Letter to His Majesty King Willem Alexander

Dear Majesty King Willem Alexander,

I was wondering if you read my letter. You got it on November 15 when you visited Statia.

My name is Makeda, it was written on the front of the letter. My whole class wrote a letter, but I wrote a letter to ask you if you want to adopt a dog from the animal shelter. We have 9 dogs at the shelter. 2 Blondies, one is a girl and one is a boy. The boy is scared and the girl is tough. Brindo is just like a tiger, but then grey. Huskey is very fluffy and has a big cut on the top of his neck. Dolly is white and black like a dalmatian. She has a lot of energy. Molly is very nice and she’s a pitbull. Cinnamon and Ginger are twins and they are very different, but you can’t see it. Sandy is a cute little puppy. She is 0 years old. She just opened her eyes and walked. You can see pictures on my mom’s blog.

Would you please like to adopt a dog and ask Holland if they want to adopt a dog? I wrote my moms phone number in the letter, but she has a new phone number. If you want to contact her, you can reply to the blog.

We wish good luck for the royal family.

Makeda

St. Eustatius

Nose

Hint: She ran homE

homE *writing challenge*

It was the first time in months I walked Rosa. She had had a nasty pitbull-bite in her neck and finally the wound was healed well enough to put her collar back on and take her for a short walk outside. I had to take it really easy on her, because her scarred neck was still very sensitive. So I just followed the dog where ever she wanted to go.

We went uphill. I knew nothing was there, except for the neighbor’s cottage. A trail used to lead you straight up to the volcano, but it was completely overgrown with Acacia these days. But Rosa wants to go uphill, so we go uphill.

The neighbor, whose name was Bür (something Scandinavian, maybe Dutch), was living about 100 meters from my house.  A quiet guy with a bike, always friendly. I noticed he was not at home because the bike wasn’t parked in the usual space. I did notice the broken fence.

It looked as if a small bulldozer had just run over the fence. In the grass were tracks. At first I thought they were tire tracks – of the bulldozer? But coming closer I realized they were not machine made; they looked more like enormous turtle tracks. Should I go inside and check it out? A heavy rumble, like a miniature earth quake, made me go for the garage door. Rosa pulled on her leash and managed to break free. She ran straight back home.

The door to the garage was open. Even before stepping inside I knew what I would find. The disk was glowing and humming. My Mercurian friends were ready to go. I was right in time. Finally going home.

***

This short story was written for the “What if…” writing challenge by Okaywhatif.  The challenge was What if you discovered a space-ship in your neighbor’s garageAny resemblance to actual dogs, neighbors and houses is entirely coincidental. The only part non-fictitious is the space-ship. Don’t believe me? See you in space.

Rock ‘n’ Run (my 3 favorite running songs & 1 to avoid)

At least twice a week I like to “run around the rock“.
Here’s my favorite tracks that keep me going.

#1 (for a feel-good warming up): Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

#2 (for the unstoppable-ness): Don’t stop me now by Queen

#3 (for the last struggle uphill): Ain’t gonna see us fall by Sizzla

And 1 to avoid at all times, although I love Adèle: Chasing pavements by Adèle

“Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements, even though it leads nowhere…”

Rock ‘n’ Run!

Shelter Helper

St. Eustatius Animal Welfare Foundation (SEAWF) is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 2002 to help the dogs and cats on Statia. Twice a day volunteers are feeding the animals at the shelter, walking the dogs, cleaning up the cages, the kennels and the outside run, squeezing ticks and giving the furry guys their daily portion of TLC. It’s not that we love cleaning peed & poo-ed up newspapers. It’s not that we love coming home covered in mud, with dust in our ears and nose. We do it (or at least I do it) for the thankful looks, the wagging tales and sometimes the outrageous love-explosions you get from your friends. Because that’s what they are: friends on four legs.

I remember the days we had one or two dogs at the shelter, sometimes three. That was when we adopted our first dog, Gipsy.

