So I just got back from the Red Cross. It was a really interesting day. When I showed up, Terry, one of ladies I will be working with, was about to start a CPR session. So she let me sit in so I could update my certification. I was really impressed with the program! I thought maybe they might have older materials and info because of having to bring stuff from the US, but it was very up to date and there were plenty of materials. It was a good refresher for me. They are doing First Aid tomorrow, but I won't be able to go because I'll be at the Peace Corps office. I think there were about 10 of us in the class. All of them were St. Lucian except for me and one guy from the UK who is a hellicopter pilot here. He got a job here because of economic struggles in the UK. Also, towards the end Terry mentioned that I might be able to attend training classes to become an instructor later in the year... which really perked my ears up.
It was really fascinating during the CPR class to note the cultural differences from stateside CPR classes. For example, the teacher was asking students what an accident scene might look like in St. Lucia if a car hit a pedestrian. The students were saying things like, "everybody would run in to find out what was going on," traffic would go crazy and chaotic," and "nobody might call 911 because they would think someone else would." The teacher mentioned that some St. Lucians might stop the closest car or truck and immediately move the injured person(s) into it to go to the hospital without first checking to see if it is ok to move the person. So the teacher was sort of adding these little thoughts to the lesson so that the students would be prepared to handle an emergency in a St. Lucian context... since the materials and DVD are from the states. It was fun for me, cause I never really imagined taking a CPR class in another country or culture. :)
After class and lunch Terry sat down with me to tell me about their youth programs. They do youth groups in many schools around St. Lucia, they do a Mr. and Ms. Red Cross pageant with representatives from a lot of schools, there's a Red Cross day, and a bunch of other stuff. Bennet, the guy I will share an office with, used to do youth development with the Red Cross and is now doing more with disaster preparedness and relief. I got to speak with him a little bit and I have a feeling I will be talking with him a lot more. He has a lot of knowledge about the areas of need here and methods for reaching youth and such.
I spent the rest the afternoon reading over HIV/AIDS program materials and brainstorming/wondering about what is to come. It's hard for me to have solid ideas right now because I feel like I need to get to know the communities and people and culture more before I can have an understanding for what might be appropriate and effective as far as programming goes. I am really excited about working with the Red Cross though and I like the staff a lot. They all seem really passionate about what they are doing. I hope that I can be a big help to them. :)