Thanks to Cast Away Tour, Saint Lucia, A Proud Supporter of Mags Magazine

From across the miles, we want to say a special thank you to Paul and Sherin Clifford, owners of CAST AWAY TOUR in Saint Lucia! They provide a range of authentic experiences for the traveller who want to experience the rich cultural and heritage aspects of Saint Lucia. We want to thank them for their contribution towards my former student, who is blind, to get her massage table to work independently as a massage therapist! Together, we will make that dream come true on May 25th when we gather in the celebration of the launch of Soulful Encounters, Mags Magazine.

Cast Away Tour 2

Plan on spending the entire day in this remote tropical sanctuary… you still won’t have enough time to do everything …
Snorkel/swim over the wild UN Heritage Site Marine Reserve reefs, help local fishermen pull in their nets, visit local artisans at Lio’s Pottery Studio or the Khuss-Khuss grass-crafter (+USD 10/per person),  mix up medicinal plant shampoos & herbal body scrubs on the Bush Doctor’s Walkabout to the Rainforest Mineral Springs, tour the tropical organic Zion Lion Farm and harvest a wide variety of organic fruits & vegetables for your lunch, tour the 18th century Ruins (sugar/rum/irrigation)learn how-to make gourmet charcoals, see how cassava is processed into gluten-free “farine”, relax in a hammock or on a hand-woven grass lounger under our grass-roof shelter, participate in a Carib Cuisine demonstration in our open-air “kitchen” and then enjoy St. Lucia’s only organic Farm-To-Table Carib Beach BBQ Feast & sooo much more… 

Paul clifford 1
Paul clifford 2
ALSO… Reflexology Hike.
Barefoot, on the naturally mystic Gros Piton


Hike up Gros Piton…


The Pitons World Heritage Coast Cruise:  Come for a ride on The Pitons World Heritage Coast Cruise….to the wild side of The Pitons!


Make Saint Lucia one of your top travelling destinations!  We can help  you get there and have an amazing experience!

We are looking forward to seeing you on May 25th!

Meet our keynote speaker Laura Traplin!

Get your Tickets

Get your copy of Mags Magazine




Gems of Saint Lucia orig logo_high resolution




Memories of Mom Living her Passion.

IMAG3216“Come and look at the sewing machine with me.” My mom beckoned me to follow her to the dark corner where the old singer sewing machine had been stored for several years since she became blind.

She uncovered the sewing machine.  The cloth over it was a heavy linen which had covered it for decades. She pulled out the small wooden draws on the side and took out a small brush to dust it. She gently pulled it out from the dark corner to the light and then started to test the peddles which seemed to be stuck and made a funny creaking sound.  She found an old bottle of  machine oil, safely tucked inside the drawer and applied it to the various small machine parts while she tested the peddles over and over until it rolled with ease. Her numb hands fumbled with the parts and they dropped from her hands occasionally. She bent her head and strained her eyes as much as she could but she did not stop  until she felt that she had given the sewing machine the proper care and touch which it needed.  It seemed to me that at the end of that experience she looked exhilarated.


My tears flowed nonstop as I helped her with the sewing machine and observed the pensive and thoughtful look on her face.  I know how much this sewing machine meant to her and I am sure that if she was right here with me, she would tell me that it was her lifeline. Back in 1929, women like my mom did not have the fair advantage to go to school.  She was denied an education because she was the eldest child and had to stay home to help her mother with the house work.  I believe that she must have been about fifteen when she learnt how to sew with one of the top seamstresses from the neighbouring village of Laborie.  To get to her sewing classes, she had to walk almost an hour to and from the class.  She got married about fifteen years as well and her father, who had been physically absent from most of her life,  gave her  the sewing machine – I believe as a wedding gift. She smartly invested her time in mastering the art and developed her small business in sewing tailored made clothing for  the people in the community.  She was one of the few seamstresses in the community.   Many people came to our home with bags of cloth and styles of clothes from catalogues and gave countless instructions to my mom so that she could turn their visions into wearable garments.

Looking back, I can see what a great mom and entrepreneur she was!  She kept everything in balance by waking up early, getting us all ready for school, cooking meals, doing all the house chores and creating the time to live her passion for sewing as well as earning an income. She sewed all of our clothes and uniforms as well as my dad’s pants and shirts and even the undergarments. Just before his death, he showed me some of the pants which she had made for him and which we still wore up to 2012!   All of my three sisters and I learnt how to sew by watching her.  However, she never wanted us to  sew as a means of earning an income. She believed that we could do more than that and ensured that we had the support which we needed to have a good education.

