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Monday, July 21, 2014

St. Christopher Heritage Society 25th Anniversary Banquet


The organization that is responsible for maintaining the Old Treasury Building and Museum as well as other historic places in St. Kitts will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary next week on Saturday, July 26th with a Banquet.



The St. Christopher Heritage Society or SCHS will hold the banquet in The St. Kitts Marriott's Ballroom beginning at 7 p.m. There will be a cultural presentation, cocktail reception, and cultural presentation. Dinner will begin at 8 p.m.

There will be door prizes, a silent auction, and other gifts.

The society will give short speeches updating the public about new developments, future plans and undertakings, as well as a reflection on how far they've come in a quarter century.

The organization is also celebrating the 120th birthday of the National Treasury Building, which houses the National Museum.



Tickets are available at the National Museum and through some of the SCHS members. Tickets are $150 E.C. for individuals and $275 for couples. Don't miss this great celebration.

This is also a great opportunity to encourage others to become a SCHS member.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cayon Hash Run

ON! ON! to Hash #324!
Here are the details:
When: This coming Saturday July 19, 2014
Time: 3:30 PM
Where: Just before St.Mary's Park, Cayon
How to get there: Take the island road past the airport and through Conaree and Keys towards Cayon. Before you enter Cayon you will go over Wash Ghaut. Look for a lone big sandbox tree on the right just after a vehicle/mechanic's garage. Take the right turn just after the tree. It's a dirt track just before the concrete wall for St. Mary’s Park. We meet in the open space there.
Bring a friend or 10 and see you there!!
Don't forget we are looking for people to set hashes (Hares). You can get extra attendance credit when you set a hash. Every time you set a hash you will get 2 attendance credits for that hash. So please send me an email (or Heather at hhotchin@rossvet.edu.kn) or talk to me or Heather at the hash!!
ON! ON!
DE Ninja

For those who need more directions here they are with pics.


This map starts at the Airport Roundabout. Take the road before the one to Frigate Bay. Follow this road through Conaree, past the landfill, and through Key’s Village.



After you pass through Key’s village the houses die out and you have a long straightaway. You’ll cross over a small bridge with a huge ghaut underneath, on the right will be a very large car garage. Just past that there will be a huge cement wall the size of a school’s. You turn right before that onto a dirt road. There should be road cones out to designate where the hash is.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Countdown Begins

Hello Everyone out there in Island Babble Land. There is a Kittitian who calls into WinnFM every day without fail and says, "Hello everyone out there in Radio Land," so I had to steal his line. (Maybe I listen to too much Kittitian talk radio?)

I encourage all of you to listen to the radio stations here but don't just listen to one. Listen to a few to get an unbiased view. I guarantee that'll you'll learn something new nearly every day and most of the stations have online links so you can listen anywhere in the world. Here is a decent list of most of the stations: Radio Stations in St. Kitts

Anyways, if somehow you didn't know or find out already, we're leaving St. Kitts in December for good or for a long time at least. I couldn't make an announcement publicly until we made sure everything was in order. My wife, Julie saw a great opportunity in the U.S. at another university, Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine and after much discussion we decided to take it.



The school is in eastern Tennessee in the Tri-State corners of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. The area is very rural and exactly what we had in mind as a place we'd like to set down some roots. The school is starting a brand new Veterinarian School and therefore will be an interesting and hopefully satisfying challenge for Julie, who is always seeking new challenges.




And just to clear things up as to why we're leaving, it's not because Julie doesn't like her work here. She loves her job at Ross University and the people she works with. Work for her is not the determining factor.
Myself on the other hand, work is a factor and that's because I can't legally work in St. Kitts. Sure, you have people who find under the table work but not in anything that I'm interested in.

Before I moved here, you may recall I was a newspaper reporter and cattle farmer. Williamson's Wee Brae Farm


Writing the blog has kind of satisfied my writing itch but with Clara, our eight month old baby, I haven't really been able to give the blog it's rightful attention. The island is a different place for a young father and I can't just get out there and immerse myself in St. Kitts culture, people, and environment like I used to.

