After a stint in clinical research, Gifft Hill School alumna Emese Nemeth is heading off to Malawi as Peace Corps volunteer.
CORAL BAY ? Trading in a research job for a chance to change the world, Gifft Hill School alumna Emese Nemeth is heading off to Malawi next month to teach biology to primary school students as a Peace Corps volunteer.
After graduating from Simmons College with a psychology-biology degree, Nemeth, now 24, spent two years working in clinical research but was not feeling fulfilled, she explained.?After graduation I was working in Boston in clinical research studying aging and dementia and the elderly,? said Nemeth. ?I did that for two years and realized that clinical research is not my calling. Then I read a book by Dr. Paul Farmer and it inspired me.?
?I really wanted to do more humanitarian type of work and help people on a large scale,? Nemeth said. ?I also wanted to work abroad, so the Peace Corps seemed like a natural fit.?
Nemeth began the lengthy Peace Corps application process in March 2014 and was not informed of her acceptance until December.
?Throughout the process you are interviewed and then you are nominated for a program and then you enter the doldrums,? said Nemeth. ?They just go through your application, which is pretty lengthy, and go over one thing at a time and then you get the acceptance.?
Nemeth was nominated for Peace Corps? education sector as a biology teacher and was given three countries from which to choose for her assignment, she explained.
?When I applied I didn?t put any preference for where I wanted to go,? Nemeth said. ?I was living in Boston at the time so I just wanted to be someplace warm. But I was nominated in the education sector and I had to choose between Malawi, Liberia and Ghana.?
?I chose Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, as my top choice and when I got my acceptance in December I was told I was going there,? she said.The Peace Corps commitment is a 27 month post with a three month training.
?I?m flying over on June 17 with a group of volunteers and we?ll do training for three months in Malawi,? said Nemeth. ?The training will be about the language, the culture and their way of life. English is the official language but in rural Malawi, which is where I will be posted, many people speak Chicewa, so I think it will be a mix of both languages.?
Freshman Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett spoke with more than 20 St. John residents at the Thursday, May 14, meeting.
CRUZ BAY ? Freshman Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett met with about two dozen St. John residents and officials at the V.I. Legislature in Cruz Bay on Thursday, May 14, and heard their issues and concerns while explaining her progress in representing the territory in Washington, D.C.
From doing free legal work for her committee leadership ?to get some leverage as a non-voting member,? to working on implementing a special visa waiver program in USVI for Caricom residents and securing more federal highway money and rum tax rebates, to being an original co-sponsor of special tax waiver got National Guard members, Del. Plaskett described her hectic life as a freshman, non-voting member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
?We?re just trying to do some creative things,? Del. Plaskett told her attentive audience, including working with federal transportation and homeland security officials ?to really understand that we are a third border.?
?Between West Indies and Puerto Rico, 40 percent of the drugs to mainland are coming through us,? Del. Plaskett said succinctly. ?That accounts for much of the violence.?
Workhorse Not Showhorse?I?m trying to be known as not a show horse, but a work horse,? said the V.I. Delegate who has ?signed onto 36 bills and 124 letters,? with other members of Congress.
?Unless I know it says the Virgin Islands on it I?m not signing it,? she explained.
St. John Issues?I know the people of St. John have very unique issues,? Del. Plaskett told her attentive Love City audience.
Working with O?Bama
?You can?t push him to do something,? Plaskett said of her interaction with President Obama. ?He has to make it his own brilliant idea,?
Federal Bailout for USVI??How do we think we can go to the federal government and ask them for a billion dollars,? Del. Plaskett said of a federal bailout for the V.I. ?What we should be doing is putting the proper support mechanisms in place before
?Granted there are places where we haven?t been given our fair share,? the freshman delegate continued. ?But, the way we have been managed has been so poor.
CRUZ BAY ? Ashley Till, a familiar face on St. John after two years at the UVI Center at The Marketplace, has found her niche on Love City, replacing veteran island librarian Carol McGuinness who retired in 2014. Till brings much enthusiasm and many ideas for library-goers of all ages. The Elaine Sprauve Library will host an open house on Thursday, May 28, from 3 to 5 p.m. for the public to meet the new St. John Librarian. Sponsored by Friends of the Library, light refreshments will be served and future plans discussed. All are welcome!
