Bouton gets connected: Principal of the Bouton School Marian Southwell with Country Manager Sean Auguste (left) and a member of the LIME technical team.
No more can Bouton be the butt of every joke in St. Lucia. This quaint community can be found in a turnoff on the way down the Soufriere Hill from the west coast and it is both blessed and cursed with being one of the few untouched areas of development in St Lucia. The gap to Bouton conceals the stretch of road to the heart of the small community, which was not built for two-way traffic. In fact, only in recent times the road had been paved. Before it was a dirt path with a grassy line down the middle, like a rope leading the way. The breathtaking scenery followed us as we came to a halt at a dead end of the road, signaled by a solitary building standing majestically against the picturesque background, the Bouton Combined School. As the crisp breeze whips all around, the evergreen mountains of Soufriere can be seen to the left of the school, sloping gently downward to create a valley of green all the way to the other side that again slopes upward.
The Bouton community has faced many challenges including a water shortage situation. Electricity reached the community within the past decade and now, telecommunications provider LIME trekked to Bouton on Wednesday February 3, 2010 to announce to environs and the rest of the country that LIME has made available landline and internet services for the very first time in history.
Residents and students of the Bouton Primary School met in and around the signature LIME tent erected in front of the school for the ceremony. The kids, smartly dressed in their uniforms, delivered a well-rehearsed National Anthem followed by their welcome song.
LIME St Lucia Country Manager, Sean Auguste, was on hand to present the community with several tokens. Before the presentation, he took to the podium saying “For the students in Bouton, we know how important telecommunications are. We know it is important that you access those services from within your community. We also know you do not have access to well-stocked libraries unless you travel to Vieux Fort, Soufriere and other nearby communities, sometimes even as far as Castries. Now that LIME has brought internet services to Bouton, we know that it will improve the situation.” With that, the school received four Lenova netbooks and
free Internet service in aid of improving the quality of education the students receive.
Principal, Mrs Marian Southwell, received the gifts. “At our school we are of the firm belief that education is the key to nation building. LIME has definitely assisted us in living up to the ideals of our institution. This new facility will be a tremendous asset to the education of the students and to the residents of the Bouton community. We live in an era where the stress is on life-long learning. We have many St Lucians who have benefitted from distance learning programs. Therefore, as a school and community, we should capitalize on this new facility as a means of improving the quality of education and the education system and the standard of life in our community and St Lucia. At a school level, I can assure you that this will bring teaching and learning to life. It also has the potential to change the image of the whole community.”
One of the students, Keisha, took this opportunity to thank LIME on behalf of the school and community. “It is no secret that this community is one of the smallest and isolated communities in this island. We would really like to thank LIME for providing us with the opportunity to remain competitive in this globalised era.”
Representatives of ECFH, the Ministry of Commerce, LIME Soufriere and the Rotary Club of Gros Islet were on hand to share in the momentous occasion. Michael Walker of the Rotary Club of Gros Islet was invited to say a few impromptu words.
“The Rotary Club of Gros Islet is involved in a partnership with LIME. LIME is very kind. It sponsors out golf tournament every year, the proceeds of which go to charity. This year we raised over $132, 000 which is quite fantastic and every penny is spent here in St Lucia on projects. Our cooperation with LIME spreads over three years
and all the money goes towards the computers that LIME has provided at a fantastically generous ways to the schools.”
After the ceremony, LIME treated the enthusiastic students to lunch and gave them tokens to remind them that LIME is committed to them.