A green jeep pulls up. “My name is “C”….you the addressing people?”
I answer – “Yes”
“I’ll let everyone know you comin’ – I run the interior section” and he drives off.
I actually have no clue how far I am from home. I looked today and for all of my software wizardry I turned to google maps and it couldn’t calculate a route. Of course you need a good starting point and it’s hard to pin down these days.
Tuesday March 26th found me on the island of St Croix on a job. Yes – I’m actually working in the US Virgin Islands. I’m the subcontractor on a job here. That morning I pulled into the area known as Mon Bijou and started working. We decided to stick out and put orange vests on…like we weren’t going to stick out already. Orange vests and chasing bits of paper and bags all over a field wears you out on a good day. Especially with no shade and not enough water. Cars make terrible desks.
That’s pretty much when “C” appeared. I never know quite what to make of people these days. Color still has a hard time registering with me. I joke about it a lot though. I will mutter “Oh here comes the white guy” quite a bit at times. It makes me chuckle. This neighborhood is probably 95% African American. I never think twice about it most of the time. I could really care less…but being 1500 miles away does make you wonder if you are wanted in the spot you occupy.
The next day “C” reappeared. As it turns out he runs the Mon Bijou Community Center. It’s three very nondescript cinder block buildings just west of nowhere. He unlocked the gate and opened the door. He offered us food. He offered us water. He gave us electricity. His name is Craig.
The best part about GIS are the stories. At least for me. The geometry is incidental to the big picture. The big picture turned into the community center. Approximately 5 employees work here. Classes range from after school programs to Tae-Kwon-Do to zumba classes. Craig used to be quite the guy…trouble….run ins with the law…some jail time – I think the correct term is ex convict. Now, the community center is his business and business is good. His goal is to stop kids from doing what he did. He applied and received a large grant. A grant big enough to expand the operation and build new buildings. He gets a bigger and better computer room (did I mention he has a decent recording studio here). He gets a bigger place to hold classes (he turns away people because he’s at full capacity now). …and there we sat. The job was saved because he opened a door and gave us a spot to sit. He got to name two of the roads in the area. So he let his VP pick the road names. The VP most likely isn’t 18 yet.
“You tell your kids…and your grandkids you got to name these roads. That’s something. Not everyone gets to do that”.
Not everyone gets to sit in the Mon Bijou Community Center. I did. That was something.