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The Newsletter of Florida's Unique Development Partnership with the Caribbean Vol. 19,No 4
Grenada Red Cross Institutes First
In Grenada the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS prevents many who need HIV testing and services from coming forward in person. However, a plan by the Grenada Red Cross Society (GRCS) to implement a telephone hotline service for persons living with HIV/AIDS or those affected by the disease promises to help alleviate this problem.
Neil Abell, PhD, clinical social worker and associate professor, and Terry Abell, child welfare counselor, Multi-disciplinary Center, both with Florida State University, and Jeffrey Shaw, manager, Telephone Counseling and Referral Services in Tallahassee, conducted training and technical assistance in developing a hotline service last October.
Hotline volunteers with Neil Abell, far left front row, Jeff Shaw, far right front row, Terry Abell, 3rd from left on second row, Samantha Dickson, (Red Cross Society hotline trainer) 4th from left on second row.
In collaboration with Terry Charles, director general, GRCS, the consultants delivered and installed the necessary hardware and software to support the technical aspects of hotline operations, such as data gathering and report production. They trained two core Red Cross staff to serve as lead volunteer trainers and six volunteers as initial volunteer counseling staff.
The volunteer training included crisis identification and resolution, guided imageries to process feelings, dealing with manipulation and addressing suicide/homicide issues. The trainees also spent time role-playing to practice what they learned.
“As the program becomes operational, we are confident that it will help ease the discomfort, stigma and emotional pain of those who are infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases or those with sexually related problems or concerns,” Charles said. “Thanks to the FAVA/CA volunteers for making this service a reality.”
The consultants also conducted a focus group with the Medical and Public Health School faculty, as well as with representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Grenada AIDS Foundation, to further develop a research grant proposal exploring the impact of stigma among health and social service providers in multi-island environments.
“Given the GRCS's successful record of recruiting and training volunteers and the prevalence of cell phones in Grenada, the potential benefits of anonymous access to information and counseling seems great,” Dr. Abell reported. “The hotline service would also be one way to gain a clearer picture of the true extent of the epidemic in Grenada while helping HIV/AIDS persons at the same time.”
FAVA/CA Promotes Haitian Goods
FAVA/CA has joined forces with the USAID – Haiti funded Development Alternatives Inc. Hillside Agricultural Program (HAP) to promote the awareness and sales of Haitian produce, processed foods and other Haitian products in the United States, particularly to the Haitian Diaspora. This program will also encourage Florida-to-Haiti business to business linkages and investments.
To kick off the two-year program, FAVA/CA arranged a one-day seminar last April in Miami attended by approximately 200 key members of the Diaspora community. Along with other members of the US government Haiti team, including Ambassador Brian Dean Curran and US/AID director David Adams, HAP outlined the opportunities for Haitian-Americans to assist in the development of Haiti through the purchase of products and the establishment of business linkages. A second meeting was held in Port au Prince in May.
Under this program, FAVA/CA will develop and implement a public relations campaign promoting Haitian produce and products with the help of Diaspora community leaders. FAVA/CA will be responsible for the creation of two local radio and newspaper product awareness and promotion campaigns, add links to key business sites to the FAVA/CA web site, host one major Diaspora seminar and two smaller events including trade show participation.
HAP, launched in August 2000, serves Haiti’s poorest farmers who till the country’s marginal hillside lands by promoting soil conservation and focusing on the cultivation of environmentally-friendly tree crops with cash potential in export markets. An important component of the program is the Coffee Rehabilitation project which helps coffee farmers cultivate, process and market “Haitian Bleu” gourmet coffee, which commands premium export prices.
Belize Prepares for the Worst
National Emergency Management Organization building under construction.
n an emergency, it is critical to have centralized coordination for response to both natural and man-made disasters. The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) of Belize has recently created a new emergency operations center (EOC) for this purpose.
In order to assist with the planning for the new EOC, Florida Division of Emergency Management colleagues Richard Cheek and David Crisp, both of Tallahassee, traveled to Belize for several days last December. Cheek is an operations manager for the state Bureau of Preparedness and Response, and Crisp is an information manager.
The team consulted with retired Brig. General Earl Arthurs, deputy coordinator for NEMO, and his two officers and prepared a detailed list of equipment and training recommendations.
Arthurs said that the consultants “did a superb job in a very short time.” NEMO has accepted the consultants’ recommendations, which will be incorporated into the final telecommunication and equipment purchase for the NEMO building.
“It is our hope that this partnership will continue as we work together for Disaster Preparedness in the Americas,” he concluded.
Fruitflies Not Welcome in St. Kitts and Nevis
Fruit—such as mangos, guava, star fruit, golden apple and Surinam cherries—makes a substantial contribution to the gross domestic product of St. Kitts and Nevis, and fruitfly infestation can be an obstacle to agricultural development. In order to help fruit farmers in St. Kitts and Nevis, FAVA/CA enlisted two United States Department of Agriculture technicians from Gainesville, Dr. John Sivinski and Dr. Timothy Holler, to visit the islands in mid-December to provide assistance in developing a fruitfly biological control program.
