The homestay experience was one of my favorite parts of the trip so far. It was hands down one of the most enriching experiences I have had on this trip because I was completely immersed in the culture for a few days. I was paired with Sarah for the home stay, which worked out well because we are both vegetarians. We stayed in Wemyss Bight with a 72-year-old widow. She lives in a big house by herself with her two dogs. Her husband passed away from diabetes about eight years ago and her 11 children have all moved out of the house and live in an array of places, including London and Canada. Sarah and I arrived on Friday night at Naomi Simmonette’s house. We soon found out from the people around town that she goes by Ms. Ami. After we unpacked we chatted with Ms. Ami and tried to get to know each other a little better. When we told Ms. Ami that we don’t eat fish or meat, she could not get over it! It was hilarious, she kept saying over and over “you don’t eat what I eat so I cannot feed you!” It was funny, but soon I found out she was serious. I was forced to eat tuna for one meal because that was literally our only option, but besides that Sarah and I walked to the local store a few times for snacks and ate homemade bread and rice for almost every meal. The homemade bread was so delicious, but I think I gained 50 pounds over the weekend from all the carbohydrates I ate. Anyways, back to my Friday night, after we got settled in and ate dinner, we walked to Wemyss Bight Primary School and helped out with Junior Junkanoo decorations and costumes, which was fun. We only stayed for a little bit though because we found out that we had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to catch the bus at 5 a.m. for the St. Luke Anglican Church’s 150-year celebratory walk-a-thon!
On Saturday we woke up, loaded the bus at 5 a.m. and picked up a few other people to join us for the walk-a-thon from a few different settlements. We probably didn’t start walking until 6 a.m. and walked for at least an hour and half or maybe two hours! It was a pretty amazing walk. The sun was rising and we were able to talk to new people while getting some morning exercise. Ms. Ami did it at 72 years old, which shows how active she is! She did awesome, but told me how sore she was when it was over. At the endpoint, which was at St. Luke’s Church, I met a few more Bahamian people and was able to talk to them a lot about all sorts of things. It was a great experience and everyone was so friendly. After that we rode the bus back to Ms. Ami’s house, Sarah and I took a nap. During our nap time Ms. Ami made more bread, which I was bummed about because I wanted to learn how
she made her bread so yummy…but I definitely needed to sleep. After we woke up we had lunch and helped Ms. Ami around the house for a little before driving to Rock Sound to go shopping at a little local store. We ended up eating dinner in Rock Sound at this place called Sammy’s because Sarah and I were not about to eat another meal full of bread. Sammy’s ended up being super good! Later that night, Sarah and I walked down the street to a dance club called “Talk of the Town.” It was completely empty. We were the only ones there for a while and we didn’t stay long, but it was still a fun experience and the music was great!
Sunday morning we woke up and went to church with Ms. Ami at 8 a.m. It was an interesting experience to say the least. There was yelling, tons of incense, and singing. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It was really fun though at the same time and it was wonderful to see a different culture in that environment because religion is such a huge part of the Bahamian culture. I loved that we were able to go to church, we met some people their and because we were guests to the church, Sarah and I had to stand up and introduce ourselves and tell them about ourselves which was a surprise but it was very nice of them to recognize us. Then we went back to Ms. Ami’s place and changed into our bathing suits because we wanted to see the beach at Wemyss Bight. It was by far the most beautiful beach I have seen, the water was crystal clear and the sand was so soft. The weather was perfect so I layed out and searched for seashells before heading back to the house for lunch. Then we packed and were picked up at around 2 p.m.
I didn’t want to leave at all, I wanted to stay for a few more days because Ms. Ami was wonderful and she seemed lonely and sad to see us go. I hope to see her again because I had such a great experience staying with her and getting to know her and all her friends. I am so glad I had the opportunity to do this homestay because I learned a lot… I could write forever about everything I experienced during my time with her, but this is already too long so I’ll stop now.