Sunday, October 4, 2015


One of the geographical features of my location is a spit of land that juts out into the Atlantic, separating the two beaches in my village. It begins as a narrow peninsula of land that connects to a small “islet” (hence the French name “L'islette”).
Here is a side view of L'islette from the hillside above the bat cave.
Here is a long-distance view from the mountain behind my village, providing a different angle.
The only catch is that the beginning of this narrow peninsula is a steep hillside (some might call it a cliff) that must be climbed in order to proceed out onto L'islette. The rocks and tree roots provide some hand and footholds, but it is still a bit challenging. Thankfully, someone has tied an old extension cord to a sturdy tree near the top, providing a handy “rope” to assist people climbing up (or down). Once on top, there is a trail that leads across the narrow ridge to the wider end.
My guide is carefully climbing down the steep hillside. One hand is grasping the “rope,” while the other holds a branch of bay leaves he collected in the woods at the far end of L'islette.
My host sister had previously shown me nearly all of the features of our village, but for some reason had left out a tour of L'islette. She is normally a brave woman, but it seems that she doesn't do heights well. Thus, L'islette had not been a part of her comprehensive village tour. Fortunately, one of my students gave me a guided tour of L'islette recently.
Along the trail with my trusty guide (off to the right is a sharp drop-off to the ocean below).
Looking backward to the beach where we swim (this was part of the drop-off I mentioned above).
Eventually the narrow ridge widens and the trail forks. One path goes up to the high ground near the end of the L'islette, providing some beautiful views of the shoreline and the ocean. The other leads down to the rocks at the base. Often there are fisherman out on these rocks at low tide.
My guide showed me a nice view of our village from a small clearing near the top.
I am glad that I finally got the opportunity to explore L'islette, thanks to the expertise of one of my students. Yesterday, I was able to show it off to one of my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers, who came for a visit to my village. It was fun to hang out on the rocks next to the pounding surf at the far end of L'islette. She even shared a local snack she brought with her—coconut tablet (shredded coconut infused with cinnamon and other spices). After our adventure on L'islette, we went swimming in the ocean at the adjacent beach (I'm so fortunate to have a sandy beach in my village!). We finished the day by watching the nightly bat exodus from a beautiful house on the hillside above the bat cave (which also has an excellent view of L'islette). It was a good day! I'm lucky to live in such an interesting place!
She took this picture of me while we were on the rocks at the end of L'islette. Just above my head (and a bit to the right) is the entrance to the bat cave, and above that is the house where we visited (where the first picture above was taken).

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