Aug 30, 2011

Tortoise Racing

Last night, a few of the SO's went to the Owl Restaurant in Grand Anse to watch the crab races that happen every Monday night around 9:00pm.  Soon after our arrival, it was announced that the crabs had all escaped earlier in the day and there was not enough time to get new ones.  So tortoise racing it was!

I was actually really thrilled to have it be tortoise racing last night.  In my family, we raise Desert Tortoises.  At my parents house, there are probably 30+ tortoises in the backyard at any given time ranging from very small to rather large.
Daddy Mike and one of his MANY babies.
The girls were all surprised at how willing I was to handle the tortoises.  I looked them up and they are Grenada Island Red Footed Tortoises.  They are originally from South America but were brought to the Carribean islands at some point or another.  They had little red spots on their legs, but were simliar in size to the Desert Tortoise.

This little guy didn't win. But still super cute!
There were four races and I placed bets on two of them.   But apparently my tortoise knowledge didn't pay off considering none of my choices won!  Don't worry guys, only 3 E.C. per bet which is like $1.00 US.
Bim, Bam, & Bem

And then things got a little crazy.  One of the tortoises forgot what he was racing for.
Of course this was nothing I haven't seen before in my own backyard!

Laura, Me, Rachel, Myra, and Kat

We had such a fun night.  I will definitely be going again soon so that I can see the crab races as well! Maybe I'll even get lucky and pick the winner next time!

In other news, my Sister-In-Law Kristin and her boyfriend Brandon arrive in Grenada tonight for a week of fun in the sun with Josh and I me! Yay!!!

Aug 28, 2011

My Friend Sandy

I spent the afternoon at Grand Anse Beach yesterday.

I met a new friend. 

Her name is Sandy.

She has thick brown hair.

And she definitely needs to work on her tan a little more.

She is a bit more risque in her bathing suit choices than I am.

Sandy doesn't say much.

And honestly, she really is kinda lazy.

But she was quite popular with all the people on the beach.

Although I doubt I'll see her again anytime soon.

My guess is she headed off to another island, Carriacou perhaps?

Aug 27, 2011

Queen Elizabeth Home for Children

Every Monday, the SO's head up to Queen Elizabeth Home for Children.  We play games, help with homework, and get to know some really awesome kids.  Last week, we had 19 SO's come out!  Which is by far the most volunteers we've ever had by leaps and bounds!  Both Kelsey (the other SO Volunteer Coordinator) and I are so thrilled that so many people want to give up some of their island time to help enrich the lives of these adorable children.  The kids just LOVE the attention of so many adults.  Their faces light up when they see us coming off the bus and I know that they look forward to our visit every week.
A VERY full taxi.

"Stephanie Says"

You're out!

Singing songs led by Miss Kelsey.

Getting ready for duck duck goose.
Red Light, Green Light


Miss Cat found a friend.


I encourage any and all SO's to join us on a Monday afternoon.  I guarantee that once you meet these kids, you will want to come back every week!  They will melt your heart, I promise.

Aug 25, 2011

Lessons Learned...The Hard Way

"Be Prepared."  I've heard this motto about a zillion times in my life.  My brother is an Eagle Scout and my Mom was a girl scout leader for many years.  The motto whenever going out on a hike, a campout, an adventure, or really anything in life was "Be Prepared." 

My Mom is ALWAYS prepared for anything and everything.  Mom always had the bandaid, the bugspray, the sunscreen, the chains for the car tires in snow, a shovel, a first aid kit, jumper cables, matches, enough water, extra snacks, a jacket and blankets if we were driving in the winter, Benedryl, Asprin, Ibuprofen, ice packs.  You name it, she had it.  Just. In. Case. 

Because you NEVER know what life is going to throw at you, especially when dealing with things in nature.  It's better to be prepared than to be naive.  And we were very naive yesterday.  We overestimated our abilities and underestimated nature's power.

The plan for the day was a hike to Concord Falls.  Ten of us SO's piled into two cars and took the drive up the island to Tempe. We arrived at our destination with lots of energy and enthusiasm, ready to take on the world.  We were offered a guide, but we didn't take it.