Farming is something that I miss and is an activity that I find very satisfying. Julie has an amazing horse that she can't even ride because she's being boarded in Philadelphia.  I often look at the animals being raised here in St. Kitts and can't help but critique the farmers' techniques. I understand it's a different country and culture but the potential is so big here if people had the right leadership, guidance, and support. Anyways that's another topic.



Also as a new family we want to be closer to the rest of our families to share Clara and her beautiful moments with them. Ultimately I believe family and friends should be the highest priority besides God.


Julie, Clara, and her parents at Spratnet

Julie, Clara, and my parents at Lobsterfest.

I can't help but feel sad as I write this post because I realize that the days are counting down now. December is at least five months away but there are so many things I want to experience still in St. Kitts. Even though it's a tiny island it has a lot of diversity and much more to see than what most people see on the surface. I pride myself that I've scratched a lot further than just under the surface too. So many photos and moments to capture still. (In fact I've started a To-Do list.)

I'll miss so many aspects of St. Kitts and others I won't. I'll miss the people a lot. We've met so many great people here Kittitians and expats alike. Take the expat population for instance; The diversity just in this group is incredible. I have friends that are South African, German, British, Australian, Guyanese, French and many more from many other places. For the most part it's been easier to make friends with expats than it would be in the U.S. because for one we're all in the same boat here and secondly, most of them are well traveled and interesting people like ourselves. ( You can judge the interesting part of that statement about us.)



This photo above is us on Christmas celebrating a British Christmas Meal with some of our friends.


The value and diversity the expats bring to St. Kitts is immeasurable and I'll miss sharing stories about their worlds and travels a lot. You don't find many Americans who are well traveled or who are open to other cultures. As a melting pot it all gets blended into blase' culture where people are expected to assimilate.

The Kittitians and Nevisians I'll also miss and they have many great qualities. I'll miss the devotion and emphasis the average person here puts on it's small children. I can tell you that since I now have Clara I've become a lot more popular and liked by strangers. It's not like that in the U.S. We see babies pretty often and I guess we are more standoffish or private than Kittitians in that sense. I can't go anywhere here without a stranger, usually women who find her completely adorable and it brightens their day to see her. 



We're like celebrities at the grocery store and downtown. I've had many women ask if they could have her jokingly, I think. I don't have to even watch her because the women in public see everything that she does. " Naw, she gawt somethin in she mouth," or "She hair in she eyes." This can also be bad for me because I'm constantly getting "advice" like "Oh she need socks she gonna get sick," and mind you it's 88 degrees. They also sometimes think I'm babysitting because I'm a guy and there's a pretty strong gender role line here. They'll say, "Oh you helpin daddy, goin shopping, you babysittin?" Nope, I tell them and anymore I just say, "Yep, everyday." 



So many other things I'll miss that I can't even get it all into one post. I'll miss "Good Day," or "Good Afternoon," being said by nearly every single person you cross paths with. That smallness and politeness here is a great trait. The society is very excepting of expats for the most part and I find it easy to blend in to everyday life too.

I'll of course miss the land, the water, the plants, and animals, all unique to here. One thing I learned very early here though is that people come and go all the time and that's something you have to get used to. This time it just happens to be us leaving.

In the meantime, please continue to follow the blog, welcome our new contributing writer, Heidi, who brings a lot of knowledge to the blog, and I'll continue to write as often as possible.

Recently, I did get a chance to learn some more photography skills and I'll be posting more photos on our photo page so check them out and let me know what you think. https://islandbabblephotos.shutterfly.com/










IN THE KNOW JULY 2014

IN THE KNOW 

JULY


ST. KITTS














NEVIS





One of two posts for In the Know July. I wanted to get this out for the beginning of the month. More coming soon.

Throwback Thursday St. Kitts

In an effort to keep up with posts during a family visit, I took just a few minutes to search my old photos of St Kitts back in 2007. I was going to name the post flashback Thursday and then determined this did not sound right.   Yes I know, I am admitting my ignorance, not knowing how important these tags are. Apparently there is a list of do's and dont's when it comes to Throwback Thursday.  According to Dumb and Genius and a magnitude of others there are criteria that should be met for a TBT post.

I learned something new today. Though the pictures here may not fill all of the criteria for a Throwback Thursday post, they are nostalgic.

Can you figure out where these photos were taken?  


















IN THE KNOW JULY COMING SOON!



