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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.

Archive for October, 2009


don't litterPhoto by frankh

I’m not a complainer. Really, I’m not. But having lived my first 68 years in the USA, I find that things being different take me some getting used to. Understand, please, I’m not asserting that “different” is wrong. It’s probably right for here; only I’m unused to it.

So, I’m sucking it up and learning to accept those different things. Still, I think it may amuse Dominicans reading this and help inform and prepare Americans, and Europeans and other “1st-worlders” wishing to settle here as well.

I’ll write about those differences – big and small – from time to time, and will preface it with this paragraph so that you know I’m not complaining.

Difference #6: The attitude towards littering.

There’s an eye-catching scene in an episode of the popular, award-winning TV series o AMC called “Mad Men” in which the lead character’s family moves off from a picnic in a park by simply shaking all their litter from their blanket onto the grass and moving off. It was noted by nearly every TV reviewer as one of the excellent examples of how the American attitude towards littering has changed since the early 1960s when the series is set.

I mention that to reassure readers that Americans are no better than (or different from) Dominicans in this regard. The “Dominican Difference” in this case is only one brought about by a vigorous public anti-littering campaign financed by the government, conservation groups, etc.

I could write a lot of things you’ve probably heard or read about Dominica’s litter problem and the differences between the local solution and how it was mostly solved in the US. (I say “mostly” because poor peoples in the ghettos in the US still litter out of hopelessness, frustration, and the sense that the place belongs to absentee landlords.) The US can afford to collect and recycle and fine people (who can pay). Even there, companies sometimes litter if they think they won’t be caught, and the mob profits by collecting trash and dumping it for free instead of paying to recycle it or dispose of it properly.

But all that having been said, one simple fact is inescapable, in Dominica or anywhere for that matter – the solution begins with a changed public attitude towards littering. I haven’t seen enough of that change here. I wrote and e-mail to Domlec noting that their crews simply litter the ground with bits of non-biodegradable cable, and never received a reply. I see people of all ages simply litter daily. And many people act as if filth washed down their open drains is no longer their problem. They’re wrong: At best it’s unsightly and foul-smelling, but at worst it causes and/or spreads diseases and vermin.

Feelings against littering are growing here, but there’s a lot of lip-service too. We don’t have forever. Cleaning up Dominica is vital for our health, our price, and our precious environment. Once again, – the solution begins with a changed public attitude towards littering.

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Caribbean timePhoto by Joe Shlabotnik

I’m not a complainer. Really, I’m not. But having lived my first 68 years in the USA, I find that things being different take me some getting used to. Understand, please, I’m not asserting that “different” is wrong. It’s probably right for here; only I’m unused to it.

So, I’m sucking it up and learning to accept those different things. Still, I think it may amuse Dominicans reading this and help inform and prepare Americans, and Europeans and other “1st-worlders” wishing to settle here as well.

I’ll write about those differences – big and small – from time to time, and will preface it with this paragraph so that you know I’m not complaining.

The Dominican Difference #5:”Dominican Time” and Schedules

Schedules. I don’t mind “Caribbean Time” at all; not after years of catching a commuter train to and from the office. What the heck, I’m retired and can do pretty much what I want when I want to. And I understand that in Dominica where there are no trains or tightly scheduled buses things must naturally proceed in their own good time. That’s especially the case where many people don’t own their own transportation and often can scarcely afford the available transportation.

All this did not take me much getting used to even though I was raised by an adoptive father from Switzerland, where punctuality and schedule-keeping are virtually national obsessions.

TV Scheduling in Dominica

But there is one concession to scheduling I’d like to see Dominica adopt – TV scheduling. We used to have cable TV in the US and it came with a thing called a “set-top box”. One could use the remote control to query the box to display a schedule of programs and the times and which channel they’d be on. Here, whether one has Marpin or SAT, there’s no box; one simply must channel-surf and uses at what’s on. With our time available, it would be nice to be able to plan to watch a movie or event on TV from the beginning, or at least set a recorder to capture it.

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independence celebrations in Dominica

The Nature Island Hosts Cultural Events in Honor of Their Independence Celebrations

With a number of festive, authentic and traditional Creole events occurring throughout October and November, Dominica is giving travelers even more reasons to visit “the Nature Island.” In addition to its numerous nature based attractions and activities, the destination has planned some unforgettable events leading up to Dominica’s 13th Annual World Creole Music Festival, the social extravaganza of the year.

This is an exciting time of year for visitors to be in Dominica,” comments Colin Piper, Director of Tourism at Discover Dominica Authority. “It is when the heart and soul of our country, and who we are as a people are reflected through the events and festivities taking place. We welcome visitors to come experience this first hand and see and feel it for themselves.”

Heritage Day – October 25, marks Heritage Day, a day where villages are recognized and awarded for their uniqueness. Each year a different village is recognized. It is an opportunity to highlight individual, community and institutional achievements. This year, Dominica is recognizing the village of Giraudel Eggleston and Dominicans will roam their streets showcasing the town’s cultural music, dance and food.

Creole In The Park – On October 26 – 29, Dominica will hold their 7th annual LIME Creole in the Park, which was established for a daytime event during Dominica’s Independence celebrations. The four day event is held at the historic Botanical Gardens and features performances from local, regional and international artists. The event blends traditional Creole music with steel pan drums, with the delectable aromas of local cuisine.

World Creole Music Festival – Highly anticipated by fans of this style of music throughout the world, the 13th Annual World Creole Music Festival will be held October 30 – November 1, 2009. A well-established Caribbean and International platform for artists of the genre, the festival is widely seen as one of the only truly indigenous music events in the Caribbean. Over the years, the festival has attracted some of the most renowned musical groups and soloists from the Creole-speaking world.

This year’s line-up includes but not limited to; acts from Swinging Stars, La Perfecta, Caribbean Vibes and solo artists; Sweet Mickey, Michele Henderson and Maxi Priest. Past artists have included such premier acts as Exile One, Kassav, Gramacks/New Generations, Tabou Combo and others as well as solo artists like Sean Paul, Ophelia, Tania St. Valle, Sakis and Franky Vincent.

Independence Day – On November 3, Dominica will celebrate its 31st year as an independent nation with an array of cultural events, parties, traditional music performances, folklore and dances. During this time, citizens and friends of Dominica unite to celebrate and reflect on the progress and development that has taken place over the years and to reaffirm their commitment to building a better future for “the Nature Island.” Many milestones have been reached over this period of 31 years and this is an opportunity to highlight, individual community and institutional accomplishments.

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