The next part of my adventure.

Trip Start Sep 12, 2008
1
Trip End Aug 24, 2009


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Friday, September 12, 2008

It has been a very interesting last couple of days. Yesterday I took the taxi over to Roseau. And what I mean by a taxi is a van with twelve people crammed together. It takes about an hour and fifteen minutes for the trip. I have posted a picture on the blog. I am sitting all the way in the back with two others. Then you had nine others in front of me. Very hot and muggy and the driver goes like a bat out of hell! The two people sitting on both sides of me fell asleep with their heads leaning on me. What fun>LOL. The cost is nine Caribbean dollars, around three American dollars. All in all I did have a chance to walk around the city by myself. A city of about thirty thousand people. Went to the Department of Forestry and pick up information on all the trails for the island. I was told there that I should take a guide with me on most of the trails because you can get lost very easily. I was also informed that there is a list of guides on the back of the pamphlet that I could call. I did call one and got some good information about when the tourist season starts and he could call me when he has more people to set up for some hikes. If you go by yourself it cost a lot more and not as much fun. So that is what I am going to do. The tourist season starts in January. I am looking forward to that!
There is something I have not mentioned as of yet. The bugs had a feast with my body. I have bites all over, some small and some enormous! There is every kind that you can think of and some I never have seen or heard of before. The first rule of living here that I learned was never, and I mean never walk around the house without shoes or something on your feet. Well in the middle of the night last night I had to get up and go to the bathroom. Well I stepped on one and had to get in the shower to wash off my foot. After that I could not get back to sleep.
I will be up early tomorrow and will not get home until way after dark. It is good to go right to sleep after a long day. The nights are almost as hot and muggy as the days are. The hottest month is coming up in Oct. CAN NOT WAIT > LOL! Cannot wait until it cools down just a little. I am sweating up a storm and have to change my clothes twice a day. Well that's all for now. Well that is it for now!
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scrovo
scrovo on

the taxi ride
1. THE TAXI TRIP TO THE CAPITAL
Sep 12, 2008 13:26 EST by jocrovo New!

STEVEN I SO WISH I COULD HAVE BEEN SITTING NEXT TO YOU IN THAT TAXI AS YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I JUST LOVE TIGHT QUARTERS. I HOPE THE WEATHER GETS COOLER SOONER THAN THE END OF OCTOBER FOR YOU. I THINK I WOULD BRING A URINAL TO BED WITH ME AND NOT GET UP IN THE NIGHT UNLESS THE PLACE WAS ON FIRE. IT IS GREAT TO HEAR YOU DESCRIBE EVERYTHING SO WE CAN GET A FEEL FOR WHAT IT IS YOU ARE GOING THREW. YOU SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF YOURSELF AND I HOPE YOU STOP TO SEE WHAT A GREAT THING YOU ARE DOING. LOVE YA CHAMP AND BRO

scrovo
scrovo on

MY EYES HAVE BEEN OPENED
The poverty and culture is something I can not even begin to explain.
I went to a rest home and truly went away asking God WHY. Why them and why not me. God has given me so much and that is something I needed to see. Probably this is why I was sent here. Never again will I ask God why I have to go through the things he put's me though. MY path is so much more than most. I guess what I am trying to say is not only is there a lot of poverty, There is no family unit or love like I have or very little. That is the biggest thing that has changed my heart.

