National Geographic : 1965 Dec
remote tract. The present reservation was established in 1903 on 3,700 acres, extending about eight miles along the Atlantic coast. As Win and I left the only hard-surfaced road that cuts across Dominica, I held on tight and wondered what we would find. Our Land-Rover forded a wide river, rattled through a swamp on a corduroy road of tree trunks, then ground up a rutted trail slashed over red-clay hillsides. "We're lucky," commented our driver, Alford Benoit. "No rain today. After a downpour, you can't make it." My first glimpse of a Carib was of a girl, no more than five. She clutched a bottle which she had filled from a stream, and stopped as we paused alongside. Her long hair was as black and smooth as Chinese lacquer, and there was a definite Mongolian cast to her features. She smiled and spoke before trudging toward a small frame house above the road. Not far beyond we came upon a woman washing clothes in a pool under a small waterfall. When she looked up, I was startled: I had not really expected to find pure types, but rather "Black Caribs," descendants of runaway Negro slaves and Indians. But here I saw slanting eyes, high cheek bones, straight hair, and parch ment-yellow skin. It was a scene from the Far East. She might have been Korean or Vietnamese. Caribs Puzzled by Japanese Nurse Attheendoftheroad,orasfaraswecouldgoinour Land-Rover, we met Father Martin, who belonged to the French order of Sons of Mary Immaculate. He had worked among the Indians for three years, living in a tiny shingle house next to his church. A small, wiry, dedicated man, he had a sympathy and understanding that affected everyone with whom he came in contact, even the simplest of his charges. "How many 'pure' Caribs are left?" he repeated as I asked the question. "It depends on what you mean by the word. Many are obviously of mixed blood. Few genealogical records exist, of course, but if you go on appearance-Mongolian features, straight black hair, slanted eyes, yellowish skin-there are about 400 Caribs still in existence. Their racial characteristics are extraordinarily strong. "Many are types so like the Asian that after a visit last year by a Japanese nurse, I was besieged by ques tions from the Caribs themselves: 'Father, who was that pretty Carib girl? She never lived here. Where she come from?' " Leaving the car at the church, we walked deeper into the reserve to visit Chief Germandois Francis. His house was built of hand-hewn breadfruit planks, a structure not more than 10 feet wide and 15 feet long, divided into two rooms. Ceremoniously we were in vited into the first, decorated by pictures from maga zines pasted on the wall. The 32-year-old chief met us wearing a sash draped across the shoulder of his best suit, and carrying a silver-headed mace. 798 France with a Creole flavor: Chez Gerard, like other restaurants in Fort de France, features gourmet dishes served in a Parisian setting. Fruits of the sea, including lan goustes-clawless lobsters-await the stewing pot. The result will be a delectable soupe de poissons.