It's certainly not the worst way to end what has been a difficult year. Solana’s is open again, back to regular hours. Threadworks too. There's bingo at De Reef, dancing at Sugar Reef. Keegan’s is hiring chefs, servers and receptionists. The Bequia Plantation is serving breakfast again. The light ups are lighting up.
In any other year, these might have seemed like little things. This year, they don’t. The sun kept rising, true, but there were times when it felt like a long, dark night. We’re all beginning to rub our eyes a bit, making a big stretch to greet 2021.
Despite all the uncertainties, I'm happy to say that we've been able to do a lot this year. We've delivered relief vouchers to hundreds of families. Thanks to the donations made in memory of Ron Cutajar, we've been able to buy a new boat for the Junior Sailing Academy Bequia and support the work of the Sunshine School, both programs very dear to Ron. We expanded the scholarship program, helping students access education on the mainland. Jamell Ollivierre has been able to continue his studies. He'll be a doctor one day, and there's no pandemic in the world that will stop him. Gabby Ollivierre and Kadeen Hazell have both graduated. She's a chef, he's a pilot.
We've sponsored students to attend martial arts classes, and, through staffing the library at the Bequia Anglican Primary School, to encourage a love of reading. Thanks to Solana's initiative, we were able to get all the textbooks students needed. We delivered chromebooks to island schools, and we've kept kids learning and engaged at the Learning Centre. We've interested an architect in creating a new school for Bequia (watch this space for news on that in the coming months).
Despite the distances, we've come to know and appreciate each other in new ways. And, unlike this time last year, we know exactly what 2021 will demand of us. To keep our noses on our own faces, to be sure, but also to pitch in, help out. To support our neighbours and our communities. The support from those around us has never meant as much as it does now. We know that it will be important to keep our distance for some time yet, but we've also been reminded of the value of looking into each other's eyes and saying "good morning."
We’re ending the year with a bit of hope. There may be yet more boats for the sailing program, more chromebooks, and certainly more textbooks for students. We'll continue the relief program, and the scholarships. We look forward to helping Tauran Ollivierre get new basketball standards for the hard court in Paget Farm, and establishing an annual tournament. We'll gather data in hopes of lessening the effect of Dengue in the years ahead.
There'll more learning, more growing, and, when able, more time spent together. There'll be more people helping others to find their aspirations and follow their dreams. If you're able to support any of these projects, you can do that here. Tax receipts are available for all donations, and they are very appreciated.
Through it all, 2021 may turn out to be a very good year. Wishing you the best of the holiday season and a very happy and healthy new year.