by Gabriel J. Christian, President at Rebuild Dominica Inc.
As the summer ran its course, Rebuild Dominica stalwarts LaDàna Drigo, Joan Christian, Ta’Tyani “Anyé ” Young, and Tarnia Green, worked diligently alongside Sabiena George Mingo, Don Mingo and other members of “Know Your Culture Dance Group” to prepare costumes for the Virginia Carnival Norfolk CaribFest.
The Know Your Culture Dance Group was founded in 2008 to promote Dominica’s traditional dance and music among young and old in the United States by former Dominica Girl Guide and Junior Carnival Queen from the 1970s Sabiena George Mingo. With the solid support of her US Navy veteran husband, New Jersey born Don Mingo, Know Your Culture has distinguished itself by training US born children of the Dominica Diaspora and others in various traditional Dominica dance forms like the bèlè and quadrille. In then words of Mingo, “when our US born kids have a solid grasp of Dominica culture they will have the pride and confidence to make better contributions to where they live, while remembering to support their ancestral home. We even train those with out roots in Dominica and that way we promote tourism.”
On August 18th 2018, Dominica was given pride of place and led the parade which flowed through Norfolk’s canyon of high rise commercial buildings, with hundreds of ecstatic spectators cheering on the Dominica contingent bearing the national flag and gaily colored madras patterned costumes. The women in the Dominica Diaspora contingent were beautiful and their red sash wearing male companions were a delight to watch as they danced to lively calypso music in this major U.S. Navy town.
Dominica was in the house, and the home town crowd gave a warm welcome to the representatives of the Nature Isle whose plucky folk had survived the horrors of Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Our faith and united efforts, despite the hurdles of that natural disaster and man-made obstacles, showed that we were alive as a people and determined to make Dominica smile again. Our unique Creole jing-ping music, sensay costumes, and wob dwiyets were a unique and spectacular component of the carnival with none to compare. In the glow of our determination and faith to survive and thrive we brought smiles to all who partook of the awesome 2018 Norfolk Caribbean Festival.
Rebuild Dominica was happy to partner with an ace organization dedicated to the patriotic ethic and the promotion of the best of our culture and tourism product. Tourism brochures from the Discover Dominica Authority were distributed to attendees at a booth erected in the park which hosted the festival. We say, “Well done Sabiena George Mingo and Know Your Culture! You rock out!”
Bellevue Chopin Primary School’s principal, Paula Laupen, wrote the following thanking Rebuild Dominica, Inc. for contributions made to her school:
“On behalf of the Bellevue Chopin Primary School, I wish to express … sincere gratitude for Rebuild Dominica’s donation of school supplies. Your gift has already made a huge difference to the quality of teaching and learning at our school since we have put everything to use. The reading books have boosted our library. On Children’s Day, observed here last Friday, the students were presented with some of the donated supplies. In addition, we have used the coloured pencils and crayons to take part in an art competition put together by the Welfare Division under the theme, “Stopping Child Abuse”. I do hope that we can build a continued partnership for the advancement of these under privileged students. Please convey my thanks to the other members of your team.”
The expression on our young Dominican citizens’ faces are priceless. Rebuild Dominica invites other Dominicans living in the diaspora to join our mission in identifying and supporting unmet needs. We are Dominica – both near and far!
Rebuild Dominica offers a special thanks to Dr. Irving Andre for facilitating this donation and for relaying photos along with the letter of gratitude from the school’s Principal.
As the journey to reconstruction continues, Rebuild Dominica forms a new partnership with the Global Breadfruit Institute to boost recovery efforts. This partnership follows the donation of advanced breadfruit cultivars from Dr. Julius Garvey, the son of the late great Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who also committed to agricultural reconstruction efforts.
The Global Breadfruit Institute advised they were aware of Rebuild Dominica’s international campaign to support The Commonwealth of Dominica following the damage caused by Tropical Storm Erika. To support this campaign, Global Breadfruit was inspired to provide a generous gift of 1,500 breadfruit trees.
