Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Ambassador Returns!

Friday, January 13th was a lucky day for me! Our school was honored to have a second visit by the U.S. Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean, the Honorable Linda S. Taglialatela. The Ambassador had enjoyed herself so much during her previous visit to my village on Community Service Day that she had forgotten to give us some books which she had intended on donating for our school library. Thus, during her recent visit to Dominica, she made a brief stop on her way to the airport so that she could do a quick read-aloud session with the children and leave some books for us.
Her schedule was such that she would not be arriving until 4:00 PM, while school usually lets out at 3:30 PM. We could not force the children to stay, but nearly all of them chose to do so. A few of them helped me to hang up the school banner and the Dominican flag, as well as an American flag that my parents had given me (as shown in the picture above). It gave a nice international look to our little school.
In addition to reading a couple of the books, she also told the children that she had been in a meeting with the Prime Minister of Dominica earlier that day (see photo I found above). When she asked if the students knew the name of the Prime Minister, all of them quickly responded with “Skerrit.” Our village is actually on the southern end of his parliamentary district, so Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit is well known here.
She told the students that during the course of their conversation together earlier Friday, she had told him that she would be stopping by this primary school. Apparently the Prime Minister was both surprised and pleased that she was going to be making a stop in our little village. He assured her that we would be getting a new school building soon (the old school was torn down several years ago and we have been surviving in temporary quarters since then). Although we had heard this was going to happen, it was still very reassuring news for all of us to hear this confirmation.
This wasn't the only good news from her trip to Dominica. The local media outlets were already trumpeting the previous day's donation by the American government of a couple of Bobcat excavators, water pumps, and light towers to Dominica's Office of Disaster Management. This equipment was identified as needed in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Erika, and was valued at over half a million dollars. Donations like this from America and other foreign countries mean a lot to a little island nation such as Dominica.
Obviously, I'm glad that the American Ambassador is now familiar with a small, isolated village located far from Dominica's capital city. Visiting here gives her (and her talented staffers) a taste of what real life is like for most Dominicans. Her support of my students, my village, and the Peace Corps is truly appreciated!

[It isn't worth a separate story, but I thought I would throw in a picture of this baby goat that was born on Thursday. Goats are a big part of life in the Caribbean.]

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