FAIRS directors David (KK4WW) and Gaynell Larsen (KK4WWW) are recently home from a mission trip to the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica. They were accompanied this time by grandson Dustin Thompson- a first mission trip and his first time flying!
The group carried large suitcases stuffed with medical and school supplies, shoes, clothes, and items requested by program leaders who carry out work on the island which is supported by FAIRS.
After taking time to activate a phone and organize parcels, the delegation went about making visits and distributions. FAIRS met with Gloria Walsh of “Love One, Teach One” (LOTO) Foundation, who is currently helped by Peace Corps worker Carrie Katz fromGreensboro,NC. The Foundation helps numerous children and youth enrolled in after-school feeding & help programs. FAIRS gave classroom items, shoes, toothbrushes and Bibles. A movie night was planned for LOTO kids from theSilverLakearea, where the Dominican government has a housing construction project underway, designed to improve living conditions for the people there.
FAIRS also contributed to an effort for helping teens cope with emotional challenges which many of them face. A youth retreat and weekend seminar is being conducted by LOTO and associates to educate against bullying, acting out and destructive tendencies.
Other Peace Corps workers joined with the team to visit Hubert Thomas of the Council office of the Kalinago (the name of the indigenous people ofDominica). A special afternoon was a treat for the children he works with in the villages. They watched a movie, had snacks and juice, and Dustin passed out bracelets made by his sister Carly along with Bibles he collected with help from his church members at Pleasant Valley COB and the Gideons. FAIRS provided coloring books and crayons, and gave dentistry items which were a gift from a dentist in our area.
Teaching materials and a CD player were gifted to Wotten Waven Primary School. Pictures and video were made which chronicle the transformation of the building and grounds and the school’s progress over time, with some help from FAIRS and community volunteers. You may see this story and others at www.floydradio.net. For videos of the mission trip click here.
FAIRS continues to work with members of the Dominica Amateur Radio Club, Inc. (DARCI) – support has been given for equipment repairs and checks of emergency radio communications systems. An amateur radio operator from Vermont was visiting, using the Club station and accommodations. David and Gaynell had a “person-to-person exchange” with Brian Machesney K1LI who travels the world expanding his circle of friends – they discussed growing amateur radio activity on this important “hub” island (because of its location and communications resources). Day tours for operators from the cruise ships which dock in Dominica, and additional living space at the club site which may be utilized by visiting hams were ideas. The team will work on improvements which are found to be feasible for the club.
FAIRS interacted with other countries in the Caribbean during the course of their visit –equipment was shipped, installed and is reported to be in good working condition.
One highlight of this trip was to be able to spend time with Joseph Guiste J73JT, a long time friend of FAIRS, and his family. They live in the fishing village of Castle Bruce. FAIRS gave much-needed funds donated by friends from Floyd – Dave worked on Joseph’s radio and set up a Magic Jack for telephone communications to the U.S. Clothes, shoes, over-the-counter meds and creams, band-aids and much more were given for the benefit of the children in the village. Bibles were given to the local baker to fulfill a request, and a computer and office supplies were given to community leaders.
Leisure time was spent taking in the sights of Dominica. The group enjoyed a trip up Indian River, to historic Fort Shirley and to the therapeutic hot sulphur springs of Ti Kwen Glo Cho.