731. Curaçao Drought

“Our nature is rugged… rough… and not just around the edges. Her charm lies in her resilience. She is what she is. She resembles our temperament… authentic, but not always welcoming.”

– Writer, poet, painter, Curaçao culture fiend, Philip A. Rademaker

Source: http://www.ritamendesflohr2.blogspot.com/

Due to relatively low rainfall (570 mm/year) and high evaporation, most of our vegetation is drought resistant cacti and thorn scrub… and much of our landscape is made up of strong, eroding limestone.

As a result, local farming is relatively small-scale and limited to aloe, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables and tropical fruits (less than 1% of GDP) making us highly dependent on imported produce and non-agricultural labor sources. Pre-Shell (1910s) and the proliferation of broad-scale service industries (banking, tourism), thousands of Curaçao workmen went to Cuba every year to engage in seasonal labor on sugar plantations.

Needless to say, ‘drought’ is part of our nature, long-standing metaphor for recession and obstacles to overcome… Granted our resilience has inspired many a temperament!



m’a keda so

manera un mata

ku su rais kobá, ranká,

ta para seka

warda morto.


Den mi kabei

para pretu di ultratumba

a sinta traha nèshi

pa nan fika.


Di e yobida di antaño

ai, n’keda ni un gota

pa aliviá e gran sekura

ku ta reina den mi alma.


I at’awó…

e mata skur i seku

ku ta mi mes

ta pèrsiguími henter dia

i den mi sonjo,

para pretu

ku nan gritunan salvahe

ta koba



den dje tiki ku a resta

di mi kurason kibrá.



And now I’m like a tree,

my roots dug up

to rot and dry

and in my hair

black birds of ill omen

have built nests

to stay.


Of the rains

of yesteryear

not a drop remains

to appease

the cruel drought

that governs

in my soul.

… and now the ugly tree

that is myself,

haunts my waking hours

and in my dreams

black birds,

wildly screeching,

pluck at what is left

of a broken heart.

– Nydia Ecury, Kantika pa Mama Tera / Song for Mother Earth (1984)

About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in Manhattan but sometimes miss my first awesome island. Thanks for visiting!


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