Palmares Harley Festival

Having the month of December free was nice. I had purchased my first Harley Davidson in mid 2011, a nice Sportster 1200. I already had my next trip in mind for mid-January, but really was taking some time enjoying riding around Costa Rica. Just prior to my trip to Cyprus, there was an event called the Palmares Harley Festival. This was usually the final event of the annual Palmares Festival.

Sportster 1200
My First Harley

2012 was already starting to look like a busy year, so how better to start it off with an evening ride to the festival. In 2011 I had already visited eight different countries:

The Festival

The ride to Palmares started from the Casino Fiesta, near the airport in Alejuela. I was quite impressed with the numbers of bikes that were there. Possibly 200-400 ready to rumble out to Palmares. I picked up my tickets for the festival and rally pack, then we were all off for the 40km ride to the festival.

At the festival, those with the rally pack had a special area inside the concert area and all the beer was free. Since I was riding, I did not want to drink too much, and the other caveat was that I was to be on a flight the next morning at 1030. That meant I had to be at the airport by 07:30!

I am pretty sure I departed the festival at some point around 0130 the morning of January 14, 2012. There was enough time to get home, have a short nap, shower and be ready for my ride at 0700. As I knew I had three flights ahead of me, I knew there was plenty of time to catch up on sleep. Regardless, this would not help with the jet lag!

Critical Incident Stress Management Course – Cyprus

On January 14 I departed for Larnaca, Cyprus via New York and London. I arrived in Larnaca the next day shortly before 1900. My hotel in Larnaca would be the Sun Hall located next to the waterfront. Unfortunately, in January, winter still has cooler weather on this small Mediterranean island.


Joining me from the Office of Corporate Security for this course were Bill, Doug and Jim, all from the training team. I was happy that I would be with some colleagues that I knew and enjoyed working with.

The course

Peer support personal are chosen from all levels of the organization. The most important factor is that they be credible to those persons in need of assistance. To promote credibility, peers are chosen from within the profession in which they will deliver services. Peer support personal are chosen because of their maturity (not age), and ability to work with people.

They have an understanding of the harmful effects of stress and have a desire to lesson stress of their fellow workers. They are dedicated and caring people who are willing to give their time and talents to assist distressed fellow workers. Peers are usually the prime movers on a critical incident stress management team (CISM) team.

Some peer support personnel might work full time as peer support practitioners. Most peer support practitioners have other full time jobs, but are released from their duties to conduct CISM activities.  During the last decade their role on CISM teams has been dramatically expanded. They have received more training and now have a wealth of experience. They have proven themselves to be extremely competent in rendering assistance to their fellow workers.

What does a Peer Supporter do?


  • Often initiate the first contacts with those who are showing signs of distress after exposure to an critical incident
  • Assist in assessing the need for CISM services
  • Contact the team coordinator to begin to set up the process for services for the CISM team.
  • Serve as the eyes and ears of the CISM team and are alert to the signs and symptom of developing stress problems.
  • Conduct stress management education to staff
  • Gather and distribute stress management reading materials to staff
  • Work with human resource personnel in developing staff wellbeing oriented HR practices.
  • Perform some CISM services of defusing, under the guidance of a mental health professional.
  • Perform the CISM service of critical incident stress debriefings with a mental health professional.
  • Provide demobilization services and crisis management briefings.
  • Call on crisis pastoral care workers to co-implement CISM services or as needed or requested.
  • Provide basis on-site support / respite care services to individuals who are showing signs of distress or impairment.
  • Provide one-on-one assistance, if they have been properly trained.
  • Assists in providing CISM services to families of staff.
  • Aids in providing follow-up and referral services with staff that have experienced a critical incident.
  • Helps the CISM leadership, mental health professionals and crisis pastoral care providers, as required.
  • Provide individual consultations as required.
  • Report their interventions to the mental health professionals on the CISM team who guide them in their work.
  • Assist the team in CISM related projects.
  • Already have full time jobs, but are on call to provide services, as needed.
  • Function only within the limits of their training.

Non-Course Activities

Naturally, like any World Vision activity, we always had opportunities to explore our new surroundings. This included visiting the Turkish side of the island, which is a vast contrast to the Cypriot side. We visited Cyprus’s Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque, once the Catholic Saint Nicholas’s Cathedral, in Famagusta in Turkish north Cyprus.

Following the cathedral visit, we had a light meal and then toured some of the local candy shops. Here one could purchase some very tasty Turkish delights or fresh Turkish coffee.

Church of Saint Lazarus

Quite possibly the biggest highlight of this trip was the visit to the Church of Saint Lazarus. This is where the tomb of Lazarus lays beneath the church. The remains of Lazarus were discovered here and are displayed in the church. Lazarus was the figure in the New Testament of whom Jesus had raised from the dead after 4 days.

Onwards and Downwards

When we had finished the CISM course, you would think I would be heading back home to Costa Rica! But this was not the case. As mentioned in a previous post, we had done some planning on a specialized HEAT course for the GRR Team.

After a fun week in Cyprus, it was time to head south, far south to Cape Town once again.

Next – Cape Town II

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