“Hello Patricia,
Certainly you have received a mail or a call from Gislaine who is Robert’s wife…In fact it’s not good news… Robert is dead …”

It was August, 2008 and barely two weeks had passed since I’d shared lunch in Martinique with Airhitch founder Robert Segelbaum. Our last chat about Les Guignols and Obama’s nomination was still open on my laptop screen. For those who haven’t heard of him, Segelbaum was a free spirit of the 1960s who founded a travel concept connecting would-be passengers with vacant airline seats at very low cost. No stranger to computers, he later…

FISHERSVILLEShe was a toddler when a family member poured boiling water on her head, scalding her to within inches of her life. Back then her name was Galina Nickanova, and the authority that took her from her mother wasn’t Virginia. It was Russia.

Let Her Go, a 45-foot trawler built in Prince Edward Islands, Nova Scotia, pulls away from Red Hook harbor on St. Thomas at 4:15 a.m. with lobsterman Winston Ledee at the helm. © Patricia Borns

ST. THOMAS — When Winston LeDee saw a Coast Guard vessel heading toward his boat at 6:30 in the morning, the lobsterman didn’t think twice until it was on top of him, and he and the crew dove into the water just before it ploughed through their middle and continued on its way.

That’s how in 2014 LeDee got Let Her Go, a 45-foot trawler built in Prince Edward Islands, Nova Scotia. …

A new platform for journalists called Authory promises to gather everything you have or will publish online and archive it in one place for you and your followers. I tried it and it does.

But Authory’s real value proposition is that it’s the first journalists’ platform I’m aware of that combines a portfolio and publishing platform in one product that automatically updates your new content, wherever it appears.

As a portfolio site, Authory gives you a generous wide-screen header to establish a brand, which journos including me are uniquely bad at. …

When a brave new virtual school semester opened in the Virgin Islands, a handful of parents at the Oswald Harris Court housing community on St. Thomas wondered how to keep their children learning at home while they were at work.

So began a learning pod of the resourceful, Virgin Islands kind.

Older, more studious children offer a positive role model for younger learners in an all-ages learning pod that has been meeting daily during the virtual school semester at Oswald Harris Court on St. Thomas. When the Territory’s virtual semester opened in September, a handful of parents here started the learning pod to keep the children engaged while they worked.

Where many such groups — also called pandemic pods or micro-schools — hire professional tutors or teachers to help children learn and socialize outside the classroom, Nichole Smith and her neighbor Mercedes Castillo De Jesus who supervise the pod — — neither of them professional educators — see plenty…

This article about why Haitian women prefer to give birth at home despite high mortality rates was based on a study at University Hospital of Mirebalais. The medical staff at Hispañola Health Partners (HHP) made similar observations in the remote Southeast Department and now supports home births assisted by local matwòn (traditional birth attendants) with field visits by a registered nurse/midwife to assure the health of mother and child. The original article by Claudy Junior Pierre can be read in French at https://bit.ly/3jK9XOZ.

A 21- year-old woman rests in bed with newborn child after giving birth attended by her local matwòn in her mountain home outside rural Marge-Joffrey in the Haitian Sud Est region. Hispanola Health Partners has partnered with the region’s matwòn to provide home visits by a trained birth attendance to make sure mother and baby have no complications.

Haiti has the highest maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, at 359 maternal deaths per 100,000…

Searching for a thousand-year-old boat in 21st Century Martinique, I interviewed fishermen, sailors, and the dead.

Whoever invented the concept of six degrees of separation didn’t live on Martinique.

In the small universe of a 21-by-14-mile island, my question, “Is this the road to Anse Dufour,” led straight to what I was looking for — if only I’d known what it was.

Anse Dufour is a thumbnail of fishing harbor near the capital where tourists come to sunbathe. I was free diving on a coral ledge when a dolphinfish bolted suddenly from the rocks and rammed my chest.

A horn sounded — no, a conch shell. Two men paddled swiftly from shore in their skiffs, fanning…

Patricia Borns


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