Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ross University Art & Craft Fair, Dominica

On Friday Nov 19th to Sat 20th, Ross Univeristy held an art and craft fair at their Campus Activity Centre.
Apparently this event has been going for 5 or 6 years now but this was the first year I had heard about it and that was just by a chance passing comment made by a local artist earlier in the year.
It was a nice event - not only an opportunity for much needed sales and promotion for the many local arts and craft producers/sellers but also a relaxed environment for artisans to network and socialise with each other. It was also good for Ross students, employees etc who are often extremely "spare time" challenged, to see and purchase authentic local craft in one location and without having to travel very far. Those who were soon to be leaving the island could pick out souvenirs for friends and family or supporters and lovers of local art and craft could easily browse and shop for work from their favourite or newly discovered artist.
I really enjoyed the event, although the air conditioning was way to cold for me, and I met a few new artists that I did not know about.
What was especially good was that 15% of all sales were collected at the end for charity organisations (The Northern District Home for the Aged and CALLS) and to help the Dominica Arts and Crafts Producers Association (DACPA) with their outreach aims.
Many Thanks to the hard working organisers Carole Antone and Lene Larsen and all the others involved. I hope this event continues to grow from strength to strength and maybe it can be publicised a bit more next year. A few residents I have spoken to (including artisans) have mentioned they were not aware of it and would have liked to attend.
Perhaps someone (cultural Division?) can follow it with a Christmas Art and Craft fair. It would be great for more people to consider local arts and craft for their Christmas present purchases. They really need all the support they can get.
Also, I keep hearing about the importance of cultural industries so if anyone happens to be speaking to the PM ;-), please can they ask him to consider removing all import tax, duties etc from arts and craft materials which have to be imported by artisans as it would be a huge help to this struggling sector.
Click to view pictures from the Ross University art and craft fair
Click to view picture slideshow from the Ross University art and craft fair

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bitter wood, Dominica

I saw a guy in Roseau selling these "bits of wood" that he explained is used as a blood cleanser. I got some but my husband pulled a funny face when I got home and said that I had actually paid for these "bits of wood". :-)
Doing some reasearch on the internet I believe it's known as "bitter wood" and has been "used for centuries to fight intestinal parasites, ease digestion, reduce fever and cleanse the bowels. Moreover, it is also said to lessen one's taste for alcohol."
See - Bitter Wood
Has anyone ever used it?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rambutan Fruit, Dominica

One day I will have my own back yard garden but for now I'm always grateful to receive the gifts of fruit and produce from friends and family.
My Uncle grows rambutan in his back garden, here in Dominica. It's delicious!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Coconut Art & Craft Exhibition, held at the Old Mill Cultural Centre in Dominica

Growing up in Dominica, coconut and a variety of coconut products were part of everyday life. Not only refreshing coconut water and the succulent flesh on Sunday outings to the village of Castle Bruce and an assortment of tasty sweets like coconut tablet and cheese on the way home from school, but also items from all the other parts of the coconut tree; like sweeping with cocoyea brooms, making kites with cocoyea sticks, playing cricket with bats made from the branch of the tree and a young coconut (well several actually) for the ball, hats, cigarettes in coconut shell ashtrays, bangles, earrings and the inevitable, uniquely Caribbean cocoyea stick "licks" for misbehaviour - ouch!!!. I won't even go into the various recipes using coconut, milk, cream, oil etc.
These memories were once again rekindled by the Coconut Art & Craft Exhibition, held at the Old Mill Cultural Centre; an inspired addition to the Independence Celebrations by the Division of Culture. Many of the craft items displayed were made by artisans belonging to the Dominica Arts & Crafts Producers Association (DACPA) - listed below.
It's the first time I have seen an exhibition solely focusing on coconut and it would be great if it expanded into a larger annual "Coconut Fest" event, featuring a wider variety of coconut food dishes and beverages, maybe even a series of workshops and guest coconut craft designers and artisans from other Caribbean islands. Maybe a coconut producing village could host it.
Although a very good exhibition, especially the large selection of beautiful coconut jewellery, and a showcase of some of our gifted artisans, I would have liked to have seen a wider variety of new, innovatively designed coconut craft products; especially products using the stem which I hardly ever see.
I do hope that skilled craftspeople and local craft do not become terminal casualties of the modern age, replaced by machines spewing out cheaper, quicker to produce, souless, mass produced items; but I worryingly often hear artisans lament that it's getting increasingly harder for them to make a living from their craft and the number of people willing and able to pay a fair price for what they produce is diminishing each year. They need all the support they can get so check out the exhibition if you can. It closes on Friday October 22.

