One Ingenious Island

What can I tell you about the Cadushi festival? It was awesome. I met so many extraordinary people, doing so many ingenious things. If you ever doubted that Aruba is an exceptional island, the Cadushi festival confirmed it – we definitely live on a super creative island.

Getting there was a challenge and a half. Baranca di Yerba is located the end of the rainbow, on the hills rising above St Nicholas, the road meanders and rolls, then at tip of a dirt road the grassland presented a totally charming backdrop to inventive people, doing their thing.

Some of the locals I met, at no particular order:

Red Cactus Pizza = Redefining pizza, it was the hit of the night, made with maishi rabo and artisanal vegan cheese. It was worth waiting for 90 minutes. Find them in Oranjestad next to Djiespie’s Place for an ayaca pizza, if you believe there is such a thing.

Cream of Wu’s = Very edgy tote bags and black & white t-shirts with funky designs. The designer is adorable, and fired up about her own stuff.

Mijenou = I met Mijenou before, she is a recycler and a one woman solution to our disturbing landfill, her recycled crafts are very cool.

Awa salo = Sea glass artist from Aruba, Bohemian combinations of seeds and shells.

Rahaida = This is the bedazzle queen; she decorates empty wine bottles, making them into conversation pieces.

Bou Palo Beer = Our very own craft beer maker, he is an engineer of sort; I think his name is Tony, and then he decided to become a brewer. Makes perfect sense. He poured two flavorful types of suds last night, made in his backyard.

Taki = Our forager Frank Kelly is a hit craft cocktail-maker. I tried La Mala Rodriguez, with oregano and Dirty Hairy, with dirt, I suspect. Delicious. He ran out of everything. Arubans drink, he said.

Dushi cakes = This girl is super cute and acts like she invented superior cupcakes. Her creations are proud and meticulous.

D’abaru Snack = The Kelkboom family, the trailblazers of Vegan, artisanal food on the island, their snacks were super popular, they also offered a new vegan rice which was a best-seller.

Funky Vegan Kitchen = She lived up to her name with appetizing appetizers. The line was long I did not get to taste.

The Fermentation Station = Kimchi, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, Anna is a talented hobbyist, she did natural salt from Aruba last year, this year she is out to improve our digestion. She sold everything out.

Creole Element = A consummate recycler, impressive jewelry and healing stones.

Anna Buryakova = She was my neighbor, at the adjoining booth and kindly shared her lights with me. True to her Russian heritage she adds drama to her our local landscapes, iguanas and pelicans.

Gumbs juice = A charming, easy talker, his OJ is delicious, so is the fresh squeezed pineapple and apple, this guy is a trip. Find him in town, tucked in a giant orange, next to Djiespie’s Place.

SoGreen Hair products = The gook looks like guacamole but my hair loved it

Cunucu Mondi Fierno = A very impressive line of craft wines, liquors and spirits, beautifully packaged from organically grown local fruit. These people are organized; it’s all nicely packaged and professional.

Carolina de Waaed = A most delightful ceramic artist; her plump birds, and silly reindeer are poetic and whimsical, catch her stuff on

Aruba Coffee Roasting Company = I had an amazing cold latte made by a cute barista, also an impressive operation; they brew and serve their coffee at Coffee Break, in the Djiespie’s Place area.

ArubaLife = Organic make up by Julienne Paskel, we also met before, her products are 100% handmade.

The Plant Guru = Ingela Lacle is a plant healer, an environmentalist / recycler, find her on Facebook, she has answers to your questions.

Goshen Sustainable Solutions = James and Jardin — the exact name spelling escapes me, surprised me totally with their okra and beans, organically grown here in Alto Vista at a farm operated in conjunction with Adult and Teen Challenge Aruba, a center dedicated to breaking free from addiction.

Diana Hopman = Well established artist, her mixed media collage work will light up any wall. If you have an old atlas at home, please donate it to her, she recycles maps, incorporating the world into her pieces.

Jes Beachbags = Jeanine and Sascha are eternally creative this week they turn accent rugs into beach bags, very colorful and fun.

Did I mention the kids had lots of creative activities, Including Yoga with Maria Pucci and storytelling by Liliana Erasmus, in an oriental tent.

The entertainment was stellar with Los Picaflores a bad girl band that formed in honor of the occasion; they got together in some garage with minimal practice and delivered maximal sound.

Ellen Buermans gave a Tibetan Sound Bowl concert, Beach Lama and Sirena recited poetry.

The traffic was a nightmare. Parking was a pain.

It was all worth it.

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December 22, 2017
Rona Coster