Monday, October 29, 2007

A Pleasant Weekend

We just returned to our site this afternoon after an interesting overnight trip to Kingston. The original dinner event that was planned was cancelled, so we were able to enjoy the company of the other group 78 volunteers in the hotel for the evening. We also purchased true american pizza for the first time on island. Quite a treat!

I would also like to point out that we were able to watch the last game of the World Series thanks to cable at the hotel!

Hopefully we will get some more pictures and stories up shortly. I'm optimistic that my internet access is improving...we will see.

Peace to all.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nothing New

I had intended to upload and post some pictures to this blog, but for some reason the computer is being snarky and won't let me do it. You can check out a few that I have posted on my Flickr account (link on the right side of the blog). Mostly, I wanted to show people Carrie's hair cut. I did for her in early September ("Can you cut my hair?" "NO!!" "Fine, I'll do it myself. (short break) Now you have to cut my hair." "Fine." "HOW SHORT ARE YOU MAKING THIS???"). Now her hair is shorter than mine (I haven't cut mine since mid-August).

We are starting to look for our own place. We have a few leads and hope to move around Thanksgiving. It is time for us to have our own place. More details when we know anything.

I haven't been able to watch any of the world series. We don't get Fox (or ABC, NBC, or CBS). I get plenty of college football on ESPN, Big Ten network, and Fox Sports, but I miss all the truly big games. Oh well. Better than nothing at all I guess.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Weight Loss Revisited

Dad asked me the other day if I was starving myself to lose weight (my scale said I lost another 5 pounds). The answer is no. I eat large breakfasts, smallish lunches, and a normal size dinner. I don't snack. I also think my body dropped some weight out of self preservation. When we first got on the island I was sweating profusely for the first, well, technically I still am. I think my body did the same thing sailors on a ship taking on water do, lose any unnecessary baggage. My body has done a pretty good job of that, so now I need to look for other ways to keep cool. I have actually thought to myself that if I took up smoking maybe my circulation would be poor enough that I would feel better. Then I realized that it would probably take a couple of years for this method to actual reach its goal and by then I will be off the island. The negative health benefits definitely do not make that a viable option. I guess sitting in front of fans whenever possible will just have to do.

We were on the radio this week. On Wednesday we did a 30 minute radio show on VYBZ FM where we introduced what Peace Corps does, talked a little bit about our projects, and did a short educational section on safe drinking water and personal hygiene. We didn't find out until after the program that the radio station is streamed over the internet. On Sunday we are doing a short introduction of the Peace Corps on the other local radio station, LYNX FM. I looked online and didn't find a webpage.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I don't have much to say because not much has been happening, but at the same time we haven't posted in a while so I guess this is mostly to say we are still here. This week things have been very slow mostly because of rain. One of the odd things about Jamaica as a tropical country is that the people here do not like to go out in the rain. That has become very clear this week when many parts of the island have received about 2 inches a day for the past three or four days. Some areas (Kingston in particular) are experiencing some bad flooding. Nothing too bad here, although on my way into work there was about 1/4 mile of road where there was quite a bit of water over the road.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The South Sea and How A Bus Fills Up

The view from the veranda of our host families' house provides a great view of the sea and the sky to the south. Therefore, Scott and I hurry outside to watch storms approach and pass from the veranda-- a pastime that we both are familiar with from our childhoods. I should mention that this is not a pastime for Jamaicans. When it storms here, people immediately seek shelter. Granted, if you don't follow that advice you are likely to get soaked to the bone in a matter of seconds if you are caught when the rain begins. Regardless, the veranda is covered, so it is not a matter of getting wet. This picture was taken of a storm well to the south of the island.

On an unrelated note, I have noticed that buses and classrooms seem to fill according to the same philosophy. If there are zero to very few people seated on a bus that is waiting to depart, no one else wants to get on that bus. However, once a critical load (probably about 75% capacity) has accumulated in a bus it fills very quickly indeed. This normally is not a problem unless there are several empty buses to choose from. Then the time it takes to reach the critical load is quite long and only made worse by the bus drivers' and dokta's (conductor) attempt to reach critical load before any other bus in the vicinity-- by aggressively recruiting the few people intending to travel that direction and very efficiently ensuring that they are evenly distributed amongst the empty buses. Perhaps the goal is not to fill up your bus first, but rather to make sure that no one else can fill up theirs.

It also seems to apply that if there are zero to very few people in a classroom, it is also not desirable to stay in that classroom even if the person is precisely on time for the class to start. This means that even the people who are arriving late can make the same argument. I have yet to figure out how to keep people in an empty classroom in order to reach critical load. As long as there are no other empty classrooms in the vicinity to fill, maybe I should hire a dokta.