We made it to Dominica. The island I will be working for the next two years. After a late night with fellow volunteers that I have now been separated from by the different island after growing so close with these past seven weeks, I had to wake up at 4am to make it to the ferry. And guess who set their alarm to pm? Of course I did. So at 5:15am the SSM (safety and security manager) is banging on my front door. And rightfully so. Lucky I was fully packed minus a few last minute things which went unused on that graceful morning and shoved into my carry on as quickly as possible. The saddest thing was only giving my host mom and brother who had taken amazing care of me the past seven weeks a speedy hug and out the door. My host father and my host brother’s girlfriend didn’t even make it out of bed.
This is going to be boring because I have no pictures for the rest of these events. I apologize in advance. The SSM gets me to the ferry where the other 7 volunteers who woke up on time were waiting in line. I joined them for another two hours. Though if anyone comes to visit me, I do recommend taking the ferry to Dominica from St. Lucia, even if I slept 3/4 of the way. It’s beautiful and if you do need some sleep you’ll get a lot more room than on that tiny, shaky plane.
Once in Dominica, we are rushed with hugs from the current volunteers who have been teaching on the island for the past year. And I meet my new host mother. “You’re my 14th volunteer” is the first thing she tells me, and very proudly. I soon learn that she is very proud of each and every volunteer on that list. It’s kind of nice to know that she will brag about me to her 15th volunteer. Or at least I hope she does.
On Sunday I went to the church where my host father is the pastor. It takes an hour to get there, but it’s built in the sand on the beach. I can’t help but look out the window during service to see children playing in the ocean, dragging in giant logs to use as floats.
Emincipaion holiday is Monday. No training for this girl. I tried to help my host mom with cooking and cleaning but she says there is no work for me. Apparently once school starts back it won’t be as quiet in our village. If my windows are open my students will want to be in and out of my house all the time. I am supposed to enjoy this time. I haven’t slept, read, and relaxed that much in seven weeks. We did go visit my host grandparents, ages 85 and 91. After I tell my host grandmother I’m from the states I am asked, “do you have plenty of income?”
It takes an hour bus ride to get to the capital of Roseau where training is today. It’s a lot slower here than in St. Lucia. And much slower than home. I will now have something to read on me at all times.
The past four days here have still been overwhelming. I am used to the support of my fellow volunteers and now best friends. But we still are there for each other. Deep down I know I’m not alone, but sometimes it feels like it. The St. Lucian Kweyol phrases I knew are different here. I sweat more. What I wouldn’t do for a hot shower. And I don’t have as many fruits a vegetables available to me. I miss strawberries and goat cheese. You think there would be goat cheese with all the goats around here! If I close my windows I will die of a heat stroke. If my windows are open, two dozen bugs want to be my new best friends. Sorry volunteers on other islands, you’ve been replaced. ADJUST ADJUST ADJUST is what we always must do. People, go home, hug your dog, take a thirty minute shower, then enjoy some tacos and Mellow Mushroom. That’s the life.