Dearest Cousin Babs:

Hope all is well under the circumstances, with the high crime rate and folks criticizing cassava as replacement for rice. We have our own trials here, for my car that only takes unleaded, is costing me $4.52 cents for a gallon of gas! Driving now is only when necessary, and I have noticed a marked decrease in Hummers at the gas station lately. Thank God for the Japanese import!

Sorry I couldn’t come down for the Diaspora conference, but the blood pressure was so high, I was afraid to travel. I can’t tell you why I am up here worrying about the violence down there and causing myself so much stress!

Anyway, I have to let you know that Cousin Gracie came back from the conference bex c’yaan done. When I picked her up at the airport, she was fit to be tied. It was quite propitious that I had brought some cool bottled water along in the car, for I think that without it, she’d have blown a gasket.

Gracie thought it was a shame that with over 700 delegates arriving for the function, not even a little banner or marquee at the airport welcomed them home. You know fi har mouth already. She complained about everything, from the never-ending line in Immigration and Customs to how ramshackle and messy the streets looked on the drive from Palisadoes. She complained that though her hotel had over 65 rooms of delegates attending the conference, some of whom booked as a group, there was not even a little welcome gift in the room – nothing to acknowledge their homecoming, not even – according to her – “welcome home dawg!” She was clse to tears and quite resentful that they all had to make their own arrangements, even for airport transfers, at which point, I had to get dark with her. What was she thinking?

You remember when we were children and the best china and embroidered hand towels in the bathroom were just for show and reserved for visitors? We would normally drink tea from enamel mugs, chipped or not, and we never had the pleasure of fingertip towels. But lo and behold, when we had “visitors”, the best bone china appeared and the tablecloth wuld turn to lace. I had to remind Gracie of that. What was she really expecting? I had was to let her know that she and her 700-plus Diaspora delegation are not seen as visitors, but as part of the family, so the local cousins were in no rush to kill goat and bring out the china. The nerve! You see how when some of us live a farin for a few years, we think we should be welcomed home with marching band! Aye sah.

I almost stopped the car when Gracie claimed that she wais’ har money on plane fare going to the conference, intending to lobby for absentee voting, achieving nothing, and that not even the dual citizenship issues were resolved. I asked her if she seriously thought that in two days those objectives could have been accomplished, but she clammed up and stopped listening to me. She rode in silence the rest of the way. while I continued to read her the riot act.

How we bad style so? We think that the little money and barrel we send to our relatives, our relatives, mark you, will give us preferential treatment and “Welcome Home” banner, and the cousins at home should salaam before us just because we are attending a group conference. I set her straight, you see Cousin Babs; you would be proud of me! Gracie too spoil, yaw.

Then I cautiously asked her if the gathering achieved its objectives. All now, she can’t tell me.

I know you will tell us everything in due time.

Your cousin,


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