The other side of Dominica/ O outro lado da Dominica

The other side of Dominica

As I mentioned on my last post, I had a school’s fiedltrip in Roseau. For each class that I am taking, I’m required to be involved in two trips for each class besides the independent travel I will be doing.
I did not mention in the last post because I thought it deserved its own, and I kind of needed some time to process what I noticed.

As many people may not know, Dominica’s influences is also mixed with the indigenous, Carib people. It was also their land at some point, and now they have their share inside the rainforest. I feel like I’ve heard this story so many times — colonizers coming in, taking all they can and leaving the natives with what they call a “reservation.”

Our trip was to go in the rainforest, and see the Carib people and they lifestyle. I was really excited, because people do not go to Dominica for these reasons. They go there for that warm temperature, the breathtaking nature and all that jazz. However, I wonder how many people acutely get in the rainforest to learn a little piece of what is like to live as an indigenous person in this island.

After my adventure with Yankee, I went back to the ship and met up with my class. We took a bus, and found out the whole trip to all the way in the rainforest would take two hours. Oh well, two hours in a bus during that hot day does not sound so bad. We had AC at least, and I got the window.

We went really high up, and inside the rainforest. My jaw was dropped because: they drive crazy for curvy and narrow roads like that; plus, the wheel is on the right side, which made my stomach drop sometimes. We had a tour guide in the bus, and he told us a lot about Dominica’s history and how it is now. I seriously never know when to believe this people; most of the time they just want to say the good things so we can come back. And, I was inside the rainforest; how beautiful could that get? I wanted to nap desperately, but my eyes just did not want to close.

Overall, the field trip was a mess. We signed up for the indigenous tribe, for a pool in the forest, and a waterfall. The tour people that took us, were really disorganized which made me pissed at first. (I really wanted to see the pools and the waterfalls.) We only got to see the the tribe, and it was late already.

Nevertheless, the time I had in the tribe, made it all worth it. When we finally get there, I can’t believe how much prettier the view can get. They had this lagoon with all these rocks that looked like a fantasy world. My eyes did not know where to look.

Then, the chief came and split us up into groups. We started to walk around, and I noticed some little houses, probably the ones they lived in. Our first stop was in a tent where a woman was making accessories to sell. She said she does that for living, and she picks everything she needs in the forest. I noticed people a lot for some reason while i am traveling, and she looked sad. I wonder if I was wrong.

The other stop, was in the middle of no where, where one of the natives were showing us many plants and how they use it. I really enjoyed smelling all those plants and finding out they medicinal purposes. A plant that really caught my attention, was not used as medication. It was used to put outside the window, and if the wind blew its sides, it was because a person that was missing was still alive. If it went dry with the wind, that person was dead. People would go missing back in the days, since they most of them had to go deep in the forest for hunting and gathering.

After, a native woman cooked something in front of us, in a rock looking stove. What she cooked looked like tapioca, with guava on the top. It was delicious!

Finally, we explored around, saw other places they filmed the movie Pirates of the Caribbean and some tents they used, saw a little school with kids running around, drank sugarcane and aet more local indigenous food (a lot of things made with banana.)

I talked to a native boy that was 15 years old, that acted like he was 30 because he just seemed to know how to do everything. Plus, he had a really long pony tail that looked really cool. I asked him about school and how was his life. He explained to me, that he had to wake up around 4am everyday in order to catch the bus to get to school. Then he said, “but the government pays for our buses, because they know we don’t have money.” At first, I thought the government was doing a good job doing that. And then I thought “Wait, they are the minority, and of course they are going to have less money then others, which is not fair!” I still do not know what to think about that.

Before we said good-bye and headed back to the bus, I saw a starfruit tree, that reminded me a lot of my childhood and my grandparents. My grandpa had a starfruit tree and it made me miss them. I climbed it, grabbed one, and shared with all Semester at Sea students that were there, which it was their first time eating it. As I climbed the tree looking like a never war starfruit before, a native teen girl started to record me with her phone and laughing. Yes, she had a phones. And yes again, she was recording me and taking pictures of me! I thought it was the other way around? It made me smile even more!

