PRESS RELEASE                                               Olivia Williams Upcoming Events 

                                                                                                                                                     20 Extraordinary Days in Dominica

Featured Interview on Dominican Diaspora

DD: Hi Olivia! It`s an absolute pleasure to interview you today for `This Week`s Feature` on DD.

Tell us a bit about yourself. In a nutshell, who is Olivia Williams?

I am actually still trying to figure out who is Olivia Williams. But I do have a few adjectives that can describe my personality.  Olivia Williams is a purpose driven women who puts passion behind all of her endeavours. She does not settle for mediocrity, but is curious about exploring this world and seeking adventure while indulging in the simple pleasures of life. She is a naturalist and is dedicated to living a life that is sustainable in balance with nature. She is a problem solver who is not apathic to community concerns when it is in her power to help. She lives her life with her heart and is happy and content with the bare essentials of life.


DD: What is your link with Dominica? How did you find yourself on this `Poetic Island`.

First off, I have no Caribbean roots. I participated in a Summer Study Abroad in the Caribbean without a clue of where I really was going. Of the four islands visited, Dominica resonated with me the most. So much so that I enlisted in the Peace Corps with the hope that I could revisit this mystical island. I did and the rest as they say is history.


DD: How long did you stay in Dominica? How did that experience impact your life on a whole?

I live in Dominica for 1 year and I returned and live there for 4 months. The experiences influence me to pursue a degree in Urban & Regional Planning with a focus on Tourism and Economic Development. I wanted to return to the eastern Caribbean to help contribute to sustainable tourism development especially in the smaller island nations. In harmony with this first desire, I ultimately wanted to contribute something of value to Dominica. My experience in Dominica altered by previous goals and got me involved in an industry I never saw myself pursuing previously.


DD: Let`s talk about your book `Poetic Island`. How did this book come about and what is the objective of the publication?

This book is a product of my personal experiences in Dominica that were recorded in my personal journal. After sharing my stories with friends and relatives, I got the ideal that other people would enjoy hearing these stories. I wanted to contribute something of value and help increase tourists awareness of the Nature Isle. My object is to help build eco-tourism in Dominica by highlighting experiences that can only be experience in Extraordinary Dominica.

 

DD: You started a discussion here on DD `Favourite thing about Dominica` (http://www.dominican-diaspora.com/forum/topics/favorite-thing-about-dominica). The first thing that came to my mind was the word `Freedom`. I was most pleasantly surprised to note that the word `Freedom` appears in your Dedication and in almost each piece in your book. What does the word `freedom` signify to you and how was that manifested in your Dominican experience?

Freedom…humm….When I think about the word freedom, it means that I am able to be my true self without the constraints of society. I am emerged into the natural element of life where power, peace, and love resonate abundantly. I am free of the distraction of men that sometime rob us of our freedom. The first time I jumped into a cold river in Dominica, a part of me that was asleep awakened. I awaken to embracing this simple pleasure of life. It was a pleasure that I had never experience in the United States. While on island, I was able to go to my private sanctuary and have conversations with God and He allowed me to get a sample of what true freedom means. It’s a spiritual high that comes from nature, and since most of mankind is exposed to the vile things of this man made system we rarely experience this type of freedom.


DD: Page 23-24 (paragraphs 2-3) of `Poetic Island`:

``I can`t help but give the Almighty praise. I remember dreaming about seeing and feeling the Almighty; wanting to hug him, to feel the tenderness that flows from His loving heart--he original source of  love. But then I discern that He is always protecting and surrounding me. When the water touches my skin, it is He. When the wind flows through the trees and gently caresses me, it is He.

Evidence of His power and Godship are seen throughout the overflow of creation in this land. Continue to heal me. Fresh water beat against my body; allow some of your power to revitalize me. Every day I shall come to this place in my mind to absorb its healthy surroundings. This, coupled with the Word of Love empowers me to work and love. Everything is pure, no chemicals or preservatives, as I take a sip of the best water on earth. No filters, only my hands and the water that is gently healing me both mentally and physically.``


Reading your words it appears to me that your experience in Dominica has strengthened your connection with the Creator. Am I correct?

You are correct. The natural environment of Dominica helped to awaken me spiritually and motivated me to explore the Bible more. I wanted to understand and get to know the person who created all of these wonderful pleasures and sights for man.

 

DD: Could you please share one of your poems from POETIC ISLAND and explain the reason for your choice?

While that is hard, but for this week it will be “Natural Flow”. I chose this one because; I believe that Dominica offers the ideal environment for one to observe the natural flow of life.

