Tuesday, 22 September 2015

New Motto: Take it One Day at a Time!

Hi friends,

What a busy couple of weeks it has been! It's been awhile since I have been able to blog. When I started working, things were pretty much the same as usual. However within the last week, there has been a lot of activity. 

I apologize in advance for the next section, but I have recently come to terms with the fact that the medical system on this island truly sucks. There is a little girl who attends the school who has been very sick for the past year. She has been diagnosed with autism, and is non-verbal. However, she also has some major vomiting issues, where she can't keep any food down, or even water. She has been in and out of the hospital the last year and the doctors don't know what to do. Well, the principal and I went to visit her at her house because the mom requested we go there. When we pulled up, I had this sinking feeling in my gut, and we weren't even at the house yet. We had to walk behind another house, through some bushes and stumbled upon a large shack. Broken windows, grass and vines growing up the side of the house. I felt really disturbed by the whole thing. The mother brings the child outside, and she can't even stand up. I tried giving her some water, but she couldn't even keep that down! She was so dehydrated, I told the mother she needs to be in the hospital. 
I left that house in tears.
I have never seen anything like that in my life. I realize that there is some poverty on this island, but I felt like I had walked into a taping for a World Vision commercial. I really was not prepared for that. Even my principal who has lived here for 10 years had never seen anything like that before. That scene will live with me forever. It truly wrecked me. 

The child made it to the hospital the next day, but I just found out she only spent 3 days there and then they sent her home. The excuse this time was that the principal didn't come to the hospital and explain what was wrong with her...ummm excuse me? I didn't realize she was also a doctor! Hello, that's why the child is there? To see the doctor!!!!!!! I could not believe my ears!!!!! They think because the child has special needs, that they cannot help her, and that this vomiting is just a symptom of her special needs! Never in my life have I heard this, or read anything about this! The child can't even keep water down!!!! 
I literally came home that day and cried my eyes out. I feel so helpless for this poor little girl. No one is fighting for her. The few that are, don't have any power. This child needs some real doctors looking after her, and figuring out what is going on. Otherwise she just keeps going through this cycle of being in and out of the hospital. Social services is involved, but they have said no one will take the child because she has special needs. That just breaks my heart even more. It disturbs me so much, to be living in this environment, when I know something needs to be done but I just don't have the means to do it. I so badly wish I could...unfortunately for this little one, I feel as though my prayers for her, just aren't enough. 

Anyway, thanks for letting me rant. It's just something I think about every single day. 

Moving on, there were a couple holidays last week on Nevis. National Heroes Day and Independence Day. I was able to go to the beach and have some relaxation time. It was awesome. For Independence Day, it seemed as though the island goes all out. Even Kyle's school library was closed. There was a big beach party at the main beach, and all the schools had their own program to celebrate. The children at my school got to wear the colors of the flag, and each class did a presentation on what all the colors mean. Last minute I found out all the teachers had to sing a song! Well that was an experience, especially since I am not a singer. The presentations were very cute though, and I learned a lot about Nevis :) 
This was the holiday, I couldn't believe how busy the beach was ;)

I Never get tired of these beach views :)

Happy 32nd Anniversary Nevis!

This was at the main beach. My local buddy told me they were setting up for a huge party last Friday night.

This is the little kids class. They taught us what the stars in the flag mean. Hope and Liberty.

This is the class that I teach. They all looked so thrilled to be up there! Haha. 
Don't worry I have permission to post these photos. 

So I had started teaching my own class at the school because we have been so short staffed. However there has been one particular child who has had such severe behaviors, the principal doesn't want him in class with other children. So now he has been assigned to me. Yay! I spent all last week with him, and I have some bruises to show for it. However, we had a break through today!!! This child had no behaviors at all today!!!! I am so thrilled! He actually listened to me, and didn't attempt to run away at all! There were a few opportunities where he could have followed the other children but he didn't! Even if for the rest of this year, his behaviors are bad, I will always remember this one day! Ha! I actually came home with a smile on my face! It was a much needed reminder of why I do what I do. I love these kids, but when I hear quotes like " teacher, you ain't gunna give me no licks, so I don't have to listen to you" "you ain't got nuttin on me teacher" "Whatcha gunna do teacher? You can't do nuttin!" (Say it in an island accent, and it will make more sense.) Also licks mean a spanking in North American terms. So when today I heard phrases like "My mom is going to be so proud of me!" That just warms my heart :) 

Today is Kyle's Birthday! To celebrate, I made him a cake, and we went to a friends house and had some of his classmates over. It was nice that we are still able to do something here. This past weekend, we met up with my friend that I work with and her fiancee at the Four Seasons Restuarant. What an amazing view!! We had never been there before. It's called Mangoes, and it was great! My friend's fiancee works for the Four Seasons, so he got a discount ;) 

Sweet views from Mangoes Restaurant. 