jocrovo
jocrovo on

where did champs picutre go ?
Steven when we post a new comment on this only your picture comes up in the window? Is there something I am doing wrong ? Glad to see your fan is helping some in your room. talk soon love ya

jon & champ

anlodder
anlodder on

Taxi Ride
I love the new pics and the taxi ride sounds like a blast!! :)

scrovo
scrovo on

Saturday 9/13/08 Hiking
This is going to be the most difficult entry so far. I just don't know how I am going to express my true feeling?
I woke up early and the weather was already hot and muggy. We are going into the hottest month of the year. The humidity can be as high as au hundred percent. I had my backpack already to go, packing it the night before. This was my first hike by myself. It took about half an hour to get down the hill and out of town. My goal was to walk up to this national park that is about three or four miles out of town. It was early and the walk was just what I needed to settle my brain. There were four of us on this hike. It may be hard to understand but there was myself, my Angel, Anna (my niece who past away at birth) and Steven Michael (my nephew Who also has past away). I get into long conversations with them. I know they are only there in spirit, but I can truly feel their presence.
By the time I reached the park I was sweating though all my pours. For some reason it did not bother me in the least. Once I entered the park is was all up hill from there. The sun was hot but every ten or fifteen steps their was shade from the trees. There were three different hikes to choose from, I choose the hardest one. It takes about forty-five minutes to reach the top. It was very slow going but I was enjoying every step of the way. Once we reach the top I just sat on this rock and gaze out to the ocean. I started praying and talking out loud about what I was feeling. The joy in my heart is something I cannot even begin to describe. I could truly feel Anna, Steven Michael. I could feel them sitting right there next to me. And there I sat for over an hour, actually at peace.
I started down the hill when all of a sudden I heard these voices from a far distance. The further I descended the louder the voices could be heard. It was about seventy people singing gospel music. My God what a sound! Those sounds made my heart feel so warm. I was walking on cloud nine. When I finally walk past the group, they were just sitting under a tree singing their hearts out. What a sound and spiritual experience. This one-day has made my time on Dominica so much better. Sometimes I ask my self what hell have I gotten my self into. But this is truly something I would not have gone through if I were not here. So today I held onto my faith with warmth in my heart and keep repeating to my self, " Let go and let God"

rdarius
rdarius on

Hike
Hey Steve,
Thanks for sharing your hike. Give all you can, but take advantage of your time to connect with nature. You're in a magical place ...

scrovo
scrovo on

My day at the prison
Brother Mike and I went to the prison to have church service for the prisoners on Sunday morning. When we arrived we went through the front gates and into the visiting room. As soon as we entered the visiting room I felt a change in my feelings. I was nerves and didn't know what to expect. It was a room no larger than your average bedroom. It just had a row of tables and chairs. The guard was friendly and motioned us to go head through. As soon as we enter the main prison we saw a small chapel. It was only about two hundred feet from the main gate. The chapel looked like one you would see in the TV show Little House on the Prairie. We entered the chapel and first open all the windows. The air in side was musty and had a sour smell to it. About ten minutes after we arrived the prisoners starting coming down the hill to the chapel. About fifteen prisoners came in all and took a seat for the service. Brother Mike started the service with a song and to my surprises all the men started to sing and sing loud. The service took about 45 minutes. Right after the service one of the prisoners went right up to Brother Mike and started to cry. He was a foreigner from St Marteen. He had been in prison for a year and still had half a year to go. He had no money to call home and was homesick. I new exactly what that feeling was like, being homesick that is. They talked for about ten minutes and he express concern about what he was going to do when he did get out. With no money or way of getting home once he was released. You see when they let you out of prison they just open the door and let you go. No help or no money. It was so sad to see the concern on his face.
After that we walk over to the main guardhouse. The man in charge was just getting six new prisoners sent over from the city of Roseau. Brother Mike asked one of the men how long was his sentence and he replied forty years. I just stood there and could not stop looking at him. The sadness and fear on his face is something you just cannot describe.
After about 5 minutes were we then lead across this open area to where the prisoners in solidarity confinement are held. MY GOD! Human being treat animals better than theses prisoners were being treated. They had no running water, no lights, and no toilets in a room no bigger than seven feet by twelve feet. All they had was a bucket to go to the bathroom in. There were ten men in this part of the prison. The filth was unbelievable! I walk up to the first cell door and you could not see anything but their faces because it was so dark. All the men just put their hands in between the bars so they could just touch another human being. One asked if he could just hold my hand for a minute or two. I was blown away. Tyrone was one that had been in solidarity confinement for five years and still had five to go. Now, yes he did kill someone but no human being should be treated like this. People do horrible things but God did not make humans to treat other humans this way. This to me was worse than killing someone. Don't get me wrong; someone who kills should get a punishment but not this. We were in there for about forty-five minutes.
It took me all day just to settle my brain down. The anger and frustration I was feeling is something I have never felt before. I just kept asking myself how could a human treat another human that way and live with him or herself.
This happen on Sunday but I just could not start to write about it for a couple of days. I am not in Kansas City any more!

