Go Fund Me Campaigns for Hurricane Maria: Donate or Not ?

Go Fund Me Campaigns for Hurricane Maria: Donate or Not ?

Since the Nature Isle, Dominica, was hit by Category 5 Hurricane Maria, there has been an impressive outpouring of national pride and international solidarity from Dominicans, friends and well-wishers abroad. However, with so much to do to repair the country, preserve life, and sustain the bodies, minds and souls of the hurricane Maria survivors, it’s hard from people abroad to know where to start, because we are so eager to help and do it right. But we know one thing for sure: we always need money, and we will never “not” need it. Especially in disaster emergencies.

If you haven’t seen the extent of the damage that Dominica endured, check out this short snippet of a region in the island 24 hours after the devastating hurricane.

But What do Hurricane Survivors Really Need?

The needs of hurricane survivors can be classified according to each phase of disaster response. There are a) Immediate needs, b) Maintenance needs and c) Long term needs.


Immediate needs include BASIC NECESSITIES TO SURVIVE: food, water, shelter. Food, water. Water. More water. Even more water. Food. Shelter. A lot of it all. You get the point.

Maintenance needs also include immediate needs, but in larger amounts, to ensure sustainability. On top of that, you have other important things like first aid and essential which I am happy to discuss in another post.


Long term needs include infrastructure, rebuilding and of course, emotional health (that money unfortunately cannot buy). I am happy to discuss about these needs in another blog post… For now, let’s get back to… Go Fund Me!

The Truth About Go Fund Me Campaigns

Go Fund Me has become one of the top crowdfunding platform that allows people to raise money for events and causes that are worthy of every penny. In the past 7 years, the San Diego based company has raised over 3 billion dollars through more than 2 million individual campaigns. And while a lot of people have been able to support their dear cause, pay for overwhelming medical expenses, complete their graduate education and even support disaster relief operations through Go Fund Me funds, there are a few things you need to know about Go Fund Me campaigns before involving your funds.


  • Where Does my Money go? This is the #1 question that I have heard from donors. The majority of the funds that are donated go to the person who created the campaign, and Go Fund Me taxes are deduced from the money raised (see picture). Other crowdfunding sites have policies on taxes and fees as well, such as Crowdfunder or Rockethub (just to name a few).

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  • How Do I know the Campaign is legit? The truth is, you don’t. While there are truly people out there who are raising funds for the good cause they pledged allegiance to, there are also scammers and people out there to take advantage. Differentiating between campaigns can be tricky, because even the most detailed and organized campaign can be a perfectly written lie (I don’t mean to be pessimist, but this is the digital age). Nonetheless, it might help to see that the campaign is associated with an official account and approved by the host government. For Dominica for instance, Go Fund Me campaigns that have been approved include the campaign by the CDOA Relief Fund, or the campaign by the Dominica American Relief and Development Association (DARDA). There are also other great campaigns organized by individuals such as Doctors in Our Circle Dominica Aid. Note that while popular campaigns seem to be more attractive and easy to see in Go Fund Me search, you still have to make sure that you a) read the description, b) check out the organizing party c) get in touch with them if need be!

What Happens with the Money Donated through Go Fund Me?

This is where we bridge the gap between the needs of hurricane survivors and ways in which Go Fund Me campaigns address those needs. For hurricane Maria survivors in Dominica, the majority of the campaigns that I have encountered aim at purchasing non-perishable items, essentials and water supplies for the survivors on island. This contributed in addressing their immediate and maintenance needs. Clearly, rebuilding infrastructure and ensuring emotional health are processes that would take a lot of time, but they have to start with a first step.


The Final Verdict

When it comes to Go Fund Me, nothing is guarantee. I think at the end of the day, you make a judgement call and you listen to your intuition. If you feel like a campaign is legit, go for it. Donate, help someone. At the end of it all, you know how much Go Fund Me deducts from the campaign, but you might never know how much of the balance is actually used for the intended purpose. Unless you (or a very close friend) are the one running the campaign. So choose: do you want to take the risk of helping someone else, or hold back by fear? The ball is in your court.


Have you ever done a Go Fund Me Campaign? Have you ever donated in Go Fund Me? Let me know what your experience was in the comments section below!


