Homestay Adventures: Rosemarie and Brody

This weekend we had the opportunity to stay in the home of Donnalee and Burcil Miller in Rock Sound. Their home seemed to be the only two story house in the settlement. They had a beautiful rock wall with a white picket fence surrounding their property. We were a little nervous when we arrived because our original host family came down with the flu and the Miller’s accepted us into their home last minute. Burcil is retired from the Bahamas Electricity Corporation and Donnalee works in the Ministry of Tourism. She often travels to Princess Quays where some of the cruise ships come to port.

We arrived Friday evening; Donna was leaving for a church meeting and Burcil was at a work function. Therefore, we went to a local restaurant called A&T’s for dinner just the two of us down the road from their house. We had cracked conch and fried fish fingers with a large helping of peas n’ rice (beans and rice)—all smothered in ketchup! After dinner, we spent the evening watching TV and discussing sports, politics and health with Burcil and Donnalee’s uncle. Successful evening—went to bed early in our large comfy beds; much better than the bunks at the Island School!

In the morning, we slept in compared to the early mornings we have had. We woke up around 8:30am and Donna asked us, “Whatcha sleepin’ on? Your money?!” She explained to us that only the rich can afford to sleep in. Most people spend their mornings working. Donna took Rosemarie out to the “spice tree” in the backyard to clip a couple of leaves for tea. For breakfast we had white (potato) grits with sausage and scrambled eggs. Over breakfast we asked what she normally does on Saturdays. Donna told us that Saturdays are the day that they normally clean their houses. Naturally, we asked if there was anything we could help with. Donna accepted Rosemarie’s help, but wouldn’t let Brody help with any cleaning. She made it clear that the men rest on Saturday mornings while the women take care of “tings.” So, Brody awkwardly watched TV while the ladies tidied up the house. After a short run to the beach, we returned home just in time for lunch; “souse.” This is a soup made up of chicken wings, potatoes, plantains, green peppers, onions boiled in water and lemon juice. Delicious.

Donna took us both to her second favorite beach on the island at Gibson’s Creek. We drove about halfway there and walked the rest of the way due to the many pot holes located on the uneven road. It was well worth the walk because it was beautiful; our favorite beach thus far. After we all (Donna included) walked the sandy shallows and chatted we ventured back to town. On our way we stopped at the Miller’s family field where they are currently growing tomatoes, onions, okra, cabbage, corn and green peppers. The garden was amazing, with some of the sweetest tomatoes we have ever had (even Rosemarie liked them, and she normally hates tomatoes). The family uses fresh vegetables from the garden for most meals. When we returned home the Millers daughter-in-law had fried some conch fritters for us to enjoy. We had those and leftover soup for dinner. We spent the rest of the evening chatting with the family around the TV. Brody was able to watch the 49ers beat the Saints before we headed to bed at an early 9:00pm.

Donna had to work on Sunday, but she still woke up at about 4:00am to prepare Sunday dinner for the entire extended family. She let us sample a bit of the baked fish that she had made along with yellow (corn) grits for breakfast. Afterward, she took us to her cousin Dani’s house (who works at the Island School). Dani took us to the Methodist church that she attends in Wemyss Bight. There we met up with a couple of our classmates who came with their host families. It was a great experience and showed how similar church is across countries. After church, we headed back to Dani’s mother’s home where Dani prepared a feast (with Rosemarie’s help!) Rosemarie made the local mac n’ cheese with Dani’s recipe and cut up the vegetables for the salad (we even had ranch dressing, FINALLY!) Dani also made a beef roast, rolls, pumpkin rice, fried grouper with tartar sauce. It felt like Thanksgiving dinner back home, Bahamian style. Brody played basketball with the kids. J After lunch we were dropped off at the local softball field where a game was about to start. Brody played basketball with more kids while Rosemarie caught up with our school friends that were also at the game. We didn’t stay long as Donna was off of work and wanted to take us home.

When we returned, we spent some more time watching TV (apparently our new favorite pastime). Donna still had a lot of food leftover from the meal earlier so naturally we had to sample it. Of course, the Bahamian portions for a sample are much different from ours. In the end, we each ate an entire second meal. The meal featured mac n’ cheese, the fish from the morning, cole slaw, potato salad, rice and okra. It was delicious just like everything else that Mrs. Miller makes! We then watched a little wheel of fortune with Donna and some of the political programs on the local channels before Jay and Janet picked us up. Donna gave us a little care package consisting of fruit and canned tomatoes (they can them in old beer bottles!)

Overall, the experience was great. Having the opportunity to meet such incredible people is always a blessing. We now feel like we have a second family here in Deep Creek! We would like to thank the Miller’s and Dani for taking us in on such short notice. We definitely didn’t leave hungry!

-Brody and Rosemarie