About this WAPA thing.
I knew when I first started looking into moving to the VI that living was expensive. After researching more and more, I came to realize that living in the VI was EXPENSIVE. And I've seen many of posts complaining about the outlaws known as WAPA. And I just keep asking myself, how does anybody without a really good job survive down there?
I'm flying out July 1st. So for me, it's do or die. I'm not turning back until I give it my best shot. But the closer it gets, the more I'm wondering... can I possibly afford this? Of course, I'll be living with the bare minimum when I first get there, and will be taking any work I can get to pay bills. But I feel like unless I land a great job, I will have to work 7 days a week just to get by.
I understand there is a pretty high percentage of lower class citizens on the islands. And I really wonder about them. I am assuming that most of us on here, having computers and internet access, are living at least lower middle class or better, and having a pretty tough time of it as it is. How in the world can anyone that is considered lower class even survive on the islands?
Just letting some curious thoughts out. I guess I'm hoping for a little reassurance, but not really expecting it. Thanks again for all the helpful info on the board.
Trey: I trust you really meant lower income, not lower class. There are a good number of social support programs for lower income people- free school breakfasts and lunches, free burials, food stamps, medical assistance, subsidized housing. Many people live with extended families. Foods are starchy, filling items like macaroni and cheese, fungi, local ground provisions. You will find that you come into contact with people of a wide range of income levels, far more so than on the mainland, IMHO.
You also spend your money differently. For the most part, wardrobe costs go down & frankly, if you don't have good job skills it's no picnic living anywhere.
tmleeke, lower class or low income? I would say some of the lower class people are doing ok, living in Projects with an ocean view and getting all kinds of Government benefits. For low income people of course it would be a struggle like anywhere else in the world. I think however, the fact that people in the islands don't tend to judge you by what car you drive, or if you have the latest designer clothes etc, makes it an easier place to live.
Yes, lower income. Thanks for clearing that up. My mistake.
The reason I asked was because when I first started looking into this I read that around 50%of native islanders live in poverty. I don't remember exactly where I read this, and of course it could be wrong. But I was just wondering how people survived in a place that seems to be getting harder and harder to afford. And from what I read it never seems like the govt. is doing much to help. But I guess they're doing there part, somewhat.
And I realize it would be hard to survive anywhere when you are in the lower income bracket. I live in Mississippi, which is rated the poorest state in the Union. But it still seems like if you have some decent work skills you can find a job and a place to stay without scraping by. Here, that is. Just wondering if it was about the same there. If you have decent work skills and show yourself competent, you should be just fine...? Thanks for the posts. Later
Another issue is the way one lives. Many people here, including Ric and I, don't have A/C. There are only the 2 of us and we don't have a washer/dryer or dishwasher either. We have a cistern that we use for all our water and a septic system for waste water. WAPA runs between $100 and $140 a month for us. Add our rent (2br./2ba) on the North Shore, long south shore view) of $925 and additional costs for phone, cell phone, cable and internet, laundry and we are around $1350 a month for fixed expenses, Divide that by the 2 of us and you're looking at between $600 and $700 a month each. It's easier with a partner who is also working.
Yes, you can find work if you have a good work ethic and some skills. The difference here is the cost of living. I thought the percentage living in poverty was 30%, but that may be the percentage of the population working for the government! "The government" is a huge safety net. Lots of people are employed in unnecessary jobs that pay very well. IMHO, of course! 😉
My opinion is that wapa is a disaster the short time i have been here there have been a couple of black outs for no reason and your bill will be double or more what you pay in mainland US. The only places in the island that hardly never have black outs is town, ports, airport and hospitals if you get feed by those feeders you hardly loose power. Also understand that water in the Islands is a luxury only structures in town have wapa water service if you live anywhere in the island you need a cistern and you must be aware that during dry season you must call to fill it in and that will cost. Telephone service is average Internet is more expensive and not as good as the US but there are choices. In regards to shopping you have a fairly good selections of Supermarkets, wharehouse clubs like pricesmart and Costuless you also have Kmart, Home Depot and in regards to clothing you pretty much could find anything you want here. Regarding work my suggestion is you either need to be a professional or have high skills in something that people need down here. I think if you move here for seasonal work like during high season or you are a teacher or Doctors then you will be fine. Another thing if you have the skills to set up a service business and you are responsible and prompt you could do good money here Service in STT is hardly non-existent locals feel they are doing you a favor while you are paying them and if you have a different thinking than that you'll do fine. Remember in the Islands you are either upper class or lower class expenditures are very high here.
