Good Morning, Good Morning! If you have ever been in a place of business in the Virgin Islands, you may have been bewildered at a behavior slightly unique to this incredible place and its culture. I remember, in my early years on St. John, standing in what seemed to be an endless line at First Bank each week. Every single person who walked through the door uttered the words, “Good morning, Good morning.” And,in turn, each person in line, and behind the busy counter, voiced a similar response. I found it to be a bit odd at first. But after a few months, I found it to be comforting and inclusive and realized that I received a much kinder (and helpful!) response to my queries and questions as I went about my days adopting, and adapting to, this beautiful habit.
In this award winning short film from Wonder Lab Films, the documentary makers explore the “history and culture of the people of the Virgin and their inspiring culture of coexistence.” And it begins, and ends, with one VERY simple thing that we can all do ” to adapt to one another and that acts as a bridge between people learning to understand and accept each other.”
“Good Morning, Good Morning” is a twelve minute movie that stars Senator Myron D. Jackson Kenny Floyd, Leroy Gottlieb Jr., Captain Winston Ledee, Captain Julian Margas, Barbara Hart, Angelina Anton, Katina Coulianos, Rabbi Michael Feshbach and is largelt set on St. Thomas. USVI. It explores the history of many cultures coming together beginning with “forced migration and exploitation” and the evolution of French, Jewish, African and Caribbean cultures growing and adapting together to build an inclusive environment based on fishing, agriculture and, eventually, tourism. The film encapsulates the importance of “three tiny dots on a map” and a population of under 200,000.
The film has won awards over the past year at the New York City International Film Festival, Five Continents International Film Festival, London’s Best Film Awards, Berlin Movie Awards and Venice Shorts, Milan Gold Awards and an honorable mention at the Los Angeles Film Awards. After a slew of award nominations came rolling in, the Wonder Lab Films Facebook page humbly announced in March the following.
“Making a mark in the film award circuit with this incredible documentary of love and connectivity of cultures through mutual respect was harder than it should have been. But stories of a purely positive nature almost never get recognized in the documentary film world. Well ‘almost never’, became our reality today. Thank you to the US Virgin Islands for allowing us to witness your brilliance.”
The culture of the Virgin Islands has always been about a group of people adapting to a new existence while overcoming adversity and working together in a beautiful, yet remote and difficult, setting. Many people come here on vacation, and gratefully so. The place is an incredible one to explore and unwind and the heavy economic reliance on tourism combined with high numbers of visitor traffic keeps a lot of residents thriving during the busiest months. But, in the documentary we are reminded that visitors may be here on vacation, but for those who live here, it’s work.
The film gives a quick glance into the fishing and agricultural worlds as well as an emphasis on education. It shows the views of a more “well-rounded” economy, cultural and religious picture than is visible to the naked eye arriving in abundance each day by cruise ship, air craft and charter vessel. It also gives some pointers on one simple thing that we all can to to encapsulate the culture and love in the form of a “blessing.” Give love, get love, if you will.
Good Morning, Good Morning!
Say it to the shopkeeper, to the bar tender, to your taxi driver, to passers by on the street. It doesn’t take long to get into a rhythm and its a great way to “get you started and carry you a long way.”
What if it’s not morning? Well, “Good Afternoon” and “Good Night, Good Night” will get you through those other hours of the day in a respectable manner. The people of the Virgin Islands have a deep respect for their elders and are taught the importance of good manners at a very young age. Good Morning, Good Afternoon and Good Night are the greetings that will get you started in a conversation of mutual respect and acceptance here. And, its SO easy 🙂
About a year after I arrived on St. John, I went back to the states to fully pack up my belongings and make my move here permanent. I found myself saying “Good Morning” to people on the street and using the greeting as a conversation starter. The eyes of bewilderment that met my glance as I warmly engaged strangers had me wondering what the heck is wrong with us in the states! It SHOULD be perfectly normal to greet people in a friendly manner. Even if they are a stranger. So, when you are next visiting, dive into this simple little habit that you will quickly adapt to….Making your stay here more accommodating and friendly. And, it couldn’t hurt to bring a little bit of bewilderment from the eyes of strangers and Caribbean warmth and hospitality back to your hometown with you.
Oh, and watch the film! It’s incredible 🙂