Sister Nats: The Natural Health Activist
By Ian Jackson
From the late 60's to the mid- 70's, she was known as a socio-political activist, an agitator for justice. She was part of the feminist and Black Power movements. She extended her thrust for liberation and fairness even as a university student of Political Science in Canada with comrade in the struggle, the late Rosie Douglas and Joey Peltier among others. During one of their demonstration in which she was one of the leaders the Canadian Flag was burnt, yes desecrated and that sparked off some level of notoriety for herself and Rosie Douglas in particular. Indeed that was the era when Nathalie Andrew affectionately known as "Nats' could be defined as Dominica's Rosa Parks.
However, today as in the last three decades of her life Sister Nats militancy and activism is of a different type. The work she now does is not simple a vocation but a movement as her present aim as "natural health activist ' has surpassed that of merely preparing vegan dishes but rather a total holistic approach "liveity' towards wellness in every practical sense.
To understand Nats, today's youth who do not know her, must be informed that she was the one who introduced soy products and dishes to Dominica when she partnered with a company called "Plenty Canada". Today, a senior citizen, she still holds fast to her healthy living awareness campaign. In fact, life throughout is exemplified in her teaching; to be frank she had not aged over the last decade.
The highlight of 'divine' mission when she staged an Eat Dominica exhibition in which she demonstrated how to make over 70 dishes from bananas-pasta noodles, raisons, flour, cereal, malt, ketchup, sausages, essence, ice-cream and her extensive array of baked food just to mention a few. Nats joked that if she was taken seriously then, "not rejection by the British housewife or even Black Sigatoka could stop the banana", as it was all about adding value to the actually fruit. She mentioned this against the backdrop that she had approached lending institutions here who thought that she was too adventurous and deemed the project risky. That's why she concludes that visionary people and politics don't mix as all political parties in Dominica at one time or another approached her. For some time now she has decided to travel on 'the road less travelled'.
Nats says that she has found her calling, a calling which she further responded to in Antigua for the past decade. A prophet, or in this case a prophetess, is never accepted by her own. In Antigua, she has been embraced by the various government agencies, health departments and councils as well as secondary schools where she has conducted and implemented training modules on health and cooking. Her tutorship and mentoring has turned out scores of graduates, and relevant supportive ministry officials made themselves present to hand over certificates to deserving participants. She has even done seminars on nature healing and food preparation with St Lucian Priest Kaylash and our own natural healer, Bobby Olivacee while she resided in Antigua.
Now health and wellness and local pioneer of alternative foods and medicines, Nathalie 'Sister Nats' Andrew is back in her homeland to stay. Her paramount mission this time is to publish her four decades of extensive knowledge in a book which will be the first in Caribbean health in the region.
At the time of our conversation she held up proudly the almost completed manuscript for her publication titled: "Behind the Stone: 300 Health Secrets". It promises to be an invaluable publication; it gives the secrets for simple home remedies for various ailments and diseases-major or minor; it also gives insights into beauty tips and traditional cures. Nats is now in her final stages of research and seeking sponsorship to complete this mission as she travels throughout the islands informing herself of the healing and natural treasures which lay behind the stone.
It is expected to be an international publication and the author is requesting assistance, as gold, silver or bronze sponsors, from interesting parties to help make it a reality. The request I can assure you is not prohibitive as this venture, she reminds me, is not about money but a movement to bring nature healing to her people. One of her dreams is to establish a therapeutic kitchen with customised meals for diabetics, for persons who are hypertensive; juices and herbs to detox; an extension of her earlier works in Dominica which resulted in her publication "Healthy Snacks for a Healthy Body' and, of course, Nats work is certainly in keeping with the health and wellness thrust of the Government as Dominica as it promotes its Eco-tourism product.
I view this pending publication as a vital addition to nation building and add my request for support for this venture. She can be reached at 613- 4449 or firstname.lastname@example.org