Click to view pictures from the exhibition
Click to view slideshow from the exhibition

There is so much which can be done with this amazingly versatile material. A search on the internet can open up a wealth of inspiration to artisans who work with any part of the coconut tree and nut.
These are a few I noticed.

Some of the DACPA Coconut Craft Exhibitors
Agatha Carbon, Anita Watty, Cecelia George, Henrietta Seraphine, Julien James, Lincoln St. Rose, Vanessa Winston

Update 31/10/2010
I saw these bags at Creole in the park which was just what I was talking about.
Handbag photo 1
Handbag photo 2

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Titiwi Festival 2010, Dominica

I went to the first Layou Titiwi Festival in Dominica reunion year 2008 and I remember having a great time and thinking "I hope they do this again next year". The event was jointly organised by the Layou Improvement Committee (LIC) and Waitukubuli Ecological Foundation (WEF) in celebration of World Rivers Day, celebrated in the last weekend of September. Now in it's third year, I think it has rightly earned it's place to be promoted in Dominica's calendar of "must-visit" annual events.

This weekend 25th & 26th, the Layou village was once again transformed into Titiwi village. I was there the Saturday and Sunday, arrived far too early on the Saturday and probably left too early on the Sunday (must listen to the radio more). It looked like Saturday was more of a night time thing and Sunday a more family affair during the day, followed by the requisite "jump up" in the evening.

The activities were pretty similar to last year. The Wacky Rollers crew did a great job, as usual, organising the zip lining for kids of all ages, all sizes, boys and plenty girls too. Only charging a nominal price it meant that for many kids this was a new experience, one they might not otherwise be able to afford. Watching the different expressions coming done the line made me laugh so much. There was also sack racing, football, volleyball, Rodney's Rock boat trips and a new cool addition for this year, the ATV vehicles.

And of course there was LOTS of titiwi. Cute 'n' colourful, palm leaf decorated booths lined the beach and served titiwi in every form imaginable, titiwi pizza, pasta, accra, sancoche, steamed, smoked, pie, lasagne and in some forms I really could not imagine like "Titiwi punch"???
I admit titiwi dishes are not the most attractive and not to everyone's taste so although the spotlight was certainly on this diminutive, translucent gobi fish, you could still get other varieties of fish, breadfruit, provisions, bakes and of course chicken.

The wide beach and river makes an ideal setting and even resident Dominicans, who are not familiar with the area, often comment that they never knew Layou village had such a big beach. Unfortunately the quarry and equipment in the background is a real "blot on the landscape" and ruins the backdrop as well as the environmental message; as does the big barge transporting tarish to wherever.
Overall the environmental aspect and "World Rivers Day" celebration, part of the original festival concept, seemed to have been side-lined this year which was a shame.

I think it's important for residents and visitors to patronise and support "community" events like this one. You don't even have to add the word "tourism" at the end because the way I see it, the benefit and attraction of many of these initiatives, is that they started off as grass roots, "bottom up", community ventures first and foremost, which visitors became interested in often because of their authenticity. They did not start off as disconnected "only aimed at tourist" projects and consequently hopefully stand a greater chance of survival when some crisis or another impacts the numbers of tourists coming to the island.
Mr Lazare and the rest of LIC are doing a great job and I truly hope Titiwi Festival grows from strength to strength and benefits Layou and surrounding communities.
I also hope that as it expands it keeps sight of the key ingredients, (not just the titiwi), that makes it such a popular event for both resident and visitor alike.

For more information click Layou Community Tourism website

Click for Slideshow - A sample from the weekend
Click for Slideshow - All photos from the weekend
Click for Slideshow - All Titiwi festival photos

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Waitukubuli National Trail, Segment 5, Dominica

