I could easily choose a group of 20 boys to take home with me. Ordinarily, it would be much harder to decide on just one. But not in this case. If I could take home just one boy, it would be Dave-v.
Dave-v (basically pronounced Davey) is the youngest of five children: Davius, Daviana, Dave-0, and a girl he just calls Sis. As you can see from his head covering Dave-v is from a Rasta family. You may be able to guess that his father's name is Dave.
His father is, unfortunately, not a nice man. He did not treat his wife well. About six months before I arrived in 2015 his mum learned that she was pregnant. One day the children went off to school and when they returned home they discovered that their mum had died during a home abortion. By all accounts his mum was a sweet and kind woman who held the family together.
There are many Rastas in St. Lucia, though nowhere near as many as in, say, Jamaica. And Lucians don't always embrace Rastas. My friend and former PCV, Greg, used to say that if you hear a story on the news about a bus accident the reporter might say something like, "Killed were three women, two men, and a Rasta."
This is not the right place to discuss in detail why Rastas are not widely embraced here, though it is more evidence that prejudices are inherently human and seemingly unavoidable.
I will sure miss Dave-v. I will also miss most of the other children here too. It is actually my first really thorough involvement with 5-12 year olds. And I have loved getting to know them. (Despite how troublesome they are in school.) I will miss walking anywhere and hearing children shout "Mr. Alan." I will miss arriving at school and having groups of boys come up and hug me. This is just about the sweetest thing I have ever experienced. I have decided that every time a boy hugs me it adds a month to my life.
One of my proudest achievements is the wonderful relationship I developed with the children.