SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
February 23, 2017
A New Best Friend
30 nm from St. Croix, heading to Samana, DR
Ship’s Heading and Position
0 knots, we are hove to for science!
For now, none
Sunny skies, hot, little cloud coverage
Today as I start my blog post, I think back to our amazing port stop in Dominica. This was not an island I had heard of before I came to SEA Semester, but while on it I fell in love with its mountainous terrain and natural wonders. I was walking with a group of friends, Michaela (Big Mike), Maddy, Lukas, and Will, when a man came up to us and offered us a tour to go see a waterfall. Maybe it's the atmosphere of being in an entirely new place, but on a whim our group accepted the tour of this licensed guide. The car ride up was breathtakingly beautiful as well as breathtakingly fast and curvy, and by the time I got out of the car, I was quite dizzy. I leaned on my friends for balance and the tour guide, noticing my wobbly gait, came over and insisted he help me walk. He was about fifty-five, already a grandfather of eight, and he held my hand and elbow until we reached the waterfall. With the cascading waters and swimming hole behind me, I sat down on a boulder to rest, at which time!
Randolph (our guide) immediately whipped out his phone to show me his wife (a proud Kalinago woman) and his grandchildren, not all that much younger than me. The conversation flowed naturally and we talked about everything from family to ailments and the natural herbs used in Dominica to cure them. After we were finished with the waterfall I had quite regained my feet and told the tour guide so, but he refused to let me walk unassisted. I gave up and let him hold my hand for the whole way back. While walking I mentioned that some of our friends on the boat were a little under the weather, and he stopped the car on the side of the road to dig up both fresh ginger root and lemongrass, which he then chopped up.
Randolph stands out to me because our conversation was not about him making meaningless small talk with the tourists who are coming through his home country. He set out to make deep human connections, to get to know, even for the shortest span of time, the people in his care, even if he may never see them again. He told me as we walked back to the van that not all tour groups are so nice starting out, that some are intimidated by him or rude, but that by the end of his tours the positive energy that he gave them anyway brought out their best sides. I have a feeling that many people walk away from his tours a little bit happier, a little bit wiser, and feeling a little more connected. As I write this now, back on the boat a few days away from Dominica's lushness and Randolph's lessons, I feel blessed to be with those around me, making connections and deepening friendships in the world that is the Corwith Cramer.