Here is a sample:

Splash, hum, trickle a little

Birds chirping their chatter

Power of water rapidly moving down the high position gracefully above the sea

Melodies, Melodies

Rhythms, Rhythms

Songs created constantly and nature is the symphony

Sunlight bringing color to the audacious curves of matter that sit along the rivers of life, a picturesque natural landscape

Thousands of years of pounding the stones that tells the world we play a part in sculpting the varies swimming pools that produce the White River

Large deposits of sulphur sprinkled everywhere, perfectly

This liquid delight rubs against your skin to therapeutically cleanse your body

The wind blows, but is left unnoticed by man

Ecosystems in full agreement that everyone has assumed their roles

Now begins the natural flow

DD: Hmmm,  I saw you recite this one at an event in Dominica and I was left spellbound

DD: How do you compare your other travel experiences with your Dominican experience?

In Dominica, everything feels more intimate, more personal, and more real. It is a unique place, in the sense that it has been overlooked by the commercial hospitality industry. It has maintained a balance in terms of ecology and development. It creates it own terms for development, and offers an alternative perspective on how tourists can experience a place. It is more adventurous in comparison to all my travels. If someone comes to Dominica, and is truly opened and has an adventurous spirit at heart they will find themselves organically emerging with the nature and the people. They will have more stories to share with their friends and they will always be able to make and have friends in Dominica.


DD: If you were to spend the entire day tomorrow in Dominica, where would you go, what would you do?

First, I would go to the eastern coast and take the trail to Victoria Falls near the Village of Delices. The pure environment in which this fall dwells helps me t o imagine the Garden of Eden experience by our first parents. I like to take my time and observe all the tall trees and the variety of birds talking their chatter. Afterwards, I would stop at the Ras Restaurant owned by Moses . I would have a veggie meal out of a coconut shell and sip on some coconut water. Next, I would journey to Wotten Waven and enjoy a private hot water bath at Tia’s Bamboo Cottages. In the evening, I’d find me a woman cooking some grill chicken on the side of the road and enjoy a piece or two of that chicken. On returning home, I would take me some bush tea (lemon grass) and turn all the lights of in my house and look in amazement at the sky of stars.


DD: If there was one thing about Dominica that you could change, even by the wave of a magic wand, what would that be?

I would not change one thing about the natural environment. I would bless it with leadership that values the sacredness of nature and who are knowledgeable of its ecology and endowed with a humble attitude.


DD: When you’re not talking about `POETIC ISLAND` or daydreaming about Dominica, what do you do?

I am teaching and coaching.I run a company called Kampus Insights on e-learning training program that coaches college students to peak performance in the campus environment. I am working on expanding my marketing efforts to Caribbean universities.


DD: Can you tell us a bit about your plans for the future in connection with Dominica?

First goal is to draw more travel media to Dominica. I want to help current hotel ownership to draw more tourists to their establishments. Second, I want to custom build me a cottage in Cochrane and am inspired to write more books about my beloved Dominica.


DD: How can we the other DD members be of support to you in your endeavours?

First, go purchased the book at PoeticIsland.com and sign up for my monthly newsletter. Next, tell your friends about Poetic Island.  Third, I do plan on visiting a few cities in the United States to promote the book, if you are interested in helping out at an event please e-mail me at Olivia@poeticisland.com.  Also if you have any suggestions or comments about the book, I want to know. I will have a comments page coming soon to my website.

 

DD: Olivia, thanks so much for sharing with us. Your radiance and genuine love for Dominica radiates from this book `Poetic Island`. I wish you all the best for the future on and out of `Poetic Island`.

 

Listen to an audio sample of the book here: http://www.poeticisland.com/extraodinarydominica.mp3


Interview conducted by Natasha Henderson for `This Week`s Feature on DD`.

    

DOMINICANS IN DIASPORA REFLECT ON BOOK "POETIC ISLAND" 

ATLANTA, GA- It was a cold rainy night on March 26, 2011, but that did not stop a group of Dominicans from gathering together to celebrate the cultural significance of Dominica. The evening began with a short film produced by Sheldon Casimir entitled a “Day in Dominica,” a film that was a part of the 10.10.10 One Day on Earth initiative. Participants were put in awe as wall size images of trails, waterfalls, and villages helped to reacquaint the audience to the beauty of their home country.

The intimate gathering was the perfect setting for a truly cultural event. After everyone was engaged in the highlights of the short film, President J.B. John of Dominica’s Atlanta Cultural Association (DACA) provided the occasion of the night and a warm welcome to everyone in attendance. Also in attendance was Alex Bruno, who was able to contribute to the program by introducing Olivia Williams, the guest presenter and author of Poetic Island. A brief history of drums and their significance to Dominica’s culture was given with a drumming precession followed by Bruno’s history lesson.

Yet, the best was yet to come. Ms. Williams greets her audience with a warm smile and opens with the reading “Dominica’s River”. She being fully animated throughout her readings left the crowd smiling and laughing as she relates her extraordinary experiences in Dominica.

