A couple with nearly 40 years of experience of charity work has been on island educating local youngsters about drugs.
Peter and Susan Kingston are originally from England and France and are now based in Fiji in the Pacific. For the past 37 years, they have been working as nondenominational missionaries in India, Nepal, Bosnia and southern Africa.
Their Pacific Outreach charity, said Mr. Kingston, involves providing books, clothes and wheelchairs to the undeveloped areas of Fiji but because that island is so far away from their work in Europe and Africa, they spend two to three months each year in the Caribbean delivering drug awareness programmes to local schools.
“The Cayman Islands is the 15th country we have worked in,” Mr. Kingston said.
“We talk to kids of ages 10 to 15 about the dangers of drugs. Because we both used to take drugs as teenagers we have more experience.
“Often kids get into drugs at parties for fun, but do not have an understanding of the consequences. Our job is to present the facts and give real life examples of misuse and serious health problems that can occur.”
The Kingstons show a video called the A to Z of drugs, which has a substance for each letter of the alphabet.
“We talk about alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes which is often where people start and in my own experience as a teenager it was cigarettes then marijuana which led on to other drugs,” Mr. Kingston said.
Whilst in Cayman, the couple has visited Truth for Youth School and Triple C, which said it wanted the Kingstons to deliver more classes.
In order to facilitate the programmes, the Kingstons say they buy the cheapest round-the-world ticket they can and rely on the good will of the countries they visit for accommodation and meals.
“We never take a salary. I have not received a salary since 1975 and that was part-time work,” Mr. Kingston said.
“When we arrived here in Cayman we literally had nobody to contact and nowhere to stay. When we told Mrs. Eldemire at the guest house she offered us accommodation and lots of places are very helpful with lunch, such as Thai Orchid for example. This is how we manage to keep delivering the programme.”
The Kingstons are on island until Friday, 14 June before visiting Little Cayman and Cayman Brac for another 10 days, and subsequently Jamaica where more talks will take place.