IVEX workcamp 98 in Barbados

Location Barbados, the east end of Caribbean sea, close to Venezuela and Guayana. In the map bellow, the only island that projects to right is it. The red island at the left-top is Cuba, the red one at the bottom is Venezuela, yellow-green at the left-bottom is Colombia. I stayed in a local environmental centre named Future Centre Trust (briefly, FCT) which is located 7 kilometers from the capital, Bridgetown. FCT opened public in Nov, 1998.
Member Japan 1. You know?
Life FCT borrowed rooms for volunteers from local people. My room was a single room and I shared kitchen, toilet, shower and living room with a worker at FCT. Good except humidity.
Work Digging up rocks, carrying them, repairing notices, building up notices, carrying bagasse (remain of sugar cane), making road, relaying bricks. All work was done inside the centre.
Food Biscuits, bread, cheese, water, or the remaining of lunch for breakfast and supper. I was allowed to cook, but there are not enough food to cook. Also, exhaustedness didn't let me to cook after work. For lunch, a shef working as a volunteer cooked vegetables and fruits grown in the organic garden. It was very delicious. Lunch was vegetarian. Lunch was sometimes not served, and I ate remains in that case. To supply enough nutrition, I picked edible fruit in the organic garden, sorry for that.


20th Sep.(Sun)
Visit to skyblue beach. BEAUTIFUL! Few people were there. We visited the house of a volunteer at FCT in the afternoon. There was no air-conditioner, but nice wind brew in to make us feel very comfortable. Japanese houses should learn these intrigues! In the evening, I found myself alone in the room. Here I recognized that I was the only volunteer for this term. I was too free since there was no one to talk with and shops were out of walking distance. Anyways, I guessed the work wouldn't be hard because there was no work that day.

21th Sep.(Mon)
The first day of work started from lonely breakfast. I ate like a dog, foraging foods in the refregilator. Work began at 8:30. Repairing the notices, putting them up. I worked with Colin, the founder of FCT. He is always busy with deskwork, but he told me he prefers field work. I admire his greediness for work. At first, the work was easy, but the next work was really hard, carrying rocks. Later, I carried bagasse (remain of sugarcane) with barrow, and laid it on the road. They don't use artificial material such as concrete; their policy is to use natural material as much as possible.

I worked alone in the afternoon. It's very challenging to carry a heavy barrow under the strong sunshine. The temperature was more than 30 degrees celcius. But it didn't matter to me because in my house in Hachioji, Tokyo, it's sometimes 40 degrees in summer. Anyway, the sunshine sapped my energy like a vanpire. I have already learned how to fight against the Barbados sunshine. I would have been defeated by the sun if I had showed my full back to her. The surface area receiving sunshine should be as small as possible. When I felt bad in spite of my effort, I prayed for rainfall at the hand-made Chapel.

I felt so tired all in the afternoon. Making the floor of the theater, picking up ivy, relaying the stone along the road, putting up notices, carrying sand, making the path plain... I worked quietly without thinking anything, realizing volunteer spirit for the first time in my life. My work finished something past five. I got three scratches. It was already 11 o'clock when I finished things to do such as supper, shower, moving my stuffs to the new room and washing. Auu. The only choice left to me was going to bed. I was seriously worrying whether my stamina and vigor would last until 29th.

Lunch

22th (Tue)
I earnestly carried bagasse to make the road under the shining sun. That work must be finished by 4:30 when FCT has an exhibition to local intellectuals. Under this pressure, I learned how to pick fruits from the garden. The organic garden in FCT bear various fruits such as Guava and Acerola. Everyone sneaked them up. Why don't I? It didn't matter fruits were covered with dirt. I would be proud of carrying infection back to Japan. After finished making up the theater, I joined the exhibition and studied about FCT though I was too sleepy and too bad at hearing English to understand it.

Mounting bagasse onto the cart. Why need to wear shirts?

23th (Wed)
Picking up rocks and carrying them all the day. During the work, I wondered why I worked here in Barbados. Experience? Carrying back news? To discipline myself? Curiosity? I learned that upsetness makes me more tired. Working slowly and longer would be better.

A Guava fell onto my head. Hau!
But, I didn't get upset. I kept on my work. The box with stones was so heavy. Hau!
I drew it on the ground although not nice-looking. Lunch was vegetarian. Hau!
I ate as much as five people's. In the afternoon, I felt lonely without anyone else working with me. Hau!
I sang. Hau!
Got more tired. I made my mind empty.

After a while, it was 5:30. Very challenging period for me. I had already been scolded while I was taking a private rest. Could I be confidet after this workcamp? I could become stronger at least. Working lazily or saying weak would be only excuses. I decided to keep nine hours work.

Work ended at 6:30.


24th (Thu)
Luckily, it has been cloudy for two days. Next work is to relay bricks along the path. It seemed easy, but it's actually hard. I had to dig out rocks, water pipe or old dishes before relaying. Why dishes? A Ruin here? Work lasted until sunset when white rock couldn't be distinguished from brown cray.

Colin said "Let's end here today since we can't see any more."

Fortunately, they didn't have outside lights.

26th (Sat)
Free day. I visited cave, saw friends of a FCT staff, and played snorkeling in the sea. It was beautiful! I could see fish swiming at knee depth. I went off the beach as far as the water was 10 meters deep. Of course, the water was so clear that I could see the bottom. We went to disco in the night. Caribbean dances are excentric. Some men and women danced with their hips attached to "play" it. The disco was outside with live music and celebrated by infinite stars. Uum, Caribbean!

illegally dumped garbages.

27th (Sun)
A walk tour around sugar cane fields conducted by Colin. Colin leads two tours on every Sunday at 6:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. although he works with other staffs also on Saturdays. Really tough guy. 40 people participated, which shows his reputation. 200 people participated the other day!

He explained the place during the walk. The most surprising thing was a huge hole where garbages were thrown away illegally (See photo). A lot of useful stuffs are disposed to make up a heep of garbage. The damping is illegal, but authority probably pretends not to notice it. Though Barbados and USA are beautiful countries, their "much-consumption and much-dumping policy" is same as Japanese way. The average morals of people regarding garbage disposals are as bad as those of Japanese. Low population densities in those countries result in less garbages when compared with Japan. FCT are trying to succeed beautiful Barbados to future generations. Another surprising thing was that participants took home useful things found in garbages. In Japan, they might fear others' eyes to abandon it. Or, he/she might say "I will take them home next time since I am a tourist today."

29th (Tue)
The last day of work. No lunch! I completed relaying bricks under tiredness. Colin named the way Sushi Route respecting my effort (See photo). I could be proud of my work and effort, but I never did because of tiredness. I felt nothing emotional even in the airplain back to Tokyo.

Sushi Route completed. I shake hands with the chief staff, Colin. The notice in the middle of the photo explains the origin of Sushi Route accompanied by Japanese translation. "Welcome to FCT. This is a wonderful place which is full of tropical nature and ideas. Please enjoy yourself at ease."


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