In a developing country both water and funding are commodities that assume an importance rarely appreciated in industrialised, wealthy countries. The lack of both has increased the level of stress and urgency I feel in my work. As I prepared to return to Ontario for a brief visit my mind was still preoccupied with how to generate funding for the Youth Programme and at home the preoccupation is keeping the buckets and bottles full as the water is at best erratic.
The water shortage continues to become more severe. No rain of significance has fallen for several months, and the drought is as extended as any that can be remembered. Given a superficial glance the island looks as lush, green and fertile as ever however a more critical look reveals dry rivers, dry reservoirs, hillside fires and no water running off the mountains into town. The end result is more extensive water lock-downs during which the National Water Board simply shuts down the water and there is nothing running through the city system. The problem is most severe in Kingston and makes life difficult for all, but particularly difficult for those in the garrisons. There are now days without water at every residence that does not have a private water source and whole communities that are without water for days on end. However, resourcefulness is abdundant here and people seem to manage. The forecast suggests rain is a possibility soon which will help immensely.
The funding issue will not be as easily resolved. There is no forecast of a funding deluge and with the re-engagement of loans from the IMF funding for education and youth programmes will likely be harder to generate. Daily articles in the paper call for attention to youth but they do not seem to promote a tangible response from the Government. The value of the programme is clearly illustrated when there are over 50 students who arrive at 8:00a.m during the school holidays when their cohorts are out and about relaxing. But however valuable the programme is seen to be by students, parents or schools funding does not seem to be forthcoming or accessible.
My next focus will be to approach the Ministry of Justice and try to pursuade those of influence that this programme could provide a wonderful pilot project as an alternative measures programme to divert young offenders from the court system. It may be seen as serving well for the Ministry as they are currently being criticised for their lack of action. Here's hoping!
My apologies to regular readers for the delay and limitations of this entry but I have been happily distracted due to travelling to Ontario for a brief and busy visit. The days spent in Toronto have provided a wonderful opportunity to see family and friends, as well as reflect from a distance in "the year" so far. As I meet with colleagues at the conference I am attending and respond to their interest in how the year is going I am once again profoundly aware and appreciative of the tremendous opportunity this year is offering.