Karel Noiron: My childhood was amazing in Dominica
Karel Noiron, from France, has lived in Dominica since the age of six and has grown to call the island home.
In his adult years, he has become more observant of the developments in the country and is continuously making attempts to raise awareness on how to keep the island clean and green.
Noiron's very first visit to the island was at the tender age of six months. Being just a baby, he naturally could not remember that trip. However, he did recall to The Sun his first vivid memories of the country several years later.
"I can remember when I was six or seven years old. I remember the sea and running on the beach," he reminisced.
The family moved to the Nature Isle in the late 1990s. From there, Karel's childhood was a typical Dominican child whose parents encouraged him to explore the outdoors and socialize with others in the community.
"Going fishing with my friends, hanging out under the mango tree, going by the river, going to the garden early in the morning," he listed, "things like that."
Noiron also has memories of a childhood in France and says the experience of growing up in Dominica is quite the opposite.
"Compared to my childhood in Europe, it is completely different; even now, it is changing with all the phones and technology, but I guess different generations," he said.
According to Karel, over in Europe, "It is more closed up. It is more dangerous out there, and the children must have accompaniment whenever they go out or do something. Things are planned for them; it is not spontaneous like going to the beach, playing football and bathing in the sea or climbing a mango tree." he said. "It is very different."
As a young adult, Karel spent a few years in Europe, where he worked as a chef. Conversely, in Dominica, he has had to hone in on many skills and become a jack of all trades of sorts to stay financially afloat.
"I do a bit of everything; I am currently doing a massage course - because my mom was a physiotherapist, so I have basic knowledge, but - I need a diploma to practice," he said. "Also, I am learning how to do electrical work, construction, tiling and the whole mason industry. In Dominica, you must know how to do everything to survive."
Spending his childhood, teenage and some adult years in Dominica, Karel has observed the changes that have come to the country. And while pro-development, he believes some key areas were overlooked.
"For example, when I first came, few people in my area had indoor bathrooms. People were going to the public convenience. But now everyone has a bathroom, shower, washing machine etc. And where does all this wastewater go?" he asked. "That is just one small thing out of a lot…The country has improved, but it has skipped a couple of key steps."
Noiron considers himself very environmentally friendly and aware, hence the reason he laments that, in his opinion, Dominica is not living up to its Nature Island standard.
"Not at all," he stated emphatically, "Dominica does not follow environmentally friendly practices. Here is another example: plastic pollution. We do not separate plastic from organic material, so everything returns to the environment."
His desire to better the environment and preserve Dominica's natural beauty propels him into action by continually informing people how to do better whenever the opportunity arises. As far as Noiron is concerned, there are improvements to be made in Dominica, and the same notion applies to countries worldwide. Despite the challenges and questionable development methods, Karel is content that Dominica is an excellent place to reside and call home.
"If you want to make money, you must leave. But if you look at the world outside, water is a problem; food is a problem," he said.
"Fortunately, in Dominica, there is food and water."