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Sounds of Life in a Caribbean Neighborhood

MsDora grew up, received early education and taught school in the Caribbean. Read her love and pride of the region—people and place.

From the crowing of the rooster at dawn to the chirping of the cricket at dusk, the sounds of people, animals and birds contribute to the joy of living in a Caribbean rural neighborhood.

There are also unwelcome sounds like mosquitoes buzzing, neighbors quarreling across the fence and radios blaring loud enough for an entire block to hear. Fortunately, neither the sounds we like nor those we dislike last forever, and pleasant sounds come around often enough.

From among other sounds (like dogs barking, weed cutters trimming) which are also common in upscale city areas, the ten selected for this article are common in the Kittitian (of St. Kitts) rural neighborhood.

Country workers no longer depend on roosters for their wake-up alarm, but the roosters still begin to crow as early as three o’clock in the morning. It may be another hour before the rooster alarm sounds again in a chorus of echoes, as if each rooster is answering to a roll call. The crowing of the roosters ends the silence of the dark night and invites the neighborhood to greet the new day with excitement.

It is not clear whether aged roosters suffer dementia or they’re just hyperactive, but some continue to crow intermittently past the noon hour. They may be just happy.

2. Blackbirds Tweeting

There are a variety of birds hopping our trees and flowers in the neighborhood; but whenever I draw my window curtain in response to an early morning tweet, there is a blackbird looking for residential space in my window. Nothing more than a twig ever sticks, so there’s more to hear than to see when the birds come around. Whatever they do or tweet, it is comforting to just lay there and enjoy their morning song.

3. Bread Van Honking

Imagine that about the time the roosters begin to crow in chorus, one bread van is leaving the capital city and another is coming from the opposite direction to make their daily delivery to the neighborhood stores. They will also make stops for residents who wait at their gates to purchase fresh bread, meanwhile saving a few dimes by purchasing from the van instead of the store.

One enters the street with a shrill vibrato sound, more like a flute than a honk. The other sounds like a bass horn. Residents learn to identify the bread van which has the white bread, wheat bread, multigrain bread, raisin rolls, coconut drops or buns they prefer.

4. Fisherman’s Horn Blowing

Conch Shell Trumpet on Display.  Photo by Daderot

Conch Shell Trumpet on Display. Photo by Daderot

Some fish are still jumping when the fisherman brings them to the neighborhood. How is that for fresh fish?

Entering the street, someone on the pickup truck blows into a large conch shell to announce that he has fish for sale. He continues to blow until a crowd gathers, or as he drives slowly through the area. Without the conch, someone on the truck will shout a call, “Come get your guar (or ballahoo or whatever type of fish they caught)”. The fishermen usually take their best fish to the restaurants and city fishery, but some country folk welcome the offer of having the fish come to them.

5. Visitors Calling

regular-sounds-in-a-caribbean-rural-neighborhood

Many Caribbean neighbors announce their visit in an extra high volume that matches their happy-go-lucky personalities. At the sight of the house they intend to visit, they call out in a cheery tone, “Anybody home?” or “Who lives here?” If the person in the house answers, it is possible that a conversation will begin though the visitor is several yards away from the front door.

There is usually no advance notice of the visit, so the resident may not have the opportunity to straighten up the living room before the guest walks through the door.


6. Children Playing

There is no park in the neighborhood, so any street or yard (even mine) may become a temporary playground. The most pleasant sound is their laughter between the yelling and screaming. They talk and laugh more loudly than an adult would like, but they transmit positive energy to those who view them positively. Happy children lend to the happiness of the neighborhood.

7. Ocean Waves Splashing

During our childhood, some of us ran a few minutes to the seashore and enjoyed the sight, smell, touch, taste and sound of the ocean. For us who were children then, the sea is still part of our backyard and though it takes more effort now, we find it. Next to enjoying a cool morning swim, the best part of the event is sitting or standing on the beach, seeing and hearing the waves lash, splash, crash (or whatever word you choose) onto the shore. Different people have different names for the sound of the waves; it is that awesome!

8. Congregations Singing

Accommodations in country churches do not include air conditioning. The windows remain open when the building is occupied, and the public address system is geared toward preaching the gospel to the entire parish. The singing is accompanied by a band complete with guitars and amplifiers.

