We’ve now been in Eleuthera for almost a week, but let us go back to last Saturday at 12:00 PM when our adventure truly began. Eight eager students, one extremely brave instructor, and over twenty suitcases met at the airport to board our flight down to Nassau. After an unknown mechanical glitch kept us on the edge of our seats for two hours, we deplaned only to reboard the plane a mere 600 seconds later. Not to stray from the luxurious norm of us ABSN’ers, we were met by a friendly Bahamian taxi driver who somehow managed to squeeze all 9 of us plus luggage into his lavish van (we will spare you the details, but be on the lookout for us in next month’s issue of Ripley’s Believe or not).
Although Constance booked us a room at a casino resort, we focused on celebrating Amanda’s birthday, soaking up as much AC as we could, and resting up for our 4 AM wake up call (who thought a 5:30 AM flight was a good idea? we’ll never know). A quick 45 minute flight later brought us to our final destination – the family island of Eleuthera. Our “home away from home” for the next 14 days.
After catching up on zzzzz’s, Monday morning arrived, and we hit the ground running. Students were paired and dropped at 4 different clinics across the island. Rock Sound and Tarpum Bay clinics in the south, and Governor’s Harbour and Hatchet Bay clinics in the north. These clinics have provided us with a snapshot of the people, culture, and the function of healthcare on the island.
We have witnessed the nurse take on the role of doctor, pharmacist, social worker, secretary, psychiatrist, and friend to all who walk through her door. Here in these community clinics, incredibly personable care (always with a smile) is provided with fewer commodities than we are afforded in our skills lab. The nurse’s ingenuity and passion for her craft and native people mitigates for the lack of resources seen across the land. Throughout the past week, we’ve witnessed first-hand their desire to educate and motivate patients to tackle their non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
But we must mention, it is not all work.. Thursday we took a field trip to The Island School, which is a sustainable, eco-friendly, and research driven boarding school (for details refer here http://www.islandschool.org/). After learning all about permaculture, aquaponics, and marine conservation initiatives, we set out on a winding, unpaved road to Mrs. Rose’s for a delicious, family-style traditional Bahamian lunch.
Following lunch, we spent the afternoon swimming along the beautiful pink sand beaches on the Atlantic Ocean until a massive storm sent us running for