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We speak our own dialect in Nevis, it is a version of English that is filled with its own rhythm and cadence, and rife with its own sublimated context.  We speak with vagary and ambiguity because in a community of 11,000 it is easy to follow subtle references.

But our dialect also has its own contradictions, just as our language can be loose it can also be very literal.  I have all my life on Nevis been referred to as ‘white man’ which is not meant to be racist just descriptive. White people are white, black people are black and fat people are fat, with no derogatory association. Nicknames are very common, and might not actually have anything to do with what seems to be implied. There is a man called Belly, but it is not because he is fat. 

One might struggle with this without some cultural understanding, as my father did when he first came to the island.  He employed a young man who had lost his leg to childhood cancer.  His name was Dwight, which my father insisted on calling him until he saw the confusion it was causing at the young man’s home.  Dad found this out when he went to collect Dwight for his first day of work.

“I am here to pick up Dwight,” he said to the old lady sitting on the stoop.
“Who?” She replied.
“Eh? Who you say you want?”
“Dwight! I’ve come to pick up Dwight. He’s starting work today.”
“Oh!, You mean, my grandson?  One Foot!  The white man come for you!”

So, in some instance there is nothing in a name, in other cases a nickname is just spot on.

Similarly, a school counselor told me about her efforts to confront what she thought was an incident of bullying at high school.  Ironically, it was another young boy named Dwight (perhaps nicknames are so common because there are so many people called Dwight).  The school counselor called the entire class together to insist that Dwight be referred to only by his proper name, saying that one’s identity should not be decided by one event.  She spent 45 minutes discussing the matter but the class became more and more perplexed until finally poor Dwight cried out in tears.

“But, Miss, that’s my name, I am Panty-head!”

Caribbean Strong – Nevis

Nevis was very fortunate, we suffered minimal damage. The ancient saman tree in the town square was blown over, a few other trees have been lost and our beaches have been strangely rearranged but it is nothing that can’t be repaired with time and tide. With village names like Hardtimes and Burden Pasture, Nevis has known many challenges.We are not strangers to the storm.

Don’t You Agree?

After a trip away, I’ve just returned to these sweet charms of Nevis, the warmth of hospitality and the embrace of friends.

My Nevis Perspective

The best way to survive as a hotelier on a remote island with difficult logistics is with patience and a sense of humor.

Hermitage Newsletter December Edition

Interestingly, a celebrity magazine shoot shared the property with a crew of geothermal miners. We can’t say which group was the more tantalizing and filled us with anxious delight at the possibility of unearthing a deeply hidden treasure.

Experience of the Caribbean

Some days are clear Caribbean skies and placid, turquoise, clear seas that reflect the frigate birds and passing clouds; some days are faded yellow from the Sahara dust that drifts across the Atlantic, some days are rain, hard bullet-like tropical rain...

Covered in vines

There are little wooden houses on the island of Nevis and many are covered in vines. They were built 100 hundred years ago, in a tradition that was handed from master carpenter to apprentice, one generation to the next. Their beams are pegged together with...

The Pink House History

My mother lives in a Pink House, the house that we built for her mother, my grandmother, who we called Muzzy.

The Ocean’s View

Where the water meets the shore is the edge of the world, either in the rough collision of waves against rocks that tells the story of resistance and erosion or in the soft lapping and gentle wash that dresses the sand, with a fringe of foam like lace. The...

Leave Her As She Is

Over coffee in the mornings he spoke about it, at the bar in the evenings he promised to restore it. 

Summer days

The summer time is true to the heart of island living, with fewer tourists and expats, the buzz of visitors subsides. The days are longer and the nights are cool and refreshing. We spend more time in the evenings sitting outside, and I find myself looking...

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