Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ferry Service May Ease Travel Woes for Busy Reunion

Persons traveling to Dominica at the height of the travel season may be interested in using the Express Ferry from Guadeloupe, Martinique or St. Lucia into Dominica.

This may be particularly useful during the Creole/Independence time since from most accounts all airline flights are already fully booked. Travelers can book their flights to and from any of these destinations and take the ferry into Dominica.

Note that the ferry service will be suspended for technical maintenance from September 25 to October 16, 2008. The attached master schedule will run from October 17 to 23, 2008 and the WCMF schedule from October 24 to November 6, 2008.

Passengers holding Dominican Passports who will require to transit in Guadeloupe or Martinique must provide proof of accommodation and travel insurance to the immigration officer upon entry in those countries. The proof of accommodation can be in the form of hotel reservation.

See Ferry schedules and fares">

See Ferry Creole Festival Schedule

Oil Spill at Petro Cariabe Facility

A Dominican environmentalist has cautioned that Tuesday’s oil spill at the Petrocaribe fuel storage facility could hurt the marine environment.

Allthough the situation is said to be under control, former President of the Caribbean Conservation Association Atherton Martin has cautioned that it will not be long before the situation worsens.

Lead Fire Officer, Courtney Challenger says the incident occurred about 1:05am on Tuesday and the Fire and Ambulance Services were called in to deal with the situation.

The situation arose when the stands of a parked tanker filled with fuel, broke. According to Mr Challenger, fire officers who were called to be on stand-by used sand and other precautionary measures to reduce the spread of the spill.

He says the situation was controlled in time before diesel had reached the sea, and noted that this could have caused a hazardous situation for the coast and the marine life of the area. The fire officer complemented the speedy work of fire officers, officials of Petro Caribe, and the general public, in reducing the dangers, which could have occurred as a result of the spill.

The fuel storage facility is located near the riverbed of the popular Belfast River on the west coast of the island.

Dominica began receiving fuel under the Petrocaribe initiative in February after signing the agreement with Venezuela in 2005 along with 12 other Caribbean states.

Under this arrangement, Caracas provides oil to participating countries under preferential terms.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What Am I Doing Here? I Hate This Place!

What Am I doing Here? What am I doing here when I could be home? I mean, I know things can be hard back there, but God, not like this! My life is nonexistent.

I feel like I am on auto pilot, going through the same routine everyday. I wake up early in the morning; dress the kids and myself; commute two hours to work and back; pick up the kids from afterschool; feed them dinner; put them to bed; get myself ready for bed, then watch tv till I fall asleep.

It’s not that I want to sleep. I cannot stay up because I am tired. Even if I wanted to go out, a potential babysitter would be just as tired as I am or still working. Sometimes I want to let my hair down and party island stylee, but I have to plan my outings around my family’s schedule.

My spouse will not be caught dead babysitting while I party with my friends: he want to party too! It’s not a matter of just partying. That is the only way I know how to release stress. In Dominica, you do feel pressure and strain, but the atmosphere and vibe is different.

Everyone cares about each other, you help each other. In this place, do you know your neighbor, who lives in the same building, on the same floor? Most importantly, do you even care? Life here is initially a culture shock, but in time, you conform.

Life will be even harder if you don’t. The first thing that goes is the DA accent. It is hard to understand the accent, plus people do not have time to interpret our “language”. As soon as you land here, you must move faster. If you don’t, you will definitely be left behind.

The hardest way to learn this lesson is to miss the city bus by 1 second in 10 degree weather. That bus driver will close the door in your face, and will not open it even if you jog alongside the bus. The winter season is always a shock to my system.

During this time I intentionally do not have a life. I hate going to work; hate the long, gloomy, dark days; hate the mist that comes out of my mouth and nose when I talk and breathe. I just hate winter.

A tropical coconut like myself does not do winter. During winter I hibernate and have no problem doing that.

It seems like the weather determines how people behave here. During the winter everything is calm, like its too cold to go looking for trouble. In spring, life forms appear again and the streets start bustling.

The closer it gets to summer, the more people misbehave. Others want to go looking for trouble, while we, Dominicans, just want to meet up with friends to fete because we have to catch up with 6 months of staying home.

Don’t get me wrong, we will cuss you out if you cut us off on the highway, or if you do something stupid on the road.

On the subject of road, the road to success is not an easy one. Everyone is so pretentious that it is a task just to get deal with your boss or co workers; Smiling with each other one second, and bad talking each other the next.

A true Dominican will hold their head up high and conquer. I’m here to fulfill my dreams. I’m here to dream big and live big. I want to prove to myself that I can conquer my fears and achieve my goals. I am making progress, great progress. But I got a little way to go. That’s why I’m here.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Successful Wesley Reunion

By all accounts the Wesley Reunion was a success. The goal to unite and relate was achieved. Wesley is a better place today than before the reunion because we connected with the things that mattered.

