Porthmouth, Dominica

Trip Start Sep 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 01, 2009

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My new home!

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I am who I am
I will be who I will be
I will follow this Path
That has been set out for me

I cannot even begin to explain my first feelings when I arrived on Dominica. Brother Mike pick me up at the airport after a very long day. Just getting here was a change I was not expecting.
I arrived at the airport in St. Marrten like any Crovo would. I was the first one to the airport. Even before the employees. LOL! (As shown on my Blog) I was at the gate just sitting waiting for the Plane to arrive. This small café stand opened up and I was hungry. When I went over to purchase a sandwich, is when my first experience happen. I learned that there is no such thing as first come first serve. It is everyone trying to get to the front of the line. I looked to the employee for some help and even she could care who they served next. I was the second person there but about the eighth person served only because I spoke up and gave my order with a firm voice.
I had to change planes in Antigua but first the plane had a stop in St Kitts. Everything went fine until I landed in Antigua. Every person on that plane and two others planes arriving at the same time started pushing each other to get first through the customs. I had to start to do the same or I would have still been there when the next plane arrived. There is no other way of getting through but every woman or man for himself or herself. And let me tell you the women are harder to get by than the men.
I had about a one-hour lay over at Antigua Airport. Not the type of airport I am custom too. For that hour I just sat on a bench and watch all the people. What a show. Then they informed us that flight 323 for Guadeloupe and Dominica was ready for boarding. But there was one small problem. There was going to be a change in planes and the new plane only could take 32 passengers not 50. Well let me tell you all hell broke out. People started to yell and really go crazy. This time I just stood back and did not want to be a part of the whole mess. Who should go and who should have to stay! First they boarded women with children. You would think that this part would go over easy. No it did not. That is what they announced but when mothers with grown children went before the ones with little ones. Well the pushing started to get worse. I just stood by the wall and would not even get close to the front of the line. Before I knew it the airline employee that was in charge saw me in the back not saying a word and pointed at me and said you are next. I was not only surprised but also shocked that she even noticed me. I had to go through about twenty-five people and that was not easy. The entire group of people just started giving me looks and comments. I just looked forward and did not say a thing. Handed her my ticket, passport and boarded the plane with out looking up at a single soul.
Did I mention that the weather was hot any muggy. And I mean HOT and MUGGY. Not just out side, on the plane as well. Half an hour past before we finally were on our way.
Next stop Guadeloupe. It was just a short jump over to this island. We landed about half an hour later. As soon as we arrived I was looking out my window and I saw three cars with lights on top drive up to the plane. This did not look good. It was a surprise inspection. We had to just sit on that plane for more than a hour and half with no air and a plane full of angry people while they did there inspection..
Not only angry but hunger and full of rage. Again I just stay out of it. My heart went out to the employees of the airline. How they kept there cool I don't know.
We finally arrived on Dominica three hours behind our attended arrival time. Went through the customs line with all the pushing that just comes with the territory of the islands. I was waiting for my baggage and decided to take some pictures for the blog. I however did not see a sign that said NO PICTURES IN THE CUSTOM AREA. Yes the police came right over and ask me if I could read. I said yes and was so sorry that I did not see the sign. They were not pleased but just gave me a look and said don't do it again. My heart was pounding. I just want to get out of that airport and away from all the people.
Finally I was through the door and out. Brother Mike was standing right there and took a picture of me coming through customs.
The drive back to Portsmouth was about one hour and what a nice peaceful drive. I was tried and just wanted to relax a little. Arrived home in the rain and no electricity.
It was a very LONG first day.
More to come!


I open my eyes and did not know where I was. Our power has been out since I arrived. Thank God I packed a flashlight with me. I turn on my cell phone to check out the time. It was 3:30 AM and I was wide-awake. My mind was just going a thousand miles an hour. For about two hours I just laid in bed thinking. What have I done! Could I do this? Was it a mistake?
Brother Mike got up around 5:30 and we talked about the day head of us. He was going to take me down to the school that he volunteers at. Then over to a food bank the delivers food to the poor. Finally over to the Catholic Church to meet the pastor. The conversation made me feel a lot better.
We arrived at the school at eight AM sharp. They we having a staff meeting all day to go over the new year and what they were planning. It is a school for boys from sixteen to nineteen years of age. Most with only a third grade learning ability. I sat in on the meeting and by the end of the day I was ask to volunteer two day's a week to help tutor. Can you see me teaching? I can't! But volunteer I did. School starts this coming Monday. The poverty here is more than I have every experienced in my life. It is going to take a little or a lot of getting use to. They are very kind and appreciative to having me here. It did make me feel comfortable and reduced my fears a little.
I know it is going to take a while more me to settle in. I am going through a big adjustment and need to remember that. We did have time to go over to the food bank and Brother Mike and I both volunteered to help out with their organization. I am hoping the more I get involved with the people the more I will settle down. That is with God's help.
Tomorrow we are off to the capital of Dominica, Roseau.The island has a population of around seventy thousand. With more than half living in or around the capital. I look forward to seeing it. In Portsmouth there is a population of around four thousand and the poverty is much greater. We will be meeting the other Christian Brothers that are on the island. There are three that reside in the capital. Brother Mike and I will be visiting the prison while we are there too. All these new experiences are really opening my eyes. I cannot explain what I am feeling because it is all so new to me. The need for help is so large and the poverty so over whelming. With Gods help I will adjust and settle into a routine. One of the most difficult things for me is adjusting to is not having my dog. Champ did sleep with me every night and my heart is yearning for him. I did not anticipate it to be this hard. Just thinking of him make me want to cry. This to shall pass with Gods help.
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rosealdu on