Walking, I think, is one of the best ways to get a real feel for Dominica, giving a more “up-close” experience and encouraging a personal connection not easily obtained from a car or bus.
Dominica already has several great hiking trails but the Waitukubuli National Trail (WNT) is well on the way to becoming the ultimate island hike. Broken up into 14 segments and totalling around 95-115 miles, the trail will traverse the island from top to bottom. It is estimated, that once finished, average hikers can complete the whole trail in around 2 weeks.
The success of the trail to bring tangible economic benefits, relies on community participation and support to provide auxiliary services such as accommodation, transportation, food, beverages, guides etc (that is assuming of course we resolve the issue of actually getting hikers in large enough numbers to come to Dominica in the first place). A full understanding of what the WNT is all about, what is planned and what is required from the communities it passes, is therefore crucial.
On 29th August the WNT project team organised a public awareness activity day with various competitions and challenges for all ages; Kiddies Baton Relay event, Negre Mawon Iron Team Hike, Heritage Photography and Literature Challenge etc.
The photography challenge took place along part of segment 5, Emerald Pool to Pont Casse, not the most dramatic segment but a really pretty hike nonetheless; scenic rainforest paths and river crossings too. I am so thankful that my past, my history is rooted on this island and walking along the trail I was happy to recall childhood stories from my Mum and her siblings. They had walked these very same paths before roads from Castle Bruce to Roseau, lighting their way with flambeaus and scaring themselves with folklore tales of soucouyants and lajabless.
I love hiking; it is one of my passions. I love the physical exertion, the onslaught on all the senses, the primal awe it inspires and everything that goes with hiking in Dominica, including sometimes getting very dirty and wet. As with other hikes around the island, I emerged from this rain forest hike, with a renewed respect for nature and a deepening of my possessive love for Waitukubuli.
The WNT is a great idea and I wish everyone involved the very best of luck with it, from those who came up with the initial concepts, to the teams who have to make it all happen. It is a huge amount of work with some serious challenges to overcome but having walked a few segments already I am really looking forward to its completion.
You never know, it may just make the National Geographic Top Trails list one day.

Click on the following links to find out more about the WNT.
Waitukubuli National Trail Website
Waitukubuli National Trail Feasibility Study
Waitukubuli National Trail Segment 5 Photo Slideshow

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rabbit Festival 2010 at Cochrane, Dominica

The Cochrane rabbit festival is normally dominated by the 3 R's. Rabbits, Rain and Roads. This year the rabbits were definitely the main attraction. Not only the cute little bunnies in the cages but those served as the main dish as well. Curried, BBQ, Grilled, Hot n Spicy, Colombo, Rotisserie etc.
Although it did rain again this year, the planning committee seemed to have been better prepared, crates were laid out in front of the food stalls and there was some shelter too.
As for the roads, I did not see anywhere near the chaos of last year and the one way system of coming up from River Estate entrance and leaving via the Sylvania exit seemed to have worked fine despite the "No Entry" sign being initially positioned at the wrong road entrance.
In addition to lots of rabbit eating and drinking, entertainment was in the form of the Venezualan dance troup and the Venezualan cuatro band, sack and rabbit races. I don't know what happened after 6.00pm but I felt there could have been a little more day time entertainment as there's only so much rabbit I can eat.
But all in all I think the festival is a welcome addition to the summer activity calendar for Dominica and a nice Community Tourism initiative. Thanks to the organising committee for all the improvements.
Click link for photo slideshow Rabbit Festival 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Take a Hike in Dominica

One of best ways to truly get a feel for Dominica, the landscape, culture and it's people is to WALK. Local hiking groups like the Dwivayez and the DHTA organised Hike Fests are a good way if you want to hike with a group.
On Saturday for the first of three "Hike Fest" hikes, we walked Segment 6: The Kalinago Territory, Salybia to Pagua Bay, passing along the old Kalinago Trails and ending up at Silks Boutique Hotel.
It was a really nice hike with our Kalinago guide Prosper Paris, passing through Kalinago villages that you would normally just drive through and taking the time to appreciate some of their culture, history and how they live today.
However if one of the aims of Hike Fest is to get the average Dominican out to experience the various sites they may not ordinarily get to see and to appreciate the hiking potential of the island, it would have been nice to see more locals participate, especially school children and it may be that the pricing needs to be reviewed.
I am eagerly awaiting the Waitukubuli National trail to be finished so I can walk and truly "see" my island from top to bottom.
Click Hike Fest slide show to view a slideshow.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dominica Stamps

Stamp collecting has never been the most trendiest of hobbies hence my slight hesitation in confessing to collecting Dominica stamps when I was younger.
Always drawn to colour I loved the beautiful vibrant designs on many of our stamps, but often wondered why some of the subjects featured, had nothing to do with the country.
e.g Dominica Honors David Copperfield

Dominican artist David wilson recently raised a discussion question "How can we use our art to create cultural visibility for our country" and one of the suggestions from Glenford John was to have images of artists work on Dominica stamps.
I thought that would be a great idea so am now on a mission to find out who decides Dominica stamp design and how possible is their idea.
I have some information from the Post Office to but if anyone has any information, let me know.