As an adult, I appreciate all what my mom did a million times more now than I did while I was growing up.  She had a lot less to work with – no education, less money, less opportunity, no management training, no marriage counselling, no parenting classes, no brands, no luxuries… but she had courage, faith, vision, great time management skills and knew how to prioritize her time to get things done. She lived her passion for sewing.  I can only imagine the devastation she felt when she became blind and could no longer live her passion.  Yet, she courageously accepted her fate and one of her favourite lines were “It is not my will but if God wills it for my life, I accept. ”

Those photos were taken in 2007 on my first visit to Saint Lucia after migrating to Canada in 2003. She crossed over in 2011.  I will always hold on to those memories and I am glad that I captured those moments with those photos.

Live your future now.  Do what matters to you and don’t wait for perfect circumstances.



Imagine 3 complimentary nights at “Villa Isis” in Saint Lucia for US$10. A deal you cannot miss!

Today, my blog has reached 15,000 views over 89 countries.  To each of my readers, I want to say “Thank You” for your love, support and encouragement. To those of you who have taken time off to write and comment on articles, know that each of  your comments were read and appreciated.  Blogging has been therapeutic for me although in my newest adventure with I have not been able to write much – but do look out for some exciting stuff soon!

Gems has an offer going on now, which I want to share with all my viewers because this may very well be your opportunity to visit our beautiful island of Saint Lucia and stay for 3 complimentary nights in lovely Villa Isis, which is located in of my very favourite spot in Saint Lucia – Marigot Bay! This is an opportunity for you, in whatever part of the world you are, to support our promotional drive for this amazing site.

Every once in a while, we have an urge to get away from our usual surroundings to an environment which will allow us to do the same things but with an added touch of comfort, simplicity or charm.  If it is your desire to get away, Villa Isis, located in one of Saint Lucia’s most touristic spots, may be your answer to experiencing a home away from home.

Villa Isis outside

The Directors at Gems of Saint Lucia are excited to welcome Villa Isis as its first “Gems Comfort” since its launch in Ottawa, Canada, on April 24, 2014. Villa Isis fits the definition of a “Gem” as a result of it being owned by a St. Lucian national. In addition, Villa Isis brings diversification to the “Gems” products which have focused on Cultural and Heritage Sites, ground transportation provided by Southern Taxi Association and hospitality at the Rex St. Lucian. The  membership deal is for one year.

Gems of Saint Lucia is offering our friends and friends of Gems a great opportunity to experience Vila Isis for three complimentary nights.…exciting…for US$10.00 only, you stand a chance of winning 3 complimentary room nights at Villa Isis…you will be contributing to the success of an entrepreneur who has the passion for hospitality.  Click in this link to purchase your chance to WIN:!destinations/cjg9

Succinctly nestled within the hilltop of Marigot Bay on ½ an acre of prime land, the paranomic scenes are awe-inspiring and breath-taking, with lush greenery and tropical fruit trees all around. With spacious surroundings and rooms, a Jacuzzi in the master suite, cable TV and internet access, Villa Isis is an ideal vacation spot for a single person or a family or the professional who wants to get away for a few days.

Villa isis overlooking trees




For the traveler who is mindful of a healthy lifestyle, ‘Villa Isis’ continues to accommodate your every wish by providing a complete gym, equipped with the latest technology in cardio.  Did someone say swimming?  Yes!  Get your hair wet, wade or plunge into the diamond shaped 16 X 10 foot pool.

TuneIn and StepUp to taking a chance on winning your three night complimentary visit.

Visit us at





Rest in peace Dave Antoine. You were an inspiration to me and many others.


This is Dave who was my my student over 20 years  ago.  Dave recently crossed over and I wish to extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends, especially to him mom whom I have tremendous respect and admiration for because of her love and dedication to ensuring that Dave lived the best life he could have lived. I feel blessed that I met Dave and knew him well – not only as his teacher but he was also a soul companion who taught me more about Special Education than any class could have taught me. He was my first student after I graduated from the MICO University College in Jamaica and I spent five years with him in an integrated classroom with five other students with other disabilities. Dave kept us all amused with his smart responses, refusal to accept anything, determination to have his way but above all his loving nature will always remain close to my heart.  As I write these words, I can still feel his small gentle hands on my face and I can still hear his voice saying, “Mrs. Maxwell, this is your nose?” He would touch each part of my face almost daily to reinforce the names.