Welcome to true missionary work.
Thank you for a very vivid account of what is like in that part of the world. Seeing
conditions in picture form is one thing, but seeing them in reality quite
an eye opener; I don't think that you will ever get used to the conditions.But!!
that is why you are there, and you can and will make a difference for some
deserving person. When you are really down, think of the work we did in the
salon and how good it felt to be a part of a new experience. Through this
medium you can reach out to all of us here, and know our thoughts and prayers
are with. So!!! keep the updates coming , so we can respond and feel connected
to your part of the word and the good work that you are doing.
Rosanne has some picture great pictures taken at Andrea's and I hope there
some way she can get them to you.
What is your postal address so we can sent things through the mail to you.

All our Family love and prayers.

Rose/Al (Mom/Dad)

jocrovo on


chris-in-ps on

Keep the Faith
Nothing like getting a strong fix of 'adjustment' to make you feel overwhelmed. I felt sad, then laughed, then nearly cried as I read your three blog entries. Don't ever forget: God will never place more on your shoulders than you can carry - finding the inner strength he gave you at birth - and continued to give you throughout the years - is the key to easing your feelings of emptiness . . . You'll make it, just keep the faith. You remain in my thoughts and prayers - Chris

scrovo on

Re: Welcome to true missionary work.
You two are truly my mom and dad in my heart! All my love and please keep me in your prays! Steve

anlodder on

Great Story
Thanks Steve for the detailed story of your trip. That small plane looks a little too familiar!! :) I am glad to hear that you made it there with only few delays :) Keep us posted on everything! We are so proud of you!!!!

rdarius on

The Journey Begins
Wow, Steve, what a story. It's really enlightening to read your words and see the images of your new home. Stay positive and soak it all in. We love you and miss you.

wfcrovo on

Memories in the making
Steve, You will always look back on this 'adventure' with great fondness. Keep the details coming. I can not wait to hear about your first day as a high school teacher. I thought I had a rough education! lol. I love you, and miss you. p.s. how are the bugs doing?

scrovo on

My day today was all new to me but fun!
I start out today going and meeting the students that i will be teaching this semester. The pic is all of them out back of the school singing the national song of Dominica and taking row call. They are all drop out from school that now want to learn and enrolled here. The schools name is CALLS. I will be help out in P.E., Math, Small Business and English. Most are at a third grade level.
Then off to Roseau to meet the Bishop. What a nice man and very young. He is only 44 year old. We talk for about half an hour and it just flowed. Nice and funny. After that we went to the Christian Brothers school for boys in Roseau. Big school and very nice. It is the school that everyone on the island wants their boy to attend. I can see why!
And last but the best part of the day I was taken up the mountains to a place called To Tau Gorge. What a place. Ricky and Bruce would love it. It is a water fall in side of a cave. You have to get in the water and swim into the cave and go way back in and all of a sudden the is a big water fall and sun coming out the top. I is very hard to swim up to it because of the current. Not everyone can make it. If you do there is a place to stand on a rock and be right next to the fall. I wish I could show you a pic of it but had no water camera.
My mind is slowing down and I am adjusting to my new environment. PLEASE KEEP THE E-MAILS COMING THEY DO SO MUCH FOR ME! LOVE Steve

birmingham on

I am glad you had the patience to deal with all of this...that is so un-Crovo of you! :) Keep up us to date, I am sure the kids will love you! 'Whose your favorite uncle?'

jocrovo on



rdarius on

Getting in the Groove
Brother Steve, you're right. The hike sounds like a blast! I'm glad you were able to experience the 'eco side of the island' so soon. Your descriptions and photos are priceless. Lots of love, Rick and Gordon.

scrovo on

9/6/08 all about my day
'It is Sunday morning around 5 AM. It is the first time I have
slept all night. It is so nice to not wake in the middle of the
night and not be able to get back to sleep. My mind is slowing
down from a long and new week in my life.
Yesterday Brother Mike and I drove up into the mountains to check
on one of the students that did not show up last week for
school. It took us about an hour to arrive at her home. Her home
was just shack. When I enter I was over whelmed by the way they
live. She is 16 years of age and lives with her son, Mother,
Grand Mother and four bothers and sisters. The home is no bigger
than your average small bedroom. There is no running water and
just a small area for the kitchen if that is what you would call
it. The rest was just full of bed's. Again if you would call them
beds. I have never experienced poverty like that in my life. Have
never have seen anything like it on television. They we so happy
to see Brother Mike. All the 'houses' in the area are the same.
All the neighbors came out the watch us go in and leave. Brother
Mike just want to make sure she was still coming back this year.
She told us that the reason she was not there is because of the
cost of the bus to get to school. But would be there on Monday.
On the ride down I could not get them of my mind. My life is
soooooooo blessed compared to what I saw. There is so much
poverty on this island that it just over whelms you. I for got to
bring my camera so I could not take any pictures but probably
would not even if I had it. I don't think it would be right.
This morning I am going to church and looking forward to it. Here
they do a lot of singing and I amlooking forward to it. Hope to
take a hike today if it does not rain. Still very hot and muggy.
Will be that way until the middle of Nov. You put a shirt on and
it is all wet from sweat in 10 minutes. Well that is all for now.
Miss you all. Steve'

