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!”
It is with great excitement that Rebuild Dominica Inc shares the following update. On Thursday, November 16th, Mr. Gabriel Christian, President of Rebuild Dominica was invited to visit ATAS Roofing Corp in Allentown PA. The visit was a tremendous success!
Wrapping up the meeting, Mr. Christian reported the visit ended on a positive note and ATAS has a high desire to partner with Rebuild Dominica Inc.
Stewart Paris added much insight due to his technical expertise. The following points were raised and addressed:
- Education in roofing science to be provided on-island to builders and home owners in Dominica.
- Best practices for construction were suggested and will be taught to builders and contractors.
- Creation of workforce development by industrial process was encouraged.
- The immediacy of needs that can be met by ATAS were discussed and will be presented.
- A more inclusive model for resiliency of Dominica’s housing stock, the risk of corrosion by sea blast, and other climatology issues were considered.
Rebuild Dominica Inc will report on the above approaches and present more details in the coming weeks. On behalf of Dominicans both at home and in the diaspora, Rebuild Dominica Inc is grateful for the ATAS for the offer of partnership.
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.
The Weekend In Solidarity With Dominica was a great success! Attendees during the “Dominica Benefit Showcase” included friends of Dominica, members of Dominica’s diaspora, and dignitaries. The venue was sponsored by Irie Grille Caribbean Restaurant.
Performers included The Image Band, 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, and Tronada. The showcase also featured a feature perormance by the CARAH 2015 Trailblazer Award Winner, Gordon Henderson.