Monday, June 23, 2014

Mango Madness

Mango Madness
Get Your Mango On

Mango season has arrived in the Federation! They overflow in the markets and the bins and tables on the sidewalks of Basseterre and in the villages around the Island. 



Half eaten by the monkeys they are strewn on the ground under mango trees everywhere. 

















Some of the local favorites are the Grafted, the Rosy Cheeks and the Julies, but there are plenty other types here in the Federation. 
I got these on the road side in Conaree.  I know the Rosy Cheek is in the Middle
Perfect background placed on Recovered Railway Ties


What can we do with all of these mangos? High tourist season has come and gone. The small population can’t seemingly eat all of these mangos at one time. To answer this question I decided to do a bit of online research and ask around locally.

Online I found Trinidad and Tobago’s mango festival which promotes the healthy benefits of mango and the many uses for it. 








Google searching mango product images a multitude of mango products popped up on my screen.  Mango chips, mango chutney, mangos preserved in a jar, mango smoothie ice pops, mango puree, mango soda, mango powder for instant drink, canned mango pulp, mango yogurt, mango jam, mango jelly, mango marmalade, mango bars, mango tarts, ok and you can’t beat this one, Gain currently has an apple mango tango scent line of detergent products.  I called them to determine whether or not they actually use mangos to create the scent. Unfortunately they do not. It is artificially made. I had not noticed it before, but today I saw this scent of gain on the shelf at Rams and crazy me took a picture. 


How lucky we  are  to get a whiff of mango naturally in the summer months just by visiting a mango tree.



While searching I found two local venues that have been named after this sweet juicy fruit.  Mango Orchard Spa located on the beautiful landscape of Ottley’s Plantation was my first find.
The Spa was named as such because of its location. Yes you guessed it. It is in a Mango Orchard. Some of the practitioners there have used the pit of the mango to make a scrub.  They also use a mango infused paraffin wax for their pedicures and manicures. During mango season the spa provides guests with the freshest mangos right off the trees.  The Royal Palm Restaurant at Ottley’s serves fresh mangos, just as they are at breakfast along with mango muffins. When fresh they are also used to make mango salsa and mango tarts. They freeze them to use throughout the year in sorbets, ice cream and sauces.  I may just have to try out their spa one of these days. I have not had the opportunity to get out there too often, but  I have enjoyed an amazing Sunday brunch there a few times. This time of year just the small height elevation gives a reprieve to the heat felt here in the low lands and you can savor their mango muffins.

The next venue with the Mango namesake is The MangoRestaurant located in Nevis at the Four Seasons.  Their menu includes a variety of mango infused food inclusive of mango chipotle, trio ceviche with mango,  grilled mango, mango in salad, mango dressing, mango chutney, mango marinade,  mango salsa, mango rum butter and more.

The Hermitage also located in Nevis tries to collect and preserve as many ripe mangos as possible. They offer mango juice throughout the year. They also use them to make mango crumble, mango bread, mango sorbet and mango daiquiris. They like to use the green mangos to make their famous mango chutney and pickle mangos as well. There is no need for them to buy mangos when they are out of season. They are able to store and preserve to keep the mango delights available year round.  

Eating mangos can be as messy or as clean as you want it to be. We used to take mangos to the beach when the children were small. That way when the kids were finished they could wash up in the ocean. I have seen a friend of mine simply take a small section of the peel away with his teeth and literally squeeze out the fruit with little to no mess at all. For Chef Jason Pereira his favorite place to eat a mango is in the sea. I am definitely going to try that one.  I will end with this perfect quote written by Jason about his favorite mango experience. “Simply (eating) one relaxing in the ocean. The saltiness from the seawater opens up your taste buds and magnifies the flavor of the mango. "Nothing sweet so."


Share your favorite mango recipes/favorite place to get them with us.

A few sites to help us get our mango on at home.
http://www.mango.org offers a free downloadable mango cook book and tutorial on how to cut mango.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

IN THE KNOW

St Kitts and Nevis
Community Fun
 June 2014

I have heard so many times "I didn't know about that" and "That would have been fun to attend". Living in such a small place word of mouth seemingly does not carry to all. I thought a monthly post on community events would be in order. This one was fast in the making since we are already half way through the month of June, but I think I found some good ones. 

