thought I had dodged a bullet and that my many good fortunes were continuing. Why had I been so worried at first? However, at one point later, I tried to turn it on to take another picture and it didn't come on. Uh oh!

I have since learned from researching the internet at home that I should have left the power button alone and tried to immediately dry it out. Turning on the phone meant that power was going through the complicated circuitry, and any water—especially saltwater that is more conductive—can result in damage from short circuits. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I wish now that I hadn't continued to take pictures.

Once I made it home, I immediately put the phone in a bag of rice and left it overnight (some sites also recommend dropping the battery and removing the SIM card, but I didn't have the specialized tools for me to unscrew the nearly microscopic Phillips-head screws holding on the back cover). I even rotated it to different positions (as recommended by some websites) until I finally went to bed. On Saturday morning (after trying the power button again but to no avail), I took it with me to the larger town of Portsmouth to a phone repair shop. They were pessimistic about the possibilities of fixing it.

So for now, I am without a phone. I am evaluating my options at this point, but I survived seven weeks of training in St. Lucia without a phone, so I should be able to survive for awhile here until I decide what to do. Part of me is still hoping for a miracle, and that at some point I might try to turn it on again and it will actually come to life—but that hope is fading quickly.

In the meantime, try to imagine the pictures I would have had of the black crabs covered in white spots, the fish with horizontal stripes running from nose to tail, the fish with the yellow and black vertical stripes running down their sides, and of course, that colony of sea urchins that I just could not resist. It was beautiful!

Here is an older photograph that shows the water I had to wade through to get to the rocky shelf that is exposed at low tide. There is a rock wall in the shadowy area that prevents one from easily getting out to the tidal pools--you must get wet if you go this route.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Some Blizzard Warmth

I'm so concerned about all my friends back home freezing in your blizzard, I decided to cobble together another blog story to warm you up. So here is a mix of small topics thrown together into a single story.

A lot of Americans think we are the only country that provides foreign aid around the world. That is simply not true, and is very much evident here on my island. China is a major donor to many projects here. Cuban medical staff play an essential role at the hospitals. Support from Canada, France, Great Britain, Venezuela, and other countries have been visible, especially after Tropical Storm Erika.

Recently, an SUV from the Ministry of Education pulled up at my school with this U.S. Agency for International Development sticker plastered prominently on its doors. It is one of the only times I have seen any outward signs of American support here. I'm not complaining, nor am I trying to make any sort of political statement (because I'm more worried about our deficit spending than most of you). However, I am interested in clearing up the misconception that America takes care of the world. Also, a final thought on this complex topic—I think it makes it even more important that the Peace Corps supports this island, as we become the public face of American support to Dominicans.
Another recent event at my school was a clean-up day. This is the second time so far this year that the afternoon was devoted to tidying up the school grounds. This picture above was taken from the second floor looking down on a small flower garden that needed sprucing up. The picture below is further to the left, and shows the hillside of rock that borders our school.
One of the things I had to get used to right away when I came to the Caribbean was seeing folks (even women) walking around with machetes. In America, if someone is walking down the street with a machete, you might be intimidated. Here, a machete (which is called a cutlass down here) is just a fact of life. Children learn to use them at an early age. The two fifth grade boys shown below used the two cutlasses the principal brought to “cut the hay” growing on the back hillside. Most Americans would be taken aback to see these kids swinging these long sharp blades, but nobody blinks an eye here.
Meanwhile, some fourth grade boys were swinging small hand spades like cutlasses to give the hillside a close shave in the picture below. A string trimmer would make the job a lot quicker, but those are few and far between down here. Plus, it helps give the students a sense of ownership by caring for the school grounds.
Changing topics, I noticed that this seems to be the season for baby goats. Here are a couple of cute pictures of my host sister's new goats. There were five born this month in her goat herd, plus there were other baby goats born belonging to other folks in the village. I'm sure some of you think they are very cute! Just be aware that most goats here end up as goat meat (goat soup is called "goat water").
I got an invitation to visit the old estate house that was built about a century ago, and is still occupied by a relative of the man who once owned most of the property in the area. The mother of one of my students works as a house cleaner there, and it was a fascinating place to visit. In the picture below, my student points out the beautiful view of the ocean from the backyard of the house.
While visiting there, I also got to see this caterpillar, which was about six inches long. I'm not sure what it will turn into, but it was the biggest caterpillar I had ever seen. It had pretty much eaten all the leaves from this small tree.
Finally, I had to leave you with some beach pictures. Portsmouth (about a half an hour bus ride from me) is the second largest city on the island, and another Peace Corps Volunteer works there. I occasionally go there to the market on Saturday mornings (which is quite an experience itself). On this day, I left my backpack loaded with food supplies at her house and we walked to a new beach I had never visited before. These last two pictures are from Douglas Bay on the Caribbean Sea. You can see how placid the water is on the Caribbean side. The first picture is actually showing the back side of the Cabrits National Park (see my previous story here).
The final picture is from the same spot but looking in the opposite direction. It is a beautiful beach area, but I'm glad I landed on the Atlantic side of the island, where I can enjoy swimming in the waves and listening to the surf—especially while there is a blizzard going on back home!

