"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

Dominican Market

>> Thursday, February 26, 2009

In the early morning, we, the students and educators, wove our way through the crowded streets of downtown Roseau. The streets and walkways were choked with vendors and Busta soda vans. With 22 kids and 1 sidewalk, there was a lot of honking and near misses. We mustered on a corner across the street from a local produce market by a KFC. (These chains are so ubiquitous I’m convinced the Kernel and not Columbus has discovered the West Indies). Christine and Mr. Hunter doled out grocery lists and money in ICI dollars to the students in charge of their respective watches. Annie, who was responsible for A watch, set off to buy ingredients for smoothies. I (Mariclaire), was given the task of finding different herbs and vegetables for dinner with the help of B and C watch. As we headed across the street, we were greeted with blaring reggae music, loud haggling of shoppers, and smoke curling from roasted plantains on a bar-b-que. Madsy, Sally, Hanna, Sari, and I flocked to the grill and stuffed our faces with fruit. In the meantime, Annie, Tristan, and Jamaine, among other members of A watch, scanned the booths for papaya, pineapples, mangos, bananas, and passion fruits. The students made mad dashes back and forth, grabbing groceries and exchanging money. The sun shone hot, even through the bright umbrellas, and a handful of students sought refuge of the booth selling soft drinks. Coca cola comes in obscenely large bottles down here and it DOES taste different. Emily befriended an incredibly sweet Carib woman named Hazel—who told of different methods to cook and prepare and clean vegetables, such as callaso, a leafy green, and a starchy brown turnip-like root called tany. It was not long after this meeting that we gained and extra group member. Witnessing the students scratching their heads and straining to hear names and prices from patois-inflected tongues, a fisherman from the northeast part of Dominica stepped in to help our cause. Sally was one of the first people introduced to him. He—quite literally—took us by the shoulder and walked us through the marketplace, telling us what his personal favorites were, what foods cured what ache, and how to prepare practically everything under the umbrellas and awnings of the marketplace. He told us jokes and about life on the island, his fishing boat the “Miami”, and about his family. He introduced us to a woman named Janet, a direct descendent of the Carib peoples, and from the moment we shook hands he referred to us as his friends. Midday came too soon and we scrambled to purchase our last provisions. With arms aching from heavy-laden plastic grocery bags, sweaty from the humidity, we gathered at the fish market to count off. Later, as we ate our freshly prepared market dinner aboard the ship, we all talked wildly about our day at the market, waving our hands wildly and chiming on and interrupting each other in excitement. We definitely ended on a high note.
Mariclaire Joseph- Student


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