Focus on the strengths in your service…..

In Peace Corps service the first few months you spend building a community profile, assessing the needs of the community based on how the community view their needs.  The next year is spent building dialogue and relationship, this is typically done through actions and projects.  The last 10 months of service are typically spent closing up grants, implementing projects and ideas and building the capacity of your assigned organization.  As you step back, the organization is to step up.  My service has been all over the board.  I have had some really low lows, and some very high highs.  Mostly I have had an adjustment to accepting that I am not as good at cultural relations as I once thought I was.


My three base goals are environmental education for adults, environmental education for children and finally capacity building.  These are on top of the base PC goals of skilled labor, sharing host country culture with Americans, and sharing American culture with Jamaicans.   My successes have been: school garden, sharing American culture with children, adult literacy, showing small sustainable farming techniques to individuals, building and installing 2 trash skips in the community, several community clean-up days,  and a summer program to encourage children to read.  So what are my failures?  Understanding cultural relations here, trying to unify the community, trying to avoid being pulled into political affiliation, and finally any type of organizational capacity building.


I am a very goal oriented person.  I set high goals and I suffer from great failures because of this.  I also take failure of projects very personally. I need to let that go.  It is not my failure,  it is my lack of cultural understanding.  It is also my lack of understanding the community history and the politics of the area.  You hear of bad mine or bad mind here, and that is a bit of my issue but more so it is my inability to be seen as a non-political entity.  It comes down to who you associate and work with and how they are viewed.  You tend to become an extension of them if you work exclusively with someone.


As my time is winding down, I have come to realize my biggest success and most sustainable projects will be the school gardens.  This is where I will put my focus for the rest of the school year.  Along with a recycling program and a clean community focus, all to be implemented on the school grounds.  The principal at the school is not from the community so she is not involved in politics of the area, which makes it easier to be seen as neutral.  Also children are super-excited to work outside on things and listen to most of what you say.  They tend to be little sponges, and often share new information with their parents.  If you think back, how many times were children the reason for a behavior change in your life?  In mine many times, parents quit smoking for the kids, they will recycle for the kids they will even drive slower for their kids.  Children are powerful influencers.


I do also hope to set up a monthly reading competition for the children at the school, with prizes like we had for our summer program, a themed day spent outside of class doing fun things.  So if you have a suggestion for a theme that has a book to go with it, let me know.  I want a book for each theme so the children have something to inspire them that month.


So goooooooooo!

Literacy can be fun!

For me life as a PCV is not at all what I envisioned.  I expected to work on sustainable farming and helping people understand the tenants of eco-friendly farm practices.  I also thought I would be helping the community move itself into a prime location.  This is what my services started out at, but it is not at all what happened.  First off when you have a small pocket of people promoting and moving the entire population forward it is in no way sustaining.  It is exhausting and then in my location we have a division based on land issues and politics.  No matter what is being done someone turns up to undo any progress, even if it benefits the entire community.  The frustration at times is overwhelming.  On more than one occasion I have considered quitting and going home, lucky for me, quitting is just not in my blood.   I always pull my bootstraps up and move forward.


In all of my frustration I came up with the idea of offering adult literacy programs.  Tressa is from Seattle and has many skills/education in early education.  She has been a great resource to get some things in this area actually done.  I have one man who is full on able to read now.  He inspires me to continue this when I get back home.  The sparkle in his eye when he conquers a  whole story gives me a warm feeling in my heart.  The other two men not only are starting to read but also for the first time writing recognizable letters.  This is pretty amazing and their excitement is contagious.  Even on days I do not want to go down, I go because they are excited to learn.  Several months ago we started taking them down to the library to get books.  This was a way to give them the confidence in knowing that they now had access to the library.  On many occasions, Library day had to be postponed or cancelled and each of these men on several occasions have walked down to the library to turn in their books and get new ones.  I was told no grown men would be walking to the library for a book!


This summer I started an environmental club that meets on Friday mornings and a reading competition.  A local citizen or group donated $2000 JD for the prize.  As I was trying to get this going Tressa came in and helped organize it in a way that made sense to the culture, she has been here for almost 20 years.  She worked in the local schools most of those years and knows how the culture works in this way.  We encouraged the kids to come down to the library weekly with the men.  The result?  Nine kids read more books and pages this summer than they would have otherwise.  They increased their love for books and found stories that they loved.  Sadly because so much division exists in the area, not as many kids participated as I would have liked.  Enough did participate to inspire me to propose monthly reading competitions at the local school when school starts back up.  The principal is on board!

