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

2012-01-17 Time in School

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Today, Nick, Christian, Allison, Kelsey, Don and I were able to go to Central Eleuthera High School early in the morning to talk with two classes about diabetes! While we were off doing that, the other 6 people switched off in groups of 3 between going to a local health clinic, and working on a service project here, which was cleaning another boat today. On the way to the school, we weren’t quite sure where it was so we found a group of three boys in their school uniforms so we stopped to ask for directions. Apparently, we went quite a bit further than we needed to! The boys said that they could show us the way if we gave them a ride because class started at 8:45, and it was pretty close to 8:45 already. We told them to hop right in, and we gave them all a ride to class! At the school, it seemed somewhat typical of the schools in warm areas, with gated doors and windows for the classrooms from the outside, instead of indoor classrooms. Very small school, from what I could see.

We were sent to a classroom first and sat around for a bit when we got a message that we were supposed to be in a different classroom, so we said goodbye to the kids and they were very friendly and said goodbye to us, even though we were only there for a couple of minutes. Christian, Nick and I presented first to a high school class with mostly seniors. There were about 30 or so students, and they were a fairly talkative bunch, and their laughs were contagious! Loud, but they were quieted down pretty quickly and I really enjoyed the visit to that classroom! Don, Kelsey and Allison presented next to a different classroom, which was a group of about 10 boys. We had everyone sit in a circle, and it seemed like this group was much harder to get to open up and have a discussion with than the other. It wasn’t until we started talking about Bahamian food and activities that they like to do that the conversation started flowing, and I had a great time getting to know them. I was surprised by the number of people that like to swim, because I was always told that local Bahamians do not like the water! There were a few boys who said that they swim to a small island nearby, and they really like to go free diving, which is similar to snorkeling, but then you dive down and hold your breath while you stay under water for a while. The boys were saying that they go down to about 30 feet sometimes, and I believe it because there is one person at the Island School that stayed down with the SCUBA divers for a good while and he was free diving. After the presentation was finished, we hung out around the classroom and chatted for a bit, and I talked some basketball with the students. Everyone here seems to love the Bulls, Heat or Celtics, which are my favorite teams so I was happy to hear their choices.

On our way back after the presentations, we stopped to get food in Tarpum Bay. There was a bakery nearby, so Christian and I went in to scope it out, and they had just taken cheese danishes out of the oven, and I was extremely hungry so I bought one and shared, very much worth it. Christian wanted to try something he had never had, and he wanted it right out of the oven so he was waiting until something new was pulled out of the oven. The rest of us went to a restaurant and got some baked chicken. We finished our meal and ordered for Christian, and he still wasn’t back yet. Finally, we walked back to the bakery, but he wasn’t in the lobby area! I was wondering, “Where could he be?” so we asked the cashier if he was in the back room, and she said she would go get him! The baker opened the door and said he would be out in a sec, and we saw Christian in the back, “Hey guys!” He started helping out with the baking and he came out with what looked like flour on his shirt. I told him that it felt like we were his friends asking his parents for permission to play with him. Also at the beach, we saw a family that goes out in the morning on the boat and gets conch from the sea, and brings it back to sell to the restaurants nearby so they have fresh conch. We saw how they pulled the conch from its shell, very cool. One of the ladies was deaf, and I saw her talking to her daughter. She wasn’t signing to anyone, but I could hear her talking so I went ahead and asked her in sign language if she was deaf and she said yes. I asked if she signed, and she said no. I didn’t want to interrupt their work, but I continued to observe their family. The father was also deaf, and they communicated to each other with signs, but it was not American Sign Language, they looked like homemade signs. I could still understand most of what they said to each other, and the way they signed seemed very poetic, using the sun to talk about time and how far out to go on the boat. I was extremely intrigued by it and I wish I could have talked more with them but they were on a conch rush and I didn’t want to impede.

When I got back to the Island School, I wanted to go try and run the loop that I had heard so much about, so I gave that a go! It was nice run, but it was a bit flatter than I am used to…not many hills here! But I noticed a lot of side roads from the main running road, and they all lead to water, so on a day when I have a lot of free time, I want to go check out all of the beaches- maybe I will find something cool! Ive heard rumors that there is a hammock at one of them, so I must investigate. I ended up running the loop, and then coming back the other way. About halfway on the way back, I realized I was by myself and I found a nice shady spot, and there was a great song on my iPod, so with all of those factors, I started doing a dance workout by myself. I kept an eye out for any runners that would be coming around the corner because I thought it might be kind of hard to explain myself. Luckily, no one snuck up on me. After I got back, I was wiped and waking up early doubled my tiredness, so I have a feeling I will sleep very well tonight!

Erika

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