16palms
16palms on

Prison
Whew, I could feel the heaviness in your words as you described your experience. I definitely see a book being written in the near future. :-) God continues to bless you and all to whom you touch, even through the bars of a cell door...

scrovo
scrovo on

September 18, 2008
My experience so far on Dominica has been one of truth seeking for myself. It has been an emotional change on how I view the world. I don't know any other way to express myself. The people I have meet and the place's I have been, will forever change who I am and how I look at life. There is so much poverty, hunger, desire, rejection and very little hope, particularly among the young of this nation. On the other hand I have never seen a country with so much faith in their God. It is just the opposite in the United States. Our two cultures seem to me to be just the opposite of each other. In one senses they have what we need more of, the love of God. And what we have, we don't realize how lucky we are to have it. To go to bed hungry, with no hope for the future, so little of us could not even comprehend it. I do understand there are some even in the United States that do go to bed hungry and with no hope. But the magnitude of the need of this country is just disturbing. This view of the world makes me stop and appreciate what God has given me. Something I will never again take for granted. I ask all that read this take a moment and just look around and smell the roses that God has put at your table. Dominica is a country full of beauty and faith but at the same time which such needs.
My homesickness comes and goes. I miss the love from Champ that I took for granted. But I truly understand what I am going through is because of what I have. I have so many people in my life and much more than most. So I must remember sometimes God gives us pain, but pain I would not exchange with anyone. It is what I say to Jon "This is good pain"

Just needed to put on paper what I was thinking.

scrovo
scrovo on

Sunday morning getting ready to go to church
The humidity has gone
I have waited so long
Now I can sing my song

So to church I will be
To get some faith in me
For the lord is there for us to see

I will sit very still
On top of the hill
My heart is so filled

My friends are on my mind
All of the time
But I should not wine
I can talk to them on line

familyco
familyco on

WOW!
Steven,

That's a great poem! Here is mine...
'It's Monday
What a fun day!!' NOT!!
but on the other hand I'm laughing. Take care and keep the pictures coming! They're what make me laugh! By the way where is the pig? I haven't seen his/her picture yet.

I have 6 turkeys(not the human kind)in my neighborhood, and an egret, you only have 1 cow! Who is living in the wilderness? Me or you?

Love, P

p.s. are you a vegan yet??

scrovo
scrovo on

Re: WOW!
I do have pigs for neighbors, but on the other side of some bushes so can not see them but I differently can hear and smell them! You should be here around five in the morning and five in the evening. You can hear and smell them for miles. My back yard is about two hundred feet away from there pin. So I think I am the more in the wilderness than you are! LOL

rdarius
rdarius on

Cool Poem
I love your poem, Steve. Very cool. I also had a laugh about the pigs next door. Could be worse, I guess ...