The prize for the reading competition (read-a-thon) was a day at the river being a pirate.  Yup you read that correctly, pirate day!  So we brought finger foods and in case you did not know, pirates eat cake at least once a day, everyday!  We had treasure hunts, we created pirate clothes, we “terrorized” tourist tubing down the river.  We also swam and swam and swam.  Life vest were donated to us by the caretaker of the park (Hidden Beauty) to us to ensure the kids safety.  We got wooden swords, treasure chests and eventually fake tattoos!  Three books were donated as prizes for the top three readers by an American family when they visited the area.

All in all for about $5000 JD (food and rental of the park) and a little bit of time and gas, we gave the children the privilege or finding love for literacy and a fun day being pirates, which they will never have again.  Tressa has had the pirate day in her mind and suitcase for a few years.  She has wanted to do it and when she realized we needed a prize she thought this would be the perfect opportunity to pull it off.  It was and I thank you Tressa for helping to organize and make the reading competition a true success!


Girls Empowerment.

Since Obama has been in office there has been a focus from the White House, specifically Michelle, to push for girls to get an education World-Wide.  This is an issue in many countries, where an education for girls is prohibited or not prioritized.  In 2012 a young woman named Malala Yousafzai was shot in the face by the Taliban for advocating girl’s education, and education for all.  She was about 15 years old.  She had already become an activist and after this incident she became the most famous teenager in the World.  In wake of this tragedy the idea of #LetGirlsLearn is even more important.  All over the World we find that young women are either never educated or limited in their education.  Keeping women in traditional roles to keep societal roles intact is one aspect, but when you leave half your population behind, you find that the whole population is effected.


In Jamaica girls are often more highly educated than boys.  It seems that they dynamics are different here.  In reality though women are not paid as much as men and they can reach middle management fairly easily but becoming part of the top rung is still out of reach for most.  Equality and equity are two different beasts and when you focus on equal opportunities, you miss the fact that the playing field is uneven and those born with more ability will reach farther than those who are born with lesser abilities.  We must change the field to create a more equitable access for all.


Last week we held the first ever Camp GLOW Jamaica.  GLOW stands for Girls Leading Our World.  This is a Peace Corps initiative, started by a PCV and has taken on a beautiful, inspiring role in the world of young women.  The idea is to bring girls age 13-18 together with a volunteer and create support networks and help build up leadership roles in all.  Each girl must be accompanied and vetted by a volunteer.  They travel with the PCV and are fed both physically and emotionally for several days.  There were some wonderful people who made this happen.  The volunteers worked tirelessly to get together food donations, catering services, a location, speakers and activities, and then the rest of us worked to get the girls to come to camp.  It was very successful and there were tears in the end as we all said goodbye.


One of the most powerful things that happened was a local author joined us.  She helped us write a poem based on ideas from the camp that we had experienced.  (On the page listed above you will find a few videos of girls reading their poems.)  Finding that spark of creativity and knowing that your words will not be dismissed was very powerful.   Later the author A-dziko Simba read small portions from her first novel.  When you hear the girls say “don’t stop there” you know you have a powerful story to tell.  I bought a copy for myself and a copy for the girl who came with me, thanks to extra money given to me for incidentals. (The book for the girl was paid for by a community member ensuring a successful experience.)   I actually lent my copy out to a young man who came to my adult literacy program looking to learn how to comprehend and read better.  He read 2 or 3 chapters last night and I could hear him laugh to himself as he was reading, so that was successful.


Photo Courtesy of Alli Brown.

Other activities included: tye dyed T-shirts, journal making, talent show, group discussions, Colored Pencil Project and learning from Jamaican women about intentional communities and honoring our ancestors.  By the end we were covered in glitter dust, glue, market and we saw some powerful journaling and artistic expression come out.

The girls appreciated the “Respect Jamaica” group the most.  They found their presentation on Women’s Equality powerful.  The girls even worked on creating a video based on #WhatIReallyReallyWant

Overall the week was long but too short.  I left inspired and feeling positive for the future of Jamaica.  The male PCV’s also worked on getting a boys camp going, maybe we will finally find equity in gender!  We must remember that to have true equity we must not focus on half the sky!  You should read that book or watch the movie for a clearer vision of how women need this kind of support worldwide.

