Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Poor man beggar
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Friday. May 15, 2009
Poor man beggar
By William “Kojah”
SOME FORMER STUDENTS
of the Richmond Vale Academy have given up the institution and are up in arms with the operators.
Christopher ‘Ras Jonah’ George, Jasmine Jackson and Audrey Caboz gave their assessment of the Academy, an they believe that they have been conned. ‘Ras Jonah’ has training in farming, in addition to skills as a chef. He is from New Jersey, USA, and responded to an advertisement, lulled by the prospect of working in Africa.
He paid US $3500 to cover enrolment and fees. Eight months were to be spent at Richmond Vale Academy, six before and two following a six month period in Africa. ‘Ras Jonah’ joined a team of 19 students in March.
But the situation eventually dawned on him, and it became obvious that things were not what he expected. “The biggest lesson I have learnt is that you need to research before joining any organization, ‘Ras Jonah’ said. “The only thing that is structured is our cleaning and cooking,” he added.
The New Jersey man decried operations at Richmond Val and declared: “All they do is exploit the labour of the students and local people.”
Ras Jonah requested a refund of his money when he determined, in his mind, that he was not getting value. He received US $1,000 and in a letter from Richmond Vale Academy written by Stina Herberg, she declared that the repayment was “out of courtesy and because the Richmond Vale Academy is any way obligated to do so.”
“There is nothing concrete going on at the Academy,” as far as Ras Jonah was concerned. He worried about airing his views on the situation “ I am more afraid for the people who are still there,” Ras Jonah chimed. But he indicated that, “It is bad for everybody.” Ras Jonah contends that the “reputation of the country” is at stake.
Jackson is Vincentian born. She lived at Gomea before migrating to the USA 23 years ago. She too was enticed by the promise of an African sojourn, and having graduated in Family and Child Study ans with an internship in HIV/AIDS, Jackson was anticipating the journey to the continent. She too is depressed with what she found at the Richmond Vale Academy and vowed that she was “not going to sit there and let this woman dictate to me.” She questioned the Academy and vowed “to make Vincentians know what is going on.”
Caboz is French born, from Paris. She borrowed money to enlist in the programmed and found herself in a predicament. “I did not feel good with the idea of begging for money on the street,” Caboz said. She expected to be doing community work but asserted: “We are not helping anybody in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I just beg money on the streets.” Worthy of an investigation?