Wellness and Community Projects Part 1

We had another early start today, heading back up to Governor’s Harbour for what we thought was a small meeting with one other person. We arrived to find a yard full of cars, and found that it was a much bigger deal than we thought! The meeting was with the Cancer Society Eleuthera Branch health and wellness table, and we saw some familiar faces from last night at the Rotary meeting. We heard a lot of good things, where a number of local nurses talked about things like childhood obesity, diabetes, and school nursing. One thing that nurse Regina Ingraham said while she focused on childhood obesity, is, “We want a healthy nation, but it begins with healthy children.” She made points about the lack of attempts to teach the children healthy habits at a young age, and I think this goes beyond the Bahamas, this is something that the nations that have been influenced by westernization are all dealing with. The trend of people getting noncommunicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) and obesity has been increasing, and the saddest part is that they are all preventable. They all develop from the same things: lack of activity and an unhealthy diet. Children are young and impressionable, and if they can develop a healthy lifestyle at a young age, the chances of developing those diseases are so much lower, and the chances of the diseases causing complications of health is put off because the complications are developed after having the diseases for a long time. Much of the meeting revolved around ways that would motivate Bahamians to develop a healthy lifestyle without completely altering their culture.

Our plan was to go back to the island School for lunch and then meet with students at Deep Creek Middle School to help brainstorm ideas for community service projects, but the meeting went longer than expected and we ended up eating lunch at the meeting and then arriving a bit late to meet with the students. I thought that we would have to give the students ideas but we got there, and each of the students already had a topic picked out so each person in our group paired up with a student. I was with a student named Joveena, and her topic was about domestic violence in the Bahamas. Some of the other topics were Bahamians understanding the rules regarding beaches, ways to prevent littering, ways to keep kids off the streets and out of trouble, and a bunch more. It was good for all of them to bounce their ideas off of us, and I was impressed with how specific their topics were and the ideas that they came up with. After their class finished, we stuck around to watch their practice for the Junior Junkanoo contest next weekend! The boys played the drums while a few girls danced, but most of the girls stayed inside and started working on the costumes for the contest. I helped cut some paper, and then went back and forth between the costume making and the music practice. I played the bass drum for a little bit, but I was too intimidated to try the other drum because the boys were really good at what they did…I didn’t want to ruin the vibe.

After that, we went back to the Island School for a bit before some of us went back to the middle school to play some basketball! We played for about two hours so my feet are feeling it right about now. There were people from Island School there, as well as some locals so we all mixed up the teams and played together. The initial group we came with split up so some people left earlier while myself and two others stayed to play longer until it got too dark to play anymore and caught a ride back with the other people from the Island School. I’ve missed playing so it felt good to get a few games in! Then we had a meeting at night to prep for the 3 day kayak trip we will be going on, and then another small meeting to prepare for the wellness fair that we will be running tomorrow in Rock Sound!

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