Beach Hike

Recently I hiked a couple of miles north of my village to another beach area. It is in a gap between the large hill north of my village and the next town up the coast. Three of my students joined me on my quest to see what this somewhat secluded beach was like.
Surprisingly, it is a bit similar to the coastline in my village. There is a “river” (back home we'd call it a creek) that empties into a bay with a beach comprised primarily of rounded rocks. It is beautiful, but the rocky beach makes it unattractive for swimming. Plus, if you have a choice (as in our village), it is better not to swim where a river (and whatever it might carry) empties into the sea.
Just as we have in my village, there is a rocky point that juts out into the ocean, creating a second bay on the southern side. While ours has a broad sandy beach, this one has a ring of large rocks protecting it, and creating a “swimming pool” as the locals call it. There still seems to be a lot of rocks, and not much beach space, but apparently it can be a decent place to swim, protected from the harsher surf. In some respects, it is a bit like a big tidal pool.
The rocky point that separates these two bays is not as long or as prominent as the “L'islet” that I previously wrote about in our location. However, we found a trail that allowed us to climb to the top and gaze around. One of the boys took my picture of the edge of the seacliff, as shown above in the first picture in this article. There is a small rock island just beyond the end of this point.
For this hike, I just wanted to check it out and see what it was like—without getting wet. I came away convinced that our beach was better. I didn't try to swim there, but may do so on a future trip. It is just one more thing on a long list of interesting places around my village. I'm a lucky guy!
By the way, along the road we passed the incredible precipice that I had seen for the first time in this previous story. I'm still amazed at the colors and the details that can be seen in the clear water hundreds of feet below (pictures can't truly convey this incredible sight). Most of all, I'm amazed at the fact that this cliff is so steep that you cannot see where the sea hits the coastline below. I've since learned that some of the locals believe this site to be haunted, because apparently there has been more than one vehicle that has plunged over this cliff. I'm not sure that it is haunted, but I definitely watch my step when trying to peer over the edge! I suppose I could agree that it is hauntingly beautiful.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Swearing and Haircuts

I've had some interesting haircuts in the past year. Just prior to my retirement at the end of May, I had my long hair cut off again. This was the third time in a dozen years that I had grown my hair long and then donated it to be used in wigs for cancer patients. I knew that short hair would be more convenient since I was heading to the Caribbean with the Peace Corps.

After spending June and July in pre-service training on St. Lucia, I arrived in Dominica on August 1. We had our last weeks of pre-service training here, and then we were to be officially sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers on Friday, August 28. I decided that my hair (and beard) needed a trim prior to this formal occasion, so I stopped into the only barbershop in my village on Wednesday evening, August 26. I wanted to look my best on this momentous occasion. Little did I know that Dominica's world would be forever changed after that evening in the barbershop.

Unfortunately, it started raining that night, and continued raining. Tropical Storm Erika dropped about ten inches in ten hours on our island, causing floods, landslides, etc. I've previously written about the aftermath of this disaster. Dominica is still trying to recover from this devastating storm.

Needless to say, the official ceremony for the Dominica Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) to take our oath of office was postponed. In September, the Peace Corps sent a four-wheel drive to pick us up and a staff member conducted a quick swearing-in so that we could be considered official (described in this story), but the intention was always to reschedule a formal ceremony. This tradition is a “rite of passage” that all PCVs around the world go through.

For various reasons, there were difficulties coordinating a new date for our ceremony with the American ambassador (there is no embassy on Dominica—there is an ambassador for the Eastern Caribbean with the embassy located on Barbados to serve several small island countries in this region). The new date was finally set for Wednesday, January 20, 2016.