5 Key Facts That You Need to Know About Atlantic Hurricanes

With the public outcry, the repeated requests from my readers and the facts that I directly (Hurricane Harvey in Houston) and indirectly (Hurricane Maria in Dominica and Puerto Rico) experienced two atlantic hurricanes during this hurricane season, I felt the need to develop a “hurricane series”.


The purposes of this hurricane series are to 1) raise awareness on the multimodal devastating nature of hurricanes as natural disasters (for those who are still underestimating), 2) to share factual information and pictures of the aftermath of hurricane Maria and to 3) give recommendations on how you can provide hurricane relief in Dominica and why not, other areas affected by hurricanes.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a Hurricane expert, and I will keep informing myself and share what I learn with you. Feel free to share your knowledge on this topic as well in an informative manner. But to start with, here are 5 key facts that everyone needs to know about Hurricanes.


1. Here is the actual definition of a hurricane: a hurricane is a “specific name” for a severe tropical cyclone. According to Wikipedia, a hurricane is “a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain”. In simpler terms, a hurricane is a group of storms that form along a low-pressure center and moved in a circular fashion, and are characterized by heavy strong winds and heavy rains. Depending on where you are, such tropical cyclones are called by different names. However, once a tropical cyclone moves at the sustained wind speed of 74-76 mph (miles per hour), it is considered a hurricane. If a tropical cyclone develops over the Atlantic ocean or northeastern Pacific ocean, it is called a “hurricane”. If it develops over the northwestern Pacific Ocean, it is called a “typhoon”. If it develops over the South Pacific or Indian Ocean, it is called a “cyclone”. 

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2. Hurricanes are Classified According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: a lot of people have heard of hurricane categories 1-5, but the more I speak with people, the more I realize they don’t actually know what it means. And it’s Ok, because I used to “not know” as well. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale assesses hurricane severity based on the sustained wind speed, and this in turns helps to assess the likelihood of property damage. In other terms, the higher the “sustained wind speed”, the more deadly and damaging the hurricane is.

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3. For each country and region prone to hurricanes, hurricanes develop during a particular season, and there is a reason for that: hurricanes basically develop over large water surfaces, and are fueled by the evaporation of water. That being said, in the Caribbean, hurricane season usually starts in June (start of summer) and continues until November. That is when the waters get heated the most.

hurricane season

4. Global Warming Potentiates Hurricanes: if you didn’t believe it before, believe it now. Think about it: when the oceans are getting heated up by the sun, three things happen, according to fluid dynamics:

a. Water evaporates, condenses and falls back as rain. And the more water evaporates, the more rain will fall, and the cycle goes on.

b. Water also expands in the ocean and occupies a larger surface, and that just gives more room for more water to evaporate and… the cycle continues.

c. More heat produces more energy to fuel the hurricane: based on the points that were made earlier, this makes sense.


5. Hurricane “Warning” and Hurricane “watch” are issued in islands prone to hurricanes, and these mean different things: do you remember this “74 mph” we spoke about earlier? That is the cut off number that meteorologists use to determine when a cyclone becomes a hurricane. A hurricane watch is issued when you suspect that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) will form in the next 48 hours. So this means “there is a possibility, let’s keep watching but let’s prepare and start taking precautions”.

A hurricane warning is issued when you expect  hurricane conditions develop in the next 36 hours. Therefore, a hurricane warning is issued within 36 hours. This means “it is going to happen, let’s take more aggressive precautions and let’s evacuate”.

watch vs warning

If you learned something in this article, please share. Make sure you subscribe to be notified of my next blog post: “Here is What People Truly die of during Hurricanes”.

Additional resources to keep you informed:

  1. Wikipedia (has almost everything)
  2. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/cyclone.html
  3. https://www.skepticalscience.com/hurricanes-global-warming.htm

Have you ever experienced a hurricane, a tropical cyclone, a tropical depression or a typhoon? Please let us know in the comments below!





4 Trendy and Out of Town Restaurants in Dominica Where You Should Definitely Eat This Summer!

“Eating is a necessity, but cooking is an art”. 

