A new home means a new everything in a way. I am getting used to all the new sounds, especially at night and also during the day. The house is on a very straight and busy road, so people speed a lot here. Often a car alarm goes off because cars passing are either speeding or have their stereo on so loud, my eardrums start hurting. And a new house comes with new pets, more about that later.
First, my sincere apologies to all my loyal readers, it has been a while. I hurt my back while cleaning my old house. Of course, I could have asked for help, I could have…. But I didn’t because I thought I could do this myself. In the end, I finished the cleaning using multiple painkillers. And I was pretty pleased that I had unpacked those and knew where to find them in the middle of the night. Therefore, everything has taken more time than usual.
The house is amazing, spacious, and has a sea view from the back porch, which is my favorite spot of the house. I sit there almost every morning, enjoying my coffee and reading or simply being still and enjoying the cool breeze.
My new pets.
This house has a garden with fruit trees. I now have a mango tree, a papaya tree, a sweetsop tree, and a cherry tree. And except for the last one, they are all bearing fruit. Oh, and I almost forgot my coconut tree. This one seems to have fallen but continues to grow and bear fruit. A reminder of the resilience of Dominica and her people.
My old apartment was surrounded by concrete and the occasional weed, with no greenery whatsoever. Now I can enjoy the rustling of all the trees, especially at night it is very calming. As the porch has a roof, I can even sit outside when it rains and the wind is not too strong.
My new house comes with pets. And I don’t mean the mosquitos who have found a new target once I moved in. No, I mean the little tree lizards, locally known as zandoli, I love them because they eat mosquitos. Although not enough as I still have lots of mosquito bites. They roam around in the house, which is fine; they are cute. However, now and then, they scare me when they jump from the curtains in the morning as I open them.
I have no AC, and to let some breeze in the house, I always have multiple windows open as well as the door to the back porch. Birds have found their way into my home. The bathroom was a popular spot; they even brought in little twigs and stuff during nesting time. Once they saw their reflection in the mirror, they started attacking their image. They pooped everywhere in the bathroom, I just had to keep close the windows in the bathroom.
There is always the dramatic one.
Pets come in all shapes and sizes. I was in a Zoom meeting and thought I heard a colossal bumblebee flying through the living room. Later it turned out to be a giant black beetle that got trapped somewhere in my kitchen and died a very tragic death.
One evening when I came home, I found a massive grasshopper on one of the curtains in the living room. The ceilings are very high here, and I did not want to attack it with a broom, so I left it.
The following day, it had moved to the wall this time, still very high up. I felt sorry for it, but as I was out all day again, I expected it to die of starvation, as all the windows would be closed.
The next day I found it on the floor and decided to take a picture before I disposed of it outside. I got my phone out, and when I wanted to take the picture, one of its legs rose in the air as if waving goodbye. The leg came down again slowly, and the grasshopper fell on its side, and that was it. I was too stunned to take a video or picture; I mean, how dramatic can it get.
Why did I move to a bigger house?
There is a very specific reason for this move. In 2017 I founded the Breadfruit House Dominica Foundation, a non-profit that offers primary school children the opportunity to express their emotions and tell their stories through creativity. For more information, visit our website here.
My vision always was to have a safe, inviting, and inspiring building, but that is not how we started. My apartment was too small to host 10 children, so I contacted schools to see if they would host me. And they did, so I started by filling a backpack and 2 grocery bags with arts and crafts materials. I also ensured that we provided either a snack or lunch, depending on which time of the day we were at school.
The dream of a suitable building was always in the back of my mind, and last November, I found it. Or maybe it found me, anyway we found each other, simply by answering a question I was asked about my plans for 2022.
My first glimpse was driving by it in the evening, and I knew this was it. Situated in my desired neighborhood, where I have lived, in different houses, ever since moving to Dominica, except for a few weeks. And that feeling was confirmed during my first visit while reconstruction was still going on. Check out my Blog about all the houses I lived in by clicking here.
All pet jokes aside, my vision for the Breadfruit House has always included me sitting in my red rocking chair with a cat on my lap and a dog by my side. I believe pets can be very reassuring for children, provided they are well trained and behaved. They can give comfort in a very authentic way and non-judgmental way. That’s where my apprehension comes in. Growing up, we only ever had goldfish and guppies as pets, and even those didn’t live very long. So, I have no clue how to raise and train pets.
I take it one step at a time, and the right dog and cat will eventually find me. For now, I am enjoying my new home, slowly getting used to all the sounds and the various gates I have to open to reach my front door.
While writing this Blog, I am reminded of the tiny pets I have been catching and putting outside a lot lately. Millipedes or centipedes, I have never counted the number of feet they have. They pop up randomly around the house, almost out of nowhere.
A new house comes with new pets.
I look forward to sharing much more about my home, the Breadfruit House, and all its old and new pets in future Blogs. As well as all my small and big adventures in Dominica and while traveling.
For now, I anticipate hosting the first groups of children at the Breadfruit House in September.
Now more than ever, our program is needed in Dominica, with so much going on in society now. We have created an online program based on a children’s book I have written about different emotions and feelings. It is called “Oliver and his big bowl of feelings”.
It allows children to read the book and express how they feel with the help of small, like crafting or writing assignments. We have also provided various breathing exercises, and they can sing along with our Breadfruit House song. All in a safe online environment.
You have reached the end of the Blog.
Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it. I am blatantly calling upon you, my readers, to support me and my work at the Breadfruit House. We need your help to continue this much-needed program. A donation of whatever amount is very much appreciated. And you can also spread the word about our work by sharing it with family, friends, coworkers, and others in your network.
Simply click here for all the information about the Breadfruit House, and how you can help. A big virtual hug and thank you for your continued support, in whatever shape or form.