Saturday, March 13, 2010

Taiwanese Ambassador Launches Model Farm

It was exactly 10:30 am on Friday March 12, 2010, when the front gates of the Choiseul Secondary School swung open to allow a tinted  black BMW to enter the school's compound. Minutes later the school's principal approached the parked car to meet the passengers. First to alight the vehicle was H.E. Tom Chou, the Republic of China (Taiwan) Ambassador to St. Lucia, closely followed by a young lady known as Susana Huang. The principal, Mr. Augier then introduced the ambassador and Ms. Huang to the school's staff. Shortly afterwards Mr. Sunny Shaw (leader) and Mr. Lee (extension specialist) of the technical mission arrived. Also present were two agricultural officers from region 6 in the persons of Felix Chicot and Bron Laffeuille.
   What was the purpose of this high level entourage? To launch a model farm project at the school. Late last year during the presentation ceremony to launch the operation of an intercom system for the school Bousquet hinted during his short address that he was looking into the possibility of having the Taiwanese Government  consider using this school for a pilot project in farming. This has materialised.
 The day's activity started with prayers followed by the national anthem which was played by a section of the school's steel orchestra. The principal welcomed the entourage and in his short delivery thanked the Rep for getting the Taiwanese Government to consider this school for the project, and went on to conclude by saying, "Mr. Bousquet, we will make you proud."
Nigel Mitchel, an agriculture teacher at the school gave a brief history of the school and plans for the model farm. He mentioned that the orchard farm will be opened to all schools. He went on to say, "This model farm will introduce farming to the students in a non- evaluative environment using the latest technologies. The school has five acres of land for agricultural practices.
H.E. Chou greeted the school gathering in kweyol, "Nous kontan vini ici a epi ou en Choiseul." This brought a loud roar from the  seven hundred plus students who never thought that the Ambassador could speak kweyol. In his brief remarks he mentioned about a similar project undertaken by Sir Arthur Lewis College. He mentioned about the partnership of his Government with the St. Lucia Government in agriculture. He expressed the willingness of his Government to assist this school in this project.
" The key to  supporting a nation is to be able to feed itself. If you cannot feed yourself well you cannot talk about independence." Bousquet  opened his remarks. He went on to talk about the island's high food import bill. The Taiwanese he told the gathering are well known for their agrcultural prowess and skill and he welcomes their effort to establish this project at this school. "I want this school to be known as the best agricultural school in the island ." he boasted.
The school's dance troupe performed a dance to the tune of "Eileen" and to bring much amusement to the gathering the dance troupe brought the last lap of the dance to the Ambassador and the District Representative(see video). Meshach, a well known reggae artist, performed a piece, extraordinaire,  called "Stay Outta Trouble" dealing wth the need for youths to stay out of violence. It was well received by the students who kept chanting, "stay out of trouble" throughtout the presentation.
The principal was presented with an orchid plant by the Ambassador as a token of friendship between the school and his government. Mr. Augier in receiving the plant remarked, "When students come to the office they will see two beauties there, myself and this orchid." The students roared.
Shortly afterwards the the entourage visited the school's garden where  H.E Chou and Mr. Bousquet turned the sod over to officially commnce the project, while individuals took turns at planting pineapple and dragon fruit plants. NB: Some of the photos were shot by Susana Huang.

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