____________________________________________________________________

 

O outro lado da Dominica

 

Como eu disse no meu ultimo post, eu tive uma excursão com a faculdade em Roseau. Para cada aula,  e requerido que eu esteja envolvida em duas excursões por aula, fora o tempo em que eu estarei viajando independentemente. Eu nao comentei sobre essa excursão no ultimo post, pos acredito que ele merece um post sozinho.

 

Como muitas pessoas nao devem saber, as influencias do povo de Dominica tem mistura com seu povo indígena, os Carib. A terra também era deles em um ponto na historia, e agora eles compartilham um pedaço da floresta. Parece que eu ja ouvi tanto essa historia — os colonizadores vem, tiram o que eles querem, e deixam os nativos com o que eles chamam de “reserva.”

 

Nossa excursão era ir dentro da floresta, e conhecer a tribo Carib e seu estilo de vida. Eu estava bem ansiosa mas nao creio que muitas pessoas vao para Dominica por essas razoes. Todos vao para aquela temperatura quente, a beleza de tirar o fôlego e todo aquele jazz. Mas, eu me pergunto se alguém ja se interessou em entrar na floresta e aprender um pouco como e viver como um indígena na ilha.

 

Depois da minha aventura com Yankee, eu voltei ao navio e encontrei com a minha classe. Pegamos um ónibus, e descobrimos que a viagem ate a floresta levaria duas horas. Oh ne, duas horas dentro de um ónibus naquele calor nao me parece tao ruim assim. Pelo menos tínhamos ar condicionado, e eu estava na janela.

 

Cada vez que iamos mais alto e dentro da floresta, meu queixo caia, porque: Eles dirigem parecendo loucos para estradas cheias de curvas e pequenas como aquelas; e, o volante esta no lado direito, que fez meu estômago embrulhar as vezes. A gente tinha um guia turístico no onibus que nos falava sobre a historia de Dominica e como e agora. Eu sinceramente nunca sei quando posso acreditar nesses caras; na maioria das vezes eles nos dizem as coisas boas so para que a gente volte. E, e eu estava dentro de uma floresta; tinha como ficar mais lindo? Eu estava desesperada para tirar uma soneca, mas os meus olhos nao queriam fechar.

 

Ao todo, a excursão foi uma bagunca. A gente estava esperando a tribo indígena, uma piscina na floresta e uma cachoeira. Os guias que levaram a gente foram muito desorganizados que me deixou chateada no inicio. (Eu queria muito ter visto as piscinas e as cachoeiras.) So tivemos tempo de ver a aldeia, e ja estava ficando tarde.

 

Mesmo assim, o tempo em que eu estive na tribo fez com que tudo valesse a pena. Quando finalmente chegamos la, eu nem acreditava como podia ficar ainda mais bonito. Eles tinham uma lagoa com varias pedras que me parecia mais um mundo em fantasias. Meus olhos nem sabiam para onde olhar.

 

Depois, o chefe da aldeia nos dividiu em grupos. Começamos a andar, e percebi umas casinhas ao redor do nada, que provavelmente eram onde eles moravam. A nossa primeira parada foi em uma cabana em que uma mulher estava fazendo acessórios para vender. Ela disse que fazia aquilo para viver, e que ela pegava tudo que precisava na floresta. Eu tenho mania de observar as pessoas quando estou viajando, e ela me parecia triste. Ainda me vem na cabeca se eu estava certa, ou nao.

