Nicolo Syllacio, a writer who traveled with Columbus when they came across Dominica on Sunday November 03, 1493 in the faint light of dawn wrote, "Dominica is remarkable for the beauty of its mountains and the amenity of its verdure, and must be seen to be believed." She stands surrounded by her luscious green mountains, with her crystal clear fresh waterfalls pouring onto her virgin lands.
Her clean rivers, 366 of them flow quietly into her warm blue seas; one part the Atlantic ocean the other part the Caribbean sea separated by a small strip of land at the lower tip of her small frame. She is only 289 square miles. One of her lakes boils ravenously releasing the smell of sulphur into the air; the others lay quietly humming a soothing sound, fresh and inviting. She is a sight to behold!
Her unique black sand beaches shine like black silver under her burning sun; Her parrots sing a sweet harmonious symphony of peace and tranquility in her jungles. Her beautiful exotic plants and flowers bloom graciously, discharging a sweet aroma into the air. Wildlife roam her forests freely, whales find sanctuary in her waters. The captivating smiles and kindness of her children complement her beauty. She stands majestically among her sister islands. She is not the Dominican Republic, She is Waitukubuli, she is Dominique, and she is Dominica distinct and proud.
She is the mother of Caribs, Arawak--- Karinas and Karifunas. And they were not cannibals as the Europeans who invaded their land claimed. They called their motherland Waitukubuli (meaning tall is her body) and they fought fiercely to keep the invaders away from her.
The Spanish, the French, and the British, oh how they fought to own this gem. For centuries she exchanged hands among them. The French named her Dominique, and renamed her villages. The British named her Dominica and, renamed her villages too. Her children had named her Waitukubuli. The invaders brought African slaves and Waitukubuli embraced them all as her own children. The proud mother of Caribs, Arawaks and blacks, she became a melting pot of cultures.
She taught her children to live in peace and harmony with each other, to hold on to their culture and their heritage, to unite against the oppressors and drive them from their land. It took a while, but they eventually won. The last battle started in a little village, which the French had named Laplaine in
1893. The brave village warriors with sticks and stones as their only weapons, drove the British away never to return. Oh how they raped her and enslaved her children for centuries. Waitukubuli's children had reclaimed their motherland at last!
One of the great daughters of Dominica, Phyliss Shand Alfrey left this message with us. "Love for an Island is the sternest passion pulsing beyond the blood through roots and loam, it overflows the boundary of bedrooms and courses past the fragile walls of home", and to this I add, "it contracts distance". Even though we are thousands of miles away from our beloved Dominica, distance should not diminish our love for her.
Every Dominican abroad should assign him/herself as an ambassador, a tourist officer, and a marketing representative for our beloved country. She stands like a gem in the sun shinning brightly even in her dark gloomy days, she is resilient and strong, She is inspired by the hope that her sons and daughters will not forget her. She has every right to expect that of us, and we owe it to her. Dominica has been a good mother to us, she has not let us down though her resources have been limited, and she feed us and protected us and taught us the value of education. She sent us out into the world and gave us her blessings to gather knowledge and skills; She smiles to see the progress her children are making, that makes her proud. All she asks of us is that we give something back to her. She has only her fertility, her beauty and her courageous and brilliant sons and daughters; she has conceived many of them and
she is depending on them to save her from economic disaster now. How can we let her down? She has no minerals, no white sandy beaches, her terrain is not conducive (fortunately) to big industrial projects, and her oil has not surfaced, her gold has not been discovered.
Colonialists came and raped her, politicians have abused her, Hurricanes have ravaged her, but she remains standing tall and proud, knowing that she was blessed with fertile soil and brilliant sons and daughters. She waits patiently.
She begs her children to hold on to their culture, the Bele, the quadrille, the mazook, and the folk songs. She wants us to show the world our beautiful national dress sometimes. Wear it with pride! I hear her saying. Waitukubuli instilled some great values in her children. Look out for your own, help your brother and sisters up, and hold each other along the way. Lets buy Dominican products, promote Dominican artists, Dominican musicians. Lift up our people! And please let us never forget Dominica.
We are one powerful force, and we have the resources. All we need is unity and determination. Let's make Dominica our motherland even prouder of her sons and daughters!