TS Erika’s Lessons – I Am Learning!

In an instant - change!

In an instant – change!  Lessons in Life

Tropical Storm Erika has certainly struck our nation beyond anything one would have fathomed prior to its arrival over Dominica.  The shocking evidence of its mischief is vivid.  Things will be so for a long time via the various memorabilia which will emerge, and those which have already emerged.   Without decreasing the impact of the monstrosity of this weather system which has battered my homeland, I feel obligated to highlight some lessons that I am learning since Thursday 27th August, 2015.

  1. Life is precious – relish every moment
  2. In a split second, everything can change and alter the rest of one’s life
  3. Really, we are nothing – treat all people with dignity (as hard as it may be sometimes)
  4. Live every day with Psalm 23 in mind – We do walk in the shadow of death
  5. The majority of Dominicans are peace-loving people
  6. Forgiveness is possible, and peace is powerful
  7. In sickness, death, disaster and crisis there is no such thing as enmity
  8. Dominicans care about their neighbors, but don’t always express that concern
  9. Show more concern for neighbors in and out of season (crisis / no crisis)
  10. Treat volunteers with dignity and gratitude (they don’t have to serve, but they choose to)
  11. Volunteers have needs too, sometimes they share similar crisis with those they serve
  12. Volunteerism is still embedded in the fabric of our nation
  13. Some people are blinded – no crisis can clear their eyes, nor wash their enslaved minds (stay focused on the goal to make a positive difference, and avoid / ignore the negativity)
  14. Some folks are selfish – they will push their agendas regardless of the pains of others (pray for and forgive them)
  15. Survival warrants personal decisions to rise above the pains and obstacles – daily
  16. Faith in a supreme being is like gravity – it grounds the soul when trauma strikes. – Keep faith!
  17. Press on, because life persists – don’t forget to distract yourself from painful thoughts
  18. Life keeps teaching – keep learning, keep applying

These lessons I hope to remember as days go by.  Meanwhile, efforts to continue the contribution being made toward Dominica’s reconstruction will persist as best as possible.  What have you learned from Erica?   What are you learning?  Feel free to share with me.

Fear NOT – Quit Not Yourself!

L'express“Fear not, for God is with you, Fear Not!”   — Isaiah 41:10

The fear of pressing on amidst life’s many questionable challenges always tends to show its ugly face, when we would prefer otherwise.  For some people, God is an abstract being, so a statement like the above may not stand nor hold any substance to them.  For those of us who believe in a higher power, whom we call God, we hold on to this reality, that fear is never bigger than HIM.

Whatever you call HIM, if you believe in a higher, and supreme being, when fear knocks at your door like a thief, remember you are not alone.  It is easy however, to feel like you are alone, like all is lost, like nothing works, or that all is falling apart.  Let me remind you to steer the course because it is worth pressing on against fear and its relations.

Believe me, I have thought about quitting on so many things and individuals, and some in my lifetime I have actually quitted for good.  There are times when it is necessary to quit entirely, and otherwise, there are times to quit for a moment.  In my second book – “Moving Out of the Crowd”, I encourage movement when it is necessary.  The truth is often, we find ourselves in places, and spaces where our well-beings are more at risk, than the adverse.  So, move we often have to.

Still, we must learn to hang on tightly when it is necessary.  That may mean that we must look fear in the face and say:  Not Today, I am NOT Quitting on myself, I Will Press on, I will Endure, I Will Succeed.  Press on Today and trust in God, whom ever your God is, for He is with you!  A great way to start is by repeating these expressions as often as necessary.  So here goes:  Today, I am NOT Quitting on myself, I Will Press on, I will Endure, I Will Succeed – I am NOT a quitter.”


P1010243Have you ever felt the need to challenge yourself?  Of course you have felt that way before.  Well, for me, I more than feel to do so, I intend to give a challenge a shot.  Today, I prepare to embark on a new journey, one that will allow me to explore new life’s possibilities.  A great level of curiosity is what I intend to take with me to that new “classroom” of life.

To attempt anything new requires that we utilize a level of curiosity.  As if contradictory to this, the famous adage that “curiosity killed the cat” comes rushing through my mind with a plan to sabotage my new enthusiasm.  Thinking aloud I shout to the top of my voice, – “Oh thief of fear and doubt, get the heck out of here.”  This thief forgets that I am aware of the other adage that “Cats have nine lives”?  It is with this knowledge of “nine-lives” that I am going to press on toward my new challenge.

