May 16-Day 5 on Dominica

Good exercise today, time to read, beautiful, happy, and great food. The day flew by. Last night was the first night I didn’t sleep like a log. I was awake for quite awhile, but that was ok. Prayed some and just rested. I think my body is finally catching up on sleep.

We set an alarm for 8, but didn’t need it. Great pancakes with a guava syrup and pineapple and mango. Tried the internet, but failed. We hiked with Tiana to Middleham Falls, two hours each way through mud, wet, and untouched rainforest. The falls were powerful and striking. It was a good hike, but not too hard-didn’t push.

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Middleham Falls

This family who runs the place we’re staying at is very unique. Kind of hippie, earth folks, and I really like them. From Pennsylvania, they fell in love with Dominica while Jean taught Montesori School here in 1998. With an empty nest at home, they envisioned teaching all around the world, but loved it so much here they just stayed. Tiana, their oldest daughter, came simply to help them setup Crescent Moon, and has stayed for the five years since. She’s in her late twenties, a horticulture grad from, as she put it, “a very expensive hippie school with great food and nothing to show for it but saying you went to college.”

They found an old hotel (“because we didn’t want to have to clear any more land”) and have been refurbishing ever since. Ron is a Renaissance Man. An exceptional chef who went to the Culinary Institute of the Arts in the seventies; he sets up microgenerators on the creek, roasts coffee beans, makes soap,and grows most of what he serves in a greenhouse on the property. Tiana says Ron’s grandparents came from Italy, lived in Erie PA, and became fiercely patriotic about America, while living completely old school Italy. They raised rabbits for food in a little city neighborhood. Ron’s mom rejected everything old and embraced suburban USA, and Ron’s throwing his lot in with the grandparents. His goal is a self sufficient farm, and he’s getting pretty close.

Jean takes care of the goats and chickens and dogs and cats. On a full moon a few weeks ago, two of their cats had kittens on the same night. Those two, plus the mom of one of the moms, all take turns nursing each others’ kittens!

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Fascinating family. We talked a lot with Tiana today: Quakers, horticulture, Dominican history, culture, and family structure. “I know more and care more about Dominican history than America.” After four years of work visas, she now has citizenship here, as well as keeping an American passport. She’s done much of the landscaping, and recently sold cut flowers with her boyfriend at the market down on the coast. Her latest project is distilling oils from flowers to make massage oil.

Anyway…came back from the hike, showered, read, relaxed, ate, succeeded on the internet and called home. Tomorrow, an early start for the long and grueling hike to Boiling Lake.

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