Caribbean gospel music includes both reggae and calypso rhythms, so imagine the upbeat mood both inside and outside the church, and the additional sound of passersby humming along as they subconsciously walk to the beat.


9. Ice Cream Truck Serenading

regular-sounds-in-a-caribbean-rural-neighborhood

After church on Sundays, the instrumental sound of Friedrich-Wilhelm Möller’s tune for The Happy Wanderer adds sweetness to the air. Residents hum along or sing out “Val-deri--- Val-dera---” as the ice cream truck makes its way through the streets. Small children holding the hands of adults run to meet the truck and stand in line beside the older children.

The event gives practice to the younger ones in the art of saving or requesting money--a skill they will need long after they leave the neighborhood and Sunday ice cream.

10. Crickets Chirping

The sound of crickets chirping is a regular nighttime occurrence in the Caribbean garden, and one may get into the house through an open door. The cricket resembles the grasshopper although they do not belong to the same family. Only the males chirp as a way to attract females and it has been calculated that “to get a rough estimate of the temperature in degrees fahrenheit, count the number of chirps in 15 seconds and then add 37. The number you get will be an approximation of the outside temperature.” (Everyday Mysteries)

So, the warmer the temperature, the faster the chirp; but after a while, the sound blends into the night as we give thanks for the sounds of a perfect day.

© 2015 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 18, 2016:

Alun, I appreciate your feedback. It is great that you can relate. I agree that the sounds are just as important as the sights. Perhaps I can find your article about rural Thailand.

Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on September 18, 2016:

Lovely idea for a hub Dora. It is easy to forget the sounds when describing the place where one lives, and to concentrate on sights. But whilst sights may convey best of all the beauty and appearance of a location, it is the sounds which really make the place come alive and become vibrant.

I can easily picture the village sounds you describe. It reminds me of a hub I once wrote about a rural village in Thailand. Many of the sounds of course are similar, and common the world over - roosters calling, children playing - whilst some have their own distinctive cultural twist - instead of a congregation singing, I had Buddhist temple chants and drums!

And many of the sounds you describe are the sounds of a warm and friendly community, such as the ice cream truck and the neighbours greeting call - whilst others are the sounds of an exotic island paradise, such as the conch shell horn and the night calls of the crickets.

A very nice hub of reminiscences Dora, with evocative images conveyed through the sounds of the village :) Alun

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 18, 2016:

Blossom, so happy to bring you some memories of happy childhood sounds. Couldn't agree more: "This is what the world should be like." Thanks for your feedback.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on May 17, 2016:

Oh! What a delight to read this and to listen to those sounds. I remember so many of them from my childhood as we had poultry, lived near the sea and friends would just drop in to visit. Thank you! That is what the world should be like.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 17, 2016:

Rajan, glad you enjoyed the read. Having left it for many years, and then returned, it took some getting used to again; but now I appreciate it.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 17, 2016:

This read was like going back in time when I was working & living in a poultry farm which was in a rural setting. Even today, I stay in a semi urban area and can still relate to many of these.

Wonderful read that I enjoyed.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 09, 2015:

Really! I must remember that. Thanks, Sujaya

sujaya venkatesh on September 09, 2015:

a lucky person to enjoy all this

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 31, 2015:

Blond Logic, your comment is heartening; consider the article an invitation. Thanks for your encouragement.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on July 31, 2015:

I almost feel like I have visited your neighborhood.

I think listening to these and other sounds around us is important. We can get so caught up in the day to day things we miss the simple pleasures. It is calming to just quiet the mind and listen.

Our rooster crows throughout the day. I think he wants his ladies to know where he is.

Thank you for sharing a bit of your neighborhood with us

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 30, 2015:

Catherine, I've not been to Virgin Gorda, but I bet the peacocks are also a gorgeous sight. Thanks for your kind comment.

Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on July 30, 2015:

The sound I remember most from my years in the Caribbean is peacocks squawking. Peacocks do actually emit a sound. At The Lord nelson Inn in Virgin Gorda, there were peacocks and they squawked. This is a lovely hub not only about the sounds of the Caribbean but of life in the Caribbean.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 24, 2015:

JG, picking the bread truck sound for always makes me smile. Thanks for the feedback.

jgshorebird on July 23, 2015:

Nice sounds. I pick waves, sometimes a rooster, crickets a lot and the Bread Truck always.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 14, 2015:

Peach, I prefer that visitors give notice, but yes, Caribbean friends and relatives show up anytime unexpectedly. It's a regular habit here--and they come for hours at a time. No hurry. You'd get accustomed.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on July 14, 2015:

You mean visitors drop by without giving u a call? Here, it is ill manner to do that..