Hey Roki, about the services... anything in particular you can think of? I'm moving to STX, not STT, but I'm sure both have some similar services needed. I remeber reading a while back that trash pick-up was an issue on STX. Know anything about that? Your comment about getting into some kind of service job stuck out at me, as I'm always seeing complaints about service being bad. Just wondering if you or anyone else had an idea of what's genrally and immediately needed.
Any kind of general, handiman-type expertise will make you a STAR on any of the 3 islands. It will take a while to build a clientele and a reputation, but once that's done, show up when you say you'll be there, do the job for a fair price and you'll be golden!!
"You are either upper class or lower class" ?? That is one interesting perspective and choice of words that speaks volumes!
Don't hang your hat so high your hand can't reach.
I certainly see lots of middle class folks on STX, me for one. Of course, there are plenty of NO CLASS people too!! lol.
Money does not equal class. Far from it actually. I have met many people in recent years who have a lot of money and absolutely NO class.
Mostly they got their money from very dubious sources. "You are either upper class or lower class" - in the USVI - I don't think so!
"Upper class" would be the landed gentry, people who have titles such as "Lord", "Lady" etc. I'm sure there are a few in the islands (isn't there an Italian Countess in STX?), but that doesn't mean that everyone else is "lower class". We have an old saying for when people with no class come into money and it goes to their head "he can't carry corn" This comes from when you give a common-bred horse corn (oats), they become fiery and uncontrollable.
Hold on a sec folks. Before this gets ugly, I never meant anything about "class". This post was strictly about income. And I made the mistake of using the word "class". Kind of like when you here politicians talking about the economy and helping out the "lower class" or increasing the taxes for the "upper class", i.e.- "lower income" and "higher income".
Now, I cannot control where the posts go from there, but this was about income, not class. Everybody's "class" is determined by their own character, not by money. But that's not what I'm talking about here. Thanks guys.
Same applies, lots of middle income folks on STX.
Tmleeke - my reference was to a different post and quoted from that poster not your earlier one. I apologize to you -
You will do fine here working Homeland Security or Customs and have a respected position in a generally non-class conscious society - very few people here judge others by their possessions - and there are plenty of young people your age and places to meet them -- we see so much transient movement that new people do not have a hard time getting to know the community.
Having a good steady job as you described it - you will make ends meet and more. And you will probably really enjoy it!
After mixing up 2 different threads I retire to my corner for 1 month -sorry.
HaHa. That's great Zero. It's no problem. Thanks for posting.
Exit zero i was not saying about lower and upper because really in STT you have more extremes that you will probably have in the Mainland. You have the local population i think is over 60% under us poverty line and receiving somekind of government help then you have some people in the middle that swing up and down depending on tourism and economy and then you have the rich that just have vacation home in the USVI or are the business leaders of the islands.
Sabrina you took everything out of context!!!! when i made the comment of Classes i was not talking about education i was talking about ECONOMIC BRACKET>>>>>
OK - but that is income, not class.
Just do what I do, find yourself an apartment that has utilities included in the rent. You won't even know WAPA exists (unless you come on this board and read people talking about it).
Actually, I am renting an apartment from a guy with the utilities included in rent. For now it's only until the end of December, then his parents take the place for a couple of months. He said I could come back when they head home, so I'm hoping all will go smoothly.