Unique Birthday Traditions in Jamaica.

So if you come to stay in Jamaica, at least in the North Coast areas, be cautious about letting persons know when your birthday (Earthday) is.  In my area this is a treacherous and messy tradition.  So what is to fear about your birthday, spankings? Loud Singing?  Pinching?  Nope, being floured!   Yup they surround you and they take a heap of flour and toss it on you!  Remember this is a humid and hot place so that flour pretty much makes a dough on your skin!

Back from the Library.

Last week one of my Environment Club members had a birthday.  We had already planned on taking kids to the library that day, as part of the read-a-thon competition to ensure children have access to books.  I would love to see someone continue to take the children to the library throughout the summer next year and the following years.  Back to Michael’s birthday.  We carried the children to the library and they all got books.  Instead of dropping them off at their homes on the way back we took them back to my supervisors shop where all the girls got a handful of flour and as he came to the other side of the truck he got bombed with flour!  His mother had given permission since she would be the one to wash the child up when he got back home.

This is a fun but messy tradition and I have managed to escape it both years I was here.  I am grateful that I missed this tradition but also happy to have seen it done.  Birthday cake after the flour shower makes everything better in the end.  All children love sweets so they will endure a great deal with a good outlook if a sweet is provided after the fact.

Small update on a positive note.

So my last blog was quite dark and negative.  I spent the weekend basically isolated at a friend’s home in the community.  We had amazing food, played games and tried to make sense of the culture around us.  (She is from Seattle so she understands much of how I see things.)  It was a weekend of rebuilding my broken ego and rejuvenation.  I had the most American thing I can think of this weekend, Bloody Mary’s.  I love them more than anything else and I miss them the most.  In a country with bars all over and juice for almost everything, tomato juice and Bloody Mary’s are hard to come by and they are typically not great when you do find them.

bloody mary

Last week a firetruck drove up and down the road looking for a house fire that they could not find because, oh right there are no street signs and the few we have people have been destroying.    On Sunday morning my friend drove out to help fix her tractor, some men came up to her and told her that the police could not find a home to respond to an emergency call because there were no street signs.  They told her about how upset they were that there were a few who sought to discourage group efforts. These men were a small voice that told us that it is not all of the people here who do not want help or change.  These men were the small voices in the darkness that keep moving us forward when everyone else seems to be telling us to quit.  These men helped inspire me to continue to try again. These men represent relationships that I was not even aware I/we had made.  These men may have just saved my service.   Sometimes all we need is a bit of validation, everyone needs it.


This week is a huge week for Jamaica.  Today is Emancipation Day, the day we celebrate the slaves being given their freedom.  (See more information on Emancipation Day here.)  Today is also the day that a Tropical Storm is supposed to hit us.  On the 6th it is Independence Day here.  Much like our Independence Day, it is a celebration of self-rule.  Unlike ours, there was no war to be fought, the British gave up rule of the island and Jamaica gained full independence in 1962.  Since this time there have been two parties JLP (Jamaican Labour Party) and PNP (People’s National Party).   These two parties are harder to find a unity than the Democrats and Republicans in American politics.  This is where my issues in my community generally fester.

Trying to find some grounding.

I have not talked about this much, but it is apparent that I must address it.  The scheme land used to be part of the Industry Plantation land.  The plantation owner sold the land at a very cheap or free price (I am not certain the transaction details) to be used to help the members of the community gain land access.  His dream was that it would remain farm land.   Much of the scheme land is now owned/occupied by returning residents or by people from outside of Three Hills. The fact that people refer to it as the scheme and not Three Hills is a major flag that there is division in this area.  I often hear that a person is a born-to, which means they grew up here.  They show a great love for the area but appear to show negative feelings  toward the influx of outsiders.  I equate this to gentrification in America, when an area is depressed and has a poor economy then people with money come in and drive those original people out by increasing land sales and value and create an economy that is too expensive for those original people.

The small piece of farmland is also not necessarily occupied by outsiders, some is some is not.  In fact the farmer’s are not really farmers in the way we think of farmers at all.  They are people on the land hoping to one day get title to the land.  Not that they do not grow food back there, but they do not see the land the way a real farmer see the land, as a source of life and connectivity.  Some do, most do not.  Much of the persons who have lived here for a long time and have farmed see the good farmland turned into housing and this also causes negative and hurt feelings to fester.