I met him when he was only 5 years and I believe that Dave and I  were destined to meet because he was truly one of my greatest teachers.   With him, I experienced the Ying and Yang of life and knew that his presence on this earth was just as perfect as anyone of us walking through life with perfect bodies and perfect minds.

On the first day of my job as a specialist teacher for the blind and visually impaired, the school principal introduced me to Dave.

She said, “This is Dave.  He is blind, he has problems walking, is mentally challenged, can be rude sometimes,…”,  and continued to explain to me the various challenges he faced.  At first, I thought I would not be able to do much with Dave because his disabilities almost overpowered his strengths. As a new Special Education teacher, I felt overwhelmed. However,  within 2 years of working intensely with him, his family and the community, we got this kid to walk independently, sing, identify colours,  carry out conversations and most importantly think through things.  He had a mind of his own and it was a beautiful thing to watch him push his boundaries and to have his voice heard and respected. Four years after working with Dave, he was integrated into the regular primary school on a part-time basis and became an inspiration to teachers, students and the community at large.

My experience with Dave and the many other persons with disabilities, has made me more appreciative of their presence in this world.  There are all kinds of myths around people with disabilities and often parents and families are put under severe pressures, navigating through the maze of health care, daily care, long-term care and generally the responsibilities that come with caring for people who are challenged in various ways.  I learnt to work with them using their strengths and must say that in some cases their strengths will never be able to provide work to help them sustain themselves, take care of themselves  or do anything ‘meaningful’ in the way which we define it.

However, what if their only purpose on this planet was to teach us kindness, respect, gratitude, compassion, forgiveness?  What if they came to teach us unconditional love?

Among the many lessons I learnt from Dave, was this experience in teaching a blind child to smile.

One day, I was photographing him and just as I was about to snap the photo, I asked him to smile but he showed no response. He stood there like a rock with his ears on the alert.  I said,  “Come on Dave, smile.”

After a pensive moment, he asked quietly, “What does smile mean? What do I have to do?” I was shocked for a moment. How could I explain what a smile is to a blind child?  It is something we learn automatically through observation.

I said very foolishly, “Smile, is like laughing.”

To that he responded curtly, “I don’t have anything to laugh about. What is “smile”?”

I put the camera away and told him I would try to explain it to him.  None of my education had taught me how to teach the concept of ‘smile’.

“Come here.” I said. “Let us play with the ball.” He enjoyed rolling the ball on the floor and finding it. His face beamed with a smile every time he found the ball and rolled it back to me.

“Dave you are smiling!” I said. “You smile when you roll the ball.”

“I don’t know what smile means.” he said. “What is it that I am doing that you call a smile?”

This was getting hard. I tried to explain to him how to move the muscles in his face and his mouth to create a smile but he could not get it. When he did it, he was just stiff without any emotion. We rolled the ball back and forth and he squealed in delight each time he found the ball.

I asked him, ” Dave, how do you feel when you find the ball?”

He said,  “Happy.”

“When you feel happy, how do you show it?” I asked.

He shrugged and said, “I don’t know.”

“The next time you find the ball  tell me what you feel in your face”. I said.

He found the ball and then said, “I feel happy when I get the ball and I think that my face smiles.” There was an “Aha” moment on his face!

“What part of your face smiles Dave?” I asked.

“I feel my mouth and my eyes smile.” he responded.

I never forgot this statement. Even though he was blind, I could see the sparkle in his eye and he was so right when he said “I feel that my mouth and my eyes smile.” His eyes were smiling. This was a profound teaching /learning moment for me – when a 5-year-old child, who is blind, could connect that his eyes and his mouth created a smile. How authentic and true is that!

Dave reinforced to me that we can’t smile if we don’t feel happy. We don’t really smile when we simply poise our mouth to show our teeth. Our smile is an automatic response to the happiness we feel.

After four years of working with him and teaching him how to use his residual vision, one day he said to me, “Ms. Maxwell, I can see you smiling at me.” He moved closer to me and let his hand touch my face and then my lips. I can only imagine with the little vision he had, how I must have looked to him.

Teachers and students from the Vieux-Fort Infant and Primary Schools as well as the Saltibus Combined School would remember him.  He loved singing and would often bless the schools with his voice.

After many years, I re-connected with Dave’s family through Facebook.  The family has moved to the USA and he graduated from High School and attended an adult day care.

I am grateful for the time we spent together.  I will never forget you Dave… may your soul rest in peace.

Tune in and pay attention to those who have disabilities.  Be grateful for all the gifts you have.  Step up to look at life through their souls – there may be some beautiful insights for our growth and learning.