Holiday to Paris and the Caribbean
In June I travelled to Paris– it’s the 2nd time that I’ve been to Paris but the first time travelling via Eurostar from Kings Cross. I stayed in Paris for 1 day and in tourist style was escorted via car through all the main tourist landmarks – Eiffel Tower, Notra Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Pont de L’ama Road Tunnel. In the early hours of the morning I borded a plane from Olry airport to the Caribbean island of St Martin.
Caribbean: St Martin
Due to the 5hrs time difference we arrived in St Martin during the day. I was warned by a friend about the landing over the beach where you can literally see people sunbathing and swimming. Well I got my video camera out so that I could remember the experience – i even moved plane seats. It was an experience that I will not forget as it really did look like we were landing on the beach – Sooooo Close!
The island is divided since 1648 between the French Northern side and the Dutch Southern Side. Well I thought I was in the Caribbean, the money was either euro or dollars. Thank God that I was staying at Vanessas parents house because they fed me with delicious soul and creole food. Highlights in St Martin were visits to the beach, chilling on the verandah, listening to creole music traditional dance performance, Arawak Museum and drumming in the town square – so I was well at home. The lowlights was being followed by mosquitos – I thought I left them in Ghana.
Shea Butter Project 2012: The project was first performed in 2010 and repeated in 2012 with also teaching the young people about branding and sales. Three young people volunteered to make some shea butter smothers. Our 3 young kitchen mixtreses had fun measuring, mixing, blending and piping. They chose to use rose and lemongrass essential oils for their aroma and property values. They purchased their packaging from a local store, designed the labels. The highlight of the project was securing a large sale from a local natural shop called ‘Limboland’ in the town capital of Marigot. (Full details including video footage will be uploaded on the Calabash Hub Project page once edited).
Solidarity Rastafari Churchical Foundation. In St Martin I visited the foundations’ africultural farm project called – ‘We agree with Culture’ which is 10 acres of cultivated land since 2006, with at least 12 people who live and work on the farm. We were met with warm greetings and was pleased to be given a 1hr guided tour by Sister Elihjah. It was so nice being in touch with nature and tasting the delights as we walked through pastures green. There are at least 120 species growing on the land but was fortunate to be shown some fruits and plants such as Pinapple, sweet potatoe, Guava, Papaya, Star Fruit, Plum, Apple, Callalo, Cherry, Cashew, Tamarind, Star fruit, Tabacco, Pomegranate, Ackee, Arrowroot, Soursap, Calabash, Mauby, herbs, fever bush and much more. I did not want to leave. For more info about ‘We Agree with Culture’ – http://www.lifestyle-caribbean.com/solidarityrastafari.html
In London we arranged an interview with Dr Joseph which we were grateful to meet as he was involved in a car accident and discharged himself for the day to welcome and show us around his laboratory and gardens. A garden of paradise with cultivated herbs and plants which we were educated on the benefits as we strolled through natures wonders. In the laboratory we were giving a talk and demonstration on how nuts and herbs are cultivated and manufactured to produce cosmetic products.
Guadeloupe – We took a small plane to the island of Guadeloupe which took about 40mins to arrive at Point a Pitre airport. As soon as we arrived we drove to Petit-Canel which was known to be one of the landmarks where ships carrying African slaves were disembarked for the sugar plantations. Some of the local fishermen gave us a brief outline but did not know the deep history. But I found out that slavery was abolished in Guadeloupe in 1848 and Slavery Abolition Celebration takes place yearly in May. Within the same vercinity we climbed an historical landmark called ‘The Steps of the Slaves’ built by slaves using stone slabs. At the top of the stairs slaves were know to be sold. As you walk up each step you will see metal plaques on either side representing names of African counties. We thereafter went to Capesterre Belle-Eau where a semi-circle of long columes outlines a burial ground to symbolises honour and repspect for our ancestors. We paid homage to our ancestors by saying a prayer – Let us never forget
On 19th June was my earthstrong and I received lots of texts and earthday wishes via telephone from host family. I did not know how the day was going to be as I was told to relax and enjoy. I was driven around the island and the first stopped was at a Cassava factory. There were images and articles about the history of how Cassava was cultivated and cooked. Within a courtyard was different sections, one for peeling, grinding, pressing and roasting. We were shown how to identify which leaf was poisonous by the colour of the stalk. I bought some cassava and coconut bakes which were cooked together – delicious and very filling. There was a trader who had a giant breadfruit on the table – which would probably make the Guinness book of records. I tasted some delightful marinated fruits made from a secret family recipe. I was driven up hill through conservative scenery of trees and wildlife. A short walk through a stoned track led to a stream and water fall surrounded by rocks. I chilled out whilst soaking my feet in the stream taking in the sun and beautiful paradise surroundings. Unknown to me I was called upon back up to the rocks where a surprise box and drink was waiting. I opened the box to reveal a cake with sculptured icing on the top. As we made a toast I was sang happy birthday to and even some locals joined in. A pleasant surprise on a beautiful day amongst a Caribbean backdrop.
St Barts: I travelled to St Barts via a 40min boat ride. The island is definitely for the rich and famous due to the types of designer shops. We had lunch at the beach front, and as the sun was beaming I truly got darker especially on my back. I was given a tour of the island by a family friend. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to go to Anguilla due to a family bereavement.
Thank you to St Martin, Guadeloupe, St Barts and especially to the family Ropers for a wonderful experience.