Sometimes we just need to turn around to see what others are seeing.

Going back to the politics of the area.  There is a great division in the area.  Much of the original occupants, or those politically active ones, are PNP.  Persons that have come in from the outside are often viewed as JLP or not steadfast PNP so this creates an issue with unifying the community.  Often my work because my supervisor is viewed JLP is considered some type of political ploy.  This is a perception that much like my negative outlook in the past month is hard to overcome.  I would never make a good politician, I am afraid, because I just do not care to argue political points.  I cannot spend off my time defending my motives continually.  It is a basic human need to find a basic ground of trust and confidence in each other. My motive is as transparent as I can make it, I want to help you succeed, please tell me how,  in a way that builds us all up?

Is this a cultural thing? Or do I just not understand people?

The last year has had many ups, and a few downs.  And let me tell you sometimes a down spirals out of control and feels like a major failure.  Sometimes you just have to let that go. Are my feelings hurt?  Hell yes, I gave up two years of my life and put it on hold to come help make life a little better in a culture that is not my own.  The last two weeks have been very rough.  Why you wonder?  Well maybe it is a cultural thing, or maybe it is just in my community but when things start to move forward almost always someone is angry over the chosen action plans.

Let us start at the beginning.  When I first got to my site, I had a CASI to complete  (Community And Sector Inventory).   This is where/how I find out what my community has, who is in the community and what they actually need/desire/want.   I base most of my work on what the community tells me.  Originally I held meetings on Monday nights and very few people showed up.  My supervisor wanted this to form into a community group.  I pulled rank on him and said you cannot register this as a group or treat it as a group without the census of the group!  At some point there was an influx of crime in the community and the meetings got seriously big due to the police attending the meetings.  At this point the group decided to become a group.  They banded together got signs with the police phone numbers posted all over the community, road signs were made and roads were named (that did not have names), a few community clean-up events happened and a grant was accepted for the building of two trash skips (dumpsters essentially).  Wow this group is really moving things forward.  They had agreed upon a constitution and they voted in an executive.  Things have been moving along for several months, until the group went to register and a problem presented itself.  The registrar stated that they would not/could not register a second group in the same geographical area that an already existing group is that can claim to land.  The Farm Group that I am assigned to has that legal right for all of the area, according to the registrar.  There is also a matter of a court case that does not directly involve a the farm group but someone collecting money for land under the guise they represented the farm group.  (This is a major fraud case and a senior police woman and the previous SDC Parish manager were both arrested and face charges)  (SDC=Social Development Committee)

The group was disappointed and then my supervisor did something that I advised him not to do.  He suggested that for future funding we could umbrella under the Farm Group, which was steamrolled in a most negative manner.   This created a huge dissention within the group.  The idea of the group was to help unify the different segments of the community so it was not longer the Scheme and the original community or the farmland.  There was much anger and I had to leave the meeting for safety reasons.  I heard later that my supervisor made a decision to umbrella under the farm group and that concerned me as it was going to divide the group.  I talked to some members and found that was not the case.  The next week on a WhatsApp group chat my supervisor kept making the Farm Group look amazing, stating all the things they had done, which I am quite certain were more my supervisor than the actual group.  I pause here to say that the Farm Group does have a small handful of dedicated people who work together and try hard to improve things on the farmland, but a few people cannot carry the entire load.    This activity on the WhatsApp aggravated several people who then accused him of some political mischief or agenda.  I finally had to remove myself from the executive WhatsApp group because it became rather negative and I felt I did not need to be involved.

The last meeting we had there was a great amount of anger and accusations.  I decided that for the summer I would start a read-a-thon, a youth environmental club and another group member decided to host a family game night teaching parents and kids games that would help them improve their students numeracy and literacy abilities.  These programs were presented to the community group as what was going on this summer.  The group asked some questions about how things were going to happen, which since I just came up with the ideas, had not been ironed out.  One of the executives got angry over the other WhatApp group and accused my supervisor of forcing a decision on the group. They felt that they were not consulted and that my supervisor decided for the entire group that they would support the programs.  This was all presented at the meeting that this person and my supervisor did not attend.   I responded with he only presented them and I was doing them anyway.  The group can support the initiatives or not, I really just needed something to do this summer.   She then went on to tell me that they were great ideas but I went about it the wrong way.  Uhmmm, what the hell?  I do not understand why she thought that it was not presented in the correct manner?  I simply wanted the group to be aware of the programs I had decided to focus on over the summer so I had something to work on.   The summer programs are to create an Environmental Youth Club which I had intended on rolling into the school program this fall, sadly none of the kids participating are in the Three Hills Primary School. There is also a reading competition, which I again wanted to roll into an ongoing school program and get the school kids to connect to the library to enter the Island-wide competition next April.  Expanding the school garden is also on my summer to do list.  And finally not even something that is my idea or that I am orchestrating is the family learning game nights.  I just support the idea of helping parents learn fun ways to help their children with some of their learning struggles.  I can only see positives in these programs but culturally maybe I am missing something.  I am now being informed that people were not aware of the programs, which is incredible to me since they have been announced in 5 different mediums.

