Several people, located both in Dominica and Canada provided much appreciated assistance and were very generous with their time while I was on the Nature Island. I want to publicly thank them here, as they helped to make all the components of this visit much easier to facilitate and enjoy.
Vernon and Geramise Gordon, my longtime neighbours and friends in Wallhouse Dominica made an apartment at their home available to me, even though they were still recovering from the ravages of Maria with no roof, and repairs underway. Their Sunday dinners were sensational, as well as all the natural foods that they shared with me, and their exceptional hospitality, despite their own post-Maria challenges, was truly Dominican!
Tina Alexander of Lifeline Ministries, for her sound advice about coping with post-Maria challenges and means of helping others, lengthy chats, on-the-spot help for my neighbours-in-need, and for including me in social activities while I was on-island.
Nancy Osler, for taking me twice to a devastated Springfield (a place I so loved) and for driving me back to my apartment a number of times when I was loaded with groceries, and for being a good friend through it all, despite her own post-Maria challenges.
Mark Steele, longtime friend and proprietor of the former Beau Rive Boutique Hotel, for meeting with me in Roseau and then showing me and Birdy around the once-beautiful Beau Rive, now permanently closed due to the ravages of Maria, and for showing us his new home-in-progress.
Bertrand ‘Dr. Birdy’ Jno Baptiste, tour-guide and birding specialist extraordinaire, as well as being one of my first friends on the Nature Island, going back 21 years, for his generosity with his time and expertise, for taking me to many of my favourite places, for his continued tutelage on the flora and fauna on Dominica, and for loads of laughs, despite his own post-Maria challenges.
Karen Sutherland, Owner of Roots Farm in Cochrane and Anne Jno Baptiste, Proprietor of Papillote Wilderness Retreat in Trafalgar took time out from their busy post-Maria schedules to treat and host me at Papillote, and catch up on news and developments. It was a lovely day!
Martine Varlet, Physiotherapist/Osteopath and friend in Mero kindly restored my back to its proper alignment after some travel-related injuries and a bad cold. She spent extra time with me so that we could catch up on news and have plenty of laughs during the therapeutic sessions.
Yola Toussaint and Dominique Marchand of the Humane Society of Dominica took time from their busy schedules to update me on the impact of Hurricane Maria on domestic animals, their spay/neuter initiatives and included me as an active volunteer.
Liz Madisetti, Principal and Shirley Charles, Vice-Principal of Orion Academy enthusiastically supported my teaching sessions there as a volunteer. Also, Sister Anita, Principal and Kathie Richards, Reading Intervention Instructor at St. Luke’s Primary School welcomed me to their teaching institution as an unknown who wanted to help. It was a pleasure to take part as a volunteer at both of these extraordinary schools.
Vernanda Raymond, Chief Librarian of the Dominica Library and Information Services provided me with a detailed update of the status of the libraries post-Maria, and continues to keep me “in the loop” about their recovery and restoration.
To private and public sector tourism partners for providing information and enthusiastically discussing post-Maria issues and forthcoming Climate Resilience initiatives: Kevin Francis, Executive Vice-President of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association; Lise Van de Kamp and Hans Schilders, proprietors of Hotel The Champs; Colin Piper, CEO and Director of Tourism and Daphne Vidal, Project Officer/Voluntourism Coordinator at the Discover Dominica Authority; Stephen Durand, Senior Forestry Officer and Norma Anthony, Assistant Forestry Officer, Environmental Education Unit of the Government of Dominica, Forestry Wildlife and Parks Division.
Logan McCartney, neighbour, friend and proprietor of the Elm Café in Kingston, Ontario generously offered to look in on my place and shovel snow off the steps and entrance-way while I was in Dominica. Despite her busy schedule, with her husband Matthew providing support by tending their infant daughter Juno and being on-call if she needed help with something in the apartment, she checked in to ensure that all was well, and did some shoveling, sometimes. When I arrived home exhausted from my travels, I found some goodies, produce, and tea bags on the kitchen counter. Then I discovered milk and eggs in the fridge, much to my delight! Her kindness does not go unnoticed.
As well, I appreciated the cool and inviting space of the Elm Café to write most of this blog, sip on delicious coffee, and nibble on tasty treats while I put this work together. I am grateful to Logan, her lovely family and her phenomenal staff for their interest, enthusiasm and support of my love for Dominica and my latest ‘adventures’ there, post-Hurricane Maria.
Gratitude is also extended to Sarah, Manager of the Small Batch Café on Princess Street in Kingston, Ontario. On most Mondays (when The Elm is closed), I would sip, sup and write there. Invariably, Sarah would always ask me about Dominica and my writings, and she is currently reading Ti Domnik Tales, my earlier blog about Dominica!
I am blessed to have had some healing help from Laura Gifford, D.C. and Catherine Konopelky, R.M.T. (osteopath-in-training) at the Live Well Centre in Kingston Ontario for keeping my back on track after many hours seated at the keyboard! Their interest in Dominica is much appreciated too.
And last, but not least, my brothers, who have been on my Dominica journey (figuratively for the most part) since it all began back in 1997! Thanks to Marc, for attending to the business part of my absence, occasional check-ins when he happened to be in town, and for keeping me connected to family news while I was away. Edwin, who has been to Dominica three times, called regularly to see how I was doing – and Dominica by extension. I know that he knows how attached I am to the Nature Island, and having been there and met some of my friends and neighbours, he wants the best for everyone in Dominica too.
Thanks to everyone for their support of and interest in After The Hurricane: A Post-Maria Visit to Dominica!
Gwenith Whitford in Kingston ON Canada
August 15, 2018