Zaimis Olmos
Zaimis Olmos

A Jack of all trades, or shall we say a Jill of all trades? She is known for her photography, face painting, graphic designs, bubbly personality, and deep involvement in Dominican society.

Zaimis Olmos, from Caracas, Venezuela, currently works with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a Communications Officer, a job she loves because "we can help people build a better life."

Finding a job she loves was possible because she chose to live in a country she loves-Dominica.

Olmos first visited the Nature Island 14 years ago and in quick time was enamoured with the country and its people.

"I first came to Dominica, for four months, in 2008, to study English," Olmos said. "But I wanted to know the people so I went out a lot and got attached to many people who were really nice to me."

Zaimis was also stunned by the country's natural beauty.

"I remember the green, there was so much green here," she added. "I was impressed with how green it was, and still is today. I was like 'waw' all the time." The newly enchanted visitor returned to her homeland for a year, but it wasn't quite the same.

"I came back to Venezuela to work but something was missing in my heart, I felt I needed to do something else,"Olmos said.

When she got the opportunity to return to Dominica she did so with no hesitation.

"I got a call, 'Zaimis, we have an opportunity for you to come back to work in Dominica', I said sure. But this time I am going with my son, so if I decide to stay, that's it," she said.

The biggest obstacle Olmos faced was her inability to speak English fluently. But she did not let that deter her.

"Because the people are friendly and open, they were like 'Zaimis don't worry, we help you'," Olmos added.

Loving the people, country, and culture, she immersed herself in any and everything Dominican, be it a paid job or volunteer work.

"I got so attached with the culture and people, I was involved in Calypso; Mas Camp, Stardom Tent, Dominica Calypso Association, I designed the Association's logo and was always photographing the events,"Olmos added.

Zaimis also worked with Petro Caribe, the Venezuelan Embassy, local media houses, the tourism sector, and ran her own company Zaimis Olmos Visual Art.

"Dominica has given me the opportunity to grow professionally and I am grateful for that. In 2014 I won a competition where my photo was the cover page for The Yellow Pages."

Her art has taken her outside of the country to represent Dominica in various exhibitions. Even during her stints overseas, she missed the island dearly.

"If it's one thing I love about Dominica it's the mountains. I get emotional when I see them. I remember returning from St. Lucia via ferry, when I saw the mountains I said, 'ay, home sweet home'. I am very happy to live here," Olmos said.

Forever committed to Dominica, Zaimis declined the chance to return to Venezuela after Hurricane Maria.

"I said 'I will stay, I will help'. I have built a lot for myself and family in Dominica and I didn't want to leave that," she said.

Another aspect of Dominica which has solidified Zaimis' choice to live here is the peace and serenity of the island.

"I really like the nature. In the initial four months I was here I visited many places, it was beautiful, it was quiet, you don't have to worry about violence and it was a great place to raise my son," she said.

The 14 years here also brought with it some noticeable changes.

"Well yes, for example the Canefield Cliff was different; the hospital, the roads, the houses, the health centres. There's a big difference," she said.

Olmos got her citizenship in 2019, overjoyed to be a Dominican citizen.

"Friends and family, you make it where your heart is," she wisely said.

  • By Andrea Louis