On our local news outlet, there was an article about the Dutch marines visiting Saba. Ladies, they are always quite the sight: a group of about twenty able-bodied, strong men in uniform with a leader and a purpose. They’re hard to miss: you can smell the testosterone from up the road. They never stay long, a week at most, more often just a day or two. One time, they train for an evacuation; another time, they come in hopes to recruit; this time, their community service was an island clean-up.

Able-bodied men getting ready to attack lunch. Source: Sabanews.com

Now for our seasoned islanders, as you know, Saba is a small community. We look out for each other without expecting anything in return – because we’re human, it’s what you’re supposed to do. Another thing about Saba is this: locals and expats alike are PROUD of this little island. Yes, the cost of living is high; yes, choice in goods and resources could be better; no, not everything is totally perfect in this little paradise – but it’s all relative. This sense of pride can be seen in how locals speak about the island, but also in how they take care of their house, their neighbors, and the roads.

Locals are proud to be Saban, or Sabian, and expats also love to see tourists wander around in amazement, because they make us appreciate that we have managed to carve ourselves a niche on this tiny piece of paradise. We appreciate that where in other places, the falling of the leaves or the budding of the trees determine the passing of the year, where here it’s the beautiful “July tree” aka the Flamboyant tree, that becomes easily noticeable in bright red or yellow, that assures us that summer (or rather, the start of the hurricane season) is upon us. Here it’s the avocados that roll down the road into your hands (that literally happened to me once!) that remind you that it’s that time of the year again.

Local or expat, we are all proud of this island and we like to keep it clean. I was reminded of this once more when I read in the article that these marines were having an island clean-up on this rock during the month of June. These fit young men in their heavy camouflage uniforms came to Saba to climb Mount Scenery and clean our island up. They looked trained to face any form of hostility. They looked ready to go to war.

Though it became clear from the article that what they mostly cleaned was something a lot more peaceful. Something that clearly was “a nuisance due to the large number lying on the roads”:


I’m going out on a limb here to presume that the most hostile creature they encountered on this rock was the mango-eating goat.

Not the most dangerous of jobs for these marines, but appreciated nonetheless.

Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:


Island Girl Since:

August 2012

Originally Hails From:

The Netherlands

A traveller at heart, this landlubber has managed to stay in one spot for over five years now. That is because her heart has found a home on one of the smallest rocks in the Caribbean: Saba in the Caribbean Netherlands. Before her 30th, her travels had taken her around Europe, to Australia and New Zealand, Canada, the US, Malaysia, and Thailand. Turning 30 in a big city like Kuala Lumpur made her and her husband reevaluate what’s really important and so they meandered their way to this beautiful tropical rock.

One childhood dream of hers was to have a portal into a different world where time flows differently, so she could read an entire book, step back into Reality, and only 5 minutes have gone by. Let’s say she’s not quite found the portal, but instead a rock where time takes its own pace. The former concert goer and adamant believer in the power of books has not had one moment of regret of adding her rolling stone to this amazing rock.

Adding to the workload of teaching English language and literature at the high school that consists of about 100 students and the care for a cat and a husband, she now also has the care of twins and a baby. When they are not trying to pull the cat’s hairs or daddy’s beard, their mom tries to find the time to a) soak up the Caribbean lifestyle and b) sleep, which is supposed to come with point a), but somehow never materializes. Now also there is a new point in the line of personal development: c) write about the perks of living on a rock compared to her long ago life. This “Life BS” (life Before Saba) seems a distant past, where the words “workload” and “busy” and “commute” meant something else entirely.

Anyhow, if you’re curious about life on Saba and/or with kids in the Caribbean, be sure to check in every once in a while to her blog.

Want to read more posts by this writer? Click here.

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