Student Update September 17, 2012

It’s been yet another busy but rewarding weekend at the Island School; Saturday was jam-packed with activities and yesterday, Sunday, we got a day to ourselves to relax and recover from the week. Saturday was our first Settlement Day, so we all went out to either Deep Creek or Tarpum Bay – two of the nearest settlements – to get to know some of the locals. Friday evening we were split into groups of anywhere from 3 to 6 people, and assigned to a local family. Our goal for the next two Saturdays is to interview and really come to understand the past of the families that we got to know this weekend. We’re supposed to record our semi-structured interviews and create a video presentation for History class. The idea is that the best way to learn the history of a place and a people is to learn from the people who actually lived that history. My group got to visit a woman by the name of Donna Lee, who works for the Ministry of Tourism. She offered us ice cold fruity drinks and we sat around her dining room table and talked to her for hours. She had such interesting views on tourism and politics in the Bahamas; Bahamians typically get very fired up when it comes to politics, but she was laughing as she told us how ridiculous she thought all that was. We were told that she loves working in the tourism industry because she wants to show everyone about the culture here on the island, and she talked about her family and growing up in the Bahamas. It was definitely one of the most interesting, relevant history classes I think any of us have taken, and I think I learned more in those couple of hours than I would have in a whole day reading from a textbook.

After dinner on Saturday, all 46 of us went out to collect firewood and by 8 o’clock, we had a campfire going on the beach. It was a great way to wrap up the week with everyone sitting around the fire, talking and listening to music and making s’mores. Ryan and James had their guitars out and the atmosphere was all around relaxing and that of a community. As I lay back with my friends and looked at the stars (which are really amazing here by the way) I felt quite at peace. The shooting star I saw was really the cherry on top for the evening. Yesterday, we had a chance to sleep in, so we all woke up feeling quite refreshed. The day was spent lounging at the beach, catching up on homework, and studying for our Marine Ecology quiz. After a run and some yoga starting at 6:30 this morning, I’ve realized just how important that day of rest really is. They keep us busy here, but I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this week.