Other possible design ideas:
- Kalinago people & culture
- Dominican muscians & singers
- Dominica culture, dance etc (It looks like creole wear has already been done)
- Creole cuisine
- Traditional Fishing Boats
- Past Prime Ministers
- The Real Mas
etc etc

These are a selection of the stamps I have
Dominica Stamps slideshow

Here are some past Dominica stamp designs - Dominica - Dominica
Dominica Stamps - Dominica - Dominica1 - Dominica2 - Dominica3

Monday, April 5, 2010

Miracle Lake (Lake Matthieu), Dominica

Miracle Lake (Lake Matthieu) at Layou I think is an underrated attraction and is an impressively large, beautiful, emerald lake set in another lush Dominican valley.
Only 13 years old, the lake was formed after a massive landslide blocked up a river opening.
The saftey of the site is still being investigated so stand well back from edges and contact the owner of the land on or before your visit.
The risk of actually going down to the lake needs to considered because no-one really knows how well set the dam is. I guess the same goes for river tubing down the Layou river below.
Nature can be unpredictable anywhere in the world so caution is always advised especially in inclement weather conditions.
If you haven't been, then take a drive up there and blow your horn when you get to the end so that the land owner Christborn Shillingford (AKA Rambo) can give you a guided tour.
If the area is going to be attract more visitors then it would be good if there were better edge barriers and information on how the site was formed and proper investigation into how stable the ridge is.
I think it's well worth seeing this amazing body of water and demonstration of the awesome power of nature.

Click here for more photos of the lake

Some more information about the lake formation:
Lennox Honychurch
Public Seismic Network - Lakes of Dominica
CDERA Report of the landslide

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Year of the Child Jazz Concert, Dominica

In January I attended the 1st Dominica “Year of the Child” Concert held at Krazy Kokonuts in Roseau. It was a top class reggae event with an impressive line-up of stars including Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica & Duane Stephenson as well as our own local talent in the form of Nelly Stharre, Fanatik Band, Aima Moses, Dr. Silk, Natural Vybz and others. Most agreed it was a success and the trouble free, “good vibes”, entertaining event raised ECD$20,000 for Camp Rescue, a charity organization providing much needed life skills to at risk youth.

When I heard that the 2nd concert was going to be a Jazz concert held at the State House grounds, I must admit I thought it was a seriously brave move and I was a little worried for the organisers. It’s one thing for the hard working and well respected Nelly Stharre to have the support of her friends in organising a reggae event at a popular venue but a whole other thing to organise a Jazz event at a venue I have never seen used for a music concert. Although we have our share of die-hard Jazz fans, the genre has not received massive popularity in Dominica as shown in the demise of the missed “Jazz Walk”.

The event was held on March 27th and was due to start at 6pm. The weather was great and people started arriving before 6pm which was an encouraging sign but took the organisers by surprise; the food and drink stalls were not ready (for most events you can normally safely expect that things will not get going until at least half an hour after the scheduled start time). From then on there was a steady flow of people and soon it was apparent that the crowd numbers were going to be good.

Dominican flutists opened the proceedings with the National Anthem and Athie Martin was the competent MC. The line up was: Steel pan with Athie Martin, his brother Julie & friends (DMA), Kannick (GLP), Gelina Fontaine and Ross Leblanc (DMA), Armstrong James and his “Jazz Walk” band (DMA), Jahkoostick Musical Ensemble (JAM), Nelly Stharre (DMA), Free Joseph and friends (DMA), Marie-Claire Giraud (DMA), Arturo Tappin (BRB), Cornell Phillip & Athie Martin (DMA) and Arturo Sandoval (CUB).
There was also a surprise visit from Ms Barbados Leah Marville who has a charity called The Love Campaign which helps children with HIV/AIDS.

All the bands looked like they were genuinely having a good time and the crowd seemed to be enjoying the mellow vibe too. It was probably a long time since many had heard live Jazz in Dominica.

I enjoyed them all but my personal favourite of the night was Arturo Tappin. What a cool dude with his super long locks. I just loved his “down to earth” energy. An amazing entertainer, at one point he took off his shoes, rolled up his trousers and jumped of the stage to play bare foot walking through the crowd. He was also really approachable and accommodating for signatures and photos.

