Thursday, June 9, 2016



Gossip is the single most popular activity in Dominica.  Religion and politics run a close second, but nothing tops the who does what and with/to whom.

Each morning when I stop by McDowell's Bar I get a bulletin on what has happened overnight.  Who has been arrested, who was evicted, who dropped dead, who ran away, who was lost at sea, who spent the night in the police cell, who was robbed, cheated or cut with a cutlass for some perceived insult. 

Then in the afternoon, on my way home when I stop in at the Bar I get the daily news:  who has been diagnosed with diabetes, who didn't get paid, which shop has empty shelves, who lost something, who said what, told what or did what.

Along with this often comes the amazing litany of family ties and relationships going back for generations.  What is amazing is that everyone can recite the genealogy of everyone else's family, not just their own, including the land they own, sold, lost or are farming.  It is convoluted because people have multiple partners and babies with all of them.  So I will hear about the sister of a grand aunt who 'made' seven children, 3 went to America, one went to England, two went to Guadeloupe and the other went to jail.  Then there is Granny's cousin (same mother, different father) who stole land belonging to the family, or Uncle's mother (same father, different mother) etc. Quite dizzying.  I used to scoff whenever a Dominican would say, "Oh, yes, he is my cousin", but no longer.  It is true. Eventually they are all related however remotely, and if you question it you will get the whole, long story in detail.  Dominicans certainly know who they are.

Dominicans are talented story tellers and often accompany their tales with actions, so listening to the news of the day is usually quite entertaining.