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Journals from HHPA/HESC 398 Island Health Care: Type 2 Diabetes in the Bahamas January Term 2012

2012-01-17 Eat Simple: part 1

I had an excellent morning today, as we woke up a bit early (6:15) to go on a run-swim. It is where we swim a certain length until we reach land, and then start running until we reach the next stretch of water, and then swim until we reach land again, and then there is one more stretch of water we swim and then we looped back onto the road and ran all the way back to camp. It was quite a workout, and apparently there are really five stretches of water and not just three, but since it was everyones first time doing it, they kept it shorter for us. I am looking forward to doing it the full length next time! Anyways, after we arrived back from the run, Kesley wished me a happy birthday, and I remembered, “Hey!! Today’s my birthday!” so I had a great start to the day!

We spent the morning preparing for a presentation that would take place with the Roteract club at night, which is like a Rotary Club for people between the ages of 18 and 30. The people leading the presentations today were Rosemarie, Nick, and Brody, so the rest of us broke up into groups with them and helped them prepare. After that, we spent the rest of the late morning helping Ron with a project! He is fixing up one of his dive boats, so some of us were given the task of painting different things and others who could SCUBA dive cleaned the bottom of the boats. I took the job of priming some window trim and when I finished that, I painted primer on the back of the boat and some areas that had recently been sanded down. Ron seemed very grateful to have a group of 12 people make his job go much quicker :) Ron took some time at dinner to let us know how much he enjoyed having us around, and that we have been one of his favorite groups that they have had for a while at the Island School. I was very proud of this, and I am sure that the others in the group were pleased to hear this as well! After lunch, we had the afternoon off since we had to work during the evening, so we took some bikes out to the Marina nearby and relaxed by the water. This was extremely enjoyable and relaxing, although I think the sun may have drained us so the amount of energy we had didn’t change much. Still, it was a much appreciated break and I used the time to just lay down for a while, and then scope out the beach for seashells and rocks. Yes, I still do that, and I still jump over the waves when they come in…not afraid to admit it!

For the presentation, we drove out to Tarpum Bay, which is about an hour or so away and met with the Roteract club I mentioned earlier. We were supposed to start at 7, but when we arrived, the building that we were supposed to meet at hadn’t even been opened yet! Bahamian time at its best. We met a lady named Paulette, and we were warned by Janet and Jay beforehand that she LOVED to talk. She did not disappoint, as she was telling stories the entire time we were waiting. She had a friend with her too named Roland who kept to himself for most of the time he was around us. At one point, Janet asked him if he was from around the area, but he wasn’t paying attention. I was standing next to him so I was planning to tap him and refer him back to Janet, but before I could do that, Paulette slapped his leg so quickly without even turning her head away from Janet! Paulette reminds me so so so much of my grandmother in Mexico. Same hairstyle, same walk, same type of stories, same voice inflections, same clothing style, same mannerisms. So many things reminded me of my grandma, and she made everyone feel so welcome, it was very nice to see. After we finally got into the building, well after we were supposed to start, people started to trickle in one by one, and eventually there was about 6 people there. The woman in charge wanted to keep it fairly informal, so we put all the chairs in a circle and the presentation was very much discussion style. I feel like I learned a lot more from them than they learned from us, but hopefully they feel that way about us! One thing I noticed that seems to be a recurring theme related to eating food in the Bahamas is that people tend to say that it is tougher to eat healthy because it is more expensive to eat healthy, and looking at all of the prices of food, I can see why people would think that! But a man named Coblan changed my mind about that today. He said that he always hears people say that but he doesn’t think it is true. He has a religious background, so he eats food that are more natural– earthy foods. He said that people tend to think that eating healthy comes from having lots of variety and having expensive things, but he said all people really need to do is, “Eat simple.” I related to this so much because there are certain meals that I feel like I could eat every day that are good for me, but I don’t because people expect that variety in the states. He was saying that he could eat the same food everyday or every two days and get all of the nutrients he needs, and not get sick of it either. I really appreciated him saying this, I never really questioned the whole idea of variety before. I don’t think variety is a bad thing at all, but if people can get by with eating things they love that are good for them, and they get enough of all the vitamins and minerals that they need, why not eat that everyday or every over day?

I wrote an email last night to Ms. Tessa Nottage, the principal at the Deaf school in Nassau, asking if it would be possible for me to come back and do a presentation for the school about diabetes, since that is an audience that may not usually get the opportunities for presenters. I heard back from her today, and she was all for it, saying that she would see me when I got there. I was very happy to hear that, so I am taking on that little project of my own. Also, we found out today that there is a Special Education school here on Eleuthera with 11 students, and there is at least one Deaf person there so I want to make a visit there and see how that school is run and hopefully talk a bit with the students there. With both of pieces of information coming today, the conversations with the locals, the time in the sun, and the run-swim today, the day was topped off with a full moon in the sky on our way back to the Island School, and it made for a wonderful birthday.

Erika

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