It turned out to be a fab concert and I was so glad my worries were allayed.
The rain, although needed, delayed things slightly and sent some people scurrying for shelter and sent others home prematurely. There were also some minor mike/sound issues and a couple of the performances went on a little too long but overall I thought the Jazz concert was a resounding success.

What really made this event extra special was not just the great line up, it was the attention to the little details which hinted that some serious effort and thought had been invested. Bamboo flambeau’s, potted plants, draped fabric for stage back drop, seating, tables with candles and an area for local artisans to display and sell their arts & craft on the venue grounds, created just the right ambience for this type of concert. Paintings by local artists Earl Etienne, Ellingsworth Moses and Petros Meaza & CDs, body oils and hand made greeting cards were on sale but it was a shame more artisans did not take up the offer to display.

I am already looking forward to the next event. The team seem to have a winning formula of affordable ticket price, well chosen venues (catering for crowds but not loosing that essential level of intimacy), good stage management and quick set changes (yippee!!) and an entertaining and professional line-up of local and international talent.

So, much kudos and massive respect to the visionary and hard working “Year of the Child” team, the artists who gave freely of their time, the sponsors, the behind the scenes volunteers and of course the general public who came out to show their support and enjoy an amazing night of good music in support of a good cause. This time the proceeds will be going to children affected by HIV/AIDS.

To me these concerts exemplify just how far Peace, Love, Passion & Determination can take you and others with you and I hope many more will be supporting their journey to “Rebuilding our nation one child at a time”.

Year of The Child Organisers: Nelly Stharre, Anna Raffoul, Emile Raffoul, Cornell Phillip and Marie-Claire Giraud.

Sponsors: BET Centric, LIAT, Dominica Beverage and Brewery Ltd., Fort Young Hotel, LIME, Papillote Wilderness Retreat

Click to view a slideshow of Year of the Child Jazz Concert Images.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Seeing Red in Dominica

Ever since I can remember red, yellow and orange have been my favourite colours and that probably explains why I have always been fascinated by the "red" rocks at Pointe Baptiste. Last year I wrote about how I had only ever seen them from a distance and I have been longing to get a closer look.
Well I finally went earlier this year and it really is another special place...
See More Red Rock Photos

Monday, March 15, 2010

Roseau Architecture, Dominica

Going into Roseau on a working day can be a "not so pleasant" experience especially at month end. Hot, noisy, busy, dusty and often serious traffic, it can be stressful. Also with pedestrians and parked cars all fighting for the same narrow and uneven sidewalks and open drains to navigate, you really need to concentrate on where you are walking. I feel sorry for those tourist who have declined the bus tours and are left to wonder the Roseau streets without any information on what Roseau has to offer...which at first glance might seem not much.
But if you look beneath all I have mentioned Roseau is a treasure trove of historic architecture. My favourite time to wonder is on a Sunday. Then you can spend less time looking down and more time looking up and around and can really appreciate the old buildings and little wooden "Ti-Kaz's" tucked in between newer buildings.
It is sad to see that each year more of the old buildings are either gone, severely neglected or in ruins. The cost of up keep I guess is just too high for the owners.

I am not sure if the Society for Historic Architecture, Preservation & Enhancement (SHAPE) is still functioning but they were the first to give me an appreciation of our impressive historic architecture.
SHAPE also produced a really nice Historic Roseau Walking Tour which I wish would be purchased by the cruise ships for the tourists who just want to stroll through the town.

Hopefully the new back road and Goodwill bypass road will ease traffic going into the centre of Roseau but maybe a pedestrianised Roseau and ruins and neglected old buildings restored to their former glory would really showcase our hidden diamond.
But I know the cost would be huge I guess and not everyone shares the view that restoration of old buildings are worthy symbols of development. Big advert TV screens and flyovers are what we have been told signifies we are no longer "backward".

There is an old West African saying, symbolised by the Sankofa bird, - "se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki" which translates to "it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot".
It means that sometimes "we must go back to our roots in order to move forward and it is sometimes necessary to go back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward....Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved and perpetuated."
So maybe this is true with our architecture and there are modern day lessons in how these old buildings were constructed and some of them are worthy of preservation to blend with the new...

In May, Barbados will be hosting The 11th annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development and I see that there are a few slots on Heritage Tourism.