scrovo
scrovo on

My morning thought
There are people in your life that you have an unspoken connection too. Even though there is not even a word for it. They are the people that you have known forever, who know you in away that other people can't because they have seen you change. They have let you change. But at times we forget they are there for us. They let us find our inner self by just pointing the way down our own path. Not even asking for a thank you! But for me, now at this time in my life I just want to say thank you! You know who you are. My life is on a path because of you.
Even though sometimes I feel just like a kid who need's to be told what, where and how my life should be lived. You just point and push me in the right direction. I may fall but in my heart I know you will be there to help me. You are both family and my friends!
I am learning that not every one in life gets those unspoken connections. Some must find their own path with out direction, compassion, friendship or love. They do have the love of God but I myself don't know how I could stay on my path without my connections. I am not as strong as others, nor could I have gone so far down my path without you.
My God watch over and help guide you down your own path. I too will be there to help, when I can and if I can.
Today I ask you to keep two boys in your prayers. They are young, lost and in such need of help. They have no love in their life. They just need help to find their path. For I am afraid if they don't find it soon, they could possibly never want to find it. Their names are Wesley and Ricky! I so believe in the power of pray and they could us some help!

May God Bless and Your Family's
Steve

jocrovo
jocrovo on

THINKING OF WESLEY & RICKY
STEVEN THAT WAS A GREAT STORY ON FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN OUR LIVES. I THINK EACH OF US SHOULD STOP AND TAKE THE TIME OUT OF OUR BUSY DAYS TO NOT ONLY PRAY FOR OTHERS WHO ARE LESS FORTUANTE BUT IT GIVES US THE TIME TO SAY THANK YOU FOR WHAT WE HAVE EVEN IF OUR DAYS ARE FILLED WITH LESS THAT WHAT WE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE IN THEM. STEVEN YOU HAVE ASKED US ALL TO DO SOMETHING WE SHOULD BE DOING MUCH MORE OFTEN IN LIFE. STAY SAFE AND DON'T FORGET TO FEED THE PIG.
BY THE WAY DOES THIS PIG HAVE A NAME ?

16palms
16palms on

Potatoes Are Mush
Here I sit worrying about the turkey being undercooked or the boiled potatoes being overcooked and you're out there asking for prayers, not for yourself, but for those that have lost the will to continue. That my dearest of friends is my reality check - I stopped thinking of potatoes and turkey, and I prayed for Wesley and Ricky and for all of those that you have witnessed to and touched with your love. Remember as you walk this journey your 'Footsteps In The Sand' extend beyond the beach to the dirt roads and byways of Dominica, to the prison, to the nursing home, and to the classroom and beyond. You are never alone in your walk. God is with you as all of us are here. We not only pray for the Wesleys and Rickys in life but we're praying for you as well. As I look out my window and see desert and blowing sand I can now think of you looking out your kitchen window eye to eye with cows. BTW, have ya ever heard of 'cow tipping?' LOL We all love you Steve and we're so proud of you. You're enlightening those in Dominica and you're enlightening us here at home. Thank you Steve. God's speed. Love, Ed and Jay

scrovo
scrovo on

September 25, 2008
I retreat to my bed around eight every evening. I turn on my fan and then slip under my netting. I always make sure the netting is tucked in under my sheets so the bugs don't get in. I lie there and watch all the fireflies in my room light up. Some of you have never seen or even know what a firefly is.
The first couple of weeks I would lie there and think, what am I doing here. Have I made the biggest mistake by coming to Dominica? Should I or even more importantly can I stay. Can I handle the humidity, poverty, environment, and homesickness for not only my friends and family but for my dog Champ? I would say to myself, take it one day at a time. Don't over analyze the situation.
Last night was different. I went to bed and could not stop thinking about the boy's that attend school at Call's. I cannot even imagine what their situation must be like at home. Some are full of anger while others just come to school with food on their mind. You see they get a lunch and it's the only thing that motivates them to come to school in the first place. While there is some that truly want to learn. They are the one's that truly still have a dream or desirer to achieve something in their life's.
Kids like Ricky are almost out of hope. Yesterday I pulled him aside and I tried to teach him some addition and subtraction. Just simple second grade math. Something every sixteen-year-old boy should know. After about ten minutes he just gave up and would not continue. He just would not respond. You see in Dominica, the school system is broken and kids just go from one grade to the next without ever needing to learn. My educated guess is about 20% turn seventeen and cannot read, write or do simple math. They all have an equal opportunity to fail.
These are boys with names like Sedrique, Mahalia, Panard, Stefan, Wesley and Ricky. Real human beings with very little hope of a future.
I wonder why the system and there families failed them. What is in their future or are they predestine to a life with no opportunities.
Sorry this went on and on but when I awake at four in the morning, my mind is full with these thoughts, I just have to get them out. I will try to just show them some kind compassion and let them know someone does care. Will it make a difference, I truly don't know. But someone has to try. But this place and time in my life is changing me. Not for the good or the bad, it just is!
Can I make it a full year? I still cannot begin to answer that question. I am just going to take it a day at a time!