Employment of the nine-life effect will hold my curiosity just where it requires to be.  Snooping, questioning, reading, researching, listening, writing, and exploring will be some tools at use during the next 13 weeks of my life.  A sense of hope rushes through my psyche as I prepare to mentally dig deeply towards the commencement of this new intellectual challenge.

If you have a curiosity, if you are thinking about attempting a new challenge, give it a shot.  Life happens, but not like guesswork.  Rather, life happens by the seconds, constantly, unstoppably and requires that we engage it, more that exist in it.

At this stage, I choose to withhold information as pertains to my curiosity, except to call it a challenge, a new dimension.  I hope you can wish me well as I embark on this one in which I intend to fully engage myself.

Meanwhile, give your desire to challenge yourself, an opportunity to do so.  I will share a quote from a friend who was struck by it once it was shared with her by a wise elder: “If you want to get into the arena, you must get into the corridor.”  I am heading toward a new corridor starting tomorrow, hoping to get into a new and exciting arena.  Hopefully when success strikes, I will be more than happy to share it all with you.  :)

God bless.

Faith – the ammunition!

Faith and hope!

Faith and hope!

The old 2014 is closing, giving us two more days to consider what we will plan for 2015.  The reality is that the world continues business as usual.  Certainly, once 12:00am occurs on Thursday, the wicked regimes of the world will still be planning mayhem, conspiring their next torturous acts, the Western world will continue its celebrations, Christians in some parts of the world will still be suffering great persecutions, the girls of Nigeria will still be hurting from the loss of their education, innocence, pride, and familial safety, and world leaders will probably all be seeking new ideas for their nation states.  Man this world is so chaotic, it is with great apprehension many humans are looking toward 2015.

So what is in all this Happy New Year Wishes?  Is it really going to be starting off as a happy new year?  Will it be one that brings great joy, prosperity, peace and all the good and wonderful things we speak off during the euphoria of the break of a new day and year?  Forgive me if I sound pessimistic, but the truth is it feels selfish living as if all is well in this world of great sadness.  Even today, some 160 plus people plunged into the abyss of the unknown, have left loved ones and relatives looking for their answers as to their way about; then we cannot forget the over 200 lost at flight, who left family and friends with a void unable to be filled by human words to date.  Oh world of Crisis!  What then is in all the NEW YEAR wishes?

We remember the bereaved who stopped to remember their loved ones who were swept away, stolen and or buried by the great tsunami of 2004.  I wonder whether they will have a happy new year.  To chronicle all the bitterness that 2014 has pasted on our lips would be impossible internationally.

Not too far though within our region we too have had our own blows.  Chikungunya has dealt our little Dominica and our region some beatings.  Some of us are left with pains from its debilitating effects, some of us have suffered arthritis, and the likes, from a blasted little mosquito bite.  Meanwhile our agricultural sector continues to suffer under the black sigatoka disease as if like a plague from the enemy of our food basket.  Tohneh, these ills were made to look small by the threat of Ebola which has set all of our region in motion to preserve and protect our populace.  The scare of this monster is insurmountable.

Then, there were the election fever flies biting too, with some people still suffering from LOP (loss of power) syndrome.  I tell you, it began with PEM (pre-election madness) and unfolded into LOP for some, while others are rejoicing at their gains.  Hopefully 2015 will not reveal to us another electoral madness which I will define as TMPS – Too much power syndrome.  One cannot forget the great divide created by the election fever flies, 2015 will need to breed some reconciliation strings quickly to save our nation state.  Undoubtedly our neighbouring islands who have experienced elections in 2014, to include Antigua certainly will require that reconciliatory pill as soon as possible as well.

Inclusively, some of us suffered the loss of loved ones to the sting of death, some brutal, some realistically expected.  All the same, with the void death creates, hurts were inevitably experienced.

In other cases, people quit jobs, to gain new ones. Some of us gave up ‘opportunities’ to seek peace of mind, unafraid of the outcomes.  Some of us saw persecutions, rejections, disrespect and ill-treatments from various spheres.  In my case close friends and loved ones have suffered from the dreaded monster called cancer in different forms.  One thread carried through though for each of these people whom I love, – they remained positive.  So, 2014 is leaving, and some of us are happy, but is it because we anticipate better in 2015?  Maybe that is really why, – Anticipation!

