Castries, the capital of St. Lucia, is the birthplace of Nobel Prize winning poet Derek Walcott. Part of our group embarked on a vigorous pursuit of literary tourism, and set forth to trace the spaces linked to Walcott in his home city. One of our visits was to the Gordon and Walcott Memorial Methodist School, the primary school Derek and his twin brother Roderick attended as children. With a fresh coat of paint and general repairs provided by sailors from the USS Simpson in July 2008, the school seemed fairly resplendent in the brilliant sun.
We visited during recess, and were welcome with curiosity and enthusiasm (mostly for our digital cameras). We took endless photographs, which the kids wanted to peer at immediately to see themselves in the digital displays. It was easy to imagine the young Walcott in a setting that seems not to have moved along with the times. Penny sweets were sold near the entrance, a cricket game was in progress, children lined up reluctantly for a dental checkup. The school, formerly the Gordon Memorial Methodist School, has been renamed to honor its illustrious alum-a fact the children seem blissfully unaware of.