Glebe Hill Preschool, St. Vincent. Then (1986) & Now (2017)


In 1986, I volunteered in the rural Caribbean community of Barrouallie, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I played a small part in developing a preschool that is still helping kids get a better start, and for that opportunity I’m grateful. Just over thirty years and change later, I returned.

I sometimes felt the presence of my younger self, like seeing the ghost image in a rangefinder camera. The occasional person remembered me, calling out ‘hey teacha, welcome back’, sprinkled with the affectionate ‘you be balder and bigger now.’ No argument here. A few offered me Hairoun beer, so no complaints either…

Welcome to this gallery of some photographs from my time working in international development. Scroll/swipe down to see the photos. You can also read Go South Young Man, reflections on a time in the development sector.

Glebe Hill preschool kids, St. Vincent. 2017


The preschool – which has around triple the students we had in ’86 – is an independent school that runs on local support, some international funds, and limited government help. I heard along the way that the preschool was considered one of the most successful in the country, and the Vincentian government used it as a model while creating other preschools.

Some of the kids in this photo: Lisandra, Mikhail, Anyiah, Shanique, Tasha

Zeddy enjoying a Hairoun beer, St. Vincent. 2017


Zeddy enjoying a Hairoun beer. Hairoun was the Indigenous Carib peoples’ word for the island, meaning Home of the Blessed.

Black Caribs are descendants born of the mingling of the indigenous Caribs and enslaved Africans brought to the islands in the 18th century. Black Caribs make up less than 2% of the population of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and are often found in very isolated and impoverished communities. The Black Caribs are the people who originated the ‘Garifuna’ people after part of their community was expelled from St. Vincent in 1797 and exported to the island of Roatán, Honduras, from where they migrated to the coast of the mainland of Central America, spreading as far as Belize and Nicaragua.

There is prejudice against the Black Caribs, another lesson in the complex interplay of inequality, colonial history and modern identity.

Gentlemen in Kingstown for Carnival, St. Vincent. 1986


I don’t know the names of these two gentlemen, but this was taken during carnival. They stood liked they owned the town.

Carnival, or Vincy Mass, is a wild celebration of music and heritage with street parties, steel pan calypso performances, costume parades. It goes on for a few days. I was the photographer for one of the floats. I remember that day, but Sunset rum might have obscured the others.

Trench Town girl, Kingston, Jamaica. 2009

Girl in TrenchTown

This girl, whose name I unfortunately can’t remember, was standing outside a community library that offered social and educational programs in Trench Town. Almost directly behind me as I took this photo was Bob Marley’s small ‘government yard’ house in the community.


I was in Kingston to write a few stories and make a video about a project Cuso supported that helped kids navigate – both legally and emotionally – through the court system.



Organic rice farmer, Isaan, Thailand. 1994

Isaan farmer 3

This is Ahmorn on her organic rice farm. I was involved with the Nova Scotia Environment & Development Coalition, which had a solidarity project with environment and community groups in Thailand. We were able to send several farmers to visit successful organic farms in other parts of Asia, and brought a few farmers to Nova Scotia as well.

seeding rice

Thailand was my second volunteer stint abroad, but a shorter posting. I was there supporting the Nova Scotia-Thailand solidarity project, as well as write articles for a Canadian audience on topics including sustainable development, community-based tourism, farming and fair trade.