Elaine I. Sprauve Librarian Ashley Till is putting her mark on the restored greathouse library that has a strong non-profit ?Friends of? support group. Till has been working closely with St. Thomas Head Librarian Symra Chinnery.
ST. JOHN ?Relatives of Inner Visions bandleader Phillip ?Grasshopper? Pickering say he?s moved into a new phase of recovery, following a late March health scare.
Mother Irma Pickering said the veteran musician and St. John community activist checked into a Puerto Rico rehabillitation center May 14 after being treated at the Veteran?s Administration Hospital since Easter Sunday.
Family members took to social media over the weekend to celebrate the singer, songwriter and guitarist?s birthday on May 13. Meanwhile a weekend lineup of musical artists staged a May 16 fundraiser in Woodstock, New York, benefitting Grasshopper.
?He?s come a long way. I?ve been to visit him twice,? Irma said, adding that other family members who traveled to Puerto Rico to visit him in the hospital are also pleased with his progress.
The local reggae star was airlifted by way of AeroMed after spending a week at the Schneider Regional Medical Center to the VA Hospital?s Intensive Care Unit April 5. Relatives are praising the treatment he received while abroad.
?The VA Hospital took very good care of him and the nurses were so nice, and everyone spoke English,? she said. ?They treated him like a king.?
Doctors have told Pickering?s relatives they will make a determination on the next phase of recovery after one week at the therapy center.
Meanwhile, the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock reported brisk sales of the May 16 Reggae for Life concert, reporting a limited number of tickets would be avialable at the door the night of the show. Local artists joining with Jamaican performers to make musical magic included Ras T Asheber, Iya Ingi, Julia Nichols, Queen Tubby, K Vibes, Ras Atiba, Lion Melta, BOMBMOB and the female singing group, Harmony.
The race will start at 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 24 from Maho Bay beach.
ST. JOHN ? Friends of VI National Park?s largest-ever Beach-to-Beach Power Swim May 24 is coming up fast. Registration is still open, but is limited to 350 swimmers and filling fast. If you are interested in swimming please register soon to avoid disappointment. Registration fees are $65 for adults and $30 for those under 18. Register on-line at www.friendsvinp,org/swim or by phone at 340-779-4940.
You can also register in person at the Friends of the Park Store or office in Mongoose Junction, at Connections in Cruz Bay and Coral Bay, at Caribbean Surf Co in Red Hook or Havensight on St. Thomas, and at SCUBA in Christiansted on St. Croix.
Late registration (@ $85 for adults and $50 for those under 18) will also be available at the Pre-race Meeting on Saturday evening at Cinnamon Bay Campground ? if space is still available.
There will be absolutely no registration on race day (Sunday).
To prepare for the race please visit www.friendsvinp.org/swim and review the sections on: the race information; competition rules; and, course description.
CRUZ BAY ? St. John Administrator Camille Parris Jr. says he wants to give the public a chance to clear the air with Virgin Islands National Park officials at a town meeting May 26.
Residents who show up at the St. John Legislature for the 6 p.m. meeting will have a chance to question VINP officials and comment on any aspect of park operations. Without sharing much detail, Parris said he chose the National Park as the May 26 topic because some residents raised issues with him about the National Park Service.
Virgin Islands National Park Superintendent Brion Fitzgerald, a 37-year employee with the National Park Service who began his stewardship on St. John two and a half years ago, said he accepted Parris? invitation to attend the town meeting.
?He (Paris) had somebody call me and ask if I was willing to participate in a town hall meeting,? Fitzgerald said.
Other than that, there will be a few other speakers addressing the public at that time, Fitzgerald said.
The island administrator said he wanted to be more of a facillitator at the May 26 meeting and leave the talking to his constituents.
The Virgin Islands National Park has been around since 1956. Some of the most common issues raised between park officials and St. John residents over the years touch on fishing rights, traditional use of the coastline, historic estate roads and access to landlocked private property within the park boundaries.
There have been on-going attempts by Virgin Islands government officials to negotiate a land exchange with the NPS for park property in the center of the island with an eye towards relocating the Julius E. Sprauve School in Cruz Bay.
Fitzgerald, a soft-spoken former park ranger, said he became familiar with the St. John park through other NPS administrators he met and served with while at Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida.