"Everybody in Dominica has a machete," said one of my guides, Lionel, who's lived his whole life on the island. "That's how they get their food." He motioned to a man standing by the side of the road, lopping some unseen fruit off a bush. I asked him if anyone ever takes other people's crops.
"Sure, that's just part of it," he said. "But, you know, sometimes they take stuff and it tastes terrible, so joke's on them." He laughed that quintessential joyous Caribbean laugh of someone who lives in paradise.
The upside for tourists is that because Dominica can grow its own food, the island isn't very expensive once you get here. And despite the poverty, crime is incredibly rare. "There's something about it being underdeveloped that I really love," said Deikel. "It's good here. You can use the nature that's here to live a better life. A healthier life."