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Service work in St. Lucia

- Elaine

About three weeks ago, Hye Sung and I took an amazing trip to the lush, verdant Caribbean island of St. Lucia to participate in a service project run by the Religious Youth Service (RYS). We spent about twelve days there, working all day and sweating like we’ve never sweat before. RYS’s project was located in the fishing village of Anse-la Raye, or literally “Bay of Rays”, located on the island’s west coast along the Caribbean Sea.

Anse la Raye is the poorest section of St. Lucia, but is known to be rich in culture and musical tradition. The passion and lively spirit of the people have led to the creation of a village which is small but bursting with song and dance. It was hard, for a suburban seventeen year old girl like me, to even TRY to dance or sing like the St. Lucians do. I’m telling you, they have rhythm coursing through their veins, meanwhile I can only clap a simple beat. However, the people of St. Lucia are so warm that they easily invited us inexperienced dancers to join them in their celebrations. (and even provided dance lessons!)

The view from the jetty in Anse-la Raye

Walking around Anse la Raye is enough to give you a sense of the poverty, but also of the kindness of the people. Everyone greets everyone else, which is something I have not seen in my own town. Little stands and shops are set up to appeal to the tourists that visit quite regularly, and perhaps one of the most popular places to see is the Catholic Church located at the end of the main street. A large building with beautiful architecture, the church is where I spent most of my time doing yard work and digging drainage ditches along with Hye Sung and other volunteers.  There will be much more on St. Lucia(and Anse la Raye) to come, so stay tuned!




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