Cultures Of The World: Saint Lucia, by Tamra Orr
As is my custom when I plan my travels for the Feast of Tabernacles to foreign countries , I like to get insight about a country by reading about it. Perhaps this ought not to be a surprise given the staggering quantity of books that I manage to devour over the course of my mostly solitary existence, but it is probably unusual. At any rate, my familiarity with Saint Lucia began when I was a child and an uncle of mine traveled there for the Feast of Tabernacles and returned with a t-shirt that had a map of the island on it, and from that point I was at least a little bit familiar of that particular Caribbean nation. While I have traveled in the Caribbean before, most famously to Trinidad and Tobago shortly after a coup , I have never been to Saint Lucia and so assuming that my folks and I are among the first 50 to sign up, that is where we aim to travel. This book gives a good introduction to the nation and to its history and certainly presents some aspects worthy of prayer and reflection that I will have to take into consideration in my planning.
The contents of this book are pretty straightforward and this book is not written at a very challenging level from a writing perspective. In fact, it reads like the sort of book a leftist writer would write for internationally minded young people. The size of the book, at about 140 pages, and the fact that this book has a lot of photos, suggests it is not written at a high level, and the clear leftist angle of the writing suggests it was written in part at least to brainwash young people. After a short introduction the author discusses the geography, history, government, economy, environment, local culture, lifestyle, religon, language, arts, leisure, festivals, and food of the island nation before ending with some maps, notes about the economy and culture, time line, glossary, and bibliography for future reading. There is plenty of interest to find, from high unemployment within Saint Lucia to its (perhaps unsurprising) domination by what appear to be two left-center to left-wing parties, never a good ticket to economic success even with Saint Lucia’s tourist appeal. The author goes on about pollution and questions of development and concerns over wages and standard of living, but never seems to connect the island’s backwards politics, which developed in part from an unstable colonial history, to the island’s present struggles to overcome statism.
Overall, this book is a mixed bag. To be sure, the author is extremely biased in her perspective of Saint Lucia, but someone reading this book would at least be equipped to be a thoughtful tourist. Saint Lucia’s love of celebrations and its warmth and literary culture are worth appreciating. The fact that the island has a strong Seventh-Day Adventist presence was also something noteworthy that I found striking, and suggests why the island is so congenial to Sabbitarians such as my brethren and I. The book had a lot of pretty pictures of poor but colorful housing, gorgeous natural scenery, and energetic and mostly black island children. One wonders if the people of the island will develop the sort of entrepreneurial spirit that would allow them to overcome a tendency of relying on government for support, and allow them to creatively deal with issues of resource shortage, banana monoculture, drug culture, and ways of dealing with garbage in more creative ways than at present. One would hate to see such a pleasant island go to waste because its moral and political culture was at such a pitiful level.
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