 

A outra parada foi no meio do nada, onde um nativo nos mostrava plantas e como eles as usava. Eu gostei muito de ter cheirado as plantas e ter aprendido como elas eram usadas em forma de medicina. Mas, uma planta que me chamou muito atenção, nao era usada para medicação. Ela era usada para colocar na janela, e se os lados dela mexesse com o vento era porque uma pessoa que estava perdida, ou que ninguém via a muito tempo ainda estava viva. Se ela secasse com o vento, e porque a pessoa estava morta. Naqueles tempos, muitas pessoas desapareciam, porque iam para floresta para caçar e catar.

 

Depois, uma nativa cozinhou algo na frente da gente em um fogão que era feito de pedras. Ela cozinhou algo que me parecia tapioca, com uma pasta de goiaba por cima. Estava uma delicia!

 

Finalmente, a gente explorou ao redor, conhecemos outros lugares onde eles filmaram o filme Piratas do Caribe e umas cabanas que eles usaram, vimos uma escola pequenina, bebemos cana de acucar e comemos mais comida feita pelos nativos (muitas coisas feitas com banana.)

 

Eu conversei com um menino nativo de uns 15 anos, mas ele agia como se tivesse 30, pos ele parecia que sabia fazer tudo. Ele também tinha uma tranca imensa que era bem estiloso. Eu perguntei a ele sobre escola e como era a vida dele. Ele me explicou que tinha que acordar todos os dias as 4am para pegar o onibus para chegar na escola. E depois disse,  “Mas o governo paga para o nosso onibus, porque eles sabem que nos nao temos dinheiro.” No inicio eu pensei que o governo estava fazendo algo bom para eles. Mas depois pensei, “Espera, eles sao a minoria, e claro que eles vao ter menos dinheiro, e isso nao e justo!” Eu ainda nao sei o que pensar sobre isso.

 

Antes de me despedir e voltar ao onibus, eu vi uma arvore de carambola, que me lembrou muito da minha infância e dos meus avos. Meu avo tinha uma arvore de carambola e me bateu muita saudade deles. Eu subi na arvore e peguei uma carambola, e comparti ela com todo mundo do Semestre do Mar que estava ali, e era a primeira vez que todos comiam. Enquanto eu estava subindo na arvore parecendo uma maluca que nunca tinha visto carambola, uma nativa adolescente começou a me filmar e a rir. Sim, ela tinha um celular. E sim novamente, ela estava me filmando e tirando fotos minhas! Eu pensei que era ao contrario? Me fez rir mais ainda!

 

Categories: Dominica | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “The other side of Dominica/ O outro lado da Dominica

  1. Your most thoughtful post so far–good job! I had many of the same thoughts in Peru two years ago, and the Amazon part of the country sounded a lot like Dominica. I was surprised to learn that the rainforest, at least there, has very thin top soil so it’s a really fragile ecosystem that could easily be destroyed. Some call the Amazon basin the lungs of the planet. We really need to preserve what’s left of nature or we will be very unhappy and unhealthy. And of course, the culture and knowledge and dignity of the native peoples have to be carefully nurtured too, lest we lose all that too.

    Funny bit on filming with phones–the world is so much smaller now, esp. for younger people who have access to technology that gives them such a wide window into the world beyond their village or country. That should make the future even more interesting!

    And I’m beginning to peek at the Portuguese reports too–many words are similar to Spanish! So I’ll try to be more adventurous. Tiffany Remedee did some songs from Brazil yesterday for our school’s Zumba Club–so much fun! You’ll have to come dance with us when you return!

    Muah!!!
    Suzanne

  2. Rose Sampaio

    Hey Mamy Chula! Que maravilha esse pedacinho de Dominica! Muito bem feita a sua colocacao:

    As many people may not know, Dominica’s influences is also mixed with the indigenous, Carib people. It was also their land at some point, and now they have their share inside the rainforest. I feel like I’ve heard this story so many times — colonizers coming in, taking all they can and leaving the natives with what they call a “reservation.”

    Sobre as folhas naturais como interessante e util relacionada a Espiritualidade humana! Continue
    nos brindando com essas informacoes maravilhosas!
    I love you!

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