Sunday, May 20, 2007

A letter from Uncle Billy Helps While he went to Dominica, West Indies and stayed to Help Clean-Up after Hurricane - July 2007
Hello to all fellow Rotarians and friends, How lucky can one get, but if it had not been for the breakdown in the London Airport with the Terrorist threat and the weather that not only closed down Heath Row but JFK as well for several days I would be in Vietnam and possibly would have been caught up in the big flood that took the lives of over 40 people, and so the assignment was cancelled and turned over to The Dominica Island a beautiful area of Rain Forests, hills and valleys and a hot steaming lake that is a result of the volcanoes and a great tourist attraction. The island is 750 klms in diameter 47 Kilometers in length and 29 klms in width and it is Hot Hot Hot with Rain down pores almost every hour and is rains so hard that one would think that the Niagara Falls was pouring down on you in heavy noisy splashes that last from l5 to 20 minutes in constant rain, With the news of the NY Subways flooded is nothing compared to living here. The Capitol in Roseau and the population in from 69 to 70 thousand people with around 3500 are natives of the Island that dates back to the second Columbus voyage when he found the Island November 3. 1493 which was inhabited by the Carib Indians, Dominicans are descendants of African Slaves and when they became an independent country from the British Rule in l998, became the happiest people the a main source of income is agriculture and tourist business as the Cruise ships stop here and the tourists have a chance to take tours of the old villages that are still the same in design and life style of old. No hot showers, out door toilets and showers, and cooking either out doors or in small kitchens with stoves heated by bottled Butane Gas, much the same as was used in my apartment in Damascus Syria when I work in the American Embassy way back in l948 when Palestine became Israel. I am living at the Bionics Guest House and I am enjoying native cooking, my first time for Banana Soup and also fried for desert with honey, I am in the Catfish Lake Village, and I have been working in 5 different villages, I am working with Annie Edwards of Seattle who is here as a Peace Corps Volunteer I call her my boss as I go where she feels I can be of best use, I am also directed to so areas by the Village women's committee as there no Senior Centers here so I call on the elderly at their homes and cheer them up and do anything they would like don around the house, the average family has any where from 3 to 6 children so Grand Ma and Grand Pa have plenty on their hands while the parents are busy with work, I play games with the children, make puppets in arts and crafts and help teach conversational English as this Island all speaks English and some also speak Creole/Spanish I washed some of my clothing with cold water and then took a cold shower Chicken and fresh fish is available, as chickens are raised every where, the average salary is around 200 to 400 dollars a month and the rate of local money is 2.69 EC to one US Dollar. Many of the village homes are made of wood and tin roofs and some very nice houses made of cement block one story and painted in bright colors in villages all over the Island, this being Saturday I am scheduled to take a tour of one of the original villages that is still living in the same manner as when Columbus discovered the island and is a big attraction with cruise ship tourists There is a group of 20 student volunteers here from VISIONS a group located in the area of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they are adding a play area and sport field as their project. I accompanied Annie on a 5 village trip as the Plan Parenthood IS VERY ACTIVE HERE , WE DISTRIBUTED BOXES OF CONDOMS TO THE SMALL VILLAGE Kiost to be sold or given to the natives as aids is on the rise, I have been making necklaces along with some blind young adults as part of the arts and crafts project, next week I will be going to the Capitol Roseau and will work in a Senior Home, so long for now at least you know I am safe and hope the Hurricane does not hit this island. By BY for now and God Bless You, I miss not being at the Diabetic camp this year in the Republic of Georgia since it has turned commercial for tourism they are looking for a new place, perhaps next year, Pat and Franklin were great fun to be with and by the way Andrei the candy your mother sent me is being enjoyed by both Young and Old Jose don’t work to hard with the threat of flooded subways how does one get around. The taxi business must be booming. God bless you all Love and Kisses from the Rotary Vagabond Uncle Billy DeLong.

Uncle Billy Visits Guatemala in April 2007


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