Our 6-week stay in Dominica started in this small town in the north east of the island
This is one of the smallest houses we've ever stayed in! Thank you to Mignon & to her daughter Magna in Antigua for arranging this accommodation for us.
Our first program, not surprisingly, was in the small local school where we did 3 sessions for the senior classes
We often give students the choice between our standard drug awareness & anti-smoking program, or another program on spending money wisely
We always try to get students to write down the main points--in this case they're writing down 10 ways to save money!
Some of the 10 ways to save money: bring sandwiches to school instead of buying snacks; drink water instead of coca cola!
All across the Caribbean we see the remains of proud forts, built at a time when the European colonial powers were fighting for supremacy. This particular fort, near Dominica's second largest town of Portsmouth, changed hands several times.
While the main fort has been renovated as a tourist attraction, outer buildings have been reclaimed by the jungle...
Roseau has a population of 22,000. Visiting cruise ships like this one bring in much needed revenue.
Finding donated accommodation is often our biggest challenge: this Lithuanian couple from the CouchSurfing network, kindly accommodated us for 10 days while we chased government offices for official permission to conduct our drug-awareness programs in all the schools & colleges
Once permission was granted to conduct our programs, we were pretty busy going from school to school. Seen here with us is Malcolm from the Drug Abuse Prevention Unit--part of the Ministry of Health. Malcolm was a great help & opened many doors for us!
This school in Grand Bay has the worst reputation on the island for drug abuse & rowdy behavior! When we told people we'd done a program there, the universal reaction was, 'You went THERE???'
The school knew ahead of time that we were coming & they were supposed to organise a TV & DVD player for our program. However, they didn't supply either of them so we were on the spot to explain everything 'manually' with as much enthusiasm as possible!
A breath of fresh air after the last school! They provided good equipment & a huge screen, so that made for a great program. We try to go everywhere but it sure makes things easier if the school is organised & ready for our visit.
Dominica is known in the Caribbean as the 'nature island'. Rightly so as the country abounds in waterfalls, jungle & lovely views! Middleton falls is reached by a fairly arduous 2-hour hike through the jungle.
Located in the Trois Pitons National Park, the pool is one of Dominica's many beauty spots.
There are wonderful views from just about everywhere in Dominica! Here is the view looking south from the hill just above the capital.
Dominica doesn't have much in the way of sandy beaches & so (fortunately in our opinion), has avoided the perils of mass tourism. For hikers & nature lovers in general, the island is a paradise.
As our time in Cochran came to an end, we were under pressure to find a new place to stay. Fortunately this hotel helped us out by donating a room for one week.
We also needed to find restaurants to sponsor lunch for each day of the week: shown here is Perky's Pizza that donated lunch every Monday. Aren't the Caribbean colours beautiful?
Phone-in interview about our missionary work & drug awareness programs in schools.
A TV crew came along to film program here & then broadcast excerpts on the evening news.
You can see a YouTube video clip of this program in the article 'Living life on a mission'.
Despite the name, this is actually a boys school! We did a series of programs here.
This is an ideal situation for our programs: good equipment, well-behaved students & not too many students in a class! (If only it was like this every time.....)
At the end of every session, we have questions & answers. Perhaps the most common question: 'If smoking is so bad, then why is it legal?'
We continued to battle to find accommodation with the biggest hotel completely wasting our time. One of the smaller hotels, Sutton Place, was wonderful though & gave us a little apartment up on the hill overlookikng the capital for 3 weeks. May God bless them for their kindness!
Although our time was limited, we managed to explore most of the island on weekends. Here is the beautiful little town of Soufriere.
On the way to Soufriere is a beach that's been colonised by large green iguanas! Can't see it clearly? --Go to the next photo....
We've seen quite a few of these throughout the Caribbean--usually green, grey or red in colour, they can grow to more than one metre long.
Here's some typical coastline scenary on the way to Scott's Head.
This is the southernmost tip of Dominica. On a clear day one can see across to the French island of Guadaloupe.
Following the road around the island is an adventure in itself with lots of steep & rather dangerous roads!
Our only time to explore is on (some) weekends & that's when bus services are pretty limited, so most of our island travels were done by hitch hiking.
The driver of one car invited us to his farm & gave us green coconuts to drink--delicious!
Right, that's enough hitch hiking around the island! Now we're back to work doing a drug awareness program at the prison.
Thanks to Malcolm for getting the necessary permission for us to visit; the prisoners were very receptive & pleased that we came.
We'll end off with this final slide where we're talking to the island's biggest troublemakers--a group of young repeat offenders! For more on our work in Dominica & the Caribbean, please see the article 'Living life on a mission'.