ON A MISSION TO TACKLE DRUGS
By DANA SMITH
TWO missionaries who have dedicated their lives to educating students on drug awareness have decided to visit Bahamian schools, for the first time.
Peter and Susan Kingston, originally from England and France, and both former addicts, call drug use a “major problem” throughout the Caribbean.
The couple arrived in the Bahamas two weeks ago and have already visited several schools, including the Ranfurly Children’s Home. They plan to visit more, including CR Walker, this week.
“We wrote to the Ministry of Education and met with the Director of Education and he authorized our programme for the government schools here in the Bahamas,” Mr Kingston said. “We’ve also spoken with the Director of Catholic Education; she authorized us to go to Catholic schools.”
The programme they organize is aimed at informing young people on the dangers of addiction in the hopes of discouraging them from drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol.
“It’s a preventative programme,” Mr Kingston said. “It helps young people to think and shows them, right to their face, the problems that taking drugs can lead to.
“People that start smoking, people that start taking drugs, they don’t think about the future, they just think about having fun.”
They show informative DVDs to students as well as engaging lectures.
“We rely on graphic facts and personal life testimonies”, Mrs Kingston said.
Although this is their first visit to the Bahamas, the couple has been visiting different countries in the Caribbean yearly, for the past five years.
Mr Kingston stated: “It was five years ago, we decided to see what we can do in the way of missionary work in the Caribbean. Once we started, it didn’t take long to see that drugs are quite a major problem.”
“I think drugs are a big problem because the Caribbean is located between the US market and the Latin American producers and cartels”, Mr Kingston said. “They’re in the middle, unfortunately.”
Both missionaries work for free and rely on donations to continue their work.
“We live without salary, we just trust God that he will supply our needs,” Mr Kingston said.
“Once a year, we do fundraising,” Mrs Kingston said. “We also collect donations on our website.”
The couple explained how hotels and restaurants are often willing to provide them with free board and meals once they explain their non-profit programme.
They claim “hardly anyone” refuses them a place to stay and a meal to eat.
“We survive on donations and living cheaply,” Mr Kingston said. “If we can prevent one person from falling into drugs, it’s worth it.”
Mrs Kingston adds: “I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but we enjoy what we do.”
The missionaries are based in Fiji and have been doing non-profit work for 35 years. They’ve travelled to several different countries, including India, Nepal, Bosnia, and many countries in the Caribbean and southern Africa.