Sunday, July 22, 2012

Do you smoke?

The age-old question came up a few more times this week again… I’m really tired of answering it, so I’m going to answer it just one last time and refer people to my blog when they ask again.

Just because I have blackened lips and dark eyes and this happy demeanor doesn’t mean that I smoke, have smoked or will smoke. I know my lips aren’t the picture of “mainstream beauty” but still I love my lips cause they are exactly how the good Lord wanted them to be upon my face and they serve their purpose well.

I remember being at the now demolished Roseau Boys School and being summoned to the Principal’s office because one stupid teacher felt that my blackened lips and dark eyes had to mean that I was smoking during the break period. The principal did beat me for what she felt was a lie… I had to have smoked because “oh my lips were black and my eyes dark” and to add to it, my father was a known smoker as well. She didn’t care that my breath or my clothes didn’t smell of smoke or that some of my classmates admitted that I spent the recess break inside of the classroom. So ten strokes with “Lucifer” were the order of the day. I took the strokes, cried off course and continued along my merry way.

As to why people still bother to ask me that question about my lips, eyes and smoking in 2012 is beyond me. If I smoke it is my very own business and so it is if I don’t as well. I don’t think they have an issue with the smoking; they just want to know if it is Marijuana that I smoke. No people I don’t smoke Marijuana. I did for a short while between my 16 and 18 years of age and that was the occasional spliff during festive seasons (Carnival and Independence) or during the lazy summer days. In case you’re wondering if I inhaled, then know that my name isn’t Bill Clinton nor am I vying to be President of the United States of America.

I don’t need to smoke so I do without it, like I do without many other things as well that I can live without. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Marijuana or Marijuana smokers either. I was raised by a smoker, got many friends who smoke and wouldn’t put them down for those who turn up their nose and shake their heads. Live and let live, that’s me!

On another note, I can’t understand too, why there’s so much hatred for a naturally existing plant. I’m not all into the hysteria over the healing herb and mythical properties and all that but I just don’t get why so much energy and resources go into suppressing it. All because some colonial power, a few hundred years ago, declared that Marijuana was a drug and blah, blah, blah… though we claim to be independent, we still aren’t independent thinkers and doers.

But to get back to my point, please leave me and weed alone! We aren’t a couple, we flirted for a few years, sparingly at best but I went my way and Marijuana went hers as well. It was nothing more than just casual words and a kiss on the cheek!


Friday, July 20, 2012

My contribution to Fathermen, a blog

I was recently approached by a PhD student who is doing research about men and their role as fathers within Dominica and the Caribbean. He is of Dominican heritage but was raised in the UK. I think the field of research will raise some interested conclusions and bring some insight into the whole idea of being male, a man and a father especially within the West Indian context. Issues such as these are seldom discussed in formal settings and even when discussed usually take on vulgar tones and finger pointing.

So I applaud him very much for his efforts and wish him all the best. I hope he knows that the road won't be easy at all, nothing in Dominica or the Caribbean is, as a matter of fact.

But before I ramble on and forget the objective of this post, just check out the two poems (Father Failed Me and Father, Teach Me To Pray) that I submitted on Fathermen

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Are women the key to curbing the drug lifestyle?

I wrote this article for my column, The Chronicles of Nesta, at but the site has been under maintenance for a while now and I just can't sit by and wait anymore so I’ve decided to share the article here on my blog in the meantime - good thing I have a blog too :p.

The article speaks to the drug culture present in Dominica and maybe in other Caribbean countries and how women can probably curb the lifestyle. As always, comments are always welcomed:

Are women the key to curbing the drug lifestyle?

Now before I am attacked by all the feminists and activists, I must tell you that this article isn't against women or a part of the blame game. It is merely an insight into the mind of men, more particularly disadvantaged and marginalized young men.

