January 20, 2009
Nevisian Paradise
Garricks Pasture
Nevis, West Indies

Greetings from Paradise
"Celebration Time! Barack Hussein Obama Becomes the 44th President of the Untied States of America"

Hello Everyone,

Well, this was a day, long-anticipated and one forever-to-be-remembered. Lee and our daughter Gayle and husband Nick from Brooklyn were in Washington D.C. with VIP tickets in hand celebrating in a glorious, sunny, clear, brisk, cold winter day.

For many reasons, I had chosen to remain in Nevis and celebrate with twelve local women and dear friends and one ex-pat, Leslie, who in Michigan similar to Lee and myself in California had worked to ensure Barack Obama’s successful election. Juliet Walters, a friend and woman who hosts the radio show, The Way Up, on which I occasionally appear, is in the catering and food business and prepared the delicious light meal for us. Vannessa and I baked the cakes.

In great joy, we all gathered early–a rarity in Nevis–for the celebration which began with a prayer circle on our front covered verandah overlooking the Caribbean Sea on warm sunny day. Dressed to the nines, we held hands and each offered prayers from our own hearts and belief. Then we came inside in our great room and formed a circle each offering our silent prayer under the large graphic portrait of Barack Obama hanging on our wall. Afterwards we sat down for our quick lunch and then gathered in the great room to watch this once-in-a-lifetime auspicious event.

When the program began and the Star Spangled Banner was sung, each Nevisian woman, along with Leslie and myself, put her hand over her heart and sang the words verbatim. After the solemnity of the President’s oath and speech and auspicious moment of the day, a joyous celebration and hoopla and comradery filled our home in Nevis. It was a moment in time, neither my friends nor I will ever forget.

Top row left to right: Ernestine, Veronica, Ruth, Hilarena, Julie, Cheryl
Bottom row left to right, Juliet, Vernie, Leslie and Vannessa, 1-20-09.

That evening, I was honored to be on a panel with Evered Webbo Herbert, General Manager of VON radio and moderator of Let’s Talk , the premier weekly talk show of the Powerhouse of the Eastern Caribbean. This was the greatest honor in my 18 years in Nevis. The other two panelists were Kenneth Williams, Publisher of The Observer, one of the leading local newspapers and Edric Stanley, one of the leading senior business men. Our discussion focused on Barack Obama and Can Nevisians Change? When Webbo introduced me, he reminded those in the audience that I had been an early supporter of Barack Obama when few thought he had a chance and that I was white. I quickly interrupted Webbo and responded with the likes of,“Webbo, I am no more white, than you are black...Yes, you are darker and I am lighter...but we are all on the same spectrum-different hues--but the same spectrum.” (Months later, people were still coming to me and sharing that they liked the message I had given. My response was to pass it on and keep it alive.) Then we continued on in a lively interaction--not always in agreement--but polite and respectful as we responded to each other also to the incoming phone calls.

When I later crawled into bed in the wee hours of the next day, I reflected until dawn on the topic, Can Nevisians Change? I thought of the journey my Nevisian friends’ ancestors--and all those of African slavery decent–who had each traveled through the most horrific human experience, a personal holocaust and attempted dehumanization of the middle passage and realized that their ancestors--who had obviously survived--had left them with a legacy of strength, survival, determination and a gene pool that few others on this planet can ever match. I believe that the Nevisians can do anything they decide to do. It is not, if they are capable, but if they have the will. Four months later in May, before we left Nevis to return to the US, with an ache and pain in my heart reflected in my voice and holding back tears in my eyes, I shared these thoughts personally with Webbo. And yes I do believe, the people in Nevis can do anything they decide to if they have the will. So, yes, they can change! With love and prayers in my heart always for Barack Obama, the people of Nevis, my dear family and friends.

Love and later, Ruth