This past Saturday was one of my favorite memories since I’ve been here. After a pretty strenuous hour and a half long run for me, our first long morning exercise with our tracks, we had our final Settlement Day. Usually we head to our assigned houses/areas in the afternoon, but because this was our last one, we got to leave at 9:15 and stay the whole day! While some students grew weary of 7 hours exploring settlements, Lexi, Cate, Brian, Tom and I spent the day a woman named Toya Carey, one of the most, if not the most hospitable, kind, and generous person I have ever met. Our day included meaningful conversations about her family and her community, baking lemon pound cake and strawberry cheesecake from her mother’s top secret recipe, and ordering grouper fingers and fried conch from her favorite local restaurant. Despite the difference of age and background, we all got along so well and had such a wonderful time. When John came to pick us up at 4 for the cook out, there was an unspoken but obvious sadness about saying goodbye – so we didn’t. We decided that there was no way we could take the pound cake to the cook out, and the cheesecake wasn’t completely ready, so we planned to swing by to say bye and pick up the cakes afterwards.
To add to the already wonderful day, there was a cook out in the heart of Tarpum Bay that was a fundraiser for Junkanoo, and it was nothing but fun. The students gradually arrived to the local basketball court. The scene was incredible! There was booming music coming from the speakers, students, locals, and faculty alike playing an exciting game of basketball, people cooking and laughing, and just an all-around feeling of joy. After an hour or so of basketball and talking to various people, it was dinner time! We all ordered a meal from a local, small restaurant. I don’t even know if you can call it a restaurant, it was more of a stand with a couple grills and friendly faces in the back – it was delicious. Shortly after getting back to campus we had our very first coffee house! Students had the opportunity to perform songs, skits, and in Cam’s case: bird calls. I think it went very well, especially for the first coffee house. I noticed people progressively getting more comfortable among their peers and the faculty. We had performances from Kaitlin, Emily, Korinna, Hope, Cate, Cam, Ryan, James, Logan and I. Saturday was such a great way to wrap up the week.