Lesson #1 of the day: If you have the option of a guide, take it.

The hike up to the waterfall was perfect.  A little muddy, a little buggy, and a little hot, but we weren't afraid to get down and dirty.

Remember this river crossing.

Overall, the hike up was beautiful.  And I loved adventuring through the Grenadian jungle with so many of my close friends.

After about 45 minutes of traipsing through the muck and the mud, we made it to our destination,  Fountainbleau Falls.  And boy were we ready to cool off in some refreshing water.
Just as we all jumped into the water, it began to rain.  And rain here in Grenada isn't normal rain, it's a downpour.  As the minutes passed and the rain continued, I remember looking to my friends Kelsey and Cat and saying "Are we in danger of a flash flood?"  It rained hard for at least 15-20 minutes and unfortunately we didn't leave the falls for at least 30-40 minutes.

Lesson #2 of the day: When the weather changes, turn around and head back.  Immediately.

The trail back had become less of a trail, and more of a stream of water.  Our legs were ankle deep in water and mud and it was extremely slippery.  We had crossed over the river on the hike up at least 5-6 times and the first time we came to a crossing on the way back, it was obvious that the water level had risen and the rapids had increased.  We made the first two crossings with only moderate difficulty, but by the time we got to the third crossing, the one pictured at the top, we were in for a big surprise.  Where the water had been only shin deep the first time, it was now waist deep and it had widened.  The rocks initially used as stepping stones were completely covered, and the water was now coming down full of rapids and full of force. 

The girls at the front began to try and wade across by linking arms and creating a chain and a couple made it across successfully, but the current was just too strong.  Our friend Cat's feet were swept out from under her and in an instant, she was being carried down the river.  Luckily, Kelsey reacted on instinct and made a grab at her backpack.  She was able to pull Cat up, with the help of a couple of other girls.  Cat is thankfully okay, but her fall was enough to make us all realize that we just couldn't safely get anyone else across without some help.  We were in trouble.

Lesson #3 of the day:  Never underestimate the forcefullness of a raging river.

The girls that had made it across were sent to try and find help, while the rest of us contemplated other alternative ways to get across.  Thankfully, God sent us some guardian angels in the form of the Grenadian men that had offered themselves as guides initially.  They had gotten worried about us as the rain started to come down and decided to come looking for us. 

These men were able to help us across the raging water, but the trouble wasn't over.  There were still two more spots where we were supposed to cross.  The men decided it wasn't worth the risk and took us on a machete carved trail through the jungle.  It wasn't easy, and it was still scary since we were on an edge with the rushing river below us, clinging to trees, vines, and roots.  But we all made it back with only minor cuts and scrapes. 

I am so thankful that no one was seriously injured and that Cat is okay.  It was scary for all of us, but most of all for her.  But Cat was such a trooper through it all.

When we started the hike, we didn't know how the day would end up playing out, but we definitely could have been more prepared for it.  We were offered a guide and we didn't take it.  My intuition told me when it started raining that we should head back, and yet I didn't act on it.  The river was much higher and much faster than we thought it was when the girls first entered the water and in hindsight, we shouldn't have entered it so blindly.

Consider these lessons learned for the future. 

Aug 22, 2011

SO Opening Social

On Sunday afternoon, the SOO (Significant Other Organization) hosted our opening social at the Caribbean House on SGU's campus.  It was complete with pizza, drinks, desserts and PEOPLE!  We had over 100 people attend our opening social, which I think is the most they've had in quite some time, possibly ever.  It was an overwhelming success. 

The Caribbean house, like most of the campus, overlooks the ocean.  It couldn't have been a more beautiful spot to have a party.

As an SO board member, I, along with my fellow board members, were there early to help setup as well as help check people in, refill ice chests, and pizza boxes.

Secretary, Volunteer Coordinator, Social Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator

Kelsey, my co-volunteer coordinator...and friend!

Setting up
And then the masses came.

Even Josh was able to stop by for a bit!
And LOTS of pizza was my body weight in pizza.

Many thanks to all members of the SO board who made this party such a success.  I am so happy to be a part of it.  It looks like it's going to be a very fun term!