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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 2

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Just another day in paradise! Most of us students started our day right as the sun came up on a swim/run workout with various high school students and teachers. The combination proved to be challenging for some, myself very much so included. Nothing like a large gulp of salt water early in the morning to wake you up! In between preparing for our presentation to take place later tonight and studying in the sun, we helped with some Island School community projects; divers scrubbed the bottoms of the boats as others painted one of the large diving boats both inside and out! Sounds horrible, I assure you it wasn’t! Between helping out the school and further darkening our current base tan, we were able to spend quality bonding time with each other and watch as some humorously (on our end) showcased their talent with painting, or lack thereof as evidenced by paint displayed across their body and clothes all on accident. It was a great time and I know we are all looking forward to tomorrow where we can further assist the members and community of this school as such a large group.

After all of our hard work on the boats we all took a bike ride to the marina for what we thought was some beach volleyball until we realized we had never checked out a ball. The nice thing about being on an island surrounded by beautiful ocean is that it’s not hard to find something else to do. We sun bathed, played tether ball and went for more bike rides! I know today sounds like all fun and no work, but I assure you our time here is not solely spent lounging in the sun. After dinner we took about an hour car ride to meet with the Rotaract Club of South Eleuthera. This club is made up of individuals between the ages of 18-30 years old. It was started in September of 2011 and the members meet about every 2 weeks. We met today with various members. They discussed the clubs mission of community based service projects such as raising money for the local school of those with special needs, in addition to holiday gatherings for the children of the area with gifts that promote literacy. Many articles have been written about their efforts in the local news, some of which can be found at: www.eleutheranews.com. I was told the club was started as an effort to keep more individuals between the ages of 18-30 in Eleuthera as many leave to the US,  UK, Canada, etc for schooling or careers and never return as they feel no adequate living can be made here. The group unites their people and showcases that a life can be made in the Bahamas and Eleuthera.

After, Brody Kadow, Nick Rawlins and I led a discussion on why we are here; type 2 Diabetes in the Bahamas. Those present knew a great deal about the condition and how large of an issue it is for Bahamians and why. Many issues were brought up as to why Bahamians get “the sugar” as often as they do, a main one being diet. The Bahamian diet consists of many foods that are fried, greasy, full of sugar, or fast. In addition, many believe it is too expensive to eat healthy—however, a young man present stated it another way–eat simple. In addition to diet, another main factor was that, like many people, life happens and routines are broken, even good ones. After being diagnosed with DM type 2 or suffering from a complication people will attempt to change their diet and exercise more, but then they have work, it gets dark earlier, they don’t have the funds to support it, or nobody is checking in on progress consistently. It seems like a constant source of opportunity and support is needed for these individuals to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle. Although some Bahamians can be stubborn and set in their ways there is a desire to live a healthier lifestyle and attempt to prevent the sugar or complications that will one day arise, so maybe with our help and suggestions a change can be made and hopefully continued. This meeting gave many of us great ideas for our health and wellness fair and taught us a great deal about Bahamian culture in terms of DM. I can’t wait to continue our journey in making a small difference here in Eleuthera.

Rosemarie

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