Community and family fun for all. 

IN ST KITTS

FIFA World Cup


Some Venues for Watching who offer an array of Specials during the games
  • Lobby Bar St Kitts Marriott & Royal Beach Casino
  • Boozies
  • Vibes
We have stayed home for the games thus far enjoying them on CBC and ESPN.


FIFA Schedule Online FIFA Schedule Online



Support the Talent of St Kitts Enjoy a night of Entertainment  Finals  Monday June 30th at 7:30PMSir Cecil Jacobs Auditorium (ECCB)


If you know a young talented person encourage them to go and try out. Try outs for each zone are below.




St. Kitts Music Festival


June 26th - 28th


SunFest

Free Admission

June 26th - 28th
Independence Square
(Picture Courtesy www.gov.kn)
10am to Early Evening
Independence Square
Daytime enjoyment during Music Festival.
“SunFest “ 
  • Family friendly with traditional string band music, steel pan, drums, and Kittitian and Nevisian Soca  
  • Local homemade wine tasting and for sale
  • Food Stands 
  • Children’s Fun Zone and Learning Center

Buzz Phrase for Sun Fest seems to be Eat, Drink, Rest, Repeat
Sun Fest also combines Eat Local Day on the 27th of June, Independence Square 11am-4pm
For more information log on to facebook www.facebook.com/gmsexperience or contact Garfield Alexander or Juella Gumbs at 869 764 7385

In Nevis

JUNE 
The month of Romance in Nevis


SKN National Cylcling Championships
June 21-22
Contact Greg at 869-662-3975
email: gmphillip@sisterisles.kn
For more information


June & July Celebrate Mangos 

June 26th
Prospect Propagation Unit
Mango Grafting Demonstrations


Mango Madness coming soon

Friday, June 13, 2014

Someone New to Island Babble Blog

Finding my way to St. Kitts & Nevis

The ice is slippery, the cold rain chilling, the frigid air closing my sensitive lungs, the short days and long dark hours dreary and hard. The answer to these dilemnas, move to a warmer place closer to the equator. 

But wait I also don’t want the materialism, the fast paced, the who is who and the long highways to destinations or the escalators taking me onto platforms and into spaces all displaying things. Things I don’t want, but might need in this large place I call home.

Small, small is what I am after, small and real and warm in all aspects of life. I search, I visit place after place to find my small. I think I find it and I move. Nope that small was not small enough. I start visiting more places, I am not finding it. I visit some more places and move again. Nope not right either and then something so extraordinary happens. Upon one of my departures from one of these places I visit I actually become physically ill.

My stomach is in knots and my heart is breaking all the while the plane is taking me away. I watch my loves scenic green hillsides fade away in the distance. I am thinking OMG, I don’t want to leave. I never want to leave this place again. The irie, the spirit, the smiles, the culture, the heritage, the pride, it is overwhelming me. I am screaming inside please turn this plane around and take me back! Take me back to the place I fell in love with. This is what St Kitts and Nevis mean to me. It is my heaven, my safe place, my happiness, my health. It helps make me whole.

Walking Timothy Hill  My First Few Months Here 2008.
View from the top.
The warm moist breeze heals my lungs, the bright year round sun heals my heart and the friendliness of the people heal my soul. Each and every day I hear my name (Heidi) being called as I drive down the roads of St Kitts. 
A warm smile and wave as I turn to see who is making me smile! 
I am humbled and honored that I have been able to spend the past seven years in this beautiful Federation and can only hope there are many more to come. 



I moved to St Kitts in 2008, but fell in love with this place in 2002 while visiting my twin sister attending Ross Vet School. I am a trained teacher, a business owner, a lover of photography, and a published childrens book author, all hats worn at the same time in my recent endeavors. Living the Beach Life is just one of many series of books I hope to create with Caribbeanreads Publishing while living my happy life in St Kitts.


My goals as a contributor to Island Babble are to share useful information, thoughtful perspectives and captured moments on camera from the beautiful Federation I adore.
 


Now that you know a bit about me I am going to end this post and get on with composing my second Island Babble Blog Post.

Until next time. I hope you are all enjoying the quiet peaceful month of June.
Cockleshell Bay, St Kitts 2011