UPDATE

photo-1500644970114-4ff3c3dfb61fThere is a humanitarian crisis on the Island of Dominica and other Islands in the Caribbean devastated by Hurricane Irma and Maria. In my previous posts Dominica’s Storm Disaster I showed you some of the disastrous development on the Island caused by Hurricane Maria. There was no running water, electricity, or communication. Once a rainforest environment, most of the trees have been stripped and broken and  some left for dead by the road side.

FB_IMG_1506479672314 The most recent update, food, water and supplies are beginning to trickle in and distributed to various towns.  Communication is getting out slowly through social media. The medical community is working hard with help from other countries to assist those who are severely in need of medical attention. Some areas are just beginning to have running water. So far, 27 people have died and they are still trying to reach some battered areas not accessible by car. The students from Ross University for Doctors have been removed from the Island due to this tragedy. There are people who are still waiting and desperate for help for there basic needs. Transportation has been provided for those who need to leave the Island.

Most of the infrastructure is damaged and it will take a very long time for the country to be rebuilt. Nevertheless, I see it as an opportunity to rebuilt using very smart engineering techniques for damaged bridges and better buildings strong enough to withstand future hurricanes.

The government is doing the best that they can under the circumstances, but are overwhelmed with the task ahead. Security is in place to keep order, and help hard to reach areas impacted by the hurricane.

Dominicans have experienced this crisis before but not to this extent. The last time there was a disaster looming on their shores, it was hurricane Erika beating on their door. This time hurricane Maria didn’t only knock, she came in and took everything in her path.

FB_IMG_1506449817818Dominicans are a proud and resilient people. The hurricane may have knocked them down, but they are not out. They will come together as a community and do whatever it takes to rebuild their country with the help of the world community.

This natural green and lush tropical Island will continue to be called the nature Island and will look even better in the years to come.

FB_IMG_1464972559347This is what Dominica looked like before Hurricane Maria and by the grace of God will continue to be a tropical Paradise, one of earths Garden of Eden in the near future.

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This is the land where I was born, and I will be praying that our God will continue to bless, and heal this land. Its natural beauty will return even better than before.

FB_IMG_1464972669777Please continue to pray that all these Islands which were impacted by the hurricane will be up and running in a short period of time.

Feel free to leave a comment…

 

Letting go

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Sometimes we hold onto people, and other things in our life so tightly making it very difficult to let go. We believe we are in control only to wake up to feelings of despair, pain and hopelessness.

Just imagine having a tug of war, with you holding onto a rope as tight as you can on one end and the stresses in your life on the other. Who do you think will win that war? At some point, you have to learn to let go. Otherwise the struggles you are carrying will take you down to a life of misery.

Continue reading “Letting go”

What makes you feel alive?

 

Have you figured out what makes you really feel alive? Feeling alive is about feeling alert, active and passionate about the life you are living. Maybe you are on automatic pilot with everyday life while forgetting what it means to be alive. Feeling alive is not merely just existing.

leio-mclaren-307277Sometimes we need to take a step back to refuel and assess the life we are living. We are so inundated with trying to make a living and taking care of our families that we forget what it means to really be alive.

The last couple of years has been a little rough so I can honestly say I was guilty of living a life that lacked any luster. Sometimes life experiences can knock you off your feet. When you finally get up, you realize you’ve been in a zombie like state going through the motions but not really living.

costa-rica-318904_1280This year, I was fortunate to be able to go on two separate vacations. One in Central America and the other in the Caribbean. I was blessed and for the first time in a very long time, I had more clarity about the life I want to live. Being in a tropical environment and connecting to nature made me feel so alive that I may consider making it my future home.

What makes me feel alive is living a simpler life and shedding all the stuff which we believe will make us happy. I was fortunate to meet  several people on my journey who were more contented with a lot less. They are not living in bondage married to things. Their concern is more about surviving, feeling alive while living for today.

What makes you feel alive? 

