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Grenada, Tourism and Vendome School Kids

August 30, 2012

I am the plumber/electrician/owner of True Blue Bay Resort and I have the dubious role of President of the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association. Most of the time my role as President is that of attending very boring meetings!  However every Wednesday for the past year I have had the privilege to spend some time at the Vendome Primary School teaching the kids about Tourism in Grenada. This initiave was created by our Minister of Education for Grenada, Franca Bernadine, in an effort to bring tourism home to the kids. Vendome is a small village high in the mountains of Grenada. It is very poor with an unemployment rate that makes Spain look like a Mecca for work.  The school building was totaled by Hurricane Ivan which hit Grenada in 2004 and to date the building is still being repaired. In the mean time the school building is a temporary “Nissan” hut. This consists of one room for 6 grades of 100 children and it is very hot and noisy with hardly any ventilation and the noise when it rains is unbearable.

My job is to make the kids aware of the importance of Tourism. Most of them believe that Tourism doesn’t affect them at all and that the only contact they have with tourists is when the Cruise ship buses pass the school on the way to Grand Etang, Grenada’s Crater Lake in the Rain Forest.

I have never taught school before so this has been a very enlightening experience. I started out following the curriculum but soon realised that this was way too boring, further more very few of the kids could read so school books were pretty useless. So we started to do more practical stuff like visiting the Forts of Grenada and visiting Grand Etang the crater lake. One of the favourite visits is to True Blue Bay Resort, where we actually put them to work for a few hours at Front Desk, Housekeeping and Restaurant etc. They love it especially when they finish work and get to use the swimming pool. We provide them with lunch and drinks and they return home with a far greater understanding of Tourism than 10 classes could achieve. It is quite amazing to see the transformation in the kids' awareness of their Island and the actual impact tourism can have on them and their families. They start out believing Tourism is for white people and finish wanting to be involved in this fascinating industry.

--Russ Fielden

If you would like to donate any school materials or more information about Vendome School, please contact russf@truebluebay.com

 





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