Hurrikin Flerd

In lieu of the Philippine’s tragedy involving Typhoon Haiyan, it made me think back to one of the major hurricanes I’ve experienced, Hurricane Floyd of Sept. 1999. Thankfully there were no deaths on the island of Abaco due to the storm, but I’d like to share a bit of my experience.

My dad had gone out on “the banks” on an extended crawfishing trip and came back early because of the impending storm. And since I was already staying by my cousins, I wanted to ride out the storm with them because they were going up to the local hotel. I was 10 so I was not thinking, maybe I should stay with my dad and secure my belongings because what 10-year-old thinks of those things. Anyway, us along with what felt like was half the town, were in this hotel, people crowded two or three families to a room, others piled into the hallways in dim darkness.

When night came, so did the winds and they surely did come! Many of the rooms had glass sliding doors that sang soprano notes as the wind threatened to burst through. It was a bit scary. But in the midst of all of this, I was excited that I got to sleep on the floor in the corner of the hall next to my then crush. I know, a major storm is going on and I’m excited and couldn’t wait til the next day to tell my best friend about it. I was not a fast child so sleeping literally means sleep because when I woke, he was long up and gone.

The next day, some parts of town were still somewhat flooded, large trees that I had once thought would never move, were thrown across the roads and of course there was no electricity or water. Some of the graves had been unearthed, I know, creepy. When we were finally able to go back in town down the road to my cousins’ little wooden home, watermarks on the walls indicated that water was over 5 feet high in the house. Had we stayed there, my little four foot nothin’ self would’ve been bobbing to stay afloat. The house itself was no longer liveable. Surprisingly, all of the items we had placed on the top bunk bed in the room were dry and untouched as though nothing happened. Our uniforms, still neatly pressed and our books unscathed. My cousin should have listened when we told her put the desktop computer up on the bed too.

My cousins ended up moving in with me and my dad and we spent the next few days tearing down the house.  That was fun, breaking down the house, that is until I stepped on a wooden board with a nail that thankfully wasn’t rusty and I wasn’t going to die of tetanus. In my dad’s house, besides the tv’s doing the titanic sink into the water, the house was still in tact with no major losses. I did lose my baby book and keepsake items, the only things I wish I would have saved.

The town spent the next few months rebuilding and relying on aid from the U.S. which including donated books and computers to the school, t-shirts and other articles of clothing and other essentials like food and water. It was an interesting experience, I pray I never have to relive but through any situation, once you have family and support, you can get through it. That year, me and my fellow 6th graders, weren’t sure we’d even have a graduation, but we raised funds, and sold cakes and did everything we could and had ourselves a well-deserved graduation in June of 2000.

Not sure how to end this, but feel free to share experiences you may have encountered with hurricanes or other natural disasters.

How to help the Philippines

 

 

Roach on Ya Bread!

If you have truly submerged yourself into Bahamian culture, you may have heard several of the following phrases:

Roach on ya bread!

Dog eat ya lunch!

Ya wybe sour!

Dat one name ova!

Oh what poets we Bahamians is! All of these phrases basically mean the same thing, that your situation is not good. Surely, seeing a cockroach on your food item would make you not want to eat it, no matter how delicious that food was going to be.  The first phrase however, also has another layered meaning to it. See if you can figure it out from this song:

Get the drift?? No? To put it eloquently, it’s a sexual reference to someone stealing your significant other. Roaches are nasty, sneaky  creatures, which could aptly describe someone trying to steal another’s s.o. If you’re not familiar female anatomy slang then I’ll let you figure out what body part the bread is in reference to.
I know, it’s a bit vulgar for my liking but people use the phrase to describe other not-so-nice situations.

Maybe you can add these to your list of Bahamian metaphors and maybe even use them, although as said in previous blogs, when using Bahamian slang or phrases, do so carefully and wisely.

What Not To Wear

When I was a kid in grade school, there was one day we all looked forward to: anti-uniform day. These days came far and few in between but this made each one special. The day you got to dress up in your own clothes at school for $1.

In The Bahamas, students must wear a uniform, in both private and public schools. Each school has it’s own rules concerning what was appropriate and allowed.

I went to two religious private schools for junior and senior high so the list of what you were allowed to wear was extensive, or minimal depending on how you look at it.

  1. When standing at attention, skirts or short pants must be past the tip of your fingers.
  2. Clothing cannot be too tight or fitted.
  3. Shirts must have sleeves (i.e. no tanks tops, halter tops, tube tops etc..) unless it’s being covered with a jacket (to be worn at all times).
  4. No visible stomach.

Leggings weren’t a popular item at that time so I’m not exactly sure how administration is dealing with it these days. The uniform rules were even more detailed.

Students in Kingsway Academy uniform. I went to this school from 9th-12th grade.

Students in Kingsway Academy uniform. I went to this school from 9th-12th grade.

Despite these rules, I would dress up every single time, because it represented a slice of freedom. Freedom of individual expression typically unseen in my knee-length hunter green skirt and white, short-sleeve button-up with the school crest on the pocket.

Two of my favorite outfits came about in 9th grade. One was a baby blue terry cloth J-lo track suit. The other was an Asian-inspired fitted shirt and some jeans my grandmother bought me that I still have and wear to this day. They were, to me, age-appropriate “sexy” when everyone else thought I looked so cute.

We on the uniform-wearing side of the fence used to wish that we could wear our own clothes everyday and those that do wear their own clothes to school would probably gasp at the thought of wearing the same stuff as everyone else. But I understand it. Worrying about what to wear is annoying and time-consuming as it is now, but imagine this during a time of teenage hormones and social pressures. Look at some of the issues American schools are facing with what is deemed acceptable school attire:

Leggings

Graphic Tees

Cheerleaders

These and many more issues could be avoided by simply wearing uniforms. Now of course, this does not mean it will eliminate social pressures… The brand of school bag (Kipling), shoes (Clarke’s) and brand of pants (Dickie’s) were all status markers. But think of how much less financial stress it would be if you only had to buy your kids 2 or 3 new shirts instead of an entire wardrobe each semester.

I think many of us could not wait until we got out of high school and into college so we could wear whatever the heck we wanted but for many in the work place, this still meant another uniform of some sort. In culinary school, I wore a chef’s uniform and my first “job” after college also had a uniform. In a way, all that uniform wearing just prepared us for the real world.