Bringing smiles to a neighbourhood

written by Cristina Amato

The situation for people living on the island of Saint Vincent has been hard in recent months. To support a community still displaced after volcanic eruptions, Logos Hope’s crewmembers installed an outdoor playground which was donated and shipped in from the USA.

The Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment visited during the four-day installation in Mesopotamia (‘Mespo’), east of the island’s capital city. St. Clair Prince said: “The location is close to a pre-school and we have many children here but no place for them to play, so such a place as this is really needed.”

While the ship's volunteers were digging holes and preparing the ground for the installation, local people stopped and watched with curiosity. When they were shown pictures of how the playground would look, they were enlightened.

A local man called Rafiq said: “These children here never saw something like that, they will enjoy it a lot!” A mother who came with her daughter to watch what was happening confirmed: “There is no other playground around; finally our children have their own place to play.” Eight-year-old Florette couldn’t wait to play on the equipment and came running from her house, which is close by, many times to check progess. She said: “I want to come here with my sister every day!” Nine-year-old Kidani said: “I want to go on the slide as soon as it’s open!”

Simon Hueberli (Switzerland) says, “Mister William, an older man from the neighbourhood, really appreciated our work and was so thankful for the donation for the community that he asked if he could help and then joined us at work.”

When the volunteers finished setting up the playground and cleaned it, more than 30 children arrived immediately, to slide, climb and play.

The ship’s community is well known in the neighbourhood as the playground location is near temporary shelter accommodation which crew have been visiting to test people’s eyesight and hand out free glasses. Many local people were open to talk to the volunteers and asked for Bibles, which the teams could supply, thanks to a large shipment of donations from the Ship Ministry’s literature centre. One crewmember said:  “At the end of the day, all the Bibles we brought with us in a big box were gone as word spread that we are from the book ship and people asked us directly if they could have one. It’s great to see how hungry the neighbourhood is for God’s Word and that we could meet that need.”