"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Carib Territory

>> Thursday, February 26, 2009

As we crossed the boarder into the Dominican Carib Territory the people visibly changed. The faces we passed on the road were lighter skinned with high cheek bones and there was not one dread lock in sight. It was like we had left Dominica and were in a completely different country.
We arrived at the home of a little old Carib man who had taken part in the building of the Gli-Gli and was currently working on a smaller fishing canoe. His slight frame was draped in dirty, loose overalls and he surveyed the group of us from underneath his floppy conductor hat. He eagerly showed us pictures of himself working on the Gli-Gli as we stood among the wood shavings in the hot Dominican sun.
We piled back into the vans and drove to the head of the trail that lead deep into the bush. I headed down the trail not really knowing what to expect and after five minutes I was muddy up to my knees, my bare feet slipping and sliding over the ruts in the narrow path. I looked up every so often to see the pack backs of my ship mates bouncing along ahead of me and the green, dripping expanse of rainforest all around.
As we approached the canoe building sight I could hear the thud of axes and the muffled purr of a chainsaw vibrating dully through the trees. When we reached the clearing Chalu, the Carib elder and expert canoe builder, stood in jaggedly cut off shorts wielding an axe half his size. We stepped lightly among the strewn pink wood chips and sat a few feet away from the half finished canoe. The canoe sat balanced on its side as the curve of its bow and stern emerged at the hands of the men’s axes; a perfect example of rustic elegance.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the scene was the efficiency with which all the men worked together. This was partially due to their expertise but mostly due to their complete dedication to their craft. It was so impressive to witness an ancient part of Carib culture in action, being passed down from generation to generation before our eyes. We were able to see what most people are only able to read in history textbooks.
Madeline Owen- Student


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