Anticipation is great, but I want to attest to having FAITH!  Faith surpasses anticipation, for indeed, it takes a great level of Faith in Christ, Faith in God, faith in the Scriptures to keep treading through this journey called life.  To close ones eyes and ears to the negatives of this life is almost impossible.  It is faith then that keeps us fighting, and keeps us hopeful.  It is faith that allows us to be able to smile, love, laugh, enjoy friends, family and loved ones, and to keep working for the betterment of the corner where we have been placed in this world.

So as if to topple all the darkness highlighted above, I hereby submit, that we can definitely risk wishing each other a Happy New Year, a better year in 2015, since our Faith will keep us fighting the woes.  Our positivity will keep us fighting, like my three friends who in different parts of the world fought and in some cases are still fighting deadly cancers.  Their faith keep them going.  A page then we can take from these fighters, these warriors – Keep faith alive, keep hopeful, and press on.  With this simple encouragement, I urge you and me, to have a Happy, Blessed and Prosperous new year.

For Faith is:  “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen!” – Hebrews 11:1

Blessings to you in 2015.   In a special way I dedicate this post to Jim Henson, Alicia Christopher V. and SMS!  Three people I appreciate and love!

Mere hurt is nothing!


Heaven give us hope in a world full of conflict. We ask for the hurting souls, some relief oh God!

People will write you off in life.  That is just how it is.  You cannot do much to change their choice if and when that happens.  Notwithstanding that fact, one must do everything within his or her power to continue living a life fulfilled.   Besides, to do otherwise is to hand-deliver ones life’s power to someone else who does not care a single thing about him/her.

When I think about the crisis that occurs all around us, the mere hurts dished out to us, are really peanuts.  Heck, so many real souls are being lost daily, so many hearts are being literally shattered, so many limbs are being broken by wicked acts of other real people.  The small rejections, write-offs, and their cousins are definitely unimportant.

The Ebola victims, the citizens of Gaza, the innocent women and children dying from the wicked acts of men, the hopeless, brainwashed men offering themselves for the selfish benefits of others; when I think about these more concerning matters, my issues of loss, hurt and pains are irrelevant.

To this end, I will take another rejection, I will allow my heart to be broken again, I will humble myself to say “I’m sorry, Please forgive me,”  I will be the bigger person in my smallness of honest acknowledgement of my failures.  It is worth it I think.  Yes, it is worth it, because truly, these are incomparable to the horror, terror and misery of so many hurting souls all over the world.

The losses, the deprivation of our own properties , the disrespect from selfish people, the cold shoulders, the verbal back-stabbings are weightless in comparison to the fears, dejections, injustices and bitter pills dealt to so many around the world.   The dreaded photo of thousands fleeing a place they have called home for so long, to go to — “no-real-where,” – that is what matters.  These are the things we ought to lament over.   That is what we should condemn forcefully.   “Woe to the down-pressers…” –Bob Marley would say!

Meanwhile, let me do what I can from where I am:  “Say a prayer for the world…”  –For the sake of His (Jesus) sorrowful passion, Father have mercy on US, and on the Whole World!

I’m 18 (Eighteen) Today!

DSC00001   Yes, I am 18 today.  In 1996, on February 13th, I walked through the doors of the Youth Development Division as a novice.  The excitement of having been given the opportunity to work with young people like myself was thrilling.  Who would have thought, this young lady would turn into a strong woman within the same Department for that many years, contributing to the lives of hundreds maybe even thousands of young men and women on a regular basis, through various programs and activities?

The many camps, retreats, seminars, symposiums, trainings, discussions, youth radio programs produced, job letters written, recommendations given, and all the too numerous to mention events that I have offered and or presented over the years have definitely reaped great harvest.  For today, I look back at some of my 4-Hers, summer day camp volunteers, peer educators, youth leaders, youth group members, trainees, and so many others from Primary school (pupils) to college level (students) who turned into youth who are now Fire Officers, Police Officers, Teachers, Lawyers, skilled men and women, entrepreneurs, media personnel, among other professions.  Thankfully, I can safely say that the majority of those I have encountered are confident and productive citizens of Dominica.

It is heartwarming to say the least to note that many of them are servants of our land; others are servants of other regional islands; while, many are serving international countries, and or are in pursuit of further education.  Notwithstanding such successes, I note the few who have fallen prey to societal ills, others who have died tragic deaths, while a few are perishing at the state penitentiary.