The cake turned out pretty well. The trick is to ice it, right before you eat it! 

Anyway, my new motto here is "take it one day at a time." At this point, with it being so hot, my job the way it is, managing my own school work, that's all I can do. I am still thankful I have a job, but I think I am allowed to vent about it every now and then. 

Hope you guys are all doing well! We miss you lots! 

Here are a few other pics from the last couple weeks. 

A real traffic jam on Nevis!!! I was almost late for work. Turns out, the Police were stopping people. Not sure what they were looking for though. 

Pretty big thunderstorm here. Crazy lightening and a ton of rain! This is the view from one of my classrooms at the school. 

Some of you may have seen this guy posted already. Kyle went to open the blinds in our bedroom and he was just chilling on the window sill. I'm actually surprised I was not more freaked out! The first thing I did was grab my camera :P Maybe because I have expected something like this to happen here. 

This huge cow was just beside the road. He has pretty big horns! It's hard to see in this picture, but it was crazy! 

That's all for now! Enjoy!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Returning to Island Life

Hey Everyone!

Well summer is over, (or for Kyle and I, it's beginning again:the weather that is). We have returned back to Nevis and classes have resumed and I have started work again. It is super hot here!!! Summer in Canada the weather wasn't all that great, in the low 20's for most of my time up north, so coming back here where it's mid 40's has been an adjustment. Especially since our A.C is broken. Even Kyle, who has air conditioning in his classroom is struggling. There are over 100 new students in his class so space is tight for them. Plus he has to dress up for his class for the first few weeks, so wearing a tie and dress clothes and trying not to sweat has been an adjustment for him. 

We arrived on the island by having to take one of those tiny airplanes from the island of St. Maarten. That was an interesting experience! You don't have to worry about hearing those boring airplane safety speeches. Nope, you don't even need to wear a seat belt. They tell you that if there is a crash, to watch out for sharks... yep. It was also risky in terms of our luggage. Since the plane is so small it's not guaranteed that your luggage will make it. Ours had tags on it that said "standby". So we were watching them load everything on, and praying that our stuff made it. We have heard way to many stories where some folks have lost their luggage in St.Kitts or St. Maarten. Thankfully it made the cut! 
I was also nervous about being allowed back into Nevis because of how my work permit visa ended up. It expired in July so I was worried about what the immigration people were going to say. However, they gave me a stamp with expiration in February! Maybe it was because it was late at night, or that the officer was new, but I am very glad it all worked out. Our car was even waiting for us at the airport! 

So, you would think, things are back to normal around here. However, there is just something different about being back. I don't really know what it is, but it is definitely harder than when we first moved here. Maybe because back then, everything was so new, or the fact that I have been away for 3 months. Needless to say, I remember writing about how I was almost sad to leave Nevis, and I thought I would be excited to return here, but so far, I haven't really felt much excitement. Back to this place where the bugs are everywhere, our broken A.C (who knows when it will get fixed), and now our T.V is broken. Kyle has managed to fix it temporarily, but things are different. 

I went back to the school I was working at, and found out I was not on their staff list. I had to do all that running around again to get a work permit. I do have one, but now I have to wait and see if I actually get paid. There have been a lot of staffing issues at the school to the point where there is no teacher for the class I was helping out in. I am not a teacher. I don't do lesson plans, or following a curriculum or anything like that. I don't even know what the curriculum is for Nevis. I tried to make that clear to my supervisor. I just hope that when the kids come back to school tomorrow, that I am not suddenly thrown into their class and expected to teach a math lesson. 

So maybe all of these reasons and the heat factor is why I have hard time adjusting back to this island life. I need to get back into working out again, and I have also started my classes online again. There has been a lot of change this week and we have been quite busy unpacking and getting settled. Oh and yes back to cooking, and doing dishes everyday. I need to get back to my positive thinking I suppose. Summer at home was amazing, and I guess I was hoping it could last longer. I was very fortunate to be able to spend time with family and friends, and even meet my nephew! I think it's different because our time here seems so much longer than when we came in January. Kyle is just starting med school. Our friends we met in January are starting Med 3. Kyle has worked very hard to get to this point, but there is still a long road ahead, and it's starting to sink in. Good news is, we are here until December. Only 3 months. I am hoping after this first month, time will start to go by quicker. I keep trying to tell myself that. I mean we have already been back for one week right??

Anyway that's the update for now. I thought I would be sharing about how my summer went in Canada, however who wants to hear about that! ;)  FYI it was cold and rainy with some weddings and a baby shower :P I hope everyone enjoyed their summer also. Back to reality I guess! 

Here is Kyle from his White Coat Ceremony. All the Med 1 Students are presented with their white coat to officially begin Med school. I am very proud of him, and the coat suits him quite well ;)