Art, Meditation, Kids, and Thanksgiving.

Last month, my fellow PCV Stephen and I visited an art class at the community college in a town called Villa.  We were meant to shadow the instructor in hopes of gaining ideas for some creative expression classes that we are each going to facilitate in our respective communities.  Little did we know that we had stumbled upon St. Vincent’s underground art scene.  The students’ works were clearly inspired, and inspiring, made possible by the unrelenting efforts of cultural revolutionary Vonnie Roudette, artist and author of The Nature of Belonging.  I knew I wanted to keep coming back there, to surround myself with their creative energy, and to share with them what I could, so I asked if they might be interested in learning some yoga and meditation.  Last week I led my first guided meditation with a group of the 2nd year art students, and was humbled by their openness and receptivity to trying something new with this out-of-place American.  It was a powerful experience, one of those ‘firsts’ in my Peace Corps tenure that I am sure I will be looking back on for years to come.

Working with the children at the school has been equally inspiring.  Last week I started tutoring individual and small groups of 3rd and 4th grade students in remedial reading and leading circle time with some of the younger classrooms.  One of the things I love most about the tutoring sessions is that it gives me an opportunity to learn about St. Vincent, and our community in particular, from the perspective of a child growing up here.

Speaking of growing up, this year marks the first holiday season that I am not celebrating with my family in Southern California.  When I was living in Boston, Thanksgiving was a time when I would trade in my down coat and wool socks for a hoodie and flip-flops to spend a few days on the golden coast.  But Thanksgiving in the Caribbean?  Definitely no need for a hoodie, and I’ll probably end up barefoot on the beach at some point on Thursday.

Even though I’m going to be missing Thanksgiving and some of my favorite annual family moments, like this…

Camille & Deven, 2007

there is still much to be thankful for.  This year, I’ll just be celebrating it Vincy-style.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Love, Camille


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