The above video provides a glimpse of the breadfruit plants at the Dominica Ministry of Agriculture greenhouse. The video is narrated by Errol Emmanuel, Rebuild Dominica (RD) member on island and Director of the Caribbean Agricultural Network: a collaborating organization to Rebuild Dominica.
In a statement of support to Rebuild Dominica’s efforts to revive agriculture on-island post Erika, Blair Lampert of Global Breadfruit stated, “This collaboration with Rebuild Dominica is part of a long-term effort, which unites local public and private entities engaged in business, research, agriculture, and welfare that will rely on Rebuild Dominica to proliferate optimal breadfruit varieties island-wide.” A sentiment shared by supporters of Dominica’s recovery.
A previous donation of breadfruit trees by the admirable Dr. Julius Garvey arrived in Dominica in the weeks preceding Tropical Storm Erika. This additional gift from the Global Breadfruit Institute is beneficial in furthering the mission of Rebuild Dominica. To learn more about the initial donation, the following excerpt from the Caribbean Agricultural Network’s (CAN) August 2015 press release is provided below:
“According to the CEO of the Caribbean Agricultural Network (CAN) Major Francis Richards, the cultivars (Ulu-fiti) and (Otea) are the donation of New York based General Surgeon Dr Julius Garvey, the last son of Marcus Garvey.
At the end of the hardening process, the objective of the project is to distribute the plants within the seven (7) agricultural regions on island. Upon arrival the cultivars will be transported to the Ministry of Agriculture’s greenhouse facility at Portsmouth where they will be hardened for three months prior to distribution to local farmers. The advanced cultivar types sent to Dominica are fast bearing and will fruit within 2 to 3 years, compared to the standard 3 to 5 years.
Dr. Garvey is a member of the Caribbean Agricultural Network and has dedicated himself to the development of Caribbean food security, in accordance with the principles of self reliance advocated by his father who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in the early 1900s. Dominica was a major base of support for the UNIA during its early years and Marcus Garvey himself was invited to Dominica in 1929 with the aid of UNIA representative, noted local poet and self rule activist JR Ralph Casimir.”
REBUILD DOMINICA INC. DECLARES A SERIES OF EVENTS TO SPOTLIGHT THE COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA POST-TROPICAL STORM ERIKA
(Washington DC) – Rebuild Dominica Inc. gears up for its “Weekend in Solidarity With Dominica” event series. The festivities begin with a spotlight on The Commonwealth of Dominica during the annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards (CARAH) on Friday, November 20th, 2015. CaribNation TV will broadcast this cultural event worldwide to over 22 Caribbean territories, the USA, Toronto (Canada) and the United Kingdom. The gala begins at 6:30 pm EST and will film at the Hyatt Regency hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.
The Caribbean American Heritage (CARAH) Awards were instituted in 1994 by the Institute of Caribbean Studies in order to demonstrate the contributions that Caribbean immigrants make to the USA. It is a campaign to ensure that the dialogue on the future of America and immigration includes acknowledgment of the united and ancient linkage between the US and the Caribbean. During the CARAH gala, the Trailblazer Award will be presented to Dominican-born music legend, Gordon Henderson, the godfather of cadence-lypso: a fusion of cadence rampa from Haiti and calypso from Trinidad and Tobago.
Cadence-lypso is a popular music genre originating in the 1970s; primarily from the Caribbean islands of Dominica, Guadeloupe and Martinique. The music genre’s pioneer is the group Exile One, led by Gordon Henderson, and other important groups that include Midnight Groovers, Les Aiglons, Liquid Ice and Les Gramacks. Cadence-lypso is the antecedent to the worldwide phenomenon known as Zouk music.
The fête continues at the National Harbor on Saturday, November 21st as SPAGnVOLA Chocolatiers launches Chocolat de La Dominique; a unique tasting that features premium dark chocolate bars made of Dominica’s cacao. The experience will run at SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier’s retail location from 12 pm to 2 pm at 181 Waterfront St, Oxon Hill, MD. The tasting allows guests to explore what Dominica has to offer and savor the rich and luscious flavor of an artisan delicacy. It’s an exclusive occasion for lovers of high-quality chocolate to see the world a little differently.