I decided I needed to go back to our village barbershop on Tuesday night to get trimmed up again. This time, I decided to try something different and so I let him trim the sides of my beard down to give it a more sculpted look (similar to Kenny Rogers in his prime). I'm still trying to decide if I like this new look, but my students and some of the villagers I spoke with seem to like it. We'll see if it lasts.

So on Wednesday, I went to the capital for this long-awaited swearing-in ceremony. It was held in an auditorium at the University of the West Indies building. Although the ambassador could not be there, there were a couple of State Department officials who came, as well as a couple members of the Dominican parliament. After brief remarks by the dignitaries, we took our oath.

We recited the following pledge:

I, David Kurtz, promise to serve alongside the people of Dominica.
I promise to share my culture with an open heart and open mind.
I promise to foster an understanding of the people of Dominica with creativity, cultural sensitivity, and respect.
I will face the challenges of service with patience, humility, and determination.
I will embrace the mission of world peace and friendship for as long as I serve and beyond.
In the proud tradition of Peace Corps legacy, and in the spirit of the Peace Corps family past, present, and future—I am a Peace Corps Volunteer.
I was asked to give the closing “thank you” on behalf of our class. The local press covered the event and below is a photograph taken as I gave my remarks (see the news story and more pictures here). It gives you an idea of my new look—feel free to let me know what you think. It certainly is a lot different than the Santa Claus look I was sporting this time last month!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ground Control to Commander Hadfield

Last week, rock star David Bowie passed away. Although I grew up hearing his music, I can't claim to have been as huge of a fan as some folks were. It isn't that I didn't enjoy his hit songs—it is just that I had others who I found even more appealing. So I was a bit surprised at the strength of the reaction to his death. I guess that shows that I'm just not a big-time music aficionado.

Needless to say, because of my childhood interest in space, my favorite David Bowie song of all was “Space Oddity,” which was inspired by the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” and came out around the time of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

However, my favorite version of “Space Oddity” was not by David Bowie, but by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield who created the first “out of this world” music video when he was on the International Space Station. I started following Hadfield during his 2013 mission, because—thanks to my one Canadian friend—I was seeing some of his posts that she had “liked” come across my Facebook newsfeed. He understands the importance of social media as a teaching tool, and he is very concerned with science education. I still follow him today.

Thus, prompted by the unfortunate death of a rock star, my students were treated to several showings of Commander Hadfield's sensational video—during lunch, on the little screen of my smartphone—and loved it. These students now know a little about David Bowie as well as Chris Hadfield (I had to really emphasize that the astronaut was not the person who died, but that the man who had performed original version of the song was now dead—I think they all understand that now). Some of them spent the day humming and singing the haunting lyrics (“Ground Control to Major Tom”).

Better yet, these primary school students on the island of Dominica have a much better sense of the size and feel of the International Space Station, after watching this music video (some of them watched it several times). Back a few months ago when we watched the station fly over our heads (, I had shown them some basic NASA pictures of the space station, but watching Hadfield play the guitar and glide through the weightless corridors of the station modules seemed to really impress them.

I was able to point out a lot of features to the children, such as the airlock, cupola, sleeping quarters, etc., based on my own knowledge of the space station, dating back to my time at NASA during its inception. I even got to show them how important velcro is to astronauts working in zero gravity.

If you haven't seen this fascinating (and now poignant) video yet, I urge you to check it out at You might also want to explore the rest of Hadfield's website while you are there.

By the way, it just so happened that a couple of Canadian tourists from Sudbury, Ontario, stopped to take a few pictures of the beach by my school on Friday, so I ventured across the road to talk with them (the students had encouraged me, because these tourists were white and “might be relatives”). I enjoyed being able to tell the couple about how their astronaut was helping to enlighten some of my students. They were quick to confirm that indeed, all Canadians are very proud of Chris Hadfield.

Thank you, Commander Chris Hadfield, for your inspiring rendition of David Bowie's “Space Oddity.”

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Carnival Kickoff Parade

Yesterday I was able to observe the official kickoff to the Carnival season here on Dominica. We spent most of our time along the waterfront as a long parade snaked its way through the capital city of Roseau. I had attended a Carnival parade on St. Lucia while I was there for my pre-service training (, but this parade was different—it seemed to me there was less emphasis on revelry and skimpy costumes. It was more of a traditional parade rather than simply an opportunity to march and party simultaneously.

Although there were differences, both of these Caribbean parades were entertaining to watch! Because I'm not an expert on explaining everything I witnessed, I am going to use these pictures to tell the story:

Below is an example of the decorated trucks that carried the Carnival queen and her court (the contestants typically sat on a "throne" in the back of the truck and waved to the crowd).

