So now that I am back where the internet is great, I'm going to try to post some of the underwater videos from this semester. If you want to see what its like on a dive or snorkel, check them out!
Of course, a shark video. (This is a reef shark from one of our dives.)
Also cute... sea turtles!
Baby sea turtle... keep watching this one-- it gets good!
How we back roll into the water for dives. It is Aimee and Drew in the video but at the very end Molly hands me the camera-- I have the yellow snorkel and am signalling that I entered the water okay.
Swimming under The Arch-- dive site.
Close-up of a bunch of jacks at The Arch.
Spiny lobster--key commercial fishery of the TCI-- on an evening dive.
Thanksgiving, though a warmer holiday than usual, was still filled with festivities and excitement for those of us on South. A good three weeks before the day, a sign-up was posted for what dishes people wanted to make (for those cooking-inclined, not me..with no knowledge of the the kitchen) so the needed ingredients could be ordered in time. A shocking number of people signed up to make food and so we had a FEAST of grand proportions. The cooks humored us (clearly Thanksgiving is not celebrated there) and cooked 3 good sized turkeys with two types of stuffing. Student contributions included more stuffing, several types of mashed potatoes and gravies, several types of sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, brussel sprouts, cranberry, dinner rolls, some kind of Jewish bread, salad, and MANY kinds of dessert. (Clearly people wanted to take advantage of the apparently-unlimited ordering of sweets). We had a ton of pies (many pumpkin, some berry), individual apple tarts, and individual caramel/chocolate chip pies. So much food! And since it was a regular school/research day for us, this big meal was for dinner... which meant no one wanted to go to bed. Aimee and I decided to take a LONG walk to make up for it and on the way through town some locals made some joking comments about if we enjoyed our turkey and stuffing. We ended up walking past town out by the airport where the lights were few and the stars were unlimited. It was absolutely gorgeous and put in perspective as we knew it was only a week until we would leave for home, back to our respective cities and away from this wide-open island.
I decided to include some more recent pictures I took of the center so you can picture a little more of where I was living;).
Tonight marks exactly 1 week since I left South Caicos and the most amazing three months of my life. Now to catch up on festivities from those last weeks in the Caribbean since I know my blogging kind of fell off a cliff.
..Starting with when I got sick. So the whole semester people had been getting strange diseases and skin irritations, a combination of our active-and-in-the-water schedule and not being used to such a hot climate. I had been lucky enough to skip out on these problems and had enjoyed skin that was even more moisturized than at home since the weather was so humid! All until a few weeks into November, when I got a suspiciously large blister/irritation on my leg and after one day I knew it wasn't just a weird bug bite. I knew Chloe had gotten something similar and then waited a week or two before going to the doctor and the blisters spread all over her legs-- and I did NOT want that to happen so I talked to the student affairs manager to get to the doctor as soon as possible. My friend Leah had been having eye problems and so Molly took the two of us together one day before final exams. So. It even though I hated that I had to go to the doctor on my study abroad, it was actually a REALLY good experience and eye-opener for me... it was so clear that this is a developing country and the funding, equipment, and care available is SO much lower than we have. The clinic is a nondescript white building at the edge of town and the waiting room consists of airport-terminal seating and a TV showing some dark movie clearly not kid-centered. Everything is sterile white and the walls are covered with posters in many languages, mostly about not discriminating against people with AIDS/HIV or how to wash your hands or how to prevent the flu. It was very clear that AIDS/HIV is a big issue in this country. There are no appointments at the clinic; you just sign in and then wait (however long) for the doctor to see you. Leah and I waited an hour and a half before we got called back by the nurse, dressed in very 1990s-looking white "scrubs" (with a scalloped hem), who took our weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar. It was nothing like a doctor in the states where you would be in a private room with the door shut and the nurse would be writing on your own chart, not a common list of all patients' information. We were then sent on our way--with fingers still bleeding from the finger prick, no bandaids here--to the hall where more chairs were set up to wait. The doctor then called people one at a time into her office where she sat at her wooden desk and the patient sat in a folding chair. I probably talked to her for under 2 minutes: she asked about my symptoms, looked at my knee, and wrote a prescription. Not surprisingly, the TINY "pharmacy"-room in the front did not have my or Leah's prescriptions and so we had to get them sent over from Provo. Again, interesting how the system works: we called our antibiotics over to the pharmacy and they sent them to the dock in Provo so they would come to South on the 4 o'clock ferry.
I really do feel for the doctor, as she is one of 5 doctors for the whole country of the Turks & Caicos, and so she must carry her phone 24/7 and respond to every call she gets because it may be life or death and she is the only qualified professional. I wouldn't want my whole life to be on call!
Anyway, that was anticlimactic and my knee healed within a week. Leah, on the other hand, had a very bad case of pink eye so she could hardly open her eyes. She was instructed not to dive, read, write, or do anything that would strain her eyes--which was slightly difficult because it was finals and finals-studying time. She ended up taking them late, but still it influenced her activities much more than my "disease". This was mid-November and we were all running a bit low on energy and sleep, so it was no surprise when one of the interns picked up pink eye as well and then the next week someone got the flu.
I had been "healed" and healthy for probably only 2 days when guess what... I got the flu. Joy!! I haven't gotten the flu in YEARS and it was not pleasant to have the experience...ESPECIALLY in this environment. It hit at midnight one night after finals were over and I felt terrible all night and got probably 30 minutes of sleep. My roommates knew it was serious when they found me on the bathroom floor in the morning: let me tell you, you would NEVER even sit on the bathroom floor unless it was a dire emergency because that place was GROSS-- cockroaches, ants, beetles, hair, sand, and anything else you can imagine. Since we are always in and out of there after snorkels and dives, it never stays clean and we somewhat stopped trying. So yeah, that was a serious low point and I didn't really eat for the next two days; even after that I was a bit scarred from that experience so I stayed away from rice and beans (bad memories).
There was a slight cycling of that bug through the center, but most people just didn't feel good but didn't actually throw up, and didn't have it as long as I did. I got dizzy walking around for a good 3 days afterwards and couldn't eat real food for at least that long as well.
CLEARLY, my immune system was absolutely zip at this point because next I got the cold bug! This was around the last weekend I had on South, I had went through the sore throat--stuffed nose--congestion--cough--runny nose cycle for a few days (and missed some dives, which was a serious bummer, but I joined in on the snorkel group's trips and they were amazing as well. I did rejoin my dive group for our last dive and it took forever to clear my ears and get down to just 40 feet but I really wanted to go;). And to top it off, I woke up on the last Monday with an irritated eye so I had to wear my glasses for the last week. By that point I was telling people I needed to get home so I would stop getting all the germs! I was sure a broken leg was next!
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.