“When she spoke I heard music, the readings were emotional and her passion runs deep for Dominica. I am very proud of the country”, says Alex Bruno.

Simpson Pacquette stated, “It was quite informative. Her words made me want to get reconnected with my roots in Dominica. I feel like I am missing a lot.”
DACA Executive board member Paula Isaac-John says with a strong smile,” The occasion was culturalistic! It really feels good to have a non-Dominican speak such delightful words about our culture. 
An extensive discussion about Dominica’s ecotourism product followed the vivid readings of Ms. Williams, and lead to heated discussion about the need to document the revolution that lead to independence and other occurrences in Dominica’s history.   The discussion was very lively and full of passion as participants shared their ideals of development for the country.

“I am truly humbled by the positive response I received from everyone, it really felt like I was among family and friends. I intend to reach out to Dominican organizations in New Jersey and Texas and see if this event can be replicated”, says Ms. Williams.

President J.B. John stated, “The literary flavor and the drumming performances by the DACA members made this a memorable experience. Many of us were in a melancholic mood longing for the Dominica we once knew. The event strengthened our interest and pride in our homeland Dominica. This event underscores the small but significant role organizations in the Diaspora can play in the promotion of Dominica and its unique Ecotourism product.”
The night ended with a feast of exceptional Dominican cuisine including goat water, bakes, and chicken plus entertainment by Optimisque Entertainment.

The next scheduled cultural event will take place in Atlanta on May 7, 2011 with Alex Bruno’s play “Man Does Lie”. It will be another opportunity to promote Dominica to the Atlanta area.

Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR-TvDtS7Io for video footage of the event.

 

D.A.C.A. ORGANIZES TRIBUTE TO THE NATURE ISLE

Atlanta, GA- March is the official Carnival month of Dominica, and the Dominica Atlanta Cultural Association is geared to bring the spirit of Dominica to the residents of the Greater Atlanta Area.

On March 26, 2011 at the Guyana Association of Georgia Building, a tribute to the Nature Isle will be organized for Caribbean and non-Caribbean people to enjoy an intimate discussion on the cultural significance of the island.

The event will include a film viewing of the highlights of Carnival and what it means for Dominicans, a special reading of the book Poetic Island: Refreshing Expressions from Waitikubli by American author Olivia Williams, and conclude with performances from the MAS Band Island Fusion, also scheduled to perform at the May 2011 Atlanta Carnival.

One key goal of Island Fusion is to help promote the cultural awareness of Caribbean culture and bridge the gap between the Caribbean and non-Caribbean cultures of the Atlanta community.

Lead organizer J.B. John wants all those in attendance to be enlightened, educated, and entertained with a view to the special gems found in Dominica and of the contributions of Dominicans. “It is during the Carnival season that many traditional and cultural activities take place on the island of Dominica, and the Dominica Atlanta Cultural Association thought it would be fitting to co-sponsor this event as an extension of the festivities occurring this month,” Baptiste states.

An added feature of the evening is the special reading of the newly released book about Dominica entitled: Poetic Island. Author Olivia Williams reveals her unique adventures experienced on island in an effort to create eco-tourism awareness on how eco-vacations are the new way to getaway. This will truly be a memorable event especially for those looking for a positive and lively occasion to be inspired and engaged in the culture of the Caribbean.

This event is brought to you by the Dominica Atlanta Cultural Association, Optimistique Entertainment, and Poetic Island. This is a free event so please bring all of your friends and family.

WRITER'S SOIREE ON NEW BOOK "POETIC ISLAND" 

On Wednesday, March 16 in the cool of the evening, a small group of Dominicans and visitors gathered to hear and discuss the newly released book entitled Poetic Island: Refreshing Expressions from Waitukubuli .

The ambiance of the evening was set as the open air roof top of the Garraway Hotel placed participants in the mist of the setting sun with mystic mountain tops as the backdrop to this very “Poetic” environment.

The purpose of the occasion was to gather a small group of people from within the writing community to further expound upon the impact of the book Poetic Island. It included a question and answer session of the author Olivia Williams. Participants also contributed their ideals about the Dominican tourism product and how Poetic Island serves as an avenue to invite visitors to re-experience life through the extraordinary activities that can only be experience in Dominica.

Martha Cuffy stated: “More travelers are seeking places where they can have an authentic experience where they are not just reading about a place or what someone else experience, but are seeking to replicate those experiences.”

During Ms. Williams stay on island, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer; one of her past mentees Maya Beau Pierre said: “Olivia was very active in exposing young people to new ideals. She was very motivational and even helped us produce a newsletter. She really made a huge impact on our lives.”

