Dominica is a strange place. It's a place of extremes: One day I'll be frustrated and defeated to be here, another I'll wonder at the forces that brought me to this beautiful island. It's an country with daily reminders of poverty, the stress of academia, and a local culture of entitlement, but also of naturally stunning landscapes, a tight-knit community of expats, and a local culture of resilience. It's both exhausting and exhilerating. Across the board though, in the relatively short time we've been here, there's been noticeable progress.
Recently an IGA grocery store opened in town. This sounds commonplace to those who have never lived here, but for us it's a game changer. The other day we bought milk. Actual milk. We haven't had fresh milk on the island the entire time we've been here. Of course we always spend time bemoaning the lack of products here, but when you see that big ol' bottle of the good stuff on the shelves, you have to be struck by the logistics of getting it here. The milk is from Chicago, which means it had to travel from Illinois to the Caribbean in bulk, refrigerated, in time for us to consume. It's a beautiful thing.
I tried to explain what it's like to Jocelyn, my sister, who didn't get why it was such a big deal. There are grocery stores everywhere back home. Not here. Here, when we walked in for the first time, the lighting, the availability of products, the atmosphere, all of it made us feel like we were back home. I told her to imagine how Tom Hanks in Cast Away would have felt if he walked into an IGA. Exactly the same.
|I know Tom. I know.|