Gay Nagle Myers is visiting Nevis while in St. Kitts for the Caribbean Tourism Organization's annual conference. Her dispatch follows.
The kids from Charlestown Primary School on Nevis were very eager to tell me about their island. I met them on the ferry from St. Kitts to Nevis as they were returning from a field trip “to see the industries.”
Atalia wrapped her arms around a large pillow and said. “This. We saw how they make this and then they gave us one.”
St. Kitts is known for its batik fabrics and patterns created by Caribelle Batik Factory, which Atalia and her classmates had toured.
Most of the class of 10-year-olds had never been off their island of Nevis, except for occasional trips to St. Kitts, 2.5 miles across the water on a 45-minute ferry ride.
I asked them to describe their island.
“We have a lot of beaches, a lot of beautiful places to go,” Atiesha told me.
“There are monkeys all over and they climb trees. I do too,” she said.
Nevis, as well as St. Kitts, is well-known for its green vervet monkeys that first came to the islands in the 17th century, liked what they saw and stayed and multiplied.
Some say there are more monkeys than people on tiny Nevis.
Makaria told me that her father is a preacher.
“He goes around to churches and talks to people,” she said.
The kids were excited when we passed Mount Nevis, its peak shrouded in clouds.
None of them had ever hiked the trails leading up to the peak, 3,332 feet high.
“Sometimes I can see the top of the mountain, but mostly it has clouds around it,” Atalia said.
They told me that Charlestown, the capital, has “a nice library, but the computer is sometimes broken. We have some computers at our school.”
Surprisingly, some of these kids had Facebook accounts but none of them had cell phones.
“My mama won’t let me. It is too expensive,” Scottie said.
Most of them live outside Charlestown and walk or take the bus to school for two EC dollars (about 75 cents).
“Nevis is very nice. It is sunny and warm and we like it here. We know everyone,” Atiesha said.
The kids, however, have a bit of wanderlust.
“I want to go to Miami and maybe even New York. I have an auntie in England. Maybe I will go there one day,” she said.
At the ferry dock, the teachers hustled the kids off the boat where mamas, grandmothers and some fathers were waiting for their sons and daughters.
They waved and told me to come back one day and visit them.
Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.