When it comes to food tasting and exhilarating culinary experiences, the Nature isle, Dominica, never disappoints! If you’re reading this blog post today and you’ve ever been to Dominica, then you and I can agree that some of the best flavors in the Caribbean are in Waitukubuli land. And it’s not even independence season yet.( (Don’t let me get started on Independence delicacies).

So here are 4 absolutely awesome restaurants that you should try out before the summer ends…

Keepin’ It Real, Toucari Beach Restaurant (Toucari, Dominica)

Food 1 - Toucari

Lobster Delight. This could totally be yours.                                                                Photo credits: Zaimis Olmos Visual Arts 

Anyone who is currently on the Nature Isle knows that Toucari Beach “is” the place to be this summer. Whether it’s for a casual Sunday afternoon with family at the beach or a public holiday vibes, it’s always a good time to go to Toucari (unless it’s raining). And while there, you owe it to yourself (and your tastebuds) to try their tasty lobster. In fact, the only acceptable reason you have for not having eaten at “Keepin’it Real” in Toucari, is, not being on the Nature Isle, Dominica. So just go there already. Summer is almost over. Don’t be the only one who didn’t have the Toucari Experience!

CocoYea! (Soufriere, Dominica)

Food 2 - Cocoyeah

Cocoyea! Bar and Grill, Menu Display

On the southwest coast of the island, you have the beautiful village of Soufriere. Whether you’re going to Soufriere to have the “best snorkeling experience of your life”, to indulge in the legendary Soufriere Sulphur Springs or simply to visit friends, make it your duty (like, literally) to stop at CocoYeah restaurant there. They offer a delectable array of food options that would make you just want to stay. And you might never look at food the same way again. Ever.

Greenhouse Sports Bar and Grill (Mero, Dominica)

Quite a popular spot for a Friday (or Saturday) night out, the Greenhouse Sports Bar is located in Mero, a pretty convenient area since there is a beach nearby (I told you the Nature Isle never disappoints). This spot is pretty easy to spot, especially at night. It’s almost always crowded whenever I go there, and that says something. I usually go with the fish options, but you can pick pretty much anything on the menu. And the cocktails are pretty awesome too.

Food 3 - Mero

Not just the food and drinks, it’s the great company too. Photo credits: Magnificent Marie (the gorgeous-looking lady in all the pics)

Le Flambeau Restaurant (Portsmouth, Dominica)

Food 4 - Le Flambeau

Lion Fish Meal at Le Flambeau Restaurant.                                                       Photocredits: Zaimis Olmos Visual Arts

Le Flambeau restaurant is located in Picard Estate, Portsmouth. It’s a great option for breakfast, lunch and dinner when visiting Portsmouth during the week, on special occasions on the weekend, and if you’re staying at the Portsmouth beach hotel. They have a great assortment of local flavors for lunch and dinner, but for breakfast, make sure you try their Island Pancakes!

Have you tried any of these restaurants before? Are you currently on the Nature Isle, Dominica? Is there any restaurant that you we must absolutely try out this summer? Drop it in a comment below!

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“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.”
― Erma Bombeck

Review of the Dominica Jazz n Creole 2017

The last edition of Jazz and Creole Dominica that I attended prior to this one was Jazz and Creole Dominica 2015, and needless to say, just like everyone, I was very eager and enthusiastic about Jazz and Creole 2017.

The success of an event is multifaceted: several factors come in play when it comes to reviewing an event, just like several things play a role, (consciously and unconsciously) into making a person like or dislike an event.

With that said, here are the 10 key features that I felt were striking about the Dominica Jazz n Creole 2017!😎

1.The Punctuality

I have a lot of regards for an event that starts on time. While people tend to believe that punctuality rules differ in the world of entertainment, it is not the case. For Dominica Jazz n Creole 2017, it was even more important because the majority of people had to travel a relatively long distance to get there. I was impressed by the fact that Jazz and Creole Dominica 2017 started exactly on time. The National Anthem was sung at 2:00 PM (and I know this because though I wasn’t in the park at that time, the hosts were live on Facebook!)

2. The Transportation Logistics

The Cabrits National Park (Dominica Jazz n Creole 2017 venue) is a very “easy to access” area for a few vehicles, but when you have hundreds of vehicles coming from all the corners of the island at the same time, it can become quite convoluted. Luckily, shuttle services were provided to facilitate transportation close to the venue. However, it would have been even more effective to emphasize stricter rules to prevent congestion by other vehicles closer to the venue.

