Montserrat’s Unexpected Life
Though its capital was leveled by a volcano and more than half of the island is now in the “exclusion zone,” this British territory remains home to a vibrant community.
Sean Scully Fills a Spanish Monastery With Bursts of Color
The Irish-American artist is showing some of his abstract works in a 1,000-year-old monastery in Spain.
A Film Explores Curaçao’s Effort to Become a Caribbean Haven for Coral
A documentary explores how Curacao is trying to lead the Caribbean in building an economy around its coral reefs, instead one that threatens them.
Age-Old Boys' Choir Eases Up as It Seeks to Survive
Europe's oldest boys' choir and one of its finest, based here in a monastery atop steep limestone cliffs 25 miles northwest of Barcelona, is struggling to survive, a victim of its own traditions. For centuries, parents brought their 9- to 14-year-old boys to the choir and its music school, known as the Escolania of Montserrat, then part company for most of the next 11 months. But in recent years, fewer parents in Catalonia, this northeastern region of Spain, have been willing to send their children away for so long. When only 8 students were admitted last year from a pool of 20, the fewest number of candidates in recent decades, it was clear the future of the school, which dates to at least the 13th century, was at stake. This fall, the school will reopen under greatly relaxed rules governing student life. Down the road, it is planning the most radical step of all: the admission of girls.
Chased From Island by Volcano, and From U.S. by Homeland Security
For months, the Montserratians of New York have agonized over their unwanted choices: to return to their island in the Caribbean, a British colony that has been devastated by an active volcano; to start from scratch in Britain; or to become outlaws, defying an order by the Department of Homeland Security to leave the United States by the end of February. Time ran out this week with many who had hoped for a last-minute reprieve still undecided, and some who had resolved to leave still lingering. Even Everson Farrell, who had sold all his furniture in preparation of a move to Montserrat last Sunday, postponed his flight at the last minute after a long goodbye visit with his four young children, who will remain in the Bronx.
U.S. Is Ending Haven for Those Fleeing a Volcano
The volcano on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat had been slumbering for centuries when it awoke in 1995. Amid the banana groves and breadfruit trees of their tourist paradise, the islanders hoped that its eruptions would soon subside. Instead, within two years, 7,000 people -- roughly two-thirds of the population -- had to flee escalating explosions of rock, ash and toxic gas. Most went to other Caribbean islands or to Britain, which colonized Montserrat in the 17th century and still governs it. Fewer than 300 ended up in the United States, mostly living with relatives in New York and Boston. Since it was unsafe to send them back after their visitors' visas expired, the United States granted the Montserratians ''temporary protected status,'' renewed year by year so they could legally stay and work until the worst was over.
Under the Volcano
With less than a month remaining until soccer's World Cup begins, most of the attention centers on defending world champion France and whether South American powerhouse Argentina can overcome its domestic economic crisis, not to mention the infighting among its European-based millionaire players to offer any sort of a challenge. Half a world away on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat, the ragtag group of players who make up the national team train twice a week on an uneven patch of turf barely half the size of a regulation field. An assortment of police officers, construction workers and office clerks, they can only dream of one day reaching the World Cup finals, especially after the disaster that struck the nation nearly seven years ago.
In the Mirror, a Ghostly Replica of Pompeii
IN their darkest moments, the 4,000 or so people who still have not fled the Caribbean island of Montserrat wonder out loud whether they will meet the same fate as Pompeii, and banter about what archeologists might find in layers of debris a millennium from now. Barely two years after the Soufriere Hills Volcano awoke from centuries of slumber and began spewing ash, rock and superheated gases, the once-verdant landscape of the tiny British colony has in fact given way to one ghastly tableau after another. Already, parts of the abandoned capital, Plymouth, are buried under as much as 10 feet of ash and rock. From the air, other neighborhoods of the quaint little port town appear to have been bombed, while many remaining sections of an ''exclusion zone'' covering half the island are coated with a fine, drab dust that robs trees and houses of their color. Near the makeshift dock built to replace Plymouth, a row of graves marks the temporary resting place of 10 people who defied an evacuation order in late June and perished in a molten avalanche.
Few in Montserrat Accept Evacuation Offer
A trickle of Montserrat residents began to leave their volcano-devastated island today, but the majority appeared to be opting out of the ''voluntary evacuation'' offered by the British Government, at least so far, officials said. Only a few waited under a canvas canopy for the ferry and a 90-minute trip to the nearby island of Antigua. At makeshift offices set up in tents, those who chose to leave followed normal customs and immigration procedures, as Montserrat authorities kept calm despite warnings the volcano could produce cataclysmic eruptions in the next few days.
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