16palms on

What I Learned In Kindergarten
The poverty you're seeing I can only imagine. Mother always told me to clean my plate and to not waste any food. Trouble is, I should have taken smaller portions! God works in mysterious ways and remember, it's not just you that He's teaching or blessing - it's everyone you come in contact with. Even us reading these blogs. :-) You've touched all our lives Steve and each and every one of us here are right there with you! Now, feel free to pass on what all of us learned in Kindergarten to your new students.

* Share everything.
* Play fair.
* Don't hit people.
* Put things back where you found them.
* Clean up your own mess.
* Don't take things that aren't yours.
* Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
* Wash your hands before you eat.
* Flush.
* Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
* Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
* Take a nap every afternoon.
* When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
* Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
* Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
* And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
God Bless and tons of love from Ed and Jay

scrovo on

My day at Church
I started my day by walking to Sunday Mass. Mass starts at 8 AM and by the time I walk down the hill from were I live I was running about five minutes late. I could hear the singing from three blocks away. What a sound. I have never heard anything like it. I walked up to the front of the church with people standing five deep. The church was full with standing room only. The church holds about four hundred. The usher saw me coming. Being the only white person their I did stand out a little. He guided me to an open seat. The entire congregation was singing. My heart was over whelmed.
In a normal mass back in the states the service will take no more than an hour. Here on Dominica it can be as long as three hours. They sang about twenty songs and Father Sharpless had a sermon that lasted about 55 minutes. I cannot even try to explain what it was like hearing 400 people singing at the top of their lungs. Not only beautiful, but also spiritual to the tenth degree. To me it did not even seem like an hour. I just loved being apart of it all.
Here is a community with a great deal of poverty and despair. But the Love of God was just flowing out the doors. And Father Sharpless gave a sermon that brought the house down. I will never for get it. There is nothing like it in the United States, that I have seen.
Just before the mass was to end Father wanted to introduce someone to the congregation. "This is a man that just arrived here from the United States to work with us for one year. He is going to volunteer as a teacher and help in the Care Center. So if Brother Steve could please stand so we can welcome him properly" I was in a state of shock. I had meet Father on Tuesday and we talked about politics. Very nice man and we did think alike about what is going on in the Presidential election.
So there I was standing when they broke out into a welcoming song. After the service was over I was overwhelmed with people coming up to me and introducing them self's. I meet so many, and the kids hanging on to my pants. I just wish I had someone take a picture. Next week I am going to bring my camera and turn on the video so you can hear what I heard.
After Mass I was invited over to a couples home for tea. Of course I said yes. A little nerves but I went.
By the time I arrived back home it was twelve thirty. What a morning. School starts tomorrow. I think there is more to come! Lol Steve

rdarius on

I'm glad you're settling down and able to see the beauty in what you're doing. I just hope you don't hate us money-grubbing consumers when you get home. :)

bruceandscott on

Missing your smiling face
Hello Steve
We've been enjoying your pictures and updates. Bruce is taking Ricky on a big hike Friday. I'm going to try out the new hip and see how far I can get. if I tire out , I'll have a good book to read while I wait for them to return.
much love and best wishes, Scott

scrovo on

Me a PE, English &Math Teacher LOL

Today was the first full day of class at Calls. I helped teach in three different classes. Math was my first. I was assigned to just one student. He needed help in adding and subtracting. He was at a third grad level. I took him to the back of the class and just started giving him the basics. Twelve plus fifteen would equal what? It took me about five minutes just to show him how to come up the answer. This poor boy of sixteen was embarrassed and really did not want me to see how much he did not know. Well a one-hour later we had become friends. Together we did about twenty-five. Each time I made them more difficult but he stuck with it and was very proud of himself when I wrote on his paper " excellent job". Now I had to tell him what that meant but the smile on his face just touched my heart.
Chris mentioned in his e-mail that this would happen. And it did. The second class was on English. Again I help three students with a reading level of a third grader. This was more difficult for me because I did not know how to teach them how to pronounce the words themselves. I don't think I have the right skills in English but I gave it my best shot. Then we came to the last class, which was P.E. LOL, me helping sixteen-year-old boys play basketball. I just stood on the sidelines of the basketball court and did nothing but watch them play. I did not have much to contribute. Again LOL
All in all it was a good day!

anlodder on

Finding your way
It was so good to hear from you the other day. You seem to be adjusting pretty well. I know that it will be tough at times, but we all believe in you! Love you and miss you!!!

anlodder on


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