Search This Blog

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Poverty in Paradise

We are in the airport in Saint Lucia. We've been here awhile. Our flight is delayed from New York. We are assuming it is on the US side as it is beautiful weather here - as it seems almost always to be. So families and friends you may expect that we might not be in tonight. They expect us not to leave for two hours after our scheduled departure. This means our layover in NYC is very tight.
We've just spent a luscious day and a half in beautiful Saint Lucia. We explored the beaches, the sun, the shopping! The students finalized their Christmas shopping, explored, and did some saltwater swimming at the beach in Rodney Bay. Wendi, Ray, Jim and I were able to explore the national park at Pigeon Island. All of us were able to see some of the weddings the island is known for.
Away from our work, we saw the island more the way a traditional tourist would. We explored the darker side of the touristic events with a street party at Gros Islet - where stray dogs begged and then fought over plates of street food and poorer residents tried over and over to sell us braided palm and beads for much too much money.

However we also saw the beauty of a very fine restaurant and hotel with a pool that seemed more at place in Disney World. We strolled lovely beaches and met other tourists from around the world. The salt water and sunny skies called us to pull up stakes and relocate to Saint Lucia. And we began to understand and appreciate the pace of life here as a T-shirt Jim found that stated "Live Slow, Saint Lucia".
The striking thing is the paradox of poverty in paradise: the beauty of the surroundings and the beaten up nature of the living conditions. One thing I do know for sure, the people here are confident, polite, friendly, complex, and in charge of their destinies.

To see more of the contrasting images please visit our Emergent Media Center Facebook page and look through our photo albums.

No comments: