Wellness and Community Projects – Part 2

This morning we caught an early breakfast and began the hour long drive to Governor’s Harbor. There we attended a meeting at the same place that we went to the night before for Rotary. The meeting was mediated by Sean, a philanthropist on the island who is active throughout the communities. The daughter of President Lyndon Johnson, Luci Baine Johnson was in attendance as she owns a home on the island. The topic of today’s discussion was the health of the citizens of Eleuthera. We heard from several nurses who mentioned the unique challenges that they face here. Nurse Ingraham is involved with the schools on the island and had many great ideas, not only for treatment of current conditions but also for prevention. We all found her speech to be very interesting because it reflected on several of the challenges that we noticed in the schools while we gave our talks about diabetes. Nurse Ingraham hoped for improvements including better food for lunches and potable drinking water in every classroom. Typically, school lunches are provided by a local vendor who sells their food items to the students. There is not cafeteria in these schools like we are used to seeing in the States. A lot of this food is often fried or prepared in a way that doesn’t encourage healthy eating habits. Changes could be fairly simple and the effects would likely be powerful.

We also heard from other individuals including a woman who had hopes of implementing a hospice care service on the island so that those who are dying and wish to spend their last time here on the island can do so. The leading diabetes nurse, the director of the Windermere foundation, the editor of the local newspaper, a group of nursing professors from Emery College and our very own Janet Peterson gave remarks about improvements that could be made around here. The suggestions made by Janet reflected what we have seen during our stay on this island and were received quite well. There was some talk that established a better plan of action, but we didn’t get a chance to stay until the end! Luckily, we were fed great food (stuffed chicken, scalloped potatoes, salad and steamed vegetables) before we headed out.

Our next stop was Deep Creek Middle School where we each met one on one with a student. The students have been busy coming u with an idea for a project that would benefit their community. Topics included prevention of littering, the financial impact of foreign investment, domestic violence, discrimination and maintenance of beaches on the island. They bounced ideas off of us and we made a couple of suggestions for things that they could improve upon. Afterward, we had a chance to watch junkanoo practice as they prepared for the upcoming junior junkanoo. Some of us even grabbed a drum and started trying to learn the beats! We got word that there would be basketball being played at the school around 4:30 so we headed back to change. Allison stayed at the school while we all left and helped to make some pretty incredible junkanoo costumes!

A group of six of us headed to the school to play basketball. It was a mix of local students, island school staff and us college kids. We showed them how we hoop in Oregon! Overall, it was a great group of people and we all had a blast. In the evening we returned to have dinner and talk about our upcoming kayak trip.