This chapter covers the author’s time in the Eastern Caribbean as a Social Development Adviser for the UK’s Overseas Development Administration (the precursor to DFID), based in Barbados. There were two advisers who divided the Caribbean islands between them, making regular visits. Soon it became clear that there was the chance of a large self-help project in Dominica, and the author moved there full time from Barbados.

The self-help project was linked to the local government office in Dominica and was based on mobilising local people to work on maintaining and creating local infrastructure in the unstable, landslide-prone island. People were eager to be part of the project provided it was seen to be fair and un-political, and requested labour, not money – for they believed they had paid their due taxes. It became popular and worked all over the island, with the desired outcome that people were prepared to maintain something that they had personally contributed to.

The author left after two years of a three-year project. His leaving was dramatic as it coincided with Hurricane David, which destroyed the island’s banana crop and many buildings and that he rode out under a table with two nuns.