Maybe as with other areas of Dominica culture and life we already have the assets for yet another tourism product and all it will take is for someone to come and tell us...oh and some money too.

Dominica Buildings and Structures Photos

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rumble In The Jungle Reggae Event, Jungle Bay, Dominica

There is plenty musical talent on this small Nature Island of Dominica but one of the things often heard from the musicians is the lack of support and encouragement and avenues for further exposure. Internationally known artists like Nasio and Nelly Stharre I think have found it hard over the years to gain the recognition they deserve here in Dominica and probably feel they are often more appreciated away from home.
Another issue is that many events are held in Roseau so other areas do not get their fair share of attention.

Merlin Jack from Rasta Yoga Enterprises is trying to address some of these issues and give back to her community. Merlin has set about the challenging task of promoting the up and coming reggae band Caribbean Vybez, as well as other local reggae artists, in a series of East Coast Tours.

The first tour was held in Delices on the 26th February and featured reggae artists Caribbean Vybez, Atunyah, Machine Kweyol and Jah Roots .
The Jungle Bay venue was great, the entrance fee affordable for locals, the reggae music was good and with a nice mix of residents and visitors all having a good time, it really was an excellent night. The only slight criticisms I felt were the late start and the poor sound quality which affected the performances of the first two acts.

A further 3 East Coast Tours are planned, the next venue will be at the Grand Fond Community Center on 26th March - So come and support our local talent.
If you can offer any help through much needed sponsorship then please contact Merlin at

Link to photos from the event In The Jungle Photos

Further information on some of the bands: Vybez

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dominica Carnival 2010

From what I have read the origins of our Dominica Carnival celebrations go way back and are not a recent "purely for tourist" attraction. Our Carnival is normally colourful, vibrant and authentic...the "Real Mas" and plenty of time and money must go into building costumes, decorating vehicles, streets etc.
Last year the atmosphere was definitely lacking and not many bands/floats turned up for the opening parade. Judging by the turn out this year, it looks like things will be different.
I think our sensay, bwa-bwa, la peau cabrit, darkies, Pappy Show Wedding etc are truly special and I hope they will continue for many Carnivals to come, alongside the big speaker jump up and trini style costumes.
Maybe if we continue to make our Carnival uniquely Dominican, safe and fun for all of us to enjoy, then with effective marketing and a cost effective way to get here, the visitors we want to attract will follow...

Some other carnival websites, photos etc Lawrence Dominica Pageant 2010

Background information
A History of Carnival - Lennox Honychurch

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bellevue chopin organic farm tour, Dominica

Growing up in Dominica, whenever I was sick, there was always someone around who knew the best herbal remedy. Grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles were experts on teas, baths, potions and poltices to cure any problem. As our knowledge of herbal medicines seems to be diminishing, ironically the same remedies, fruits, herbs etc are being announced as the latest miracle cures or wonder drugs; noni, mangosteen, soursop, sorrel etc etc; you name it, most likely it is something our parents or grandparents already knew about. That knowledge may also account for our high percentage of centenarians.
Dominica's agricultural landscape, the climate and our way of life have certainly changed over the years and I find I am more often lamenting I cannot find this fruit or that plant remembered from childhood.
Luckily for us, there are a growing number of people trying to restore some of this knowledge and replanting the herbs, fruits and plants that seem to be getting rarer and rarer.
One such group are the Bellevue Chopin Organic Farmers Group. (
I recently went on a tour of their herbal organic farm belonging to the very knowledgeable organic farmer Roy Ormond and his wife Cheryl.
What a fantastic trip down memory lane and also a fascinating and informative insight into the vast array of herbal remedies available to us in Dominica.
After the walk around the farm, packed with so many different plants, herbs, trees and flowers, I sucked on cocoa pods, tasted juicy shaddock and drank delicious herbal tea...ahhhh
I am a big fan of realistic, sustainable community tourism efforts that incorporate the local community and can appeal to both resident and visitor. Although the tour is an agrotourism product, the farm is an exisiting working farm, which can function in it's own right and has not been artificially created just for tourists. It is the "real deal" and that authenticity is what made the tour especially enjoyable for me.
The group hope to eventually have 4 farm tours available: anthuriums, creole, composts and herbs and the reception centre should be completed soon. I think it's a great initiative and really wish them every success with it.

Photos from farm tour:

Copyright Celia Sorhaindo