Category Archives: Stories of St. Martin

Rodents of Unusual Size

Could people be forced to leave St. Martin due to rising sea levels and worsening storms? As islanders, climate it is a real threat. Think of all the low-lying areas that could be submerged: Simpson Bay, Sandy Ground, Philipsburg, Grand Case, Orient Bay and many more. But if humans do lose our ability to live …

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The Shell Collector

Dr. Hendrik Elingsz van Rijgersma was a Dutch doctor, sent to provide care to the formerly enslaved people on St. Martin. He was also St. Martin’s first naturalist. He arrived in 1863, and died on the island in 1877. He never published a scientific paper, but his field work was key to our understanding of …

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Tracing Plant Traditions

St. Martin has rich traditions of farming and bush medicine. These are important parts of local culture. But the history of Caribbean plant traditions is largely unwritten. How do we tell this story? The most developed plant traditions in the Caribbean came from Amerindian and African culture. Because written records were primarily European, these plant …

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At the Mercy of Water

Water has always been a challenge for St. Martin. The problem is built in to the shape and location of the island. Most of the time, rain carrying clouds blow past the island high above the tallest hills. When rain does fall, the tropical sun and steady breezes tend to dry the island out. Most …

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Return of the Jack Spaniard

I don’t miss the sting of the Jack Spaniard wasp. It was always a terrible surprise. The electric pain faded fast, but the swelling and itching lasted for days. I was once told that putting some urine on a Jack Spaniard sting would neutralize the poison. Was it a folk remedy or a trick to …

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Return of the Jack Spaniard

I don’t miss the sting of the Jack Spaniard wasp. It was always a terrible surprise. The electric pain faded fast, but the swelling and itching lasted for days. I was once told that putting some urine on a Jack Spaniard sting would neutralize the poison. Was it a folk remedy or a trick to …

read more

The Story of 2019

What will be the story of 2019? 2017 brought destruction by storm and by looting, but also the story of neighbors and communities coming together to survive. 2018 was a year of recovery, with daily progress in the face of enormous tasks, but nothing coming fast or easy. Every year brings a new start. It’s …

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The Story of 2019

What will be the story of 2019? 2017 brought destruction by storm and by looting, but also the story of neighbors and communities coming together to survive. 2018 was a year of recovery, with daily progress in the face of enormous tasks, but nothing coming fast or easy. Every year brings a new start. It’s …

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Life Stories

The culture of St. Martin comes from its people. Every life and every experience is part of culture. Every memory tells us something about a moment, a person and an island. In an interview in 2018, 99-year-old Cynric Griffith told a story of the first time he met the Queen of the Netherlands. Griffith was …

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Christmas Culture

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a time to be with family and friends. Christmas commerce has reached around the globe to people of all religions. There are unique traditions everywhere it is celebrated, including St. Martin. Of course, not every tradition is strictly local. A big meal with family is a …

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