Universal Truths

When traveling we often look for how things are different because that interests us. But, when we find that things are the same, this is when it becomes fascinating.

For when we find sameness, it exists in an environment that is so completely different from what we know, what we’re comfortable with, what we assume to be true and, oftentimes, what we assume to be ours.

Homemade soup restaurant

Traveling for several months throughout the Windwards, visiting 11 islands spread across four countries, that is what we have seen: the universal truth in how people live. They want to live with Dignity, and to be treated with Respect, and to be part of a Community, and to have a Family.

Rashon was the cutest little kid, maybe 7 or 8, full of life and energy and a sparkle in his eyes, but alas quiet and shy and a bit uncertain. Barefoot in the sand, he was closely attached to our waitress at this outdoor beach bbq on an uninhabited island in the Tobago Cays Marine Park. Back and forth they both went to the open air kitchen – grilled lobster, marlin, veggie rice, potatoes, fried plantains and more.

Enjoying dinner at Free Willy’s

We asked our waitress if Rashon was her child. No, he’s my little friend, we like each other a lot, his mother isn’t really able to take care of him, he’s happier when he’s here on the island with Free Willy (the owner of the bbq tent) and me. They looked at each other with the warmest, most affectionate smiles.

Dinner over, plates being cleared, Rashon comes racing up, eager to help. It was a memorable moment, a short moment, but one that we all observed. As our waitress handed a plate to Rashon, he took it, but she paused, reaching back to him, and ever so thoughtfully, carefully, and gently, she took his little hands in hers, repositioned his fingers and wrists, and simply smiled at him. He looked up at her. Nothing said, but love was spoken.

The smallest action, helping a child to find a better way, being part of his life and his community, respecting him in front of a table of four adults, four strangers, four foreigners, allowing him to have a role with pride and dignity.

People want a job, or if not a job, then they want a role, because a job (or a role) allows them to live with dignity.

Johnny of Mustique

Every place we visit, walking down the street, or through a neighborhood, we’re greeted with smiles and hellos and welcomes and can I help you. Boat boys arrive when we arrive:

Can I help you with your mooring?

Do you want ice?

In the morning they are at our side again:

Do you want banana bread? (banana cake at Union Island)

Do you have trash? 

Boat boy with fresh baguettes and banana bread

Only once have we felt aggression, but that was in the form of upselling and re-pricing. On reflection, it possibly was driven by hunger and needs and maybe a bit of desperation. And it all worked out

Bonjour. Ca Va.

Hello. Good morning

Fist bump. Thumbs up.

Daphne of Bequai

Nearly everything is closed on Sundays in the islands. Sundays are for church and for friends and for family. But not for work, there is plenty of time for that. Everywhere we went, we saw families in the morning dressed for church and in the afternoon dressed for the beach. Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad, kids, friends, aunts, uncles. Driving to church, walking to church. Sitting on the beach. Grilling on the beach. Playing in the water. Listening to music. Having a drink. Down here, it’s called Limin’. We might say Chilling. Here it’s Limin’.


A desire to live with dignity and be treated with respect. To be seen. To be acknowledged. To be engaged. To live as part of a community, to belong. To have a family, and children. And the forever hope that my children will have more opportunity, be better off, have a better life, than I have had.

See me.

Acknowledge me.

Talk to me.

Recognize not the difference between you and me, but the sameness between you and me.

Dignity. Respect. Community. Family.

Universal Truths. 

That I am the same as you.

A Submerged Sculpture Park in Grenada

Having tied the dinghy to the park service float, deployed the boarding ladder, and fitted our snorkel masks and fins, we slipped off the Hypalon tubes and into Molinere Bay. Protected by two rock outcroppings to windward and leeward, the bay is on the west coast of Grenada, a few miles north of the entrance to Port Louis at St. Georges.

We saw the familiar; brightly colored fish against a backdrop of pure white Caribbean sand.

Swimming across the bay in about 20-30 feet of water, we could barely distinguish the outline of a shaped form, as the somewhat overcast skies and turbulent waters made visibility less than clear. As we approached, the outline slowly came into focus – ethereal, almost haunting, lifelike forms, underwater, standing on the seabed, holding hands, yet with sea life swimming around them, small pieces of coral attaching themselves to the body forms. Angled rays of light streaming down.


In 2006, the British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor opened the world’s first underwater sculpture park featuring a collection of ecological contemporary art. The works are derived from life casts of the local community. He installed concrete figures onto the ocean floor, mostly consisting of a range of human forms ranging from solitary individuals to a ring of children holding hands, facing into the oceanic currents.

The artist explains: Vicissitudes depicts a circle of figures, all linked through holding hands. These are life size casts taken from a group of children of diverse ethnic backgrounds. Circular in structure….the work both withstands strong currents and replicates one of the primary geometric shapes, evoking ideas of unity and continuum……The sculpture proposes growth, chance, and natural transformation. It shows how time and environment impact on and shape the physical body. Children by nature are adaptive to their surroundings. Their use within the work highlights the importance of creating a sustainable and well-managed environment, a space for future generations.

The Lost Correspondent. A modern day Vesuvius disaster, he is a lone concrete figure at a desk poised over a typewriter. The surface of the desk is covered with a selection of newspaper articles dating back to the 1970’s with many holding political significance from the Cuban alignment before the revolution (from Wikipedia)

Life Underwater

Just off the coast of Carriacou is a picture postcard island, uninhabited, nothing but sand, palm trees, tide pools and a pristine coral reef teeming with a tremendous variety of sea life.

This is the place where you come for a night and stay, and then the next day, decide to stay again. After three snorkeling trips on the reef with a little waterproof Panasonic camera, everyone agreed it was a stop worth repeating.