God Bless all of my Family and Friends

Steve

scrovo
scrovo on

My weekend September 27, 2008
Well it was an interesting weekend for me. I started out Saturday morning with a five-mile hike. I first walk down to the center of town to where they have the open market. Not a market you would see in the United States. Next time I am down there on a Saturday morning I will take a picture or two. From there I started to walk out of town towards Roseau. I walk for about three hours and then pick up a van that was going all the way to Roseau. I arrived in Roseau around one and went right to a hotel call Fort Young's Resort Hotel. It is the most expensive hotel on the island. On the fifth floor they have a bar, just like one you would find in the U.S. I order a hamburger with all the toppings, and of course a gray goose screwdriver. Ok I had two drinks and just sat at the bar and watched a soccer game. There was a couple from London sitting next to me. I enjoyed our conversation and their company. I felt like I was back in the States. Then back to Portsmouth I went. It was hot and humid but my body is slowly getting use to the weather here.
I went to bed real early. It was around six o'clock.
I got up around my usual time of four A.M. Checked my e-mails and then Brother Mike and myself were off to Roseau to visit the prison around seven. We had to be there by eight to say Mass for the prisoners. This normally run's around an hour. Then we talked to them for another half an hour. After that we went into the cellblock, which holds the prisoners in solitary confinement. The first time I visited the prisoners in solitary confinement I was very nerves and did not know what to except. That first day I walk up to the first cell and a man had his hand reached out of the cell bars and wanted to hold my hand. I was in a daze and was not thinking clearly. The first words out of my mouth were " How is your week going" Tyrone just took one look at my face and started to laugh. I was devastated by what I had said. He could tell by the look on my face. Well this week I walked right up to his cell and the first words out of his mouth was " How was your week". We both started to laugh and so did a couple of other prisoners that over heard our conversation, Tyrone must have told them the story about our original conversation. It broke the ice for both of us and we went on to talk for over ten-minutes. We talked about many different things including Obama and McCain.
I cannot even begin to explain what the conditions are like in solitary confinement. But trust me when I say no human should be put through what these men go through. I know some of them are killers and should be punished for what they have done but not treated less than animals. You see, I too have been a victim of a violent crime. I have never talk about it before to anyone until now. I was stabbed twice, once in the stomach and once in the back of my head, when I was twenty-two years of age. Did it change me, yes! Not the way you my think. I think of that young man all the time, I feel sorry for all the pain it has caused him. I don't know how anyone could go through life knowing that they had stabbed another human being. Is he sorry for what he did, I don't know and don't think it is important. He still has to live the rest of his life with what he did. That in it self must be a sentence of punishment I would and could not live with myself.
We were in the cell block for around one-hour. When I was leaving my mind started to race with all these thoughts. Anger and rage are the first that comes to mind. I was leaving and some of these men have been in solitary confinement for over five years. I know I could not survive, I don't understand how they are.
I had to get my mind off the prison. Brother Mike was going into Roseau to visit a friend for lunch and would be there for two or three hours. I mentioned to Brother Mike that I would prefer not to go to lunch, but would rather start walking home on the side of the road just to easy my mind. So that is what I did. I started to walk towards Portsmouth. I told Brother Mike to pick me up on his way home and I would just walk as far as I could. By the time Brother Mike picked me up I had walked close to ten miles.
I was about an hour into my walk when it started to pour. I found a large tree to stand under and waited out the rain. You see when it rains here it does not last more than five or ten minutes. The rain not only cleared the air and washed the roads, it cleared my mine. By the time we arrived home I was ready to have a sandwich and go to bed. And that is exactly what I did. I slept for more than eleven hours.
I got up Monday morning feeling a little sore but ready for another week on this journey.
After arriving at school I decided that I would volunteer one hour each day to go down to the child care center and play with the children. I thought it would give me a break from teaching the sixteen year olds, to be around kids that are four or five years of age. Little humans give me such joy and fill my heart with love. The moment I was around them that was exactly what happened.
There are time in my life I ask God why he did not make me a father? I remember the first time I held my nieces and nephews. Each one was different and a memory I will never forget. It truly is amazing how my heart changed the moment they were put into my arms. Each time it was different and is etched in my mind forever. Don't know how I got off on that subject! But that is what was going though my mind when I was hugging the kids in the care center.
Well I think that is enough out of me for one day. I will end this with something that they recite every morning at the beginning of school. It is what I was thinking about on my walk home from Roseau.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me show love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
Where there is sadness, joy
Oh divine master, grant that I my not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

