Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A "Merry" Day at Coal Pot Soaps

By Jack and Barbara Clarke, CCF Donors and Rick Falco, President and Creative Director of Vision Project

We head back to Grand Bay today and thankfully the fire is gone. We worked on the computer all morning and then went down to the school with some trepidation.

Upon arriving, we are told there had been a shooting in the village and that one person is dead and three others wounded. The shooting was due to a drug deal gone bad! We were hoping to go on a field trip today but worry that we shouldn’t go.

The kids filed in quietly and many came up to us, personally apologized for their behavior and thanked us for coming to teach them. We consulted with the principal and Gelina, and decided that we should not go into Grand Bay, but I had requested that Georgette (the affiliate staff member working with us) call and arrange for the class to go to Coal Pot Soaps.

Coal Pot Soaps is a local business that is just down the street from the school where soap and other scrubs and lotions are made. Everyone agreed it was safe to go there as it is just down the street from the school.

When we arrived, there seems to have been some misunderstanding, and the owner told us that we were not allowed to take any pictures. Georgette and I talk and talk and try to persuade the owner to let us in and finally it worked!

Although it was cramped and they weren’t actually making anything that day, the staff was kind and staged some activity for us. Best of all, the kids were happy. We also went to a car repair shop and the kids were able to shoot there as well. Class ended on a pretty good note.

Gelina picked us up from the school and we went to her house to watch some of the inauguration of President Obama on BBC, CNN and FOX news. Her brother fried some plantain (yum, yum) and her aunt made “Merry.” “Merry” is porridge made of grated coconut, coconut milk, "provisions" (yams, dasheen, sweet potatoes, etc), bay leaves, cinnamon and nutmeg.

It was so good, we each had two bowls and took some home with us. We also went to meet Gelina’s grandfather, Rubin Robin, down at the bay rum distillery. It was very nice to see the whole set up and to meet him. They cook/dry bay leaves and distill the results into oil that is used in medicinal products. This is very hard work and he and the guy helping him are pure muscle and sweat.

Tomorrow, we begin to pull the best from the best of the kid’s photos. We can’t wait to see their efforts!

No comments: