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Globalization and Development Essays (Dominica Field Journal)

Since I don't have a whole lot of exciting ports to write about at the moment, I was going to share some of the essays I've written over the course of this voyage.  The first set is from my globalization and development class.  Despite getting seasick in almost every class (it is in a stuffy room at the front of the ship) I have really enjoyed it!  The content has challenged me to think about things in a different way and we have had some great discussions in that class.  

Field Journal


January 23-24, 2012


            The tour guide described Dominicans as, "simple people with simple lives," however I am learning that there really is no such thing as a "simple life" in today's world.  The products we use have sometimes traveled through several countries before we use them.  Our neighbors or the people we meet in society hail from many different regions.  Though Dominica is more isolated than where I am from, there is still a large amount of flow in people, products, and practices.

            This first became evident to me as my guide was describing the various plants on the island.  After nearly every description, she added that the plant was not endemic to the island.  Many of the plants were brought here when Dominica was seen as Europe's extended plantation.  Some of these same plants, along with some native species are now grown to be sold on the island, exported to nearby islands, or in rare cases exported to more distant countries such as the U.S.  

            Many manufactured products also showed evidence of a global economy.  Near town, advertisements for Coca-Cola or a University in Puerto Rico could be seen beside the road.  Some of these brands I recognized from home, but some were new to me.  By conversing with my guides and other Dominicans, I gathered that there was substantial trade between the nearby islands.  Many soaps, food products, and hand-made crafts were either from other Caribbean islands, or were partially manufactured at facilities in nearby islands.  Likewise, Dominica had it's own specialties, such as processing coconut oil, that it would export to other islands. 

            Though it may appear that there is not substantial movement of people in Dominica, there is a history as well as present evidence of such a thing.  Long ago, the Carib Indians came to the island and more would settle there as the other Caribbean islands became threatened with the harsh effects of imperialism.  People of the island can find and ancestry that came from many different regions in Europe and Africa.  There is also a small subset of people who venture to Dominica as tourists.  Most of these people are brought by cruises and are largely day-trippers.   Still, they bring with them money in exchange for food, souvenirs, and tours.  Just as when any two or more groups of people come together, there is a sharing in culture that goes on as the tourists and Dominica. 



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