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Agnes Scott College Martinique 2023

March 7, 2023

The first day of the trip we visited the museum of sugar cane where we learned about some of the history of slavery and sugarcane on the island as well as important historical events that made the island what it is today. We also learned about some of the political issues on the island and how issues in mainland France translate in Martinique. After the sugar cane museum we had a picnic with a beautiful view of the ocean and the mountains. We then headed to the plantation Clement to learn about rum and the history of the plantation before heading back to the hotel.
Written by Camille H.

March 8, 2023

We started the day by visiting and sugar cane plantation museum that had the machines used to process sugar cane, dioramas of plantations, records and information on enslaved people, and reconstructions of what the homes of enslaved people would have looked like. After this, we had a picnic lunch in the forest, and cleaned up the surrounding area to leave it cleaner than we found it. Finally, we visited a former plantation that was the first plantation bought and owned by a black Martinican. The plantation originally focused on sugar but shifted production to rum, and we visited the distilleries and walked the grounds. 
Written by Madison J.
March 9, 2023
We started the day by visiting a local master potter near the hotel. We watched his pottery throwing demonstrations and got to participate and learn from him ourselves. Then, we got a delicious pastry lunch and got to relax a bit out of the heat. After this we walked through the surrounding locally owned shops and got to have fun conversations in French! Finally, we visited several locations, including a memorial for the lost lives of enslaved people in a shipwreck and a beautiful rock formation in the ocean, and got to take pictures and learn more about the history of Martinique. 
Written by Madison J.
March 9, 2023 (continued)
Aujourd’hui we headed to the artisan pottery village! We watched a master potter create a few pieces and Madison, Cory, and Daija got to try it out. Monsieur Audel had so many beautiful and delicate pieces for sale. We then had a pleasant lunch at O’Coup de Cœur. I had a salmon sandwich and a raspberry tart 🙂 After that we split into groups to wander around the village and visit many of the artisan shops. Many of them had handcrafted art and jewelry, or beautiful clothes! I think we all really appreciated the opportunity to support some local business owners rather than making the 1% richer. After that, we piled back onto the bus and took a drive through the mountains. We stopped at a few spots for photos; the most significant stop was the place where a shipwreck memorial was. It was heartbreaking to learn about how so many enslaved people had perished, and the ones that did survive were abandoned by the French who wanted to cover up the situation. It was a very varied and educational day.
March 10, 2023
Today started with a visit to La Savanne des Esclaves, a park created to show the lives of enslaved peoples in Martinique more intimately. It was full of significant plants, like sugarcane, cotton, coffee, and tobacco. It was really interesting to see the plants that had such an effect on so many people’s lives up close (and they also were lovely decoration alongside the walking paths). I enjoyed seeing the medicinal garden too and learning about the plants that Martinicans still use today to treat common ailments! We also got to walk through and look inside the houses created by enslaved people and even a traditional pre-Colombian village. Sometimes, reading about old civilizations in a textbook can feel very disconnected- but walking through the homes of those people made me realize how similar we really are.
We then got on a boat to the capital, Fort-de-France! All of us were really excited to go since the strike had prevented us from going earlier in the week. We split off into groups first to find some lunch in the city. Linsey, Daija, Madison, and I got crepes and had a wonderful conversation with the elderly couple running the shop. Even though it was difficult with the language barrier, they were really nice to us and made an effort to ask us about ourselves and our lives. And we got some delicious crepes out of it too!! Mrs. Julie then took us on a walking tour, showing us significant places in the city. We saw the remains of colonial statues that had been toppled by Martinicans just a few years ago. We also saw the beautiful public library, la Bibliothèque Schoelscher. After walking around some more and visiting the spice market, we split up into groups again to walk around and shop. This was the most fun part of today because Fort-de-France is full of wonders to explore, but small enough to feel very safe wandering around. I was with Kai, Camille, Daisha, Madison, and Jardyn. We took a leisurely boat ride back and returned to the hotel. Overall, it was a very relaxing and fun day!

March 11, 2023

Today we drove through the rainforest, hiked Mt. Pelée, and visited the ruins of St. Pierre. During the drive through the rainforest, we stopped by a river to take in the beautiful scenery. We learned of the wildlife in Martinique and stories locals believe of the magical effects the river has on those who bathe in it. We then took a hike on Mt. Pelée as our guide told us about the 1902 eruption. She spoke of the quickness of which the volcano destroyed the city and those within it. We finally made our way to the ruins of the city that was destroyed to further immerse ourselves in the history. We saw the ruins of the jail and auditorium and saw how locals currently live amongst the old infrastructure.  Overall, it was an immersive experience where we not only learned about the history of the island, but also got to see it firsthand.

Written by Jardyn R.

March 12, 2023
Today  we went on a hike with some of the local youth. Though long and grueling, most of the group was able to make it to the top to see the beautiful view. Afterwards we relaxed at the beach and mingled with the locals. We exchanged stories of our cultures and played games together. Overall, today was an educational experience.

Written by Anonymous

Today was so fun! We woke up bright and early to try and beat the heat on our hike. We picked up some Martinican students to join us for our day. Unfortunately, we did not beat the heat- the heat beat us. Still, the hike was really beautiful. We had a great picnic lunch at the beach and cooled off in the ocean.
Written by Lindsey B.

March 13, 2023
University day!
We visited the Martinique campus of the Université des Antilles. Dr. Myriam Moïse gave an interesting lecture on global Caribbean feminisms and opened the floor to questions. We went on a very thorough tour of the university library. Seeing an “ascenseur en panne” brought me right back to Agnes Scott and its elevator issues. We took a quick tour of campus and headed to the university restaurant. We got a Maré Têt lesson from expert Emmanuelle Soundjata. We then had a little exchange with some Sciences Po students. We said goodbye and popped back to the hotel for a quick change before our farewell dinner. We got to eat with our favorite driver!Written by Insherah Q.

On our last full day of our trip, we visited l’Université des Antilles. First, we attended a lecture by Dr. Myriam Moïse titled “Global Caribbean Feminisms: Negritude Women, Intersectional Feminism, Eco-Womanist Aesthetics”. Next, we had a tour of the university’s newly renovated library, with a beautiful rooftop view! After a tour of the campus and lunch, our group had a class on hair wrapping techniques called Maré Têt, a practice with historical and cultural significance in the Caribbean. We concluded our visit with a meet-and-greet with political science students attending the university. A great day in Martinique!

At the end of the day, we had a very nice dinner. Everyone wore something nice, and we were able to talk, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company. It was a lovely way to end the trip

Written by Bridget C.