Aleksandra Droco: it was unbelievable that such an untouched place existed in the Western Hemisphere
By Andrea Louis
Aleksandra Droco, born in Yugoslavia, raised in Switzerland and well-travelled in the western hemisphere, has called Dominica home for several years as the country and its people charmed her into relocating and residence here.
Aleks told The Sun her first visit to the Nature Isle was over ten years ago, and the country immediately captured her heart.
"I first visited in 2009 with my boyfriend," she said. "Back then, we had been in Venezuela and met people who were going to Dominica – we had never heard of that country – and found it cheap to fly from France to Guadeloupe and then take a ferry. A friend arranged accommodation for us in Dominica, and when we came here, we liked it immediately."
Droco went on to list the many attributes of the island that compelled her to want a more fulfilling experience in the country.
"All the natural scenery was breathtaking," Droco said." It was unbelievable such an untouched place still existed in the Western Hemisphere. We were like, 'Wow'. It felt like a place where time moved at a different tempo. We felt safe, comfortable, and the friendly people wanted to ensure we felt welcome. We were very impressed with how Dominica and the people were and still are."
The couple had already considered relocating to another country, and Dominica checked off all the important boxes on their list.
"We always wanted to move to a place where it is warm, and we could live off the land a little," she said. "When we came here, we thought this might be the place because Guadeloupe is like France but in a different place. So, we returned to Dominica, started looking for land, and then started building because we saw the opportunity here. " The Creole language was also fascinating to Aleksandra, fondly called Aleks by all, during her visits and eventual move to the island.
"It's very nice and very interesting, I do speak some French, but Creole has a lot of French influence. It is a beautiful language, and I would like to learn more," she said.
Though her love for Dominica - the land, its people, and customs - is deep-rooted within her, Aleks shares that she had some adjusting while living on this magical island.
"Initially, the main thing that struck me was the availability of certain things, especially during building," Droco said. "Sometimes you think they are not around, but you find out where you can get them. Not everything was easy to find in the beginning. Mostly there was a way, we just didn't know how, or we looked in the wrong place, but this has improved a lot in the past few years."
In the years of visiting and living in Dominica, Aleks says there is one change she has noticed, reaffirming she made the right choice in moving here.
"Following Hurricane Maria, we saw the resilience and strength of the people after such a disaster," she said. "I think if something like that happened in Switzerland, the people would be way more panicky. Additionally, the community spirit in our village, Paix Bouche, is very impressive."
For the land that Aleks and her boyfriend call home, they are sure to play their part in helping the village and country, by extension, in whatever way possible.
"We are expanding our vegetable garden and trying to provide the village with fresh vegetables," she said. "Also, after Tropical Storm Erika, we formed an NGO, Friends of Dominica, with our friends, in Switzerland. We collected some money to support people in need after Erika and Maria."
Aleks is very pleased with her choice to relocate to Dominica. She has made a lifelong commitment to the island she now calls home. "We are very happy to be here, and Dominica is keeping its cool vibes. Things can be complicated, but there is mostly a way through, and the people are very helpful. While Dominica faces many challenges, she offers so many opportunities in a changing world," Droco said. "It is the perfect place for us. "