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 11, 2015:

Marlene, the choice of a favorite makes me smile. Often I have to the door, wait quietly while they keep shouting then tell them when they get near, "I do not have any dogs, feel free to come knock." Sometimes that could be amusing.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on July 10, 2015:

These are all such wonderful sounds. I think my favorite is when people come calling

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 10, 2015:

Blossom, I sure that you were a blessing to the audience. Yes, life in the Caribbean can be interesting, and we need those prayers now more than ever. Thanks for your comment and your prayers.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on July 10, 2015:

What a delightful hub! It brings out the pleasure brought by the simple things of life. This year the Caribbean was one of the places chosen for the World Day of Prayer and I was invited to speak at a church some distance away. I was very grateful for my computer as I was able to learn so much about this wonderful country. Now I have learned more!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 10, 2015:

Thank, Alicia. Your comment is very encouraging.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 09, 2015:

This is a lovely article based on a great idea, Dora. I enjoyed reading the hub very much.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 08, 2015:

Frank, glad to provide you some fun. Yes, we're close to generic earth sounds. Thanks for your very kind comment.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on July 07, 2015:

this was such an enteratining read MsDora as only you can develope such a fun hub.. the sounds in a Caribbean rural must be so true to real Earth's value.. bless you

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 07, 2015:

Good Morning, Faith. You have some wonderful sounds there too. It pays to focus on them sometimes. Thanks for your very pleasant feedback. Have a wonderful day and God bless you too.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on July 06, 2015:

Oh, what a delightful read this day, MsDora! It is such a joy to listen to all of the life around us in any given day. After arriving home from the city during the week, I truly enjoy taking in the sounds here in the country with all the varieties of birds and other sounds. There has been a very unique sounding bird in a tree in our backyard that I cannot seem to place, but I enjoy listening.

I heard and then I saw a redheaded woodpecker out front. I don't know why, but I love listening to them peck, peck, peck. LOL ...

Every morning right around 5:00 a.m., I hear a donkey braying way down the pasture across from my home.

We have the ice cream truck that goes around during the summer months for all of the children on summer vacation from school.

Up and all the way across, tweeting pinning and sharing

God bless you and all the life going on there in your wonderful neighborhood

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Thanks, James. Thanks for sharing your preferred noises. I agree that they do become a part of our comfort zone.

James C Moore from The Great Midwest on July 06, 2015:

Real good ideal for a hub. Local sounds provide a kind of comforting certainty to everyday life. I like tweeting birds and barking dogs in my auditory background. I also enjoyed the noise from trains on nearby tracks when living at previous places.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Bill, so glad you had some fun. Thanks for your encouragement.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Elle, I think you need to take care of your neeeeeeds. Thanks for your comment; you made me smile.

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on July 06, 2015:

What fun! Thank you so much for sharing this. The smile is still on my face! ;-)

elle64 from Scandinavia on July 06, 2015:

I think I neeeeed to come for a visit, It sounds so gooood. Much Love E

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Thanks, Shauna. Perhaps we can plug our ears against the roosters, but you'll miss some other sounds. Come on anyway!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 06, 2015:

Oh, how I would love to spend some time in your neighborhood, Dora! I love the sounds of the waves, crickets, ice cream truck, singing.... Roosters I'm not too keen on, tho!

I think it's very cool that you can tell which bread truck is coming by the sound it makes.

Life in the Caribbean sounds magical!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Thanks, Bill. That you think it "enjoyable" means much to me. I appreciate your encouraging feedback.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 06, 2015:

That was an enjoyable read, Dora, and obviously quite a few people agree with me. I love that you took one of our senses and showed how it can be used so that all can understand and relate. Very well done!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Thanks, Mary. You sent me to my dictionary; good for me. Welcome back to the tropics, anytime.

Mary Craig from New York on July 06, 2015:

What a beautiful bucolic hub. Your descriptions were so perfect I could hear the sounds. What a beautiful place.