I'm not sure if the white costumes in the back were made from shredded paper, but it might become a good use for shredder paper. Notice the beautiful scenery in the distant background.
I know there is some sort of tradition in Caribbean Carnival parades for a group to blacken their skin with oil or whatever.
This group is from the Kalinago territory, which is a part of the island set aside for the remaining native population (a bit like an Indian reservation in the U.S.). Notice the grass skirts the woman are wearing. They are known for the basketry, and some of their tops were actually woven baskets.
I've never been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but I know that masks are often used there—just as masked characters are also seen here.
The following three pictures show some of the groups who traversed the entire parade route on stilts. They were very talented!
Dominica has a tradition of children building their own steerable trucks, called “cabaways.” They are pushed by a stick which holds the steering device. Some of them were very elaborate.
Perhaps the costumes below would be good for a WVU Mountaineer game?
Just as in America, there were colorful flag corps of young girls.
This group of girls were twirling umbrellas in unison.
Perhaps I am biased, but I think my credit union had one of the best floats.
As the last sound truck passed by (with the loudest speakers of all the sound trucks), the crowd was free to join in and follow the parade, which we did. [This is the street where the Peace Corps office is located.]
Finally, this bunch of helium balloons that escaped from one of the floats made me think of the 1983 pop hit “99 Red Balloons.”

Thursday, January 7, 2016

La Soose

One of the many interesting things about my village is “The Spring.” It is also known locally by those who speak patois (a local language sometimes referred to as creole or kweyol) as “La Source” (I'm guessing that is the correct spelling, but it ends up pronounced as “La Soose”).
The spring itself is about halfway up the mountain behind our coastal village. The water issues forth from a crack in the rocks, as shown above. A small cement retaining wall was built around the spring, and a long pipeline was installed to bring the clear, fresh water down to a spigot along the road, where villagers and visitors alike can easily fill their water jugs for free (and folks from far and wide come to get our renowned spring water). This natural resource proved instrumental in our coping with Tropical Storm Erika.
Look close and you can see the pipeline to the right side of the trail. Also notice a villager down below who happened to come around the bend in the path just as this picture was taken.
Even though we now have public water, I have chosen to continue drawing water from the spring to use for my drinking water. The Peace Corps provides us with a fancy water filtration system, which uses ceramic and charcoal filters to clean our drinking water, so please don't worry about my safety. I enjoy walking up the hill to get the water I drink!

I feel fortunate that in my village, I get to experience a beautiful ocean beach as well as a mountain forest. Walking to the spring reminds me very much of my home state of West Virginia. A trail just off the road leads into the woods and up the narrow valley of a small creek. The dappled sunlight, the lush greenery, the melody of a bubbling creek, the rocks along the trail, etc., are very reminiscent of West Virginia.

I'll never forget the first time my host sister brought me to the spring shortly after my arrival. On that hot August day, you could feel a trace of cool mountain air flowing down the forested valley. I fell in love with it! Even before we reached the spring, I stopped her because I had to take a picture (shown below) of these woods that reminded me so much of my home.

However, the vegetation is very different. Palm trees, cacoa trees (whose seeds eventually are processed into chocolate), and breadfruit trees aren't found growing wild in my home state. The thick buttress roots that cross the path (at least until villagers with machetes hacked away at them to eliminate this blockage) are reminders that we are actually in a tropical jungle.

Lizards frequently scurry across the path as well—and yes, Little Orphan Annie, they can indeed leap!