With this reality, can I throw in the towel and agree that my achievements are enough to define the quality of my work?  Nah, I doubt.  Youth is still on my side – as I say this with some skepticism for my Young Friends will probably take this as a great joke at my expense.  Fear not, you can laugh; I will laugh with you. :)   DSC00060

Seriously though, I cannot call it quits, though the temptation is great.  The work persists though over the past year and some, I have had new responsibilities and occupational focus, not exactly to my choosing.  Still I must persist on this journey of youth development, as I seek to impact lives positively, and shine wherever I’m planted, until otherwise.

Back then I used to say, “Youth Work Chose Me”, and I hadn’t chosen it.  I still subscribe to this belief somehow.  You see, many certificates, one Diploma in Youth Work, one 120 credit hours in Management in Learning, and one Bachelor of Arts – Cum Laude in Sociology & Psychology later, womanhood kicks in.

This Youth Worker is in a state of deeper awareness, and may just be seeking other interests, – who knows?  As long as we live, we should learn, grow, and perfect our craft right?  Well at least that is something I believe.  So, I am working on it.  At 18, I need to develop a new awareness of adulthood, for synonymously teens get excited at that juncture in my island.  Voting rights, adulthood and such privileges become front issues.  So, as if I am given new rights and opportunities at my 18, allow me to dream, pursue new grounds and maybe even fly without knowing where these new wings will take me.  After all, I am 18.  DSC00071

Thanks to all those who gave me wind, strengthened and or repaired those wings when they were injured, thought me to fly and even those who knocked me down sometimes.  I made it to 18.  Thanks to Papa God for All the Tremendous doors He has opened from then to now.  May I continue to grow!

This is an Emergency!

ImageSo much can be said about the frequent killings and violent acts now plaguing our nation and region.  One could assume that there is a certain plot to destroy the safety, stability and sanity of our society.  The question begs to be asked?  Who is winning this battle for our society’s soul and heart?  Further concerns linger to the extent of; “Why are these crazy things occurring?”   It becomes easier to focus on the blurry lines, the dark scenes, the scary reality and the sad stories.  Meanwhile, it seems like desensitization is captivating the conscience of the populace.  If not desensitization, then maybe its apathy, hopelessness or just plain blank visual, emotional, social, spiritual and societal defects.

The fact is, we cannot close our eyes to the reality of where we now live and the dynamism within which it has changed and continues to change.  Notwithstanding this need, I hasten to say that we should never allow these monstrosities to erode our inner peace, nor that of the society within which many of us have grown up –  a relatively safe environment.   Is it too late to salvage the freedom to express opposing views and still feel safe?  Is it too late to surround our vulnerable young men and women with a sense of love and togetherness, in the hope of creating a better society with and for them?

What has happened to the ability to resolve conflicts constructively?  Why have our people particularly our young men lost the art of dialoguing verbally, rather than with weapons, which results in horrific acts?  Where did we lose the peace?  With all these questions lurking about, with little or no answers, the temptation is to feel despondent.  The sense of hope and safety are undoubtedly threatened to the core.  Can we allow the negatives to erode the positivity of our humanity?  Should we?

There is an Urgent need for  collective social intervention.  The complexity of these occurrences is mind boggling.  We live in a different society today; to deny this is to be naive.  What can we do?  That is the question.  What intervention can we make in order to curb if not eradicate these ills.   The blame game will not work; the political point-seeking gimmicks stand to hurt the movement, and the careless planning and implementation of some social events enhances the chances of the horror, while they undermine the seemingly small efforts  being employed to create change for the better.

This is an Emergency!  It is a matter for speedy, but carefully calculated action. Tell me, what can we do as a people to meet our young men and women halfway?  Mark you, I am in no way saying that it is only young people who commit hideous acts in our land and or region.  For it is clear that “Children live what they learn.”   It is also clear that many adults have neglected their responsibilities and have displayed horrible examples to curious, hungry and innocent eyes.  Still, young men and women have souls, hearts, minds, blood and needs too.  But alas, how often they have lost touch of that reality, and have elevated the thirst for each other’s blood because it is easier to numb the emotions, than to face them constructively.   Cold, I know, but real.

Currently, I am searching for answers and intervention strategies.  WE Need (ed) it YESTERDAY!     Please feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations with me.  WE the citizenry must act, to rescue, safeguard and salvage our communities, our nation (s), our region and our people.  What do you say?


(This song may not necessarily highlight in exact terms that which I speak of, but alas, those who are surrendered to the inability to seek constructive means to facing differences, and who revert to violence are very much like “crippled men / women.”  Our work is cut out for us.)