Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dominica Hurricane Relief 2017

Second truckload
Oct 7 2017
Remember when I told you about feeling helpless in terms of the hurricanes but I also mentioned that the cruisers quickly mobilized?  Here in Trinidad, that effort was headed up by Jesse James and a few key cruisers. 
Third truckload
Jesse coordinated with several churches who were gathering donations.  The cruising community combed through our bilges to see what we had – used line and sails, torches and headlamps, food and dry goods.  Sarah (sv Cape) sat each morning by the storage area to receive the goods.  Willie (sv Liahona) collected cash donations.  Jackson (mv Shadowfax) and I walked around to the various businesses here in Chaguaramas asking to put up fliers about donations and asking if they had any.  Finally, Jesse, Willie and Jackson went shopping with the cash collected and purchased as many goods as they could.  This was not an easy chore according to Jackson, taking the better part of a day – picking items out, calculating the case price, then applying the wholesale discount and adding it to the current sum to be sure they used every dollar donated.  A small team of cruisers helped unload and store the items. 
Human chain moving the supplies
Solo sailor Patrick sv Foxfire volunteered to take all the gathered items to Dominica.  His destination is actually Panama but he volunteered to take this detour to help out Dominica.  “One hell of a detour” as our cruising friend Bev (sv Aseka) put it! 
Stacking it dockside for loading
The appointed sailing day arrived and thus the gathered donations had to be loaded.  Roughly 20+ cruisers along with the yard manager of Powerboats and a few workers showed up to help move all the gathered goods.  A human chain was formed to transfer the items from the storage unit (upstairs and down) to the Powerboats pickup truck.  Then this was backed down to the dock where sv Foxfire was tied up.  Another human chain formed to then transfer the goods from truck to dock and then onto the boat.  Captain Patrick and a few key people were aboard to help organized the final storage.  Even at 42 ft, some wondered where it would all go.  The goods kept coming.  A second and then a third truckload of relief supplies. 
Bruce checking things out topside
It appeared as we loaded the supplies, that most had really worked hard to keep the donated items to “items needed” – we had canned goods, bottled water, dried goods (rice, sugar, powered milk, paper towels and toilet paper) torches (flashlights), coloring pads and crayons, diapers, feminine hygiene items and such.  I only saw one small bag of previously owned shoes and NO clothes.  Clothing is the worse thing to send.
Bryn and Jesse passing items down to Captain Patrick for storage

We all watched sv Foxfire's waterline as we loaded, expecting it to drop below the water with all the weight, but it didn’t.  She’s a proper, sturdy bluewater sailboat.  Just over an hour after we started, everyone was sweaty and hot but the supplies were all loaded.  Now all Patrick needed was fuel and he would be off.  “Fair winds captain and thank you.”
The loading crew - pic by Willie Haskins
Final note -We received word yesterday 10-9-2017 that Patrick arrived safe and sound into Prince Rupert Bay -Portsmouth.  He was able to connected with the contact person who in turn rallied is people (a church group I think) to help unload sv Foxfire.  They are grateful and will immediately distribute to those in need.  
Sarah (sv Cape) doing her best Bethany pose in her memory

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Happy Indigenous People Day

Oct 9th 2017
Happy Indigenous People Day!  Yes, I am one of those.  I couldn’t be happier that the second Monday of October is now being celebrated as Indigenous People Day.  I have long thought Christopher Columbus was a hack.  Even back in grade school I couldn’t understand how Columbus “discovered” what is now the USA when there were people here.  Huh?  “But Miss Salter, that doesn’t make sense.”  “Be quiet Sabrina.  This is history.”  
Too harsh?

I have since learned (through various books) that while he sailed across the ocean blue but he didn’t not discover ANYTHING.  He had MAPS!  Yep, ole Chris followed maps to the Caribbean and then up to America.  We followed maps when we drove down through the southern states in 2013, does that mean Tom and I “discovered” Dixie?  I think not.