As Ms. Williams shares her stories about Dominica, you can feel her warmth and sincere desire to help create more awareness about Dominica’s ecotourism product. She candidly and with strong confidence discussed her ideals to build more awareness about Dominica.

One participant asked, “Of all the islands, why did you pick Dominica for this work?” She, with a big smile, replied: “Dominica picked me”.

Everyone’s face glowed with appreciation of their Dominica and the refreshing expressions from Olivia Williams.

Talk show host Angelo Allen stated: “It was a truly inspirational and uplifting event and I would encourage all Dominicans to get their copy of Poetic Island.”

A TRUE TRIBUTE TO WAITUKUBLI

Henry ShillingfordRoseau, Dominica- On Tuesday, January 4, 2011 members of the Dominican community gathered in the conference room of the Garraway Hotel to witness the released of the book Poetic Island. With an exceptional master of ceremonies, Bonti Liverpool, the mood of the evening was set just right for inspiration and enjoyment.  The program began with an original song produced and performed from local artist Dr. Silk which followed by a stand alone poem from Monelle Alexis. 

 

Henry Shillingford, a well known lawyer and community activist, introduced Olivia Williams to all the attending guests. His energy and animated character paralleled perfectly with the readings delivered by Ms. Williams. “She came to Dominica and the power of Dominica captivated her to keep coming back and to contribute something of cultural importance to our society”, says Mr. Shillingford. He says, “Many people neglect the power Dominica possesses that causes people to leave their homeland and makAuthor Olivia Williamse Dominica their home”.

 

Ms. Williams showed grace and elegance in her readings of her short stories and poems. She truly has a strong passion for telling the ordinary stories of the extraordinary experiences she has had in Dominica. She made the words of her book come to life and each person in attendance felt the geniueness of her words. “Soon they will come to know of your birth, of your worth”, says Ms. Williams.  Olivia Williams wants to help others discover Dominica and all the delights it offers people searching for simplicity and temporary freedom.

 

In closing, Garraway Enterprises and Belfast were acknowledged for their financial support of the book. Marketing Director Mrs. Durand-Ducreay of Belfast Estates helped to encourage the audience to wrote and tell their own stories. ‘It is important that we tell our children our stories so that our family traditions may continue”, says Ms. Durand Ducreay. One guest commented, “The book is a positive for Dominica, and I hope more tourists will come as a result of it”. The program ended with books being signed by Olivia Williams.  The illustrator of the book is Petros Meaza. .

        


KICK OFF THE NEW YEAR WITH AN EVENING ON POETIC ISLAND

To commemorate the beginning of a New Year and new era in adventure travel to Dominica, the new book Poetic Island celebrates the pure essences of the Nature Island of the Caribbean with a special book debut event in Roseau, Dominica. As the sun sets on the evening of Tuesday, January 4, 2011, join the Writers Guild of Dominica and American author Olivia Williams as they take this special occasion to reflect on the quintessential elements of Waitukubli from the rooftop terrace of the Garraway Hotel. 

Local businesses owners, media members, and avid nature lovers are encouraged to participate in an evening of inspiration, meditation, and refreshment. As the pressures of living often prevent us from seeing the many blessings that Dominica offers, this launching event aims to celebrate the sacredness of this natural environment, the simple pleasures available for all to enjoy, and the responsibility of the dwellers to protect this great land of rivers and mountains.

Poetic Island: Refreshing Expressions from Waitukubli is a collection of short stories from Ms. Williams’s stay in Dominica and serves as a tribute to Dominica for helping her to live naturally and freely. Visitors and Dominicans are invited to come be apart of an intimate and genuine dialogue on why Dominica is Loved. The Ceremony will be a memorable occasion for all those in attendance, says Olivia Williams.. 

 OLIVIA WILLIAMS POURS OUT HER LOVE FOR DOMINICA THROUGH NEW BOOK 

Poetic_Island_Dominicabook

It was love at first sight for Olivia Williams, when she –on a university study abroad from the US- visited the Eastern Caribbean. “I dreamed of returning one day after my studies,” she says.

In March of 2003, she was inducted as a Peace Corps Volunteer to the Caribbean island of Dominica, where she facilitated leadership and community development and capacity building trainings in the village of Delices.  As she lived among the islanders for an entire year, she grew to appreciate the simple gifts that this natural place offered. The Caribbean had dug its teeth deep into this refreshingly  intelligent young African American woman.  In 2008 she returned to the Nature Isle again to Dominica to host a weekly personal development and coaching program called the Hour of Power.

Her experiences are compiled in her second book entitled Poetic Island: Refreshing Expressions From Waitukubilu. This a collection of short stories from her life in the Caribbean Island of Dominica is set to be released on January 4, 2011 in Roseau, Dominica.

Marvin Hokstam , MEDIA OPERATIVE
marvin@hokstam.com

                                        

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