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Story #31: Story from a Maho Bay Work Program

(Submitted in 2004) I spent the month of October at Maho Bay Camp on St. John participating in the 4-hour worker program and would absolutely recommend it as an incredible personal and physical experience. There were 25 of us, some trying to get on for "season"... ages from 20's to 70's and all walks of life.

The work is physical, I worked in maintenance, the humidity, heat, rain, mosquitoes remind you that it's not a relaxing vacation in the Caribbean. The tent cabins are basic, a cooler with free ice, propane stove, an outlet and fan. Not many have views but we were rarely in our tents. The food at the restaurant served breakfast and dinner (no lunch in October), excellent food and 40% discount. The store also had a discount and stocked most things you'd need... you learn not to miss much. Cool showers and conserving water reminded you of Maho's purpose as an eco-resort. Shuttle service was every 2 hours by sign up, $5 each way into Cruz Bay, last trip back to Maho at 9:20pm and most cabs don't want to go all the way out there especially at night, their fees are higher. There is a "goat trail" to Big Maho Bay so I recommend bringing a flashlight with you when you go into town at night in case you get dropped off. The night life consisted of Open Mic night on Mondays, we were fortunate to have some talented musicians, workers and guests, movie night 2 nights and the World Series. Most nights were quiet, they follow the Park Services quiet hours from 10pm to 7am. Sound really travels there and there are guests and others to be considerate of. Maho is very safe, some brought locks for their doors, money, passports, etc could be kept at registration. We could use the beach floats and chairs, it felt great to be in the water after a hard day's work. The snorkeling is decent at Little and Big Maho bay and Frances, Cinnamon and Leinster are within walking distance. Most departments set a schedule of a set number of hours/day, most of us would work 6 to get a couple days off so there was an opportunity to enjoy all St. John, St. Thomas and the BVI have to offer.

I would encourage anyone with a good work ethic, ability to go with the flow and doesn't mind roughing it to apply to the program, you're faith in human kind will be re-awakened by the quality of individuals left in the world. Don't miss the opportunity to meet the locals of the island as well, you'll be planning your next trip back half-way thru the program! Good luck!

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