scrovo
scrovo on

Septumber 30, 2008
Today had it's ups and downs. I meet Wesley's father in the morning. I had a brief conversation with him about how well Wesley was doing in school. The smile on his face was worth all the time I had spent with his son. Wesley truly does want something for himself. I told him about two week's ago, if he truly had a dream of going to the United States he could make it happen. I also told him that he is only fourteen years old and if he work hard over the next four years, his dream could possibly come true! The first thing I told him he could do was read a book. If he read a book from cover to cover, that would be the first step. It would be a small step but it would be a beginning. He came to school with a book today and informed me that he had already read ten pages. I was just amazed that first he heard what I said and that he is following through with it. I ask him how many pages would he want to read in the next week to accomplish a goal for him self. He decided to read thirty pages. Wow!!
At twelve-noon we broke for lunch. Brother Mike, Ryan, and myself were leaving the school to go and have lunch. When we exited the school we saw a man down the street holding Denrick by the arms, yelling at him. Denrick was crying and yelling at this person. We went over and asking what was happening. The man identified himself as Denrick's relative. Crewinton came up to me and told me that the guy was smacking Denrick all around. Brother Mike informed the gentleman to let go of Denrick or he would call the police. The gentleman let go and Denrick ran across the street and pick up a large rock to throw at his relative. Dominique and Alexander stop him from doing it. Poor Denrick was crying, but more humiliated than anything that he was slapped around in front of all his friends. His relative said he had the right because he was family. Brother Mike ask him if he thought he accomplished anything by his actions. There was no response coming back from him. I ask him if he had any idea how it would he feel if he was fourteen years old and someone hit him in front of all his friends. I then said I felt that he owed Denrick a apology. He just walks away down the street. Ms Douglas took Denrick back into the school.
This country has big problems when it comes to the family unit. There are kids that have no Fathers or they have one but are not even involved in the raising of their child. There are even Mothers that don't care about what there children are doing. I just don't understand sometimes.
Then at the end of the day I was informed by Ms Prince, she heard on the radio that someone at the State Prison had committed suicide. The man was twenty-four years of age and he was in prison for rape. I don't know if I knew him or not. Will not find out until I go back to the prison.
What a day!

wfcrovo
wfcrovo on

Re: Septumber 30, 2008
Steve that is a heart wrenching story about the young boy and his family member. Just remember Steve, you will not change the customs of an entire country. Be careful when stepping between two family members. Think of our family. We, at times, can be very harsh on each other, though not in a physical way, but heaven help the outsider that that attempts to pick a fight with a member of our family. That rock could find it's way to you when you least expect it. They would think nothing of it. Please be careful. Love ya, Will

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