This last week there was an emergency meeting called and the entire executive but the two people, who are were not there and have been the hardest to understand working with, resigned.  It seems the group wants to start over and re-elect an executive and try to re-register as a non-profit group.  In all this the negativity on the WhatsApp is still going on.  To top it all off some of the road signs have been maliciously torn down.  One of the signs for the summer programs announcement was also ripped down.  This is heartbreaking.  I called Richard and told him I was ready to come home.  I really wanted to give up. If the community does not want me to do anything, than why am I here?  This is what it looks like to feel like a failure.

Lucky for my service and state of mind,  I have the best partner around.  He listened to me and then stated this is not like you.  You need some time to just calm down.  Do not make any rash decisions you will regret later.  I told him the only thing that is keeping me here is the school garden and the adult literacy.  These two projects show a great amount of pride and support.  The summer programs, although sparsely attended, are showing some amazing results.  We are seeing kids stay up late into the night reading books to get credit on the read-a-thon, we are seeing kids participating in the environment club and learning words like substrate, sterilization and drought resistance.   We see children understanding basic scientific concepts, which is truly amazing.  We are seeing community member and farmers working together to expanding the school gardens.  We are also seeing men who could not read, starting to read and showing improved self-esteem.  These are my wins.  These are things I take great pride in.


My losses are those times that my feelings are really bruised and a few things that are destroyed  possibly on purpose for unknown reasons.  I know change is hard, but what blows my mind is the change is not asking for a behavior change other than to just work together.  Why is it that people do not participate but when a decision is made they get upset about what is happening and how they were not involved in the decision?  It is not like we hold the meetings in a private and require membership to attend.  We invite anyone and everyone to attend.  This constant destruction of things so that only you are benefitted is known as “bad mind” here.  I am trying to understand what is being asked of me?  What can I do to assist in creating a more united community?   I do not design projects unless the community is backing it, but currently I am moving away from this idea, because too many times I get a resounding positive to move forward and then there is some serious backlash.

There are many good people who simply remain silent here and silence is essentially agreement with the prevailing voices.   The thing I dislike the most about my service is that I am becoming very cynical and harboring hurt feelings.  I do not like this about myself, which reflects back onto my perception of the community at large.  My supervisor keeps telling me of his conspiracy theories and I guess those ideas have taken root in my heart because I am having issues trying to see positivity in the mired negativity.  This is my own personal burden and it is no one else’s fault but my own.  I thought I was stronger, but it appears I am not as strong as I thought I was.  I wonder is it the same for all service?  Does PC service tear you down to the bone just to see how much you can take?  I cannot imagine life is easy anywhere where you are an outsider to a culture and I thought I was prepared for it, but it seems I was not.

School garden expansion

My focus for the rest of my time here will be the children and the adult literacy and not community development.  There was so much more potential for community development here, but I am exhausted and I can no longer bear another 3 hour meeting of brutal verbal abuse and accusations.  I am stepping back now.  I am untethering my feelings from community development and refocusing on those successes I do have.  Children, adult literacy, and school gardens.  For me to think that two years is enough time to accomplish any more than this is a reality check in progress.  Those things are enough, they have to be, otherwise I can only see myself as a failure.  And that is the hardest pill to swallow.

Water shortages, I expected this in Liberia, Not Jamaica.

In Liberia I knew the infrastructure was damaged during the war and had not been rebuilt. I knew that I would have to carry my water and hand-wash all my things.  I also knew I would be setting up to wash dishes outside and boiling water was a must.  In Jamaica I have running water, a water heater and a washing machine.  All but the running water were unexpected perks.   The last 3 weeks we have had a water shortage.  Throughout my service I have had limited water in 3 occasions.  In each case I had to wait no more than 3-4 days for the water to return to the pipe.