3. The Price

The adult price was XCD 75 (USD 25 – 30) which I believe is pretty decent for such an event. The fact that there was a children price (XSD 25, USD 8- 10) was also pretty awesome, and contributed to making the event more family friendly.


4. The Venue

The Cabrits National Park (Portsmouth) is a pretty great venue for such an event. Open space, large enough, and can accommodate a pretty huge crowd. And even when you’re not very close to the main stage (like I was at some point), you can still see the performers.

5. The Selection of Performances

I think the line up at Jazz and Creole was tastefully chosen. Each performing band and artist had something unique, different and interesting to offer. The selection was diversified, which made it enticing. Artists included Ti Orkest, NCCU Cadence Lypso Champions for two consecutive years, who presented a dynamic melee of their own compositions coupled with Dominica’s favorite creole songs; Breve, premiere jazz creole band on the Nature Isle who are continuously rising to local and international fame with singles like “Way O” and “Welcome to my Island”; the Vocal Song, original group from Venezuela known for singing a cappella while mimicking the sound of every instrument;    Michele Henderson, Dominica’s prodigy, vocalist, flautist, author and composer of the CARICOM regional anthem “Celebrating CARICOM”, and whose immeasurable talent just keeps blowing my mind every time. Literally, every time; and finally, legendary british Jazz saxophonist, Courtney Pine.

For any budding artist, aspiring musician or instrument player, I think this was the perfect set up to see the magnitude of full blown (and ever-growing) talent.


6. The Choice of Masters of Ceremonies (MCs)

Nothing can downplay the value of a good, knowledgeable, dynamic and… stylish MC. And when you’ve been to events where MCs don’t always meet these criteria, the event just doesn’t flow the same and you tend to be very distracted unconsciously by  trivial things such as what the MCs are wearing, what they are saying, or literally anything that they do wrong.


7. The Flow of the Event 

A good event should not have too many gaps in between acts and performances, and I think at Dominica Jazz n Creole 2017, his was well covered. If the audience is left to wait too long, then they become impatient. But if there is not enough time in between performances, then people don’t have time to grab a bite or patronize the bar. And we want to grab a bite and patronize the bar.

8. The Food Choices that Fostered the Promotion of Small Businesses

I was particularly impressed by the fact that there were specific food stands highlighting specific local business, such as the Douglas Caterings and Desserts (hoping I got the name correct). Such events are a great opportunity for advertising local delicacies, of which Dominica abounds.

9. Of Course, the Bar(s)

There were a wide variety of drinks options at the Dominica Jazz n Creole 2017, and I think that on top of the fact that it helped to promote individual brands, it also helped to reduce unnecessary long queues at the bar. I personally chose to patronize “Angostura”. 😎



10. Up to You!

What else did you like about the Dominica Jazz n Creole 2017? Let me know in your comments below!😎


For a festival that has been running for 8 years now, I think this edition was pretty awesome. The quality, content and logistics of the event keep improving, and for this, kudos to the organizers. While waiting for the next edition, there is still so much in store, because the island never sleeps! Get ready for the 20th Annual World Creole Music Festival now! October isn’t so far away… These are going to be 3 nights of pulsating rhythms that you simply won’t want to miss!

PS: Photocredits: Zaimis Olmos Visual Arts (for the vast majority).

5 Awesome Events That Happen in Dominica in May!

It felt so good to be back on the island for this amazing month of May! From having lived here for a few years now, I can safely say that Dominica’s social calendar is always packed, and there is always something to do!

And if you were here in May, you’ll probably attest of the fact that these were certainly some of the 5 most awesome events that happened on the Nature Isle!

1. “Beats & Bites” Choral Cocktail, by the Sixth Form Sisserou Singers

The Sixth Form Sisserou Singers (commonly known as “SFSS” or “Sisserou Singers”) is a leading choral on the island, that aims at promoting personal and artistic development through music, while ensuring the maintenance of traditional music and folklore. The choir has been in existence for more than 20 years now, and annually hosts a production. This year, the concert was geared towards a specific purpose, and parts of the profits were donated to support the Lupus Foundation of Dominica.


