Wednesday, June 2, 2010

moment for non-education thoughts

Dominican library in the Carib territory (Indian reservation)- if you look closely you can see two girls sitting out front
Brand new school
View from our hotel in Calibishie

Forgive my long absence... I've been on the small island of Dominica for my cousin/old roommate's wedding. If anyone is looking for a Caribbean vacation that doesn't feel touristy, I highly, HIGHLY recommend Dominica. It's in the West Indies, near Guadalupe and Martinique, and the only Caribbean island Columbus would still recognize if he landed there today. My cousin's husband was stationed there for the peace corps, which should give you some idea of the adventures we had this past weekend.

I love traveling, and I can't do it without relating it to the children I teach. This trip especially made me reflect on the lives my children lived before they came to the US. The island, with all it's beauty and fabulously friendly culture, gave me an insight into family struggles in countries outside the US. The small houses, all with laundry hanging out front, the children lining the sides of the roads in their underwear to allow them to be comfortable in the heat, the entire families sitting outside on their porches, talking and laughing, the families walking on the side of the road to school or work since there is little transportation on the island. (the country has 2 main roads and only 8 gas stations). The woman walking up the steep mountain with a bushel of bananas balanced on her head. The laughter and joy the families clearly shared, despite the struggles of lacking running water, dependable electricity, good sex education, and medicine. The ground lined with rotten mangos and bananas since there is no infrastructure to can or export the delicious fresh fruit now that Dole no longer uses the island's supply. The day to day struggles so different than we experience. It makes me wonder how our children adjust- their lives here in the US aren't necessarily easier, but instead have different struggles. So many times we worry about our children adjusting to speaking a different language, but don't always reflect on how much they might miss their old culture, the worries and concerns they were comfortable with, their old way of life.

It was an amazing trip, and again, I highly recommend Dominica.

I also, however, get to brag to my first graders who are obsessed with Cricket that I saw the World Class South African Cricket team in the small Dominican airport.

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