Days have been flying by around here and I can hardly believe the program is almost half over. Some updates on what has been going on:
· Killed a baby lizard in our room the other day. Not on purpose, just trying to get it out.
· Ate rice and beans for probably 8 out of 10 meals this past week until the food boat came on Wednesday. I am not joking. We literally had no food left, and just canned fruit mixes—no fresh fruit or vegetables. Wednesdays are GREAT days here;)
· Learned about and chose our directed research projects. These projects will take a lot of our time during the second half of the semester and will culminate with a scientific paper and presentation. I am really excited for mine, it is a social science study about livelihoods on South Caicos and what people would like the future to look like. Apparently there is a lot of entrepreneurial spirit here with people wanting to improve their lives and that may actually be possible when tourism comes to South, which could actually be within 30 years. Edd (the professor) is collecting research about these perspectives so he can present to the TCI government regarding their spending on the island—eg. Using their allocated investment money for microlending.
· Getting very sick of bugs running across the floor at night when you turn the bathroom light on. My clothes not smelling very good. Needing a freshwater shower. Also had a little black flying beetle-thing on my pillow one night and then it flew on my face and then I quick shoved it out of my mosquito net. I’ll be ready not to have to sleep in one of these things when I get home. It is very annoying to be boxed in like that.
· This week we had midterm exams. Which was absolutely crazy. We had Monday and Tuesday to study and then 3 hour essay exams each day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The first one was resource management which was mostly concepts and memorizing formulas so we could do some relatively simple calculations. That definitely took work but the test wasn’t too bad. Marine ecology was next and the professor literally requires you to know every single word that was on the powerpoints, came out of his mouth, or was in the readings. Questions on the test could be as specific as “what is the length of the pelagic stage of a Caribbean spiny lobster?” and “Name the 30 types of turtle scutes”… in other words, RIDICULOUS. We all studied all day on Wednesday and then that night another girl and I decided to keep working at it and we ended up staying up all night. Shirley took a 2 hour nap from 4- 6am on the concrete floor of the computer room, but I kept studying. You know it is serious when by 5:30 am our entire SFS group was back up studying for the 8am exam…and it was still dark outside! The test was difficult because of the fact-specific questions and some pretty detailed essay questions, but since I had studied for so long I felt confident about it. And then crashed that afternoon!! Friday was environmental policy which still required studying but was much easier than the other two. And now we’re done! (for the first part of the semester).
· Then Aimee and I went mermaid bathing because we were all hot and sandy, and we decided this needs to become a regular occurrence. When in my life will I ever have the chance to bathe out in the ocean under the stars and lightening? Being able to shampoo your hair and look out over the horizon which just keeps going and going with water is absolutely amazing. We had a wonderful talk about having a relationship with Jesus and being a light on this program. Apparently the staff have said that this is the most diverse group they have had yet, with people on both ends of the spectrum, which is interesting but I think we all get along pretty well and there is definitely respect for each person.
· This morning the waves are too rough to dive so we went snorkeling instead. Didn’t see much but it was fun to go out.
· Outreach this afternoon. I am on crafts.
· Tomorrow we are going on a field trip that starts our fall break. We’re taking a ferry to North Caicos in the morning (an hour and a half away) and then setting up our campsite. Those that know me know that I am not a camper (I have never even been before) so we’ll see how this goes;) In the afternoon we are going to a variety of ecotourism sites typical of the North Caicos community, which has a population of 2000 and is mainly agricultural and handcraft based. A local lady is preparing our dinner and then in the evening some people will be going sharking (first time Aaron has collected elasmobranch data outside South, so he’s pretty excited) and others will be doing the national seafood survey with North residents. This survey is attempting to quantify how much seafood and what kinds of seafood people are eating so scientists can estimate total fish catches and possibly reset quotas that are too high. The TCI government has asked SFS to do this data and it is the first time any SFS center (around the world) has done research on a national scale (yes, this is a small country, but still very cool for them). Monday we are doing a day trip to East Caicos to see some ecotourism in action there and do more surveys. Camping again this night. And Tuesday morning bright and early we take the ferry to Provo, which is only 10 minutes away. We check in to our hotel (oh my word a hotel. SOOO excited) and then spend the day surveying tourists and locals there. We get pizza for dinner (again, SOOOO excited) and then we have 2 speakers that night. Wednesday morning is touring a conch farm and then by noon we are released for break!! Most of the group is staying on Provo and others are going to Grand Turk, but I have a 3:30pm flight to Miami where I will spend the night (by myself… we’ll see how this goes;) before a Thursday morning flight to Jamaica. I have always wanted to see our world relief activities there and God has worked it out so wonderfully for me to go while I am “relatively” in the area. Plus, the ACWR board in charge of Jamaica will be there the same time I am and one of the members goes to Silverton –so I will get to see a familiar face!! I am very ready to be with church people again and to sing again!
· Wow this was supposed to be a short post but clearly not. Anyway… I am trying to savor my time here and not wish it all away when I miss home (and weather at home;).
I'm a twenty-something from the Pacific NW making home in new places as I follow where God leads.
My intent is to show Christ's love to the world and use business to solve some of the social problems we face: hunger, illiteracy, healthcare, economic hardship. For now, I'm in a stage of learning. A little adventuring, a few books, some good friends, and a whole lot of prayer and life runs on.