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Last Updated on May 14, 2021 by Amy
This post is a collaboration with Macario Advantage, a non-profit organization run by our friends Magoe and Clair. We wanted to take some time out of our lives to hear about the goodness cruisers can accomplish, especially in this difficult time.
We first met Magoe and Clair because we wanted to buy their boat! Sailing vessel Macario was docked in South Shore Harbor Marina, near where we lived in Houston, and we passed the boat often. We were in the market for our sailing catamaran, and keen to buy a Leopard 46 – just like Macario!
Well, we didn’t get to buy her; she was waiting for Clair’s work assignment overseas to be done so she could begin her cruising life. Years later, we pulled into Portsmouth, Dominica, and recognized the boat!
Clair and Magoe aren’t just cruising. They started Macario Advantage five yars ago, and have used their position as cruisers to help fund local projects throughout the Eastern Caribbean islands, especially in places where help is needed most.
Mostly, Macario Advantage works directly with established organizations to support bigger projects, which in turn benefit the communities, especially disadvantaged demographics.
When Hurricane Irma and Maria struck the Caribbean, efforts became less about community development and more about disaster relief, which still continues to this day.
Most of the volunteers are cruisers, so if you are cruising these areas and want to give back to the community, contact Macario Advantage!
Here are some projects they have worked on.
Lamb’s Feast is a “meals on wheels” program in Portsmouth, Dominica, that has prepared and delivered hot meals to home-bound elderly people for the past 15 years. Macario Advantage replaced rotten and termite damaged floor joists and plywood flooring in the front room, kitchen, and bathroom of the house where meals are prepared so that the facility is not only safe to use, but can also be used as a community feeding and social center for the elderly. Assistance was provided to restore the building, especially the roof, after major damage was suffered during Hurricane Maria. The entire interior was repainted, including ceilings, walls, floors, and cabinets. New commercial grade cookware and cooking utensils were donated.
Repairing the foundation and replacing the floor.
Removing the old ceiling in preparation for installing a new roof.
Operation Youth Quake
Operation Youth Quake provides a secure home for abandoned and/or abused teens in Roseau, Dominica. All areas of the home needed major assistance, but Macario Advantage focused on the most urgent work that needed to be done. The areas worked on were the kitchen, dining room, and laundry room. Work completed included replacing the kitchen sink, repairing the cabinets, replacing countertops, and making other modifications to the layout of the kitchen to make it modern and more user friendly. The entire kitchen, dining areas, and laundry room received a fresh coat of paint. A new commercial clothes washing machine, commercial-grade serve-ware, cooking utensils, and folding chairs were donated by Macario Advantage.
The new, remodeled kitchen.
The Northern District Home for the Aged
The Northern District Home for the Aged in Portsmouth, Dominica is a facility that provides 24/7 care for people that can no longer take care of themselves and lack sufficient family support to remain at home. The Home for the Aged looks and functions so much better than it did before, both inside and outside, after Macario Advantage completed a thorough, three-week cleanup and organizing. A new entrance gate to the facility was built to improve security, and major plumbing repairs to the facility were completed to restore running water to all toilets, showers, and sinks.
One of three loads of debris removed from the site.
The Boys Training Centre
The Boys Training Centre in Gros Islet, St. Lucia, West Indies, is a shelter for boys aged 10-18 that have been removed from their homes by the courts for various reasons. The kitchen, which prepares all meals for the boys and staff, was badly over-crowded, making it very inefficient for the kitchen staff to work. Macario Advantage hired a local contractor to knock out a portion of one wall and add a new double-door into an adjacent room which now serves as the food storage area. The kitchen and storage areas were reorganized and the entire area received a fresh coat of paint. The new space gives the kitchen staff much more preparation area and room to move around with ease.
Preparing the new pantry room for adding new doors and storage bins.
The Cornerstone House
The Cornerstone House is a shelter for both men and women that would otherwise be homeless. They barely get by on a very tight budget and were in desperate need of a lot of help to upgrade furniture and kitchen facilities. Macario Advantage assisted in cleaning, reorganizing, and doing some renovations to the kitchen and pantry areas to make the facility more user friendly. Macario Advantage also donated new cookware, serve-ware, plates, flatware, and other essential kitchen items that were needed at the shelter.
Magoe at the Cornerstone House kitchen, taking an inventory.
Feed My Sheep Homeless Shelter
Macario Advantage is currently working on a large project that is being done in phases at the Feed My Sheep Homeless Shelter in Mahaut, Dominica. Recent work completed includes removing debris and clean-up of the grounds around the facility, cleaning and organizing the interior area of the facility, upgrading the kitchen, and repainting residential areas of the building. Macario Advantage managed a project to complete a concrete barrier wall to protect the shelter from flooding and replaced six toilets that were not working.
The crew that build the new flood barrier wall.
Looking for Volunteers and Supporting Funds
One of the most impactful parts of cruising is seeing a world that’s very different from your own. In many ways, cruisers are very fortunate, and it’s up to us to remember to leave our wakes better than we found it.
Volunteers at the Roosevelt Douglas Primary School along with a few of the school children that couldn’t wait to have their picture taken.