New relationships were formed among the elderly, children, youth and across every spectrum, religious, cultural, educational and health. Every aspect of the Wesley community was touched and for this I am happy to report that the Wesley Reunion was relevant.

It was not about making money. It was about strengthening our community. It was about re-connecting with our people. And it is believed that the foundation is set so we can build on to ensure a more vibrant Wesley Community.

The Opening was successful. The Band Splash was great. Cabana Day was massive. The excursion was delightful. The health day was oh so relevant with a large turn out. The children treasure hunt was a blast even if it rained that day. The seniors brunch was hugely successful, our elders sang that their hearts were blessed. Wesley has an additional 25 new streets lights. The Reunion Village was a site to behold. We honoured those he made and continue to make significant contributions in the area of Education, Health, Community Development, Agriculture, Fishing, Policing, Sports, Entrepreneurship and Diaspora Relations at the Reunion Gala.

It is our responsibility to continue the work that was started to ensure that Wesley moves forward positively.

A special thank you to every single one of you who attended or contributed in one way or the other to the Wesley Reunion. Your help and support made the Reunion something which will be on the lips of all for generations to come.

To all our sponsors, thank for supporting Wesley. Your support help us achieve our goal in creating the awareness of what was happening in Village.

To all our Diaspora Groups, thank you, thank you, thank you, because without you there would be no Wesley Reunion.

To all the hard working people on the ground, your dedication is admirable and you will never be forgotten.

To all the performers local and otherwise your talent shone throughout the reunion. Thank you.

The work is not finish. There is still allot to do so let us never loose focus but continue working diligently for Wesley and her people.

For pictures of the events, please check


Athenia Benjamin
Diaspora Coordinator, Wesley Reunion

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cell Phones More Dangerous Than Cigarettes and Asbestos

A top Australian neurosurgeon says cell phones may cause more cancer in the near future than smoking or asbestos. Dr. Vini Khurana, who conducted an extensive review of the link between cell phones and brain cancer said using cell phones for at least ten years could more than double the risk of developing deadly brain cancer. Since three times as many people use cell phones as smoke, cell phones will soon emerge as a major killer.

“It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking, and directly concerns all of us, particularly the younger generation, including very young children,” Dr. Khurana wrote.

Dr. Khurana says there has been an increase in brain tumors in people who have used cell phones heavily for a long time on the same side of the head as their “preferred ear” for making calls. He believes it has been difficult to prove a direct link between cell phone usage and brain tumors because a malignant brain tumor might take between ten and twenty years to develop, and the general public hasn’t been using cell phones long enough to effectively study the risk.

That will soon change. “In the years 2008-2012, we will have reached the appropriate length of follow-up time to being to definitely observe the impact of this global technology on brain tumor incidence rates,” Khurana says.

Softer Beds May Help Low Back Pain

For patients with low back pain, sleeping on softer types of beds that conform to the body may lead to improvements in pain and sleep, reports a study in the April 1 issue of Spine. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals, and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry.

Contrary to what many people think, sleeping on a hard mattress may actually make pain worse, according to the new report by Dr. Kim Bergholdt and colleagues of Backcenter Funen in Ringe, Denmark.

One hundred sixty patients with chronic low back pain were randomly assigned to sleep on one of three different types of beds for one month: a waterbed, a body-conforming foam mattress, or a firm futon mattress (without springs).

Patients who slept on the waterbed or body-conforming foam mattress had small but significant reductions in back pain scores. Total sleep time was also better for patients assigned to the softer mattresses. Again, the differences were small — leep time increased by less than an hour in both the waterbed and foam mattress groups.

In contrast, patients who slept on the firm futon mattress tended to have increased pain scores and decreased sleep time. This result was difficult to interpret, however, because several patients assigned to the firm mattress group dropped out of the study early. At least some of these patients thought the mattress was making their back pain worse.

Patients with increased sleep time tended to have reduced pain scores. It was unclear whether reduced pain led to increased sleep time or vice-versa.

There are reasons to suspect that either a soft or firm mattresses might be better for patients with back pain. For example, a soft mattress might help to avoid stress on the spine by keeping the back in a neutral position, while a hard mattress might reduce twisting of the back.

The new results suggest that the waterbed and foam mattress do reduce pain and improve sleep for patients with chronic low back pain. The results are consistent with another recent study, which also found beneficial effects of softer mattresses.

The authors emphasize that the two soft mattresses studied conform to natural body curvatures. They bring the joints into intermediate positions, rather than just letting the body parts sink, which may put the joints into awkward or twisted positions. "Thus, body-conforming soft mattresses seem to have an advantage over hard mattresses," the researchers conclude.

"Probably they are also better than soft, worn-out spring mattresses, hammocks, and other soft types that do not conform to natural, intermediary positioned body curvatures."