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MY DAY TRIP TO THE KALINAGO TERRITORY
Open your eyes .
Needles of golden daylight pierce tiny spaces in the taboui roof , but dark blueness is still everywhere . Open your ears . The whistle of the crickets rises and falls in a rhythm , muted by roseaux leaves dancing in the wind ’ s occasional puffs . The hum of Brother ’ s and Sister ’ s breathing floats around the taboui and settles on you , caressing you back to sleep .
Open your nisiru . The aroma
of cassava bread baking in the ajoupa outside swirls its way to your nostrils , swelling even more as Mother puts another cake to the fire . Your tongue relishes its slightly burnt flavour mingled with the mild freshness of the coulirou that you and Father will catch in the river today . Father comes soon , so move your nocobou now . Your bed mat of woven larouma , softened after so much use , reluctantly peels itself away from the moistness of your skin as you rise to meet the day .
Fast forward 500 years . You are
standing in a small taboui in the Kalinago Barana Autê , the model of a typical village of
by Shana Jones , @ theroamingaviatrix
the Kalinago , the original inhabitants of Dominica . This model village ( with a central karbay for cultural performances ) lies in the protected Kalinago Territory on Dominica ’ s northeast coast , where roughly 3,000 Kalinago descendants live and still preserve their ancient culture . From the taboui you follow a circular , forested trail dotted with different lean-to structures that illustrate the unique architecture of the indigenous people .
In some of the ajoupas , daily activities are carried out as they would have been by the original Kalinago : in the first ajoupa , a karipona grinds and prepares cassava ( a starchy plant ) to be baked into a flat