basic info needed a...
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basic info needed about St Thomas

Posts: 38
Eminent Member
Topic starter

Hi, everyone! I need your help about basic info on St. Thomas. My husband has been offered a job there, and we are trying to decide if we are going or not. First off, let me tell you that I am pregnant and due in June. That may sound funny to admit, but it does make a difference whether you can "rough" it or not. The job is for a year and a half, so we would not be permanent (unless we totally fell in love with the place!)

My concerns are basic, and may sound silly and even belittling, but are not meant so. My husband seems to think that every place is similar to the mainland, but I've lived in the Philippines in the past 5 years, so I know island life can be different (yes, even in 2006).

First off....air conditioning. Is it everywhere? Do only the rich have it? Does everyone have it? Do restaurants have it? (That may seem like a belittling question, but I lived without it in the Philippines.) water. I read that most places on St. Thomas have cisterns. In the Philippines, we had to pump our water and bring it in everyday. If we wanted hot water, you had to let it sit outside (and sometimes get full of mosquitoes) for a day before bathing with it. So, what is the hot water situation like there? care. I will either be pregnant or with a newborn when we move. Obviously, there are good doctors there, but are their good health care insurance packages? Does anyone know about the specifics of the University of the Virgin Islands health care package? Honestly, those of you who have been there a while...if you had to move while pregnant or with a newborn, would you?

Those are my basic questions. Obviously, I'll have tons more (especially if we decide to take the offer!) Thank you for any insight you could pass my way!

Posted : December 19, 2006 6:36 pm
Posts: 3030


Congrats on the pregnancy and on the job offer!

Quite a few restaurants here are open air, taking advantage of the scenery and warm tropical weather. Those that are closed in have AC. Air conditioning in homes & apartments isn't commonplace, but some do have it. Condos typically have AC. As for having to be rich; electricity prices here are expensive so running AC a lot will affect your bill. Most people have ceiling or floor fans in their homes/apartments.

Yes, residents depend on rain water and cisterns for storage. Along with the cistern you need a pump to get the water from the storage area to your pipes and a water heater. So you have as much hot water as your water heater is able to produce. The only time you'd end up having to haul water out of your cistern is perhaps if the power had been out for a while and you ran your tap anyway until the pump was dry and the power still hadn't come back on, and you hadn't bothered to fill a couple gallon jugs so you'd have back up. Power outages are common, but usually for a short period of time. It is a good idea to have a few gallon jugs of water as back up. In terms of hauling water from cistern daily; this is necessary say.... after a hurricane when electricity is off for an extended period of time. And if that happened and you had a gas stove, boiling some water in order to take a warm bath is a better solution than leaving a bucket of water outside to get heated by the sun.

There are various health insurance packages available, you would need to investigate the options. There are a few folks on the board with young children born in the VI - hopefully they will provide some insight on that question.

Is your husbands job offer at the University?

Check out the relocation related books at, you might order a couple of them to learn more about moving to and living in the USVI.


Posted : December 19, 2006 7:21 pm
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member

smilekl:Congrats on your little bundle of joy!!

If UVI insurance is the government Cigna, it is better that most stateside insurance polices. One thing that the hospital is really good at is birthing babies! I will leave the details to Onika, who came out of RLS with an awfully good looking little one! 😉

I suspect we are a step above life in the Phillipines (except maybe for people like Emelda!) but not quite like life anywhere on the mainland. If you are accustomed to hauling water, we are positively posh.

Re: air conditioning...We usually have nice trade winds which keep things comfortable. Some people like a/c while sleeping, especially in the summer. Some people live without it. (Do they have trade winds in the Phillipines, or are they too close to the equator?)

Posted : December 19, 2006 8:18 pm
Posts: 3904
Famed Member

Just so you know, RLS is Roy Lester Schneider Hospital . 🙂 East Ender is correct that the hospital is a good one to deliver a baby in. I had outpatient surgery there less than a year ago & was impressed with the kindness of the staff.

Lots of people have no need of air conditioning. I don't. Where I live is breezy enough. Good luck & I hope you take the offer & if so, welcome!

Posted : December 19, 2006 11:12 pm
Posts: 983
Prominent Member

Hi Smile and congrats on expecting!

Regarding babies and the local hospital---

I know many people who leave island to deliver. I stayed. Unless you are wedded to a natural home birth with the assistance of a midwife, are keen on a birthing center or require exceptional, specific medical care for the delivery, the hospital is a capable and fine place to have your baby.

I am a hippy at heart and would have liked a home birth, however, my OB was not going to do a home delivery and the midwives on-island don't have the best relationship with the hospital (e.g. no privileges).

The hospital has one birthing center-ish room, the rest are clinical little hospital rooms that can only accomodate one or two guests. Nonetheless, my husband and mother fit in just fine.

If you get a good OB and are nice to the staff, you should have a pleasant experience. The only thing to consider...if you are expecting in June you will be hot. All the time. It is sticky and sweaty here in the summer and that is without being pregnant. In that case, your questions about air-conditioning might warrant heightened consideration.

BTW, if you have lived in the Phillipes, St Thomas should not be such a shock.

Posted : December 20, 2006 12:42 pm
Posts: 38
Eminent Member
Topic starter

Thank you all for your responses. That definitely gives me a clearer picture of what we may be "getting into." We are from Louisiana, so hot and sticky is something we know a lot about. Of course, everyone here has central AC, so you only experience hot and sticky in the five second dash from your car to your home. In the Philippines, it was hot and sticky with no winds (I was in a city of about a million people, so the only wind we felt was from the big trucks driving in the street next to the window! LOL) So, cross winds may be all we really need.

The hot water availability is a relief. I survived without it, but a newborn may not be so patient!

My husband's job offer is indeed with the university, so anyone who has worked there and has any good "inside tips" feel free to speak up. We have a few weeks to make up our mind, so we are trying to learn as much as we can in that limited time. Any other advice/opinions would be welcome.

Again, thanks for your help!

Posted : December 20, 2006 3:00 pm
Posts: 983
Prominent Member

Regarding experience as University faculty:

I suggest doing a search on the online journal, The Source, for recent articles concerning efforts by the faculty to unionize and the administrative resistance to same.

Posted : December 20, 2006 3:59 pm
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member

My only connection to UVI graduated two years ago, got a full scholarship to a graduate program in a very competitive program in Big America. While I miss having a college student around, I am confident about the quality of some of the programs there.

Posted : December 20, 2006 11:12 pm
Posts: 126
Estimable Member

I had my firstborn at the Hospital on STT like Onika. HMMM? Tough decision. At the time they didn't "offer" epidurals so I toughed it out and survived....Onika, do they offer them now? I heard a rumor they were since August? If I had to do it over again I would've gone to the states. The "hospital" experience was not a good one for me, but I must say I LOVED my doctor and my pediatrician.. Let me know if you have more specific questions.

Posted : December 23, 2006 4:45 am
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