So through the years, while I was glad to have the official day off, I always thought it was ridiculous and actually came to begrudge Columbus Day.  It just seems like a false/fake day.  And how in the hell did it become a national holiday (in 1937 BTW).  It also cracks me up that Italians grabbed on to it and celebrated also, since Columbus sailed under the Spanish flag!  I know, they chose it to celebrate their Italian heritage.  I just find that odd.  Of course it is not celebrated here in the Caribbean – that would be a slap in the face. 

I didn't even remember it Columbus Day today until I saw there was an announcement that Kansas City Missouri City Council declared October 9th 2017 as Indigenous People Day.  I thought, yay, a real news story and traction for this.  I am not sure how far this shift in thinking has gone.  (I hate to call it a movement because people seem to bristle at the term.)  Apparently there are now over 50 major cities that celebrate Indigenous People Day vs Columbus Day.  When I did follow up research, there were several stories.  I don’t know what is taught in school these days.  I hope it is Indigenous People Day, perhaps along with some information about a crazy Italian guy who got a bunch of money from the Queen of Spain (because his own refused to give him $) and went adventuring across the sea, meeting new people and exploring - NOT discovering, new to him lands.  This allows proper celebration and still fosters the imagination of the dreamers and would be adventurers in the classroom. 

*Special Note – While reading this to Tom and discussing I asked “Seriously, how did Columbus Day become a holiday in the USA?”  Tom suggested “We are just as nuts for holidays.  Nearly as much as the Trini’s”  HA!  Trini’s LOVE their holidays and they have a ton of them.  Hee hee.  BTW - This Friday October 13th is "First People's Day" - a one off holiday here.    

**  I understand that Chrissy perhaps did discovered some additional details - coves, anchorages and such.....maybe......although I still think the locals would best know all the ends and out of their island(s)! 

Potential New Friend - Let The Stalking Begin

So here is the story of the day....

I was doing research to get our passports renewed here.  I realized that I did not have the US Embassy - Trinidad info in my phone.  I always have local US Embassy info in my phone.  Along with contact info, I usually put the ambassador info in there too.  Ready for the kicker?.....The current ChargĂ© d'Affaires "ad interim"  for Trinidad is John McIntyre.  Before his foreign service work he got his masters at KU and worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.  I know, right!  

So of course I immediately think "we should be friends with this guy."  Of course there was no email available.  I thought about sending a fax as that number is posted.  But that seemed....weird/creepy.  I know, I know....I realize the irony but hang in there with me!   More internet research was needed.  Marina internet was rubbish so I cut and ran for the local bar.  Hey, don't judge.  Their internet is fast.  

Back to John.  I quickly found some additional info.  He is on Linkedin.  I hate Linkedin.  I am on it because of my previous life.  Forced thing.  After leaving land life I changed my profile (if you can call the scarce info I have there a profile) to say Sailing Instructor ASA because I got sick of people (headhunters) trying to connect with me via Linkedin.  It has been so long since I logged on, I didn't have record of my password.  I got a new password and logged in.  I soon found the correct John McIntyre.  Dum-dum-dum......

YES -- I sent him a message.  Of course I did.  You all KNEW I did!!  It was short....there are only so many characters allowed.  I told him basic stuff - USA/KS sailors currently in Chag for hurricane season.  I noticed he spent time in KS and that there were many USA sailors in Chag.  I told him he should come visit us out in Chag.  Then I threw in a "Go Chiefs!" just for fun.  We shall see what comes of this.  Maybe I should have invited him to come “lime” with us ex-pats in Chag, you know….use the local lingo.  But then again, maybe not.  His foreign service record says he has been a “few” places so maybe good ol' Merican is what I should have used.     

Oh shit!.....while typing this power has gone out.  Ah in the Caribbean.  Never boring.   Of course internet is gone too.  I guess I am posting this later.    

So anyway, we shall see what comes of my