The team visited a number of wild and commercial groves and made several recommendations for control of the fruitfly including eradication through the use of sterile flies, parasitoids and insecticide bailstations; the establishment of “fly-free zones” in commercial groves; and mechanical control measures such as paper bags over green fruit.
Along with IICA-Mexico, the doctors were successful in securing $15,000 needed to rear West Indian parasitoids in Mexico at the Instituto de Ecología. Dr. Sivinski then carried the parasitoids with him to St. Kitts in order to release the first batch. Although a large portion of the parasitoids died shortly after release, the consultants decided to continue to release the parasitoids in weekly batches shipped from Mexico and to look into the possibility of releasing a second parasitoid, longis, with the assistance of the Florida Division of Plant Industry.
“More information is needed concerning mango fruit fly hosts and distributions. An island-wide and year-round adult trapping program should be instituted to determine when and where the pest is most abundant. In addition, a year-round effort should be made to pick and hold various fruits in the laboratory in order to identify any as yet unknown hosts,” the consultants reported. They also recommended that agriculture officials develop a five-year plan to define the objectives and costs of implementing a control program.
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute - St. Kitts, hosted the mission, during which approximately 20 officials were trained.
Designers Assist Renovators at George Washington House, Barbados
The George Washington House Barbados is the only place George Washington ever lived outside of the United States, and the Barbados National Trust along with the U.S. George Washington Committee plans to restore Washington’s home as a memorial.
Mary Frances Weathington, president, and John LoCastro, principal, partners at Synergy Design Group, Tallahassee, conducted training for the Barbados National Trust from November 12 to 30. Synergy Design Group is a design-only firm specializing in interpretive exhibits, exterior restoration and museum design. The consultants assisted with the design of the types of displays and the layout of exhibits for the house, museum and present-day interpreting of material culture.
“We initiated discussions from a museum-centric point of view with different stakeholders, then developed several options for consideration,” Weathington reported.
Over the two-week period, the consultants toured many similar sites and met with interested parties to develop ideas. Potential content for the museum includes information on George Washington’s life in Barbados, plantation life in Barbados, Barbadian history of the 18th century and military history.
“We had a very busy two weeks in which we introduced the consultants to the island and the site and gave them relevant information,” Penelope Hynam, project director said. “They will now work with us to design a museum on the second floor. They also made suggestions for the whole site which they presented to us and which was very much appreciated.”
In addition to meeting with Hynam, the consultants also met with architect Bruce Jardine, Karl Watson of the University of the West Indies Department of History and 18th century furniture historian Andy Tempro.
“The consultants were extremely professional and very enthusiastic,” Hynam said. “We look forward to continuing to work with them as they help us design the museum on the site.”
Haitian Development Takes Account of Natural Resources
In April of 2002, FAVA/CA, along with USAID and the United States Embassy, hosted a workshop for members of the Haitian Diaspora. One result of that seminar is a plan to promote environmentally sensitive development in the southern region of Haiti.
When Alan Woolwich, an urban planner with Brevard County, met Dr. Aldy Castor, president of the Haitian Resource Development Foundation, at the seminar, the two of them began looking for ways to promote eco-tourism in the area and to lay the groundwork for a detailed plan for the town of Aquin.
In December, Woolwich was joined by marine photographer and specialist Tom Jackson of Key West and Sheila Mullins, former mayor of Key West, on a FAVA/CA mission to the area for the purposes of data collection and map making.
“We video graphed the area from the mountaintops to the coastal areas to the underwater reefs,” Woolwich said. “We also took digital photographs of the area and conducted field surveys of the town.” The photos will be available on Castor’s website, www.hrdf.org , to promote eco-tourism. The video recording will also make future town planning easier.
“There are buildings there that are 250 to 300 years old. So historic preservation and restoration will be a big draw,” Woolwich said.
“This mission was of vital importance to the region,” Castor said. “Currently, a seaport and an airport are being built, but we were concerned about protecting both the marine and land environment. We found out we have some beautiful areas under the sea there, some beautiful coral reefs and exotic fish. It is one of the last natural reserves in the Caribbean and it is important that it be protected.”
Castor requested the assistance from FAVA/CA through the USAID-Haiti Regional Initiatives for the ongoing community and environmental planning efforts in the town of Aquin, located in the southern peninsula. The mission documented the natural resources of the area and will help provide an alternative to large-scale tourism by promoting eco-tourism which is more sensitive to the environment.
“This is not the first time that FAVA/CA has sent volunteer experts to the area,” Castor said. “These volunteers are ambassadors. They put a human face on the assistance provided by the United States.”
This project is funded in part by a grant from the United States Agency for International Development.
Archaeologists Protect Cultural Heritage In Panama
The Spanish settlement of Panama Viejo, founded in 1519 and destroyed by the pirate Henry Morgan in 1671, is the primary archaeological site and museum for Panama.
In early November, Florida State University maritime archaeologist Dr. Cheryl Ward, with FSU colleague anthropologist Dr. Rochelle Marrinan and Florida Department of State underwater archaeologist Dr. Roger Smith consulted with archaeologists at the museum and with representatives of the government of Panama about the preservation of submerged cultural resources and the establishment of a field school in underwater archaeology to be offered in 2003 in conjunction with FSU-Panama.
“The interest in the maritime aspect is particularly strongas there are currently no archaeologists in the country, and very few in Latin America or Central America, who work in this field,” Ward reported. “The resulting threat to national patrimony from treasure hunters who exploit the lack of familiarity is immense.”
In addition, there is no anthropology or archaeology academic program in Panama at this time, so Panamanian students go to the U.S. for training.
While they were there, the consultants examined a shipwreck in the bay off the village of Nombre de Dios believed to be one of Columbus’s ships. The Nombre de Dios shipwreck is close to shore in about fifteen feet of water. Remaining at the site are two very large masses of concreted iron objects, including anchors, stone cannonballs, and guns.
“Our visit to the Nombre de Dios wreck was particularly important because of the need to ensure that Panama's cultural heritage is managed and preserved according to national laws. FAVA/CA-sponsored visits like this one allow the local government representative, Carlos Fitzgerald, to draw on professional experience developed in a number of countries,” Ward said. “As the earliest European shipwreck in Central America, the Nombre de Dios wreck's archaeological and historical importance cannot be underestimated.”
“Our trip to Panama resulted in plans for future work there, and we all will be happy to return because of the warmth and cooperation we met everywhere we went,” Ward concluded.
This project is funded in part by a grant from the Florida Department of Education.
"Where there is great love there are always miracles.
- Willa Cather
To members and friends of FAVA/CA, Pat Lager of the Florida State University School of Social Work, is a long-time, committed volunteer who loves her work, shares of herself and reaps amazing benefits for people in the Caribbean. The scope and magnitude of Pat’s work was honored in 1999 when she received the Florida International Volunteer Corps Outstanding Achievement award. In recent years Pat has dedicated time and training to FAVA/CA, sharing her expertise with clarity and dedicating her skills tirelessly.
Pat earned graduate and undergraduate degrees from Florida State University: B.A. Degree in Social Welfare April, 1967, and her Masters Degree in Social Work in 1983. She began her career as a psychiatric social worker at Big Spring State Hospital in Texas. In 1973, Patricia returned to Tallahassee where she became a protective services caseworker.
Pat’s extensive in-field accomplishments prepared her well to be a faculty member at Florida State University. Teaching graduate and undergraduate students is only one aspect of Pat’s work. In 1988, Pat joined the faculty at her alma mater as assistant professor, and now serves as Director of Field Instruction and International Programs, a responsibility that requires facilitating all international activities involving students and faculty. She coordinates and directs the administrative functions relating to placement and supervision of students throughout the state of Florida, the U.S., and abroad. Other academic responsibilities include conducting training workshops, performing various field administrative duties, and providing academic advising.
Work in the Caribbean began with a series of workshops to social workers in
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and training for social workers in Barbados on “Assessment and Interventions in Cases of Abuse and Neglect.” During a follow-up visit to St. Vincent, Pat conducted a workshop on “Interventions and Techniques in Counseling Children.” She also provided consultation to social workers at Upton Gardens Girls School in St. Lucia on “Clinical Interventions with Physically and Sexually Abused Children.”
Pat has provided training for probation and child protection workers, guidance counselors, nurses, police officers, and social workers in St. Kitts. Pat’s report titled “Crisis Intervention and Crisis Management: Developing a Plan of Action for St. Kitts” is considered an outstanding contribution.
More recently, Pat provided insight in understanding issues at the heart of successful assistance to countries in the Caribbean. One notable presentation is called, “International Experiences: What We Learn and Gain from Exchange and Collaboration.” Pat has provided sessions at conferences, at University of the West
Indies in Trinidad, Grenada and St. Kitts. Some topics of her training for guidance counselors in Trinidad are “Conflict Resolution and Anger Management” and “The Protection of Children in the Caribbean.”
In a recent telephone interview Pat says, “Working in the Caribbean has been the highlight of my career. Nothing else I have done has opened so many doors of opportunity for me. International work, particularly in the Caribbean, has given my life a sense of balance. When I am working with people there, I get a real perspective of things. This has been immensely helpful to the recipients of services, and gives students a sense of accomplishment that no university classroom can offer. The wonderful people of FAVA/CA have supported the development of internships throughout the Caribbean and for two years now have sponsored a trip to Trinidad for social work students interested in international work.”
All Florida Media Works
Cade and Associates
Carroll & Company, CPAs
Florida Department of Education
Development Alternatives Inc. (Haiti - Hillside Agriculture Project)
The Embroidered Department
Florida Department of Community Affairs
Florida Department of State
Gabriel's Moving & Storage
Graphic Edge Inc.
Pan American Development Foundation
Pan American Health Organization
Ron Sachs Communications
Tallahassee Farmers Market
USAID - Haiti
U.S. Embassy -Barbados
U.S. Southern Command