Monday, September 12, 2005

Weekend in Kingston

Hello all!

We wanted to tell you about our weekend at the Peace Corps Quarterly Meetings in Kingston. We traveled safely and securely to and around Kingston with no problems (by bus, walking, and by charter taxi).

On Friday Shane attended the GAD (Gender and Development) committee meeting and was elected to serve as co-coordinator of International Women's Day. Kaelyn attended the SBAG (Small Business Advisory Group) and was elected (offered) to serve as vice-president (there are only 7 members). We had lunch and dinner at this nice restaurant that serves Thai food on the patio and Indian food inside the restaurant (Thai for lunch and Indian for dinner). And we were able to catch up with many of our friends during the day as well as during the happy hour (half price drinks for exactly one hour) at the Four Seasons Hotel outdoor bar (not the same as the U.S. hotel chain but still nice). The happy hour was interesting because it is sponsored by a German club every Friday and was attended by all ex-pats, they served German food and beers (along with the normal red stripe, as well as mixed drinks and even wine).

On Saturday we had a bit of trouble getting to the meeting because there was lots of gunfire near our neighborhood and we didn't want to leave our house until we found out the reason. It turns out that bird hunting season has now started, so nothing to worry about. Kaelyn attended the wardens meeting on Saturday since she is the assistant warden for St. Catherine South. A warden is just the contact person for the volunteers in the parish to inform when they are going to be gone from their site or whenever they are involved in an incident (crime). Also the warden disseminate safety and security information (a VERY important Peace Corps theme) information to the volunteers. We both attended the Volunteer Advisory Council meeting on Saturday which was very, very long and dealt with many issues of Peace Corps Volunteers. Neither of us are on the council so we probably won't attend this meeting very frequently and will just send our opinions with our representative. Shane is going to work on the BBQ sub-committee of VAC for the day after Thanksgiving Peace Corps Staff Appreciation BBQ. We also got some Jamaican coffee (High Mountain not Blue Mountain) from the coffee shop where Shane had breakfast while Kaelyn was in her warden's meeting.

While we were in the Peace Corps office for the meetings our APCD (Associate Peace Corps Director) Jimmy informed Kaelyn that she had been selected to serve on the SPA committee (Small Projects Assistance) which grants money to Peace Corps Volunteer projects. Only a few people serve on this committee which reviews the applications and implementation of the projects. Jimmy also asked us to organize a beach cleanup at Hellshire beach for International Coastal Cleanup day which is this Saturday - September 17, 2005. Some of the Peace Corps staff is planning to attend because this is one of the closest beaches to Kingston - no pressure.

It was definitely a very busy weekend but it feels good to be so involved!

Love you all,
Kaelyn and Shane

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