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Over the last year the number was growing and growing. At one point we had 22(!) dogs at the shelter, plus some kittens. It was a madhouse! It was decided that some dogs had to be put to sleep. But on the day the vet came to the island, around 6 dogs were adopted and we could keep the rest. That really was one of the best days in my SEAWF-history! I couldn’t stop dancing.

Another great event was the official opening of the extension that was built behind the existing kennel room. Thanks to donations from Statians, people in Holland and NuStar (the oil terminal) and thanks to the great work by the constructor, we now have 4 pretty big outside kennels with separate sleeping parts. One-bedroom apartments so to say 🙂

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Sometimes we find dogs or cats (often being dumped and left to die!!!) that are too young and vulnerable to stay in the shelter. They need to be bottle-fed and kept nice and warm the whole day. They often end up being temporarily fostered by one of the volunteers. That’s what we did with these guys. We decided to officially adopt them. Yes, it’s a full house at the moment (they have grown about 10 times their size), but pure happiness!

Onai, Rosa & Nelson

Once every two weeks the vet from St. Maarten, Dr. Garry Swanston, comes over to help the Statia pets.

The animal shelter is located behind the LVV office in Concordia and their phone number is 318 4150. They also have a Facebook page.

If you move over to Friends with Paws you’ll find an overview of all the dogs that live in the animal shelter at the moment. They are all available for adoption. I’ll update it regularly with stories about my friends. Please check it out. If you are looking for a friend, or if you know someone who is interested, please let me know or just pass by the animal shelter any day around 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. Some dirty, sweaty but happy person should be there.

The Blue Bead & another story of slavery

This is “my” blue bead.

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In the 17th century the Dutch used these pentagonal shaped blue beads for trading. The beads were made in Amsterdam, out of glass. In St. Eustatius they were given to slaves as “wages”. {Sometimes I am so terribly ashamed of being Dutch!!}

picture from the Secar website

After emancipation, the legend says the ex-slaves gathered at the cliffs and threw their beads in the sea to celebrate freedom. Up till today blue beads can be found in the sea or on land. Mostly they are found on a dive spot called “the Blue Bead Hole” after a storm when the sand has been stirred up. It’s likely a ship loaded with blue beads sank there (or maybe all the blue beads thrown in the ocean by the freed slaves somehow ended up at the exact same spot, hm hm…).

Occasionally the beads can be found on the beach or somewhere in the mud on the roadside.

There are many fake blue beads around, which you can buy for a few dollars at gift shops. The real blue bead though is always pentagonal, sometimes a bit rounded by the sand over the years, and has this typical dark blue colour. There are very few white beads found too, but it’s just a handful of people on the island that ever found a white one. And be assured: a real blue bead will never be for sale for a few dollars. I heard stories of blue beads being sold for US$ 250 or US$ 300. But a real Statian will never sell his blue bead out of respect for the slaves. You can give it away, but not sell it.

I can tell you it’s a funny feeling having a blue bead. It may be “just a bead”, a useless piece of blue glass, but knowing that one day “your” bead once was a slave’s only possession makes it… unique.

The legend says you don’t find blue beads. The blue bead finds you.

And if you’re found, you will always come back to Statia.

I will always come back to Statia.

The first salute was fired…

After 2 weeks of “issues” with WordPress… I’m back!

In the meantime, I mashed up my blog by first deleting some big pictures (thought the problem was there), then deleting some posts (thought the problem was there) and then deleted the whole content (the problem wasn’t there). So here I am starting from scratch.

I decided to change the address and the name of the blog. Instead of showing you “My Planet Earth”, I now write about “Life on the Golden Rock”. Which is basically the same since my own little planet is situated on the Golden Rock.

The Golden Rock is the nickname of St. Eustatius, better known as Statia. If you’re not living on Statia or one of the neighboring islands, if you are Dutch and didn’t pay much attention during history class, you probably have no clue where I am or what Statia is all about 🙂

Let me introduce Statia to you with a little video about the island’s rich history. Enjoy!