It’s different for everyone and can be as simple as listening to your favorite music. At times laughing at a comedy show. Taking time out to refuel and distress while taking a walk or going on a hike through a forest. Exerting energy makes one feel alive. Maybe you love to go dancing, watching raindrops fall on a rainy day or going out to eat at your favorite restaurants with good friends. I love singing and dancing to my favorite tunes. Whatever your definition of feeling alive, it’s what makes life more enjoyable.

262H (1)Being alive means literally that you’re not dead. Sometimes we live like the walking dead rather than the undead, consumed by our negative thoughts and emotions about the life we are living. Maybe its time to reflect and consider a life more engaging with what makes us feel more human.  What really matters is the quality of life, not the quantity of what we have which weighs us down like an anchor on a boat.

Challenge your thinking and find different ways to feel more alive. This is what living is all about, implementing small changes, taking risks, in order to increase the feeling of being more alive.

What makes you feel alive? Please leave a comment..

 

 

Beauty with a twist

sunset-2331736_1280I was looking forward to my much-needed vacation in Costa Rica in Central America. We had planned an itinerary which would allow us to visit different parts of the country.  There was so much more to see as we investigate the possibility of moving here when we reach retirement age.

Costa Rica

This country is beautiful with its exotic flowers, waterfalls and white and black sand beaches.  It has rugged terrain, volcanoes, and rainforests which is home to many animals. We arrived in San Jose and stayed at a hotel called the Barceló which I would recommend for its  view of the mountains, tropical gardens and great customer service. My husband and I have stayed here before and they are always more than willing to make your stay with them as comfortable as possible. Costa Rica is also known for its gourmet coffee beans considered among the finest in the world. I couldn’t wait to enjoy a cup at the Barcelos free breakfast buffet.

After leaving the hotel in San Jose, we traveled with some family and friends to places like Guancaste, Puerto Limon, and Cahuita. We saw volcanoes, waterfalls and bathed in   natural hot water springs. There is also a nice hotel near the volcano called the Baldi with several layers of hot water springs which is a must if you ever visit Costa Rica. You will not be disappointed.

20170806_121625We stopped in Liberia and went fishing where I actually caught my first fish.  We saw a monkey as we stood on the beach going through the trees. We tried to get his attention and took some pictures. As we stood near the water, the same monkey saw our stuff on the log, came down from the tree with a group of his friends in order to grab our things. Luckily, we got to it just in time. That was one of the many highlights on my vacation.

20170813_201152Our next stop was Quepos where we experienced an outdoor market which featured fresh fruits, vegetables and souvenirs for tourists. The Beaches in Manuel Antonio near Quepos were very relaxing and the rough waters did not deter us from taking several dips. I was dying to take a chance ziplining across the landscape but maybe on my next trip to this beautiful country.

Silent Racism

I like to write about the good bad and ugly in life because that’s reality. You can’t have one without the other. There is no time like the present to express my thoughts about the racism which exists everywhere in our world. Costa Rica is not different in that regard because it’s simply glossed over or ignored. Voted as one of the best places for retirement, a tropical paradise, environmentally conscious Costa Rica has its share of problems like any other country.

I am an African-American woman with a Caribbean heritage. I like to observe various aspects of life no matter what country I visit. My husband speaks fluent spanish and therefore he was able to communicate with anyone he came in contact with. On several occasions as we got into a cab, during their conversation, the word Limon would be spoken by the cabby.  I do not speak the Language but I understood why they assumed he lived in Limon.  A Little annoyed, my curiosity got the best of me so I began to dig deeper.

Costa Rica has four small minority groups which are Blacks, mulattoes, Amerindians and Asians. About 8% of the population is of black African decent from 19th century Black Jamaicans. They are considered Afro-Costa Ricans. I understand it’s a small minority of the entire population. But a country which boasts of a high literacy rate, why haven’t these minorities assimilated more into the major population?

Does all black people live and work in Limon?

