Editor’s Note: The following is the first in a series of columns by local educator Barbara McVicker. McVicker spent many years teaching in the U.S. Virgin Islands and has traveled the world. These columns will detail some of the cultures she has encountered during her many journeys.
St. Croix is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands and it is a territory. It is also an island, not a continent like the U.S. You drive on the left side of the rode in the VI and on the ride side of the road in the U.S. You can also spend a fantastic day driving through the rainforest and enjoying nature.
We learned that it is very important to say “Good Morning, Good Afternoon, and Good Night” when greeting people. The first we visited St. Patrick’s Catholic School and entered the kindergarten room, the students stood up and greeted us with “Good Morning”. A lot of things are the same in teaching in the VI and the U.S. One thing I had to get used to was the fact that we had an iguana that frequently visited the school right in front of our class. We also had crab holes in our playground area and many times the crabs would poke their heads out.....maybe to see what we were doing.
At another school we visited we would see seaplanes flying out over the ocean.
We had some interesting talks with Horace Clark, a baseball player with the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres. Another time one of my classes drew pictures and sent them to Tim Duncan, NBA player for San Diego Spurs and he sent a picture to the our class. Both of these athletes are from St. Croix.
There are people from many cultures who live on island. Each has their own language. But, most people speak English and Cruzan/VI
Creole. And, the U.S. currency is used on island.
Do you know where the most Eastern part of the U.S. is located? It is at Point Udall on St. Croix. A beautiful location with an ocean view.
Art and music are an important part of the island. Sunset Jazz and Stanley and the Sleepless Nights are quite popular. There are also Jump Up Festivals and an Agricultural Festivals.
Mocko Jumbies are quite popular too.....you can see them in many activities around the island. “The Mocko Jumbies” a traditional and cultural icon can be seen in the Virgin Islands at Carnivals, Festivals and many cultural gatherings. Originally from Africa, it was a ritual masquerade dancer used to scare away evil spirits and help purify the village. Today a fun loving, dancing in the streets stilt walker surprises locals and visitors alike. Children as young as nine years old learn, train and master this Cultural art form. The painting featured is by local artist, Kurrisa Vialet, daughter of Senator and Mrs. Vialet, of “Ah Cultural Lifestyle”, a mocko jumbie herself, a Civil Engineer, enjoys painting cultural, colorful, whimsical pieces reflective of her culture of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Also is included is a picture of Miss Barbara to help show you how tall the Mocko Jumbies are....
There is so much more I could share about the U.S.V.I. If you are interested in more information for your students, please contact me.
Next on the journey of cultures will be Japan. When I had my preschool here in Hoopeston, I had a little girl from Japan attend my preschool for two months at a time for two years in a row. Right before we moved to St. Croix, they invited me to Japan for a visit. I learned so much while there and so thankful that I was able to visit Selin’s school.