There is more at the spring than just the small catch basin around it and the long pipe to the road. The village has constructed a large pool that can be plugged up and used for swimming once it is filled (Jed Clampett would probably call it the cement fishing pond). A shaded bench area was built alongside the pool, as shown below. This enables them to host pool parties at La Soose. It's a unique experience to be swimming in a cement pool in the middle of the jungle!
A couple of my students couldn't wait until the pool was completely filled up before they started swimming.
An open shower facility was also installed at the site. I first used the shower at La Soose during the days following Tropical Storm Erika when the public water system went down. However, it became my daily ritual after teaching in a hot school to come home, change into my swim trunks, and head up to the spring to rinse off the sweat under this cold shower of mountain spring water. It may have been cold at first, but as soon as your body gets acclimated to it, that cold shower felt very nice! The locals refer to such afternoon showers as a “wet up.” My daily wet up helped to punctuate the transition from the school day to my own time.
During Dominica's Community Service Day (the day after their Independence Day) in early November, our village hosted two different service activities. One was a beach clean-up effort, while the other was a “sprucing up” of the spring area (shown above). Many citizens turned out to make a variety of improvements at our “municipal swimming pool.” It really says something about the community spirit of my village that this facility was built for the benefit of all, and continues to be maintained.
Thus, I feel very fortunate that I can enjoy the beach on one end of my village, and yet also enjoy a mountain forest spring that is somewhat similar to my home state of West Virginia by heading up the trail along the creek to take advantage of this nice facility. I feel I have the best of both worlds in my village!
This is the pipeline spigot at the road. The long faded words painted on the wall read as follows: "Fresh Spr-
ing Water." Further below it reads "Welfare for one, welfare for all" (welfare in this case is a positive description, and should not be confused with the negative connotations that Americans too often associate with this word).

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Clean and Green

I enjoyed the seven weeks of initial training I had during June and July on the island of St. Lucia. While geographically it is a smaller island, it has a larger population and is more developed than Dominica (there are even movie theaters on St. Lucia, whereas I am missing the new Star Wars movie here).

However, Dominica—also known as “The Nature Isle”—is a very green place, in more ways than just the lush, verdant jungle that covers most of the island. When I was in St. Lucia, it was during the dry season, and water was in short supply. Some of you will recall the blog story I wrote about “bucket baths” which were the norm during my time there due to the drought. Fortunately, Dominica is blessed with a number of natural lakes and fresh mountain springs, so the precious resource of good water is in abundance here. I've never had to take a bucket bath since leaving St. Lucia. Even when Tropical Storm Erika disrupted the public water system, I was still able to take showers and draw water from the facility my village has built around a local mountain spring (see my Erika story hereand a new blog story about the village spring will soon be coming).

The largest lake here is aptly named Freshwater Lake and is located high in the interior of the island. We visited there recently and at nearly 3000 feet high, it was a bit chilly up there that day. I hope to go back there someday in the summer and rent a kayak to explore the coves and backwaters of this large lake (I have a kayak back home in West Virginia, but I couldn't bring it with me!).

The mountainous nature of this island is why the natives named this island Waitukubuli—which translates into “Tall is her body.” Fortunately, the combination of altitude and water makes Dominica a good candidate for generating electricity with hydro power. In fact, nearly half of the electricity produced here is hydroelectric. Most other Caribbean islands rely on generators to produce all of their power, which requires constant shipments of diesel fuel.

At Freshwater Lake, I could see one of the large pipes (at least a meter wide, if not larger) that carry water down to a power station. As you can see in this picture, it looks a bit like a giant black snake working its way across the landscape.

Further down the valley, there is another pipe (or perhaps the same one?) visible at the canyon wall near Trafalgar Falls (which I visited and wrote about a few months ago). When it comes to turning hydroelectric turbines, one of the keys to success is the hydrostatic “head pressure.” By locating the power generating stations at lower altitudes, and building large sturdy pipes to deliver the water from high altitudes, Dominica's turbines spin quite well! [To get a sense of scale, note the adjoining flights of stairs for maintenance workers next to the vertical pipe in the picture below.]
However, hydroelectric power is not the only green energy that could be used on Dominica. There are also some pilot projects that are utilizing the internal heat from within the earth to produce geothermal powered electricity. Although there are no active volcanoes here, there are a lot of hot springs, as well as a large body of water known as “Boiling Lake.” Here is a picture of two steaming springs along a creek in an area known for such natural activity (this was taken from the window of a van as we crossed the bridge).
Generally, geothermal energy is generated by pumping water down to where it is converted into steam by the heat from magma beneath the earth's surface, and then routed back to the surface to spin turbines to produce electricity. Here is a sign from one of those pilot projects, showing that the country of Iceland is assisting with this (Iceland uses a lot of geothermal energy).
I'm sure that, just as with nearly everything else here, Tropical Storm Erika was probably a setback for such future-oriented projects, since much of this countries financial resources were reallocated for recovery efforts. However, I hope that someday this island might be totally self-sufficient with clean, renewable electricity generation. I want this place to be as clean and green as possible, because it is truly a beautiful island.

I also wish my native state of West Virginia would embrace clean, green power. It seems to me that while we already have some hydroelectric power, there is the potential for more of our lakes and rivers to be converted into the production of hydropower. It makes sense to me!