Heidi Roberts, of Kitchen Talk and Travels, has written a blog for Charitable Travel about her visits to the Caribbean Island of Grenada and her philanthropic work with a local primary school.
In 2015 I visited the Caribbean island of Grenada as part of a press trip in order to generate content for my blog. The trip was one week, and I opted to stay a further week. I love the Caribbean and as a travel blogger thought that it would just be another island to cross off my list. How wrong was I!!
I had found my ‘happy place’ vowing to return as often as I could.
As part of this trip I accompanied the owner of our resort on a visit to a school he supported situated in a tiny village called Vendome. The school gets very little government support and like the other primary schools have to rely on their teachers’ good will and ingenuity to source essential school supplies. The head teacher told me she had paid the equivalent of £16 for one stapler!
I was so moved by the happy, friendly, and lovely children along with the supportive staff that I set out to do something to help. I started collecting school supplies and secondhand school shoes (many of the children turn up without shoes and have to be sent home). So far, I have organised 11 barrels to be sent to the school however we have stopped for a while due to the pandemic.
The first barrel arrived while my husband and I were there on our third visit. You should have seen the children’s faces. You would have thought it was Christmas and the secondhand books and shoes were made out of gold!
I have tried to raise funds to pay for the barrels and always appreciate any help with this. However the problem in Grenada is across the Caribbean islands and there is an organisation you can contact called Pack For A Purpose who will advise you what you can take in your suitcase to augment the supplies the schools so badly need.
I have unofficially adopted the RC Vendome School and on each visit to the island I now visit a couple of times and always bring them as much as we can fit into our suitcases (I use the space this gives me for the return journey to stock up on local produce especially cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate!
The first time I visited the school the children had their lunch, and it was a very small bowl of broth with a few pasta shapes and a tiny chicken leg. Well can you imagine the effect that had on a Grandmother, mother, food blogger and self-confessed ‘feeder’! I vowed that the next time I returned I would cook something with some of the older children. The Head Teacher asked if I could make pizza with them.
For the next 12 months I could think of nothing else. I would make pizzas with the children however I didn’t know what ingredients I could get on the island and what equipment the school had so I brought it all with me! The kids loved this session and started working in teams with natural leaders shining out, future chefs appearing and everyone loving it. This has become an annual event and we make enough for all of the 120 children to have a piece!
I really look forward to the cooking session. It has become one of the highlights of my visits. Unfortunately, 2020 meant I couldn’t visit however I will be booking my flights and hotels as soon as it is safe to once more do so.
There are plenty of posts to read on my blog about Grenada often referred to as ‘my happy place’ and if you get the chance to visit the island I know you will fall in love with it. If you do, I am sure Charitable Travel will be happy to help you make your travel plans.
To plan your next holiday, to Grenada or elsewhere, to volunteer or to relax, call Charitable Travel on 020 3092 1288 or email [email protected]!