Unless you’ve been living under a rock, which is truly tough to do these days with an ongoing pandemic, then you would have heard of the volcano eruption on the island of Saint Vincent, in the Caribbean.
Beautiful, beautiful Saint Vincent and the Grenadines! You remember how much I fell in love with it back in 2019, when I was there for a week for the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s sustainable tourism conference? It was my second visit to the island, but my first time staying on the volcanic mainland.
Or maybe you remember how much I had been gushing about my trip — particularly that last day I spent on Saint Vincent, on the leeward side of the volcanic island. A day I spent guided by Rose Hall community leader Selwyn “Selly” Patterson who was happy to show me around his northernmost community of Rose Hall and shared the history of his island’s Afro-Vincentian roots.
We visited Richmond Vale Academy, a “different kind of school” where visitors and locals and visiting faculty can learn about climate change, permaculture, organic farming and all the ways in which sustainability can function in the Caribbean. We visited Marie’s organic fruit and vegetables garden in her backyard in Petit Bordel community, after training with Selly, who used to teach at Richmond Vale.
From waterfalls to listening to Garifuna history and resistance against British colonialists, it was a day filled with nature and heritage and I couldn’t wait to share it with my readers. Thankfully, I did — in a six page spread feature in issue 10 of InterCaribbean Airways magazine.
Fast-forward to April 2021.
It saddens me to say that today, all of this area I visited two years ago was badly damaged by ash as the volcano in northern Saint Vincent, La Soufriere, erupted for the first time since 1979 and continues to sporadically erupt with no end in sight.
The Rose Hall community, home to Selly, had to evacuate as did many others in that northeastern tip of Saint Vincent, which is now known as “the red zone.”
Imagine how already distressing this pandemic is, and then having to — overnight — grab your basic necessities and evacuate your home. Then to be told you’ll have to stay in a shelter or if you’re extremely lucky, in the home of a kind stranger or friend. Indefinitely. I just can’t imagine it.
So here I am, asking all of you wonderful people to give what you can to support the beautiful community of Rose Hall.
Selwyn, who runs the Rose Hall Cultural and Development Organization, is the point person to purchase and distribute items needed to his community. In fact, he started doing that very quickly, alongside his Rose Hall organization colleagues, without asking for outside help.
Any amount you can donate, that your heart tells you to give at this time, is welcomed. This community will be in it for the long haul before they can return home — possibly a whole year.
To get a sense of the levels of destruction on this side of Saint Vincent, here’s a recent report below from Rose Hall by SVG News, a local source. You can also click here for recent Channel 4 News footage from UK reporters who visited recently.
A. How You Can Donate to Rose Hall Community
For donations, which are needed to buy supplies as well as food those displaced and living in shelters, here is the info below – all funds will go directly to Selly. I prefer it this way because I can 100 percent vouch for his organization.
- By Bank Wire Transfer
To: Rose Hall Cultural and Development Organization Inc.
Address: Rose Hall, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Bank of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (BOSVG)
Account No. 130513
Swift Code BICNCBVVC22
Bank Address: Granby Street, Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Bank Phone: 1-784-457 1844
2. By Western Union or Moneygram – *This method is faster
Send the funds addressed to: Selwyn Patterson
For any additional questions, you can get in touch directly with Selwyn at the information above or on Facebook.
B. Drop Off Supplies — in NYC
If you are in the New York Area, this flyer shows donation locations and items needed — from another colleague who is a trusted tourism professional.
Thank you so much for considering donating, however much. For myself, I plan to donate my fee from that feature article I wrote for InterCaribbean Airways’ in-flight magazine, as soon as I wrap up this post.
If you’d like to share how you’re helping Saint Vincent, feel free to share in the comments, it would be wonderful for them to know how much support they’re getting.
When all returns to normal one day, God willing, I hope you make it to Rose Hall — it’s simply a magical place with magical people. To stay tuned to ongoing news on the volcano, follow the University of West Indies Seismic Centre.
Thank you in advance for your generosity. I am so grateful to have you all as part of my community here. Stay safe out there.