Photo credits: Zaimis Olmos Visual Arts


And yes I was there… I performed:)


Photo credits: Zaimis Olmos Visual Arts

2. The Bagatelle Pork Festival 

A full weekend of groovy music, friendly ambiance and culinary delights of pork cooked in all possible and “thinkable” ways, the Bagatelle Pork Festival was a “must-attend”. Hosted in the vibrant community of Bagatelle, it featured popular local bands and artists.  The festival took place from Friday, May 26th to Sunday, May 28th. And yes: people danced all night away.


3. International Fiesta 

Dominica has embraced multiple nationalities and cultures, and in honor of this, the Cultural Division presented an International Fiesta on May 27th, with a rich culinary experience as a celebration of Dominica’s cultural diversity, with drinks tasting, an art exhibition and a fashion show. The International Fiesta was a part of the DOMFESTA (Dominica Festival of the Arts) yearly event.


4. Africa Week

Africa week was observed from May 19h – 25th and forms part of the observance of the 54th anniversary of the signing of the African Liberation Day Charter. The event, which is an annual occurrence, was organized by the House of Nyahbinghi in collaboration with Government of Dominica, the National Youth Council of Dominica, the Cultural Division, All Saints University- African Students Council and other partners. The purpose of this annual event is to reconnect with one’s African roots, and the week is made of several events such as fashion shows, information symposia and an Africa Day Rally. Africa week was also observed as part of the DOMFESTA (Dominica Festival of the Arts) yearly event.


5. The French Quarter Street Jazz Festival 

While the city is waiting with enthusiasm for the coming of the Jazz and Creole festival set to take place this Sunday, several fringe events have been taking place in preparation and with anticipation for the “big day”.



Tonight, the French Quarter Street Jazz Festival  was hosted at the Urban Garden Cafe, one of Roseau’s top night life spots. The event featured local bands (such as the 8th Note and the Smith Brothers), alongside with young musicians from the Nature Isle.


With the Smith Brothers

Whether you were in (or rather, out) just to chill with friends or simply to have a drink after work, the Urban Garden Cafe was the place to be tonight! And we can all agree, there’s no such thing as “too much jazz”!

And you, which events did you think were the most awesome for the month of May? And which events did you attend? Let me know in the comments below!



Hot Spot, Night Spot: Fort Young Hotel, Dominica

Have you ever looked forward to Friday so much that everyday starts looking like Friday?


I’ve been looking forward to Friday for last week’s Friday, and even though it’s not Friday yet, this is a Friday mood kind of post… And a good opportunity for me to share one of my favorite spots on the entire island with you! 🤗

Sometimes you feel like going out for a casual drink, nothing more, just to chill. And tonight felt like… just that. I had something to celebrate, a personal achievement. All of us did. And there was no better way to do this than at Fort Young Hotel. Located at the heart of the city center, you literally can’t miss it. If you’re visiting, this is a “must stop”.

For us, it was simply drinks among friends to celebrate a great achievement, but for you, it might be something more!

If you’re looking for day-time delights, I have tried the Fort Young Hotel daily brunch and it is pretty off the hook! Caribbean cuisine to make your “palate” drop and your cup overflow. The daytime views are unique and beautiful, and the drinks at night are pretty cool too🍹The hotel is friendly and affordable for both tourists and locals, so if you can, spend a night or two!

Now, is it Friday yet? Because if it is, drinks on me! 😉

Many the Islands, only one Nature Isle: Dominica 

Living in Dominica has taught me an important lesson: it’s the little things that count, and those little things are what create magic.

There is magic in everything, if only you dare to see it. ❤️

It could be as trivial as revitalizing raindrops on your face on a seemingly unbearable hot day, the refreshing feeling of cookies&cream ice cream during a road trip, or simply, the pleasure of being at the right place at the right time, and enjoying one of Nature’s most beautiful sceneries, with the best of company.

For us, this afternoon, it was just that… And for such magical moments, I am grateful for being in Dominica. 🌴☀️

Many the islands of the Caribbean, but only one Nature Isle.❤

So live the magic wherever you are.

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow”. Anita Desai


This type of weather is going to need some “getting used to”…

Clem’s Fun Moments!

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