During the gourmet session, guests will also be presented a display of Dominica’s indigenous crafts while mingling with ambassadors and dignitaries who support Dominica’s reconstruction efforts. In collaboration with CiBEXO Group Dominica, the Law Office of Gabriel Christian and Caribbean Agriculture Network, SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier has joined the relief efforts for Dominica victims of Tropical Storm Erika: 100% of the proceeds will go towards storm victims in Dominica.
Following the decadent affair, Irie Bar & Grille Caribbean restaurant at 2200 Petrie Ln (Lanham, MD) hosts the Dominica Benefit Showcase, where supporters of Dominica can party for a great cause. The celebration kicks off at 9 pm and Gordon Henderson will deliver one of his powerful performances alongside live entertainment provided by the premier Caribbean ensemble; Image Band. Additionally, the showcase will include pulsating performances by a lineup of Caribbean artists. This includes Dominica’s own Desmond “Desii” Hyson (Grammy Nominee), Joseph “Ras Iwa” Lambert, Brian “Rocket” Rocket, Levi “Super L” Loblack, Jerome Austrie, Garner Fingal, Challenger and the Core Band, Sammy Garraway and Tronada. The bash is also sponsored by Darren “DJ Sprang” Solozano. This showcase is sure to bring back memories of Dominica’s cool breezes and natural ambiance. The emcee for the evening is Fox45’s news reporter and producer, the vibrant Chardelle Moore; an accomplished Caribbean woman from the Nature Island of Dominica.
The festivities wrap up on Sunday, November 22nd with a 10:30 am church service at Evangel Assembly at 5900 Old Branch Ave in Temple Hills, MD. Attendees are encouraged to wear Creole National Wear in observance of Dominica’s Independence. The service will be led by Dominican native, Pastor St Clair Mitchell, who has a long history of giving back to his birth island.
Following the mass, the Rebuild Dominica Inc and Evangel Assembly team up to bring traditional dishes to share for a community potluck-style brunch, which will be served for added enjoyment and spice.
Friday, November 20, 2015 – Caribbean American Heritage Awards (CARAH) Gala at Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill @ 6:30 pm where Gordon Henderson will be awarded the 2015 Trailblazer Award. Visit CaribbeanHeritageAwards.org for tickets!
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Launch of Chocolat de La Dominique at SPAGnVOLA Chocolatier from 12 pm to 2 pm.
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Dominica Benefit Showcase at Irie Grille in Lanham MD from 9 pm to 1 am featuring a live performance by Gordon Henderson and The Image Band with an appearance by DJ Sprang! Plus, more live performances by Desmond “Desii” Hyson (Reggae singer and Grammy Nominee), Joseph “Ras Iwa” Lambert, Brian “Rocket” Rocket, Levi “Super L” Loblack, Jerome Austrie, Garner Fingal, Challenger and the Core Band, Sammy Garraway, & Tronada!
Sunday, November 22, 2015 – Dominica Independence Mass at Evangel Assembly @ 10:30 am followed by a Potluck Brunch.
About Rebuild Dominica, Inc:
The Rebuild Dominica is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to raise and distribute funds, expertise and material resources in support of the recovery and reconstruction efforts of communities on The Commonwealth of Dominica that were impacted by floods from Tropical Storm Erika.
Rebuild Dominica Inc aims to make a sustainable, long term impact, and focuses on programs that address the unmet needs of communities around Dominica. The organization is inspired by the spirit of volunteerism, team work and cooperative self-help. Dominica has a long heritage of working together for the common good. In Dominica’s French creole language, those values of community self-help have a name; it is called: Koudmen. Rebuild Dominica serves to personify this spirit of Koudmen.
This write-up was prepared by the Media Relations Team at Rebuild Dominica. For more information regarding this post, contact LaDàna Drigo at 202.670.6489 or info@AbovePrestigePR.com.