Marie Jude
Marie Jude

Dominica's captivating greenery, natural features, and charming residents continue to have an enthralling effect on visitors. More often than not, this triple combo is the number one reason travellers crave to experience life in the Nature Isle.

Some people come for a visit, whereas others - who come to live - look for ways to entice guests to the island. Those who migrate here also play their part in preserving and protecting the beauty of the country they now call home.

Marie Jude is one such individual who, along with her husband, moved to Dominica for its authenticity and untouched nature.

"The first time my husband and I visited Dominica was in 2016," Jude said. "We planned to build something like a guesthouse or hotel on a natural island. His parents saw a documentary on islands, which included Dominica and told us, 'Why not go there?' "

Jude, originally from Dutch Sint Maarten, says the trip to Dominica was refreshing as it starkly contrasted her homeland's touristic, built-up environment.

"When we came in 2016, we were in Calibishie, which was beautiful," Marie said. "We landed and were amazed by all the greenery."

Another attribute of Dominica, which was very different, was the friendly nature of the people, "they were nice. We came to Dominica; we are foreigners, and people were nice to us. That was so strange."

Marie and her husband moved here a year after the first visit, telling The Sun what sealed the deal for them: "Dominica hasn't changed much, we have been here for six years, and it is still natural. It has not been broken by tourism. Our choice to come to Dominica was because of its authenticity." As regards the development project, Jude disclosed that Hurricane Maria threw a wrench in their plans; however, things are now on track.

"We started the project in 2020. To date, we have finished one building, the reception area," she said. We are also liaising with Invest Dominica to help us with concessions."

Marie shares another passion project she hopes to implement in Woodford Hill, where she now lives.

"People have told us that a few years ago, turtles used to come up to the beach to lay, but that doesn't happen anymore," Marie said. "So for our future project, we want to do something on the beach to have turtles return and lay eggs."

Marie's love for Dominica's nature and biodiversity led her to notice how it "is intricately tied into the livelihoods of the people, another contrast to Sint Maarten.

"In Dominica, everybody plants; on their farm or backyard," Marie said. "You need help finding that in Sint Maarten. Coming to Dominica taught us a bit of that culture. Now, seeing how people here plant vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc., my husband is energized to do the same thing."

Regarding adjustments to life in Dominica, Jude revealed that one significant adaptation was shopping, "for example, if you want good groceries, you have to go to Roseau, which is an hour and a half away, so we do grocery shopping once a month. Also, things like ordering clothes, going to the movies, etc. I lived in France for ten years before moving to Dominica, so it was a bit of an adjustment."

Regardless of the adjustments, Marie continues to be amazed by Dominica.

"Because my husband and his dad work on the land during the week, we try to take a weekend to discover new places," she said. "So each week, we find something different; it is incredible. And we don't go far - maybe Marigot, Wesley, or Calibishie - and we always find a little road where we discover so much; a little river or farm is amazing. So every time we go out and see that, we are just amazed." Marie remains resolute that coming to Dominica was the right choice and looks forward to sharing the invaluable experience with others when the hotel project is complete.