I’ve gathered some of my favorite shots from 2013.
In 2013 I experienced Haiti in March, and the Bahamas in December. I witnessed the beauty that is my stubborn and exquisite hair growth. I successfully completed 75% of my graduate program in Speech language Pathology. I inked Costa Rica’s unofficial motto on my hip. Life was great to me in 2013. Cheers to an even more delicious 2014!
Read more about my exquisite goddaughter here and here.
This was my second time visiting Nassau, Bahamas. The first time was in 2010, and it was for vacation purposes only. It was a quick get-away trip in the middle of summer to get away from the monotony of work and life as usual. The second time I was there was only a week ago, I went as a student to provide speech and language evaluations. There was some down time for extra-curricular activities as well.
What I Ate: (Restaurant names in the caption)
Oh Andros is a Haitian-owned restaurant in what’s known locally as Fish Fry. Fish Fry is also known as Arawak Cay (located on West Bay Street), it is a gathering place for islanders and visitors seeking Bahamian food such as conch salad, conch fritters and fried fish made fresh.
The food pictured below is from Bahamian Cookin’. I visited this restaurant back in 2010 and I was glad to see it was still there with renovations! I enjoyed the broiled grouper, plantains and rice and peas (although the rice and peas were tomato-based, I preferred the rice and peas from Oh Andros)
My friend had more conch fritters with fries and rice, macaroni pie, and rice and pies. Macaroni pie is the same thing as macaroni and cheese except the pasta is typically the larger, thicker pasta and the consistency is more pie-like, if that makes sense. It sticks together more like a pie.
We got a boat of roasted corn, chicken wings and fried conch fritters.
What I Saw:
Lobby of the British Colonial Hilton
What I Did:
We worked at SeaHorse Institute, a school for children with severe disabilities. From Monday-Thursday we provided hearing, language and speech screenings and evaluations for families in need.
Hello lovelies! I am back from the service trip to Nassau, Bahamas. Four graduate students traveled from December 14th to December 21st to provide speech and language evaluations and hearing screenings to families on the island.
What I learned:
Although both are islands in the Caribbean, Haiti and the Bahamas are distinct in many ways. By many standards, the Bahamas is wealthier. They are economically driven by tourism and there is access to services. Whenever there is a shortage of those specialized services, parents have the option of flying to Florida to receive the care that they need. In Haiti, they are still struggling to rebuild their economy after the disastrous earthquake of 2010. Not only are the services scarce, but people don’t have access or the opportunity to seek the care their children need as it relates to speech and language services.
When I took into account the fact that “service” is relative to where you are traveling, I had a clearer perspective. In the Bahamas, there is a shortage of speech and language therapists. Families wait on long waiting lists to receive evaluations and diagnosis, early intervention efforts or laws to protect children with disabilities do not exist.
I grew so much as a clinician as I was afforded many firsts: family intake interviews, learning how to use iPad apps for evaluations, early intervention (0-3 years old) evaluations and an in-service workshop for families in which we talked about what a communication disorders are and how they affect special populations of children (for example; children with Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders and strokes).
How I grew as person:
Patience. Working in a group and learning when to speak up and when to fall back. My whole graduate school career has revolved around group projects, and although I understand their importance, I also can’t wait for the independence that will come when I’m a certified clinician!
Learning to take constructive criticism on the spot and applying it.
Learning that I shouldn’t be so eager to speak for others. Allowing people to learn how to speak for themselves.
Understanding the type of traveler that I am, and the type of people I feel most comfortable traveling with.
Choosing my words wisely, and maintaining something I learned while working in hospitality called “charitable assumption”– the idea that I will think the best of someone, and not the worst, when a situation arises and their motives are not known or clear.
Overall, I am thankful for the experience. I grew professionally and personally. I have one more semester left in graduate school, can you believe it? I started here, and now graduation is in sight. These two years have not been easy, and I still have some hurdles in front of me, but nothing I can’t handle without my great team of support, God, and hard work.
Thanks to all my faithful readers on the journey! I appreciate all your words of encouragement, your silent prayers, and your belief in me!
Things you may or may not have known about the archipelago that is know as the Bahamas.
7. Lucayans (Indians who are believed to have migrated from South America) ruled the Bahamas for several hundred years before Columbus arrived in 1492. When he did arrive, he abducted and enslaved all the Lucayans to work and they died in the gold mines of Cuba, or diving for pearls in shark-infested waters. Spain had little interest in the islands, which had no precious metals or stones.
6. On October 12, 1492 Christopher Columbus (in search of China) changed the world when he dropped anchor on the island known as San Salvador (Holy Savior). The island was claimed for the King and Queen, Ferdinand and Isabel.
5. On July 10, 1973, the Bahamas became a sovereign nation, being previously under British rule.
4. Its government is based on the Westminster model– including Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, a 2 chamber Parliament and an appointed Governor General, representing the symbolic head of state.
3. The archipelago (cluster of islands) consist of 700 islands, most are which uninhabited.
2. One of the local delicacies, known as the “snail of the sea” is conch. Conch is the firm white meat of a mollusk, and cooked any way you want it. It comes in conch fritters, conch chowder, conch salad, conch burgers, and even cracked conch. (Source)
1. Tourism is the driving force of the economy in the Bahamas. The tourism sector is worth an estimated $2.3 billion. A new resort mega resort, Baha Mar, is scheduled to open in December 2014.
EXTRA FUN FACT: The Bahamian tri-color flag: black stands for a unified people, gold is for the natural resources of the land and aquamarine is for the country’s ocean water.
Hello lovely people! I have been blessed to attend another service trip, this time to Nassau, Bahamas in exactly one week! Most costs are covered, but nightly dinners are not included. Please consider donating to a worthy cause. I, along with 3 other graduate students in speech-language pathology will be offering services to needy families that include: hearing screening and speech and language screenings. Some of these families desperately need help, and have been waiting months for services!
Read here, for more about the work that’s being done.
I am so thankful for you thoughts and well-wishes. If you cannot give, I understand. But please know that every little bit helps!
Man, this year is almost over. 2014 is almost here. I just want to take some time to BE HERE. On Thanksgiving Day. I’m currently sitting in my friend’s living room near the Jersey Shore. With a red plush blankie wrapped around my person and Nanny McPhee on the screen. This is my 196th post! I’m so thankful you’re reading it.
I’m thankful that in 2 weeks, I will have one more semester left in my Master’s program! Class of 2014!!
I’m thankful to have met so many great people on Twitter, people who always check in, interact and talk back to me! Some fave tweets of late: