Life in The Baha

I’m supposed to be writing more regularly on this blog. I promised time and time again. But every time I sit and try to come up with a topic of interest I fall flat. These days I feel out of touch with my home. I’ve been a short-term visitor there for the past five years I don’t always get to enjoy the simplicity that makes people want to flock to our shores. It’s Better in The Bahamas has been our slogan since I could remember but when I think about the state of affairs and disarray, is it really better?

When I think about this question my basis for comparison are some of the following:

  • Are there new job opportunities?
  • Has crime increased or decreased?
  • Are our political leaders creating and adjusting policies to reflect and better our modern society?
  • Is customer service in the tourism and and government offices improving?
  • Is the country progressing towards self-sustainability?
  • Are we moving towards globalization, meaning are we creating partnerships with other countries  to provider greater opportunities for our people to flourish and learn from others?

A lot of these questions has a negative answer or a long wordy answer which still equates to NO so for me this is troublesome. I’m not bad mouthing my country by any means because I’m sure it could be a lot worse, but at the same time we shouldn’t live in an illusion and be comforted that we aren’t the very worst.

Yet, still there are young Bahamians doing their thing and I must applaud them for making a way out of seemingly no way and creating path of their own. TAP of TAPs Vlogs and Sawyerboy TV are among our rising entertainers. Shift The Culture is making a name for itself getting people to think outside of the box. Kedar In Style (fashion), A Mouth Full (food), and a whole slew of others are out there and I applaud their ingenuity, bravery and talent. One day when all this schooling is done, I hope to lay the bricks down for my own path and add others to the bricks that were laid before me.

So while life in The Baha has it’s challenges, with young people tired of the mess stew we’ve been wallowing in, a change is going to come.

(Almost) Free Education

I recently saw an announcement through the social media websites about The College of The Bahamas offering free tuition to students who passed 5 or more BGCSE’s with specified subjects. I think this is a wonderful opportunity to help encourage students to continue and pursue continued education. For many, as inexpensive as studying right here at home may be, the funds are simply not there in some families, I know there was certainly none for me, thank the Lord for a full scholarship. But with this, it makes a degree more attainable and most students can and should look for part-time work to help cover the cost of books and fees.

Countries like Germany and France have free tuition education all around so to see this, I’m glad that it’s a step in the right direction. What say ye?


Throw Back Thursday

Life was Easy

Life was easy when my biggest concern was convincing Daddy to let me go in the water with everyone else during the summer.

Life was easy when, “Boys play with boys and girls play with girls” but I didn’t follow suit because some days I would be more interested going exploring through the bushes with the boys than sitting on the porch talking with the girls.

Life was easy when our classroom was outside in the backyard and my notebook was a flat stone and my pencil, the straightest little stick I could find.

Life was easy when the hardest math concept was shooting marbles. How did you score points anyway?

Life was easy when “Twee Lee, Lee” and other ring plays kept us entertained for an entire P.E. class.

Life was easy when you simply had to “Freeze! With ya cheesy panties and ya holey jockeys!”

#tbt age 5, maybe 6. I was tiny!

 On this #tbt me at age 5, maybe 6. I was tiny!

Things to consider when visiting a Family Island

The Bahamas is more than just one island. It is comprised of several hundred islands and cays although all not inhabited. You may have even heard of a few celebrities that have bought their own islands (Johnny Depp, Nicholas Cage). Most persons when they visit The Bahamas will stay on one of the larger islands, namely New Providence (Nassau) or Grand Bahama which are the capital city and second city respectively. An occasional few may have even visited the Exumas, Eleuthera or maybe even Abaco. The latter three islands and the rest of the lesser known inhabited islands are what we call the Family of Islands or Family Islands or ‘da island. I guess it would be the equivalent of someone saying you live in the country side where it’s not as populated, people live simpler lives and they’re not as developed.

I may have mentioned in a post many moons ago that I grew up in a settlement with about 600 people on the island of Abaco but it’s been several since I’ve actually lived there and spent more than a week there. When you spend so much time away from home like when you go off to school, you tend to forget some of the nuances that make living on ‘da island feel so homey and rustic.

Fast Food?! Bish where? Sorry, I just had to try the phrase out. It’s what the cool young folks are saying now, but anyway. On Family Islands you are not likely to find your favourite American fast foods like Wendy’s, McDonald’s and the like. Instead, you may find that Tina down the road makes pizza or Martha cooks and sells chicken snacks from her home kitchen (RIP Martha, your snacks will be missed). There will be restaurants of course and little take-away style joints where you can call your order in and pick it up and when you arrive, it’s literally just a building to pick up your food. Just ask the locals where they go to get grub.

There ain’t no 7/11. So it’s 10:30 at night and you feel like having a soda so you want to run out and get one from the nearest gas station. That’s not going to work out well for you because most gas stations close when the sun sets and may or may not be open on Sundays provided that there is a gas station in the settlement itself. In the Marsh Harbour area of Abaco, there are gas stations that will be open at that hour because it has a little more city vibe to it, but not in Exuma. Ohh no! One gas station is run by this little old lady who looks to be about 75 years old so she’s not about to keep shop til 10pm so you can quench your thirst or more importantly fill your tank to make it the last 45 miles to your house. No, nah, nope!

Cash Rules. After spending time in the States where I can literally use my debit card to buy a piece of candy, when you come home and don’t have any cash, you tend to grunt and make the Ugh sound quite a bit. Sometimes the ATMs are inconveniently far and some places that do take credit cards have a minimum amount you can spend or their machine may not be working that day. Before you arrive, it’s best to bring some cash with you (USD is used) and supplement at an ATM in the main town as needed.

Mosquitoes recognize foreigners. Yea they do! You had better get familiar with OFF! brand of insect sprays, smoke coils and the like because the mosquitoes will you drink you like a mojito on a hot day. In my settlement, if the mosquitoes didn’t get you, the sand flies surely would and they would have to fog the mangroves because the mosquito swarms were ridiculous.

CP Time. Some call it colored people time but we operate on island time. It’s already a very laid back environment so don’t go with a rigid expectation that things will start or finish on time. If you’re not doing business, just chill and hakuna matata the situation. Some people though, are very time specific, like my Dad so it’s pretty much the luck of the draw on that one.

Whichever island you choose to visit, enjoy the night sky. Take a stroll on one of our many beaches.  Talk to the locals to find out where to get the best conch salad. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun.

Baha Mar or Nah?

Bahamar has been the talk of the town as this multi-billion dollar resort missed their target deadline to open earlier this spring and additionally, it’s developer Sarkis Izmirilian filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June. I personally never cared for our country having a mega resort but my opinion doesn’t matter and now that it’s almost, kinda, sorta here, I only wish them success because it means thousands of Bahamians can be employed. As for right now, those persons who were hired will now have to find other jobs and persons who jumped ship from the other hotels to get on board the blue Baha Mar bus will more than likely not be able to get their old jobs back.

There were a lot of issues and concerns with this project from the beginning including whether or not BEC (our one and only electricity company) could realistically provide energy to the island and this mega resort sufficiently. There were complaints about the quality of work produced by the Chinese workers brought in to help build this behemoth.

I just hope things can work out for them. As much as I’d like to share a thorough and well-developed opinion on the matter, I just don’t have the care to do so. For more information and updates, follow The Tribune. I like to think that tourists come here looking for a tropical, slower-paced, different kind of vibe, especially if they’re coming from bigger and more developed countries. Our islands in the sun don’t need a mega resort to be a selling point, we have nature and wonderful, friendly people. We have an amazing culture and a rich history worth sharing and merging to support the tourism industry.