Dwivayez Celebrates 20th Anniversary: The beauty of the country is on the inside
Dominica's longest-serving hiking group has vowed to continue hiking the mountains, valleys, nooks, and crannies of the island as long as its core members have life, health, and strength to keep the group going.
Dwivayez hiking group celebrated its 20th-anniversary last month with a host of activities primarily hikes – no surprise there - and shows no sign of slowing down or stopping.
"Despite our 20 years there are still new places we can go to once we get people who know the area," confided a senior member of the group.
Currently, two founding members Rawlins Bruney and Ibrahim Brohim organize and lead the monthly group hikes.
Brohim explained to The Sun that Dwivayez was formed as an offshoot of the annually organized Neg Mawon/Emancipation Day hike by the Waitukubuli Ecological Foundation (WEF) spearheaded by attorney Bernard Wiltshire.
"We decided we couldn't wait once a year to go hiking, so some of us organized and went on our first hike on 08th June to Middleham Falls," Brohim said.
The frequency of hikes varied over the years until the hikers settled on the first Saturday of the month as their official hiking day.
To date, Dwivayez has 245 hikes to its name. Speaking of names, one must be curious to know the origin of the name Dwivayez.
"Before we established the first Saturday in the month as our hiking day, people would say we would 'dwivay'/dwivé, just get up and go. So, when it came time to choose a name, we had to do something with dwivay in it, hence Dwivayez," Brohim said.
With a membership of over 100 people, the group only looks to expand in the next 20 years. Brohim says during the past two decades, hikers have come from near and far to be part of the club.
"We get people who come for the exploration, who come because friends invite them, who are on contract from overseas and like hiking," he said. "We've had people from Lithuania, Serbia, Japan, Germany, you name it. Hiking is different here, you really have to walk and watch yourself, they enjoy the pure hiking part of it."
The love for the country's natural beauty and showcasing spectacular sites to new hikers is part of what keeps the group going.
"The beauty of Dominica is not watching from the outside it is what the interior has," Brohim said. "The interior is just majestic."
In his 20-plus years of trekking the island, Brohim observed the terrain has stayed the same, outside of major events.
"The topography only changes when there is a natural disaster," he said. "By that, I mean hurricanes, storms, slides, etc. Some trails have been diverted because of Tropical Storm Erika and Hurricane Maria."
One of the group's main aims is to promote hiking as a sustainable tourism product. Brohim would like to see more investment go into the development and maintenance of the island's trails.
Dwivayez has traveled the region on hiking excursions and hiking groups from other countries have also come to the island for Hike Fest, normally held in May.
"We hope the authorities in question will do something about those trails. Because, since Maria, a number of trails have been damaged and they are not being maintained often and they could be dangerous," he said.
To date, there are two up-and-coming hiking groups to which Brohim has shared some much-needed advice.
"We collaborate with the other groups and advise them to schedule their hikes so that if our members want to join, they can and vice versa. We also encourage them to go out there and see what the trails have to offer but be safe," Brohim said.
As for the next 20 years?
"We will keep on trekking, as long as Rawlins and myself are around the club will definitely stay around," he said. "But it has to be with the intention of grooming young people to take over."