Saturday, April 6, 2019


A Little Morning Beach Soccer Below the Pastoral Centre

a close-up view

a wider view


Bishop County and Fergal Redmond took me to Young Island for dinner on Thursday night for an early celebration of my 75th birthday. It was a very nice place on the water! We got a chance to talk at length about my projects in the Diocese of Kingstown and how we might tie up some loose ends before going forward.  It was a truly relaxing evening with just the three of us! 

Inside the covered out-board motor boat that ferried us over to Young Island for dinner.


Here is Something Saint Vincent is Beginning to See. 
In my 12 trips, I think this is only the third one I have seen coming into port. This is by far the nicest one. It is operated by a Swiss Company that was originally founded in Italy. This is certainly good for the economy to have them stop in Saint Vincent. 


1. Ministry of Health

Sandra Davis (on the right) met with Bishop County, Fergal Redmond and myself to discuss the second 40 ' shipping container of medical supplies from S.O.S. and church furnishings that will be going down soon. 

Donna Bascom, from the Ministry of Health, was unable to attend because of sickness, so Sandra Davis, our contact person for the container, represented the Ministry of Health. 

Besides the shipping container, Sandra Davis will coordinate the connections between Paul Sherman MD and his wife Susan Sherman RN and some local doctors, as well as some hospital and clinic coordinators. They will be going down in July for their first fact-finding volunteer mission trip. Until now, they have been volunteering in Kenya. 

2. Stewart Structural Engineering Limited

Friday afternoon, Bishop County, Glenford Stewart (Structural Engineer), Fergal Redmond (Diocesan CPA, Wendel Edwards (Principal), Yohance Gibson (Vice Principal) and myself met at Saint Martin's Secondary School for Boys to discuss a possible future project. 

In the school yard there is a 100 year old mango tree loaded with fruit not quite ripe yet. 

Mango fruit, still green, but ready to ripen. 

Downtown, Kingstown

We had local people and guests from the cruise ship. I met tourists from Germany, Italy and Ireland. The new airport with a couple of direct flights from the US and the fact that some nice cruise ships are now stopping here is a good sign for the struggling economy. 


I will leave Saint Vincent about 2:30 pm and be home a little after midnight - if all goes well. 



1. In many ways we have it easy in the USA compared to the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. In fact, we are quite spoiled when it comes to the availability of things, the ease of getting around, the speed with which things are done and the conveniences of normal daily living. Its as if we are ready to scream as if our arm has been cut off when we simply have a hang nail! People seem to be a whole lot more patient in the islands. 

2. People have to make a great effort to go to work, go to school and go to church - sometimes walking in sweltering heat or waiting along the roads for a ride. Simple tasks seem to require a lot more effort down there. 

3. The people take great pride in their children. Even in a country with lots of poverty, children always seem to be meticulously dressed, combed and groomed for church and school even after walking for miles along the sides of very narrow and forever winding roads.

4. Women seem to bear the most weight when it comes to work. They know long days and long nights of cooking, cleaning, shopping, praying and monitoring children, as well as often holding down full time jobs or trying to sell fruits and vegetables in small stalls along the streets. 

5. The religious Sisters work very hard, especially those who teach in the schools and run orphanages. They don't know what a 40 hour a week is! It's full time and full speed all day and into the night while wearing a habit and veil and living in very humble circumstances. 

6. There are a lot of poor children in this island nation. Many are being raised by grandparents and single parents. Many do not have enough to eat, even at school. Some cannot afford the minimal fees and have to have their grades withheld until they can pay. 

7. There is a lot of creativity and imagination because of the poverty. They can be very imaginative and "get it done" by re-purposing obsolete items and fixing things with old parts. Sometimes, whole homes are built from scrap metal, cardboard, used lumber and old stones - often on stilts on the side  of a mountain. Small gardens are very often "terraced" into the sides of steep hills.

Close-up of gardeners at work.

Distance shot of same gardeners.

8. Because people are seldom locked behind doors in air-conditioning, there is a lot of noise - lots and lots of noise - from roosters crowing in the early morning, to cars blasting music out of windows rolled down, to honking horns and just plain yelling in public places. The first thing you hear in the morning are roosters crowing, followed by barking dogs. As the city comes alive, that is followed by honking horns and loud music coming from cars. 

9. Surprisingly, the water is safe to drink. The government has obviously and deliberately invested some money in the water system - at least in the areas where I have been. Parking in the city of Kingstown during the day is another issue. Roads are very crooked, young drivers can be aggressive and landslides are a constant problem. 

10. Lots of fresh fruits and a variety of interesting vegetables, many unfamiliar to me, seem to be readily available. 

11. Even though Catholic parishes are small, the music is energetic and often sung from memory with a very Caribbean sound - drums, guitars and sometimes keyboards. 
People are used to long sermons from priests and deacons. The recent Parish Missions went on for 5 nights and the crowds were consistently good. 

12. The people that I have come in contact with are very warm and welcoming. I am always comfortable when I am with them. I know more and more people by name and I can see how fast some of the younger ones have grown from trip to trip. Catholics are a small minority of the population and I am inspired by their determination to hold on to their Catholic faith. 

13. Catholics in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are a small minority because of its history as an English colony. Other islands may be predominately Catholic because of their histories as Spanish or French colonies. Therefore the Catholic Church may be very different from island country to island country in the Caribbean. Historically, the Portuguese and Dutch have been there too and still have some influence.

14. What have I learned? I am hopefully being taught to be a little more patient and a lot more grateful! I have learned that doing all this at my age helps me forget about just how old I am and hopefully will help me stay at the top of my game a bit longer! I am grateful for the friends who have supported me in this work and the insights I am gaining by putting myself in so many new situations at this point in my life! I am actually a bit proud of myself for being so "adventurous" at 75! With the exception of one time, I have traveled down there alone eleven of the twelve times.  I pray for health good enough to keep me going back a few more times before I have to "turn in my missionary card" and "hang up my collar" for good! 

15. I feel honored, blessed and privileged to be able to do all these things, including priest retreats all over Canada and the United States, especially in my retirement years. My philosophy of "it's easier to get forgiveness than permission" is paying off big time!  I have learned that with a little nerve you can actually do more things than you ever thought possible. Even if people laugh at you, judge you or even punish you out of jealousy, just go ahead and do it!  As a favorite quote puts it, "You can run with the big dogs or you can just sit on the porch and bark!"


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