Monday, March 16, 2009

Island time and (lack of) schedule

Today was a great test of my patience and check up on adjustment to island time. Let me break down the day for you. I had planned on leaving my village by 6:30 to reach town between 7:45 and 8am. That way I could sit in the café, check my emails and relax. Dominica had other plans for me.
I hopped on the first bus leaving the village, this was not the bus to town. Getting a better understanding of the bus system I figured it was okay because I’d just get off and wait for the other bus just 20 minutes behind mine, as it passed through this new village I was waiting in. The bus driver told me where to stand to be able to get a lift. I stood patiently by the snack bar and talked to some locals. Within five minutes there was a vehicle heading to town and I hopped in. This was good news, I may even arrive to town earlier than I thought! After about 20 minutes of driving before we make our left hand turn towards the city we see a bulldozer blocking the road. We had to go the long way now. This added about 30 minutes to the ride. Lucky for me the driver is a tour guide – I saw lots of new sites and learned things about areas I’d never seen. We passed the longest river in Dominica, 11.3 miles.
At 8am, 1 hour and 50 minutes of travel time, I reached Roseau! I was dropped right at the door and went inside the café to do some work. Again, Dominica had other plans. The password for logging on in the café seemed to dislike my laptop, and only my laptop. I headed for the office.

Heading home. After sitting in training sessions for six hours it was time to go back to our villages. The last bus to my village leaves at 4pm so I left in time to reach the stop at 3:50. Well… the bus driver had decided to leave before I got there. I wandered around the market asking different bus drivers where they were heading, hoping to find another one from my village. The problem with where I live, is that that it’s a dead end. You can’t just hop on any bus and get off when you pass through, no sir. If you’re going to get there, everyone’s going there. Luckily having been here for almost two weeks I recognize some faces now. I linked up with a girl who was headed to my village and we squeeeeezed onto a bus going in our direction. Phew, I was on a bus, one step closer to home! Back on the road for another hour of windy driving through the mountains. When the bus reached its village my new friend and I paid our fare and got out. Our next mission was to find a ride to take us the last 8 miles of the trip. I have learned you can always count on a Dominican to pick you up. The drives are long and they seem to enjoy the company. We got in the gentlemans truck full of eggs and vegetables he was delivering to the local villages. He was a lively fellow, blasting good-feeling music and singing along, telling us about his chickens and asking us about our village. He went as far as he was going to when we got out and once again started heading home. The final stretch was a 40minute walk up hill (most of the way). I reached my house just as dark hit and I had been travelling for the past two hours and 40 minutes. If I had done nothing else during the day, that would have been enough for me to sleep well tonight.

Note: all of this information is written with a smile on my face. I understand the realities of the island, I am adjusting to the ways of transportation. Locals have done it all their lives so I’m doing my best to get by and reach my destinations (as much time as that may take).


  1. Jules....
    What a GREAT synopsis of a couple of your days on Dominica! I can just envision and only laugh at some of the things you are experiencing. The Caribbean Sea looks beautiful! You have always been able to make new friends easily and it sounds like you have on Dominica already.
    Your description of the bus ride home last Friday was hilarious! Great job getting to your destinations and working through that issue. Continue to work for the Lord where he wants you to be right now. You will be blessed over the next 27 months by this experience and the people of Dominica (Petite Soufriere) are blessed and so... lucky to have YOU. God Bless you sweetie. You are a precious child of God!
    Love you...DAD

  2. Hey Sweetie,
    How exciting and exhausting everything sounds. You have always been very adaptable so I am guessing that you will do just fine. I am so proud of you & how you are taking it a day at a time. your descriptions are great!! I am still saving my money to come see you.
    I know this is under dads name but i was on his computer and forgot to change it to me.
    Anyway I love you and miss you and will anxiously await your next email or update.