The day before I went, I spoke with Brandi Farid about the upcoming trip.
"No wonder you hate Dominica," she said. "You haven't been on any hikes. Portsmouth and Roseau are not Dominica. The real Dominica is up there."
"I don't hate Dominica all the time," I replied. "Just most days."
She's pretty astute, though. All the experiences I've gained here, from managing Island Thrift, to working at the Prep School, to volunteering at Calls, to playing hockey with fellow expats, have exposed me to a pretty diverse display of the people in this country. But aesthetically, I've stayed along the coast, amongst the litter, burning garbage, stray dogs, and foul smells.
|Great shot of Picard.|
|This rando is brought to you by the Ross Wellness Club.|
Perhaps Brandi is right. Perhaps the real Dominica is up in the mountains, where a great pride is taken in natural conservation. I'll have to go on more trips before I can reflect too much on it, but one thing is becoming increasingly clear to me: even though I am more and more homesick the longer I stay here, I am growing fonder of this place all the time, and will undoubtedly miss it when I leave. I feel tugged in many directions.
Either way, this country gets under your skin. There is a simplicity here that I miss when I leave. The water in the pool was crisp: I've never seen or felt a river that clean. Our guide carried a young boy on his shoulders up a mountain without hesitation, and without complaint. This is a country unapologetically unlike any I have ever seen, and maybe that's why I switch back and forth between loving and hating it so easily. I'm interested to see how my feelings about this place change, the closer I get to leaving.