Some of my blog posts will be centered on issues of importance and others on sending updates and photos. This is one of those.
I arrived in Miami on Thursday the 11th at 10 am and we had orientation from 2pm-7pm. After that I had dinner with my new PC friends Mary and Steve, a married couple who are serving together.
The next day we woke at 4 am, checked out of the hotel and drove to the airport for a 9:55 am flight. We were staying at an airport hotel, close to the airport, but wrangling 32 people with extensive luggage into a bus and then into line at the airport took most of the time.
We arrived in St. Lucia at 1:30 and spent an hour getting our bags, finding the PC reps and then getting ourselves onto busses and our luggage onto a truck. It was really hot, as we knew it would be, but when you exit the airport and all the air conditioning, the heat hits hard.
We had a scenic drive to the Benedictine Abbey. The airport is at the southernmost part of the island and the Abbey is about 2/3 of the way to the northernmost part of the island. The road was winding and the terrain hilly and the drive took about 90 minutes.
The abbey is a working abbey housing an indeterminate number of nuns. They provide very good food and the grounds are beautiful with spectacular views of the oceans and the mountains. I am rooming with my new PC friend Dave. We are on the side of the building without much breeze and so I slept entirely on top of the sheets with as little on as I thought Dave could bear. The next day we realized the room had an air conditioning unit.
The building above is the abbey chapel. I sat on the steps for a few minutes as one of the nuns played the organ and a choir sang "Ave Maria." As beautiful as a catholic song can be for a Jewish guy.
Tomorrow, we have a little more training and then pack everything up again and drive into Baboneau, which is a part of Castries, the largest city on St. Lucia, where we will meet our homestay family. We will live with them for the first 7 weeks of training. Oh boy!
So far, all is well. The Peace Corps says that only 8% of volunteers are 50 or older but 9 of the 32 in our group are. Of the people over 50, I am the youngest. The range is 51 to mid-70's I would guess. I can't help but think they want to have older people closer to the US in case some medical care is needed.
Stay tuned friends. I am thinking of you and hope all is well.