We had a short (only about 6 hours) port day in St. Thomas, USVI today but it was enough time to finish a good chunk of volunteer work at the local Humane Society and still have a chance to visit a gorgeous beach. I was glad to see that St. Thomas has a Humane Society and it seems to be well supported with both funding and volunteers. There’s obviously considerable need for it as it was full of adult dogs, a couple of litters of puppies, and about 60 cats and kittens. The students dove right in to walk dogs, wash dogs, paint a kennel, reorganize a closet (probably the most heroic and necessary task of the day), and inventory donations. I had brought my camera so I found myself unexpectedly in the role of Dog Photographer (phodographer?). Like many shelters, this one has discovered that animals are more likely to be adopted if they have a cute photo online that doesn’t depict them in a cage. I hope I met expectations!
I will say that this experience was a good lesson for everybody in the challenges of managing a volunteer- and donation-based organization. As a group of 14 we slightly strained the abilities of the 2-3 paid staff to keep us moving in the right direction. And the state of the closet that our students reorganized was a testament to the perils of accepting donations: you get stuff, you hope it’s the right stuff, you have to find a place to put it and a system to put it to use. All in all I am sure we left the Humane Society a little better than we found it, and the staff were grateful for our help.
After the Humane Society we went to Sapphire Beach. A couple people had told me it was sort of a “lesser” beach but if that’s true I’m not sure I could handle the “nicer” beach. Sapphire is beautiful, set in a little round bay with a great view over to St. John, and with a comfy cantina and seating area for when you need a break from swimming in the gorgeous blue ocean. The students loved it enough that most of them did not even want to go souvenir shopping, and souvenir shopping is usually their favorite thing.
I have more pictures but getting them uploaded is proving to be a struggle so I will just say goodbye to St. Thomas and give a shout-out to our fantastic van driver Petra. After today she is definitely an honorary MGA Knight!