Cleve Felix

‘I met the house there, it’s an antique’, announces Cleve Felix, a native of St Joseph in his sixties,  as he sits on a bench across from his ornate turquoise home sharing in early evening conversation with friends. As a long-term renter, he admits he ‘cannot give a good report on the house’ like some of the village’s elders might – its age, previous residents, how it was constructed. But what he can recall is who built it: a ‘boss carpenter’ named Hector Adams. Though Mr Adams has long since passed, Cleve remembers him from his upbringing, seeing him working wooden

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Agatha Royer

Agatha Royer is the owner of a double-gable roofed ti kai on L’Allay, the main street and cultural spine of Grand Bay. The house was built by her grandfather, a builder and woodworker who also ran a nearby estate. She left Grand Bay aged 22 to get married and live in Martinique, but visits her old home regularly – staying in the basement while her tenants rent upstairs, waiting for their own hurricane-damaged home to be repaired. 

Agatha, who was raised in the house by her aunt and grandmother, calls her ti kai ‘a monument’ that survived David and Maria unscathed.

This has post has been shortened to only include the first 100 words, not the full document as we don’t want to infringe on the book Still standing: the ti kais of Dominica

Catherine Corbette

‘That ugly thing all you interested in? It’s not a trendy house nah’, says Catherine Corbette with a laugh when asked about the history of her home. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the north-eastern village of Atkinson, just outside the Kalinago Territory, hers is a raised ti kai, sat high on black foundations, nestled in a beautifully cultivated yard. Catherine was born and raised in the south-east, in Petite Savanne and moved north in 1962 when she married her first husband (now deceased), a stone mason from Atkinson whose family had built the house a decade earlier. 

This has post has been shortened to only include the first 100 words, not the full document as we don’t want to infringe on the book Still standing: the ti kais of Dominica

Sylavain ‘Watchie’ Parillon 

Everybody in Colihaut knows Sylavain ‘Watchie’ Parillon. His ti kai stands at a crossroads, in an area known as the Ghetto. With its small old houses and rum shops, across from the historic Catholic church, the Ghetto is the cultural heart of the village. At the front of his house Watchie has a bar that opens on weekends, where he sells grilled chicken, drinks, and plays reggae music long into the night. 

Seeing only its plywood clad front, few would immediately identify Watchie’s house as a ti kai. But pass down a side lane and you see its white cedar…

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Sherman Ismael

Sherman Ismael is a carpenter who lives with his wife and daughter in a bayside ti kai on Mahaut’s lively main road. The house was built in the 1960s while Sherman’s father worked in Curaçao during the oil boom, sending home money for its construction. Sherman grew up in a similar one nearby, but from the time he became aware of this house he ‘liked it’ and ‘I would cry and beg him to leave it for me.’  

Sherman’s father was a baker and mason, who was known for his fine construction of stone ovens for bakeries around Dominica.

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Rosemary James

‘Everybody like this house. They say, “Boy, look at a little doll house”,’ says Rosemary James proudly as she invites us into her brightly painted home on Roseau’s King George Vth Street. Her style of Ti kai is quite rare in Dominica, for its short gable-end is the side of the house that faces the road – giving the appearance of a small, single room dwelling. Yet, as her adult son says: ‘It goes right in, it is long,’, extending back in an elongated rectangular form. James’ home is reminiscent of traditional houses throughout the Francophone Caribbean – the Ti kai…

This has post has been shortened to only include the first 100 words, not the full document as we don’t want to infringe on the book Still standing: the ti kais of Dominica