At Richmond Vale Academy we receive around 1000 guests a year from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, other Caribbean islands and even farther away from USA, UK, Ecuador, Mexico and other countries.
Even sailing groups come because they heard about this school at the foot of the volcano, which is an opportunity they cannot pass away.
We have an Open Door policy that says, “Guests are always welcome” so except for these Corona times, there is always someone to give a tour around the campus.
It is quite impressive that people take 1.5 hours to drive up a challenging road with goats and dogs running out in front of the car where patience and careful, slow driving is necessary to avoid accidents - to visit RVA at the end of the road or the beginning, depending on how you look at it.
The one thing that is driving people to this site is the constant presence in Radio, TV, and Public speaking showing all we CAN do to mitigate Climate Change and going against the usual attitude “to wait” for someone else to save you.
Since the first one 3 years back we have been part of 7 fairs. Not only do we talk to a lot of people who visit the fairs, but we also connect with other vendors, make friends, support their business – and invite them all to come and visit.
The Everything Vincy fairs consist of vendors from all over the islands, who exhibit their products from oils, jams, clothes, bags, embroidery, jewelry and much more.
The guests who visit the fairs are from all walks of life, they want to talk about Climate Change, teachers want to hear if they can bring a group, they want to discuss what to do with their son or daughter, who is presently not doing anything. They want to know what we are doing, if they can copy the home gardens and get advice about this or that because they have this idea.
We talk to app. 2-300 people at each fair and afterwards we have a run in of guests visiting RVA so there is clearly a connection. Radio and TV are always present so we get a chance to speak up.
The solar panels at Richmond Vale Academy are always a big attraction, this with the batteries how does it work and how can we become an energy sustainable nation – as the first country in the Caribbean? It is quite enticing when a foreigner complains about something or the other in St. Vincent and then to say that we are actually ahead of the game by being well on the way to become the first sustainable country on Energy!
The food we eat, yes of course no use of chemicals but how do we stop doing it and much more. The visitors are eager to discuss and learn and they are in no doubt that something else has to happen. Our children need to learn to farm differently and they need to learn how to prepare for what is to come with Global Warming and Climate Change.
We have promotion materials to hand out about everything we do from rental business, programs, Eco Tourism, Volcano hikes, SVG Horse School etc. It has been worthwhile to make these materials because this country is not overloaded so people keep it, pass it on and call us for more advice.
The printed material also makes people proud of their country and the fact that RVA is promoting St. Vincent and the Grenadines worldwide.
At the last fair we had a small pamphlet about Global Warming and Climate Change and what we the little people can do about it!
Else Marie Pedersen, Denmark.