Why does every cabby assume we come from Limon? Is this a segregated country? While driving through different areas, I couldn’t help but notice very few Blacks in professional jobs or casually sitting enjoying the beaches or restaurants on the pacific side of the country. So I began to look at this issue a little more closely.

Puerto Limon

Limon is closer to the Caribbean Sea and considered one of the most pristine and lush regions of Costa Rica. It’s a very busy port town shipping products like bananas to different countries and welcomes hundreds of cruise ships each year. Limon is also one of the country’s most geographically diverse regions and features everything from mangrove wetlands to towering mountains.This province also has white-sand beaches which are lined with coconut trees. In spite of this, Limon remains as one of the least traveled regions in Costa Rica, allowing for exploration of untouched prehistoric rainforests and unmatched beauty compared with the rest of the country.

Many Afro Costa Ricans have made there homes here and continue to raise their families in the Caribbean culture. The minority population who live here are marginalized due to underlying racism. The Politicians have invested very little on this side of the country. Limon is considered off the beaten path and usually not recommended for Tourists. There are not many jobs here due to the lack of investment. However jobs like dock hands, truck drivers, and cargo hauler are few and far in between. What are the options for those who complete their education?

As I drove around the country I saw a considerable amount of investment on the pacific side. New roads, new shops and restaurants like Crate and Barrel, Starbucks P.F. Chang and more. Fast foods like Quiznos, Subways, Kentucky Fried Chicken, even McDonald’s has made its home here. There are large malls featuring all kinds of designer shoes and clothing. Yes, they even have food courts with Asian, American and Costa Rican cusine. Yet in Limon, very little investment is focused on this side of the country. In my opinion, that’s why I consider it silent racism because this exists in some capacity everywhere, even in the United States.

This country is clearly segregated with the majority of blacks living primarily on one side of the country which is underdeveloped and neglected. Our Taxi driver assumed we were from Limon because he knows that’s where black people primarily live. Although I can honestly admit a lack of knowledge about the politics of Costa Rica and why things are the way it is, there is clearly a disparity between the two sides of this country.

The struggle of Blacks in this country is very similar to other South American countries. I have not been treated unfairly here due to the color of my skin however I couldn’t help but look into the matter of race. Limon was the clincher and if I am considering Costa Rica as a possibility for my future home, all aspects of this country needed to be explored. An interesting article to read although written years is by a lady named Rosebell.

https://rosebellkagumire.com/2010/02/19/costa-rica-democracy-and-why-it-doesnt-mean-much-for-black-people-here/ . She goes a little more in-depth as to the problems and I’m not sure if much has changed based on my observations.

Race is a Factor all over the world even in a democratic country like Costa Rica. I hope the government will implement policies to change discrimination practices which marginalize minorities in their communities.

Costa Rica is  indeed a beautiful country and has the opportunity to make some much-needed changes in order to make their country more inclusive for all their inhabitants. We are living in a world that can only move forward when we become more accepting of others regardless of race or ethnicity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soak in the Sunshine

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Let your mind soak in the sunshine.

Don’t let it chase after the rain.

A sea of negative thoughts which fuels

negative emotions.

Sometimes resulting in unfavorable behavior patterns and

creating false beliefs of who you really are.

Dark clouds will come and dark clouds will go but

remember there is always sunshine after the rain.

Hold On, turn it off,

find happy distractions.

Good feelings of love, peace and joy,

pointing you in a new direction.

Express your creativity in unusual ways.

See yourself beyond the darkness,

beyond the pain.

where opportunity resides for change.

Saturate your mind and soak in the sunshine,

create harmony and believe light always

overcomes darkness.

Pat Fagan

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow

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We don’t know what tomorrow will bring

whether sunshine or rain.

Holding our breath, consumed and concerned, silently.

Our world is moving faster and faster where technology reigns.

We look ahead trying to grasp all the changes yet

running trying to keep up, slipping, existing and moving at a slower pace.