The Caribbean has been plagued with an increase in crime and violence, something that has been outlined in numerous reports and more recently in the Eye on the Future Report - a report of the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development supported by the United Nations Development Programme in January 2010. A significant portion of those negative actions have been targeted towards and perpetrated by youth, and more particularly young men. A statement in the report indicates that in 2005, Dominican youth were 46 percent of homicide victims, yet represented only 38% of the general population. So in truth and in fact, we are hurting our own selves.

Many academics have spent many an hour and much money delving into the reasons why young people get involved in criminal behavior and it has been ascribed to a number of issues including socio-economic background, peer pressure, influence of American media, etc. However the role of young women and their acceptance of deviant behavior haven’t been exposed as a contributing factor to this phenomenon.

Young men, and more importantly Caribbean men, have always sought acceptance from young women. I would go as far as saying that their every action is directed at attracting the opposite sex. In the tradition of things, young men go to school, to get an education which would lead to a secure job in other to attract their partners but now with modernization and the “fast” money lifestyle, young men have been magnetized towards drugs and crime to fulfill their lofty ambitions. The end-goal though, is still the same – to attract the female partner(s).

Our society has shifted a lot of its core values; more “deviant” behavior is accepted than would have been the case several years ago - for better and for worse as well. The acceptance of the “Papas” into our society has created a certain security and economical gateway for the “ghetto” youth but for only a few. However it is that few, that seems to be the greatest influence, marshaling the onlookers to want to emulate them. The drug lifestyle in itself has brought a wave of crime and violence, like something out of the “New Jack City” movie where Wesley Snipes as Nino Brown, easily turned a New York City block into his own drug fortress. Our own versions of this television character now runs our communities, maybe not with the precision and tenacity as in the movies, but from all indications this is what it is developing into right before our own eyes.

However in New Jack City, we saw how Snipes had a change of heart, influenced by his love for the female gender and how that love was even greater than his love of the criminal lifestyle. He ended up being wheelchair-bound but still with the love of his woman and son. Maybe that should be the lesson we learn from that movie, the role and influence of a woman on man’s ambitions.

If our women, our young women disassociate themselves from the criminal element, this could prove an eye opener for them and spur them to change from this negative lifestyle but that is a big IF, because the young women themselves seem to love and flourish from the gains thereof.

It’s a vicious cycle, this drug problem and more complex than could be tacked from a mere article but it is my hope that I have raised some level of awareness and opened up an area for discussion.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Postcard Paradise

Go back to about five (5) years ago and I was searching down my house for boxes - shoe boxes to be exact, to place my over five thousand (5000) postcards. Postcards from various countries, of almost every image imagineable (although I prefer nature and cultural imagies).

Now fastforward to July 2012 and i'm wondering what happened, especially since I stumbled upon (well actually I was invited by a friend to check it out) STAMPS - a facebook page dedicated to Jadah Smith's stamp collection. She's a fellow blogger as well. Check out her blog here.

The view of the stamps from various countries brought an immediate nostalgic feeling, then a want which quickly grew into a NEED for me to re-start my postcard collection. I jumped off my bed and scrambled to a corner in my room to find a small box of postcards... I had one lowly box left though :( and just over 100 postcards left. I had thrown some away, giving away more, used a few in letters as well as lost more than I had thought. A collection that spanned over 5 years of effort down to a mere century of images. But that didn't trouble my heart, it only spurred me into action.

So I've decided to resume my postcard collection but now I'm not just collecting from countries that I've visited, I WANT and NEED postcards from every country across the globe. All one hundred and nintey six (196) of them. I know the UN only recognizes 193 but I'm not a diplomat so I'm also including Kosovo, Taiwan and the Vatican City in my list as well.

But first things first, if you have any postcards (new or used) please send them to me. My address is:

56 Lime Street
Bath Estate
Commonwealth of Dominica
West Indies

Soon I will put up a blog post about the missing countries but for now i'm accepting every single postcard that I can get my hands on!!!

I may just highlight your contribution on my blog or my Postcard Paradise facebook page, be sure to check it out. There's isn't much to see right now as I only recently started it, but soon I will be posting postcard pics from EVERY country in the WORLD.