Agnes Scott College Martinique 2022
March 6, 2022
The group took off in the morning to a constructed museum of Martinique in relation to indigenous people and slavery on the island. It provoked introspection and questions about the nature of slavery and its impact on the Caribbean islands, especially those occupied by the French. While it is something to read history from textbooks, it is another thing entirely to be faced with the real effects and structures from those times. It surely serves as a haunting reminder of the history of the island and a warning to never allow it to repeat. Having a picnic (with delicious sandwiches), we reflected upon what we learned about Martinique – how is differed from our expectations, but also a sense of home we felt here.
March 7, 2022
Today we woke up kind of early, but it was worth it. When I looked at the itinerary before leaving home, I was really excited about getting to ride a boat, so this morning I was ecstatic waiting for the ferry boat. We all rode on the top part to Fort de France and then Julie gave us a tour. We saw the library made of iron in the 1800s, the old governors house that dates back to colonial times, and got to eat in a covered market. My small group used our free time to find snacks, ask locals for directions and practice our French. At the end of the day, we went to the beach and saw starfish, found sea glass, and laughed and talked. It was an incredible day and I feel like I learned so much and had so much fun at the same time.
March 8, 2022
We went to a university lecture, where we were able to learn about the different stereotypes of women, specifically black and mixed women, and how that affects the current society. A class from L’université des Antilles attended as well. Afterwards the two universities were able to talk about their schools and culture, connecting over similarities and discovering differences. We were also shown around campus by a current student, who talked to us about the different facilities on campus. We followed up on the role of gender in society with a lesson on maré tèt headscarves and their significance, beginning with their origins through their current wear. It was a day that prompted lots of reflections for everyone.
March 8, 2022
Today our group toured the north side of the island of Martinique, and drove up towards the top of Mount Pelee. The drive was beautiful! The entire time I was staring out the window at all the beautiful rainforest’s flora and fauna. We stopped at the Mt. Pelee museum where we learned about how the volcano was formed, the eruptions in 1902, and the scientific studies of the volcano now. We ate a delicious lunch at a small diner on the side of Mt. Pelee, then drove back down to St Pierre, which was the site of the volcano’s destruction in 1902. We got to step in the beautiful grey volcanic sand on the beach of St. Pierre, then drove back down south along the coast. Today was a great day!
March 9, 2022
Getting to see the artisan potter’s work was interesting. He was inspiringly dedicated to his work and I enjoyed trying wheel throwing. When we got lunch, my group was surprised that the fruit at the grocery store was mostly the same as what you can find in America. Even the organization system was about the same. I enjoyed the dance class a lot because dance is one of my hobbies. I would have liked to get deeper into the style and even the history of how bélé dance was developed. I thought there was more cultural education to be had, but the language barrier made it difficult. So much to learn about Martinique!