We went to Nassau and Freeport on a cruise and I could certainly live there! The warm breezes and fresh air are something else. Thank you for taking me back.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and beautiful.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Thelma, thanks for your feedback. I don't always like the rooster's sound either, but it seems we have to learn tolerance for them since we get so many other sounds that we like to hear. In only imagine how different things are in Germany.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Jo, good to hear from you. Whenever you come back to the Caribbean, you'll enjoy these sounds all over again. You even remind me of the sound of rain when we had zinc roofs back then. Thanks for your feedback, and the best to you also.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Whonu, thanks for the reminder that it is all about appreciation and gratitude for all these simple things. Yes, life is great!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Thanks, Jackie. Another soft spot for the roosters! Yes, their sound is precious especially when we don't have to wake up to them. I appreciate your votes.

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on July 06, 2015:

Those sounds reminded me of my hometown in the Philippines. I hate the sounds of the roosters as they mostly made sounds when I have started sleeping. I love the other sounds though especially the chirping of the birds. Time differences always destroyed my sleeping pattern when I fly home. Voted up and shared.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Flourish, I will remember your forgiving heart the next time the rooster crows when I am on the telephone. I usually fuss but it's not worth it. You convinced me. Thanks!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Word, knowing that I entertained an entertainer gives me a good feeling. Thanks!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Poetryman, there are many unique experiences for the Caribbean rural resident; sorry you miss out on this one. Thanks for your encouragement.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Thanks, Patty. Compiling these sounds encouraged me also to be more appreciative. Glad you enjoyed the article.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Jodah, happy to share. Glad you enjoy it. Thanks for your comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 06, 2015:

Eric, I can tell that you enjoy your neighborhood as much as I do mine. Thanks for sharing.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on July 06, 2015:

Ms Dora, reading this hub is like stepping back in time. The early morning rooster crowing, black birds chirping, crickets chirping at night time and especially after a down pour are all sounds that can evoke some powerful emotions. However, my personal favourite is the sound of lapping waves. Thank you for the trip down memory lane, a great way to start my day. :)

My best always. Jo

whonunuwho from United States on July 05, 2015:

A beautiful list of everyday sounds we sometimes take for granted and then we look back and realize how special they are to us.Thank you for sharing this my friend, MsDora. whonu

whonunuwho from United States on July 05, 2015:

MsDora you have highlighted the simple things in life...the ones we all adore and must never lose. Thank you for sharing this wonderful message of sweetness. Life is well worth living my friend. whonu

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on July 05, 2015:

Ah, those sounds Dora! The rooster crowing is my favorite and quite a few times I have heard a rooster at 2 or 3 AM and wondered why but they give me this snuggle back in sleep feeling whenever it is because I have seldom gotten up with the roosters!

You have chosen another great one as usual! Very enjoyable. All my votes and shares. ^+

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 05, 2015:

This sounds like such a happy existence! I think I could even forgive that rooster! Voted up and more. I love learning about Hubbers' lives that are different than mine. Thank you for this! Sharing!

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on July 05, 2015:

This was good entertainment. The roosters sounded off, the crickets swished their wings as they chirped, the water sounded cool and fresh. I didn't the dogs barking??? Oh well, this was great. It was all good. It's a reminder of the good ole days. Thanks for sharing!

poetryman6969 on July 05, 2015:

You certainly bring some colorfulness and delight to the day. Voted up.

That bread van thing is something I have never experienced. Getting the bread stuff fresh would be nice.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on July 05, 2015:

These are a lot of happy sounds and I can hear them as I read your narrative about them. Altogether, they would make a fun relaxation tape to enjoy. Thanks for this Hub. Rated Up and more.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on July 05, 2015:

What a delightful hub MsDora. I enjoyed every word and felt as though I was actually living in a Caribbean Rural neighborhood. I miss living in an area where the bread van, ice cream man, fisho etc used to come around. Thank you for sharing this part of your life. Voted up.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 05, 2015:

It was a pleasure to read this. It is a nice feeling to know that neighborhoods so far away share the same familiar sounds as we do. Roosters to ice cream trucks and neighbors hollering to say howdy and warn ya. We have tamale vendors who shout out and ring a bell as they push carts down the street instead of fish vendors and bread. We cannot hear the ocean waves but we get a nice ocean breeze through our palm trees. And our blackbirds and crickets always signal the beginning and end.

Thank you