The Sanford Family – Napolean, Clarencia, Claudia, Mauricia, Provin, and Suzan

The Sanford family has been a constant source of support and friendship on our Dominica teenage volunteer program abroad in the Carib Territory since our first summer in 1996. The Sanford’s have continued every season since to contribute their knowledge, skills, time, love, and, of course, their luscious fruit.

Napolean and Clarencia, heads of the family, each have their hands in many pots. Napolean is a master dugout canoe builder and has started a business, both accepting contracts to build the traditional boats and giving presentations for tourists and others to demonstrate the building process. He also weaves straw placemats and doormats.

Along with his artistic craftsman side, is Napolean’s genuine concern for the political well-being of his community. He has served in the past on the Carib Council. He generously takes time from his many activities each summer to spend with our group. He offers his expertise on our worksites and also takes small groups of participants as ‘interns’, teaching them about traditional Carib boat building, cooking, and farming.

Clarencia, mother of four and grandmother to three, greets us every summer wearing her constant shining smile. She handles our fruit purchases and helps cook some of our meals. She is a master crafts maker, specializing in traditional baskets. She sells her beautiful crafts, along with those made by others, in the Carib Model Village and at the Hibiscus Valley Inn. Clarencia is an active member of the Kalinago Crafts Association, a group of craft makers and vendors who make decisions and policies that impact their work and businesses.

By far, the Sanford most familiar to our participants and staff is Provin. His long involvement with VISIONS started when he was a teenager, working alongside our participants, tour-guiding and troubleshooting for the staff. As our program in Dominica grew, Provin grew right alongside us. He has gone from indispensable community friend to summer staff member to an integral part of our year-round family.

Provin moved to the United States in 2003 and spent a year traveling and representing VISIONS to potential participants and their families. He now lives with his wife, Cara, and daughter, Mia, in Pittsburgh, PA, where he works for a construction company. He remains our Dominica program Community Liaison and Summer Program Co-director (Cara co-directs the program with him).

Because Provin grew up in the Carib territory, his thoughtful insight makes him uniquely suited to this position. His connections, relationships, and personal understanding of this community enable him to introduce our participants to a Dominica very few have the opportunity to experience. Provin has a gift for working with people, an incredible work ethic, and the logistical know-how to get any job done. All these qualities and so many more have made him truly the heart of VISIONS Dominica program.

Provin has three sisters: Claudia, Mauricia, and Suzan. Claudia, the oldest, lives in Guadeloupe. Her oldest son Vivian (aged 16) was a local participant in VISIONS Dominican last summer. Mauricia, next oldest, works for the Ministry of Tourism at the airport and so has been indispensable in helping us navigate airport logistics. Provin’s youngest sister Suzan also grew up with VISIONS during the summer. We remember her as a young child running around the territory, bringing us fruit and showing us how to find well-hidden swimming holes. She is now an ambitious young woman about to complete an associates’ degree with the intention of pursuing a bachelor’s degree next. The Sanford women are beautiful, too. Mauricia was second runner-up for Miss Dominica. Suzan was voted Miss Kalinago last year.

The Sanford Family personifies the concept of giving. They give warmly and lovingly of themselves and all they have. Without them VISIONS Dominica would not be the same.

All this and actors too!!?!  Look for Napolean and Suzan in Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3.  In one scene Suzan is putting a necklace on Johnny Depp!  

VISIONS in The New York Times