Where I live the water system was not built for such large homes or so many homes in the area.  To help with this issues the water is regulated by the government and sections are allowed water access for 24-48 hours at a time.  Most homes have large rhino tanks that are filled on the days the water is in the pipe.  The home I live in has 9 families or single persons living in it.  This means we use a ton of water so a week of no water can really make us struggle.  The thing here is that when the water runs out of specific tanks the pump is turned off to prevent it from burning out.  The pump is what puts the water into our faucets and toilets.  This means that for the last three weeks I have not been able to do laundry, wash my dishes appropriately, take an actual shower or flush my toilet and wash my hands normally.  I am quite over this problem!

hand washed laundry

This last week I woke up with a mild case of diarrhea.  I also woke up with a very sore throat.  I began treating both with hot tea, lemon and honey along with mild foods to help calm my bowels down.  My diarrhea got a little better the same day but my throat got progressively worse.  After 2 days of this I began to wonder if the bucket water might need more than a water filter and I broke out my steri-pen (a UV water pen that I bought for Liberia).  I finally called the doctor and my diarrhea came back.   The result is antibiotics and antihistamine along with ibuprofen.    I must pause here to address my doctor aversion.  I was raised not going to the dentist or the doctor.  Several times in my life I needed to go to the doctor and my parents did not go.  When I was 6 I split my forehead open on the fireplace.  I now have a “Harry Potter” scar as one of my co-workers once called it.  When I was 11 I got a pony that dropped onto my arm when we slipped and my arm was sprained badly.  That one we did go fairly early for.   When I was 10 I got a bad ear infection and my mother did not take me or even look at it until I was in tears from pain and my grandmother insisted I go.  I cannot actually remember a doctor visit on that case but I was in so much pain I could have blocked it out.  I have permanent problems with swimmer’s ear and I suspect that day something was seriously damaged in my ear, I also cannot produce ear wax like normal people.  My ears are always dry and itchy.   When I was 16 I was running from my cousins in the garden as they were throwing apples at me and I stepped in a hole which forced my chin onto my toes from my momentum.  I was sent to school the next day on crutches that were too small.  The other students mocked me and knocked me off the crutches several times that day.  By the time my parents finally took me in my ankle was so swollen they could not x-ray it.  PHysical therapy was my only option and it was too painful to do on my own.  I never quite healed right.

no water dishwashing

I still fail to go to the doctor immediately.  I typically wait a day or two, part of my history, I cannot really change it.  Even when my kids were hurt, I hesitated for a small while before going in.  So even now I hesitate, especially if the symptoms are familiar.  The sore throat was the only reason I even called in.  About 15 years ago I got a sore throat that I just treated at home.  It got so bad that my throat closed up.  My mouth was so dry that I could literally scrape a plastic like material off my tongue and inside my mouth.  No amount of water helped.  I finally went to the ER.  They prescribed some huge anti-biotic that I had no way to swallow.  My roommate was pissed.  She crushed up some ibuprofen into some water put them into a syringe and shot it down my throat.  Within hours my throat was better.   Because of that one time I do not wait more than 3 days with a sore throat.  I live alone, if my throat closes who would be there for me?  So I called the medical officer and got an over the phone prescription.  Now I am just tired, a side effect from the antihistamines I am sure.  I hope to be feeling better in the morning, my throat is still tender but no longer so scratchy and apparently I look like I feel better.

water storage tank

All of this because I have no pipe water?  Maybe, maybe not.  It could be stress and it could be a virus.  Whatever it is, the fact that I have a water shortage is still an issue.  What is magical about this shortage is that it only affects about 5 homes.  So no matter what they have done the water is not getting to us.  Either there is a broken pipe that cuts off where we are,  a valve is turned off, or there is not enough pressure to get it up to our homes, we are the end of the specific line.  The pressure is the one that keeps me focused.  The pressure is so high that the pipes are breaking almost every time the water is turned on in each section.  I wonder why this is happening?  I wonder if the water department is wondering the same thing?  I wonder if they are investigating this or just trying to band-aid it up and we will suffer all summer from lack of water?  I hope not and I hope that they figure it out before Wednesday when we are supposed to be getting water in the pipe next.