Closing words- Erika

Erika at the Center for Deaf Children

Being back in the Northwest, I can honestly say that going to the Bahamas has been one of the richest experiences for me so far. In terms of academics, I remember having very low confidence about my presentation about type II Diabetes during the fall when we were preparing for the class. After this course, I feel like I can go on and on about it and articulate it to whoever wants to hear about it. Giving two or three times more presentations than the average class really makes all of us know our stuff! There are so many things to explore in the Bahamas and I am so thankful the I was able to see both sides of life– the busy way of life in Nassau and the slow life on the out-island of Eleuthera. I also got to experience things like snorkeling a coral reef, taking a three day ocean kayak trip, and camping on the beach. I miss the people of Eleuthera already because there is something about the Bahamians on that island that words don’t really do justice for. The sense of community and friendliness that is offered everywhere is hard to come by, and it is a bit of a shock coming back and not having everyone who passes by acknowledge me in some way. The interactions with the Bahamians are some of my favorite moments, whether it be in schools or at Coco Plum’s in Rock Sound. For students who take this course in the future, I would have to stressssss the ability to be flexible. This is hard for most US citizens because we are so used to a schedule and tend to get irritated when the time blocks aren’t followed. Getting into that Bahamian mindset beforehand will relieve much of the tension that would be created if the expectation was to follow the schedule exactly. If things don’t go as planned, which they often don’t, there is always a new opportunity awaiting. When our clinic visit went awry in Wemyss Bight, we used that opportunity to do an impromptu visit to the primary school down the street and present to those students. In Nassau, we veered off from our schedule during our day tour to all of the health clinics to stop at the Deaf School, which is something that would most likely not be done in a tour in the US. I feel like I not only learned to accept the Bahamian approach to life, but I also learned to appreciate it and look forward to what new things the day could bring. Along with this, I also want to keep Avian’s words close to my heart– “Whatever I’m blessed with, I do.” These words are what pushed me to contact the Ms. Tessa Nottage at the Deaf school and schedule a presentation to give to the students. This was not initially scheduled for the class, and we were supposed to be done with presentations by the time we left Eleuthera, but I wanted to share my interest in health and what I learned about type II Diabetes in the Bahamas with a community that is very close to my heart. Although the main purpose of this trip was about healthcare in the Bahamas and type II diabetes, I have come away from this trip with an even stronger want to contribute to the Deaf community in the future. My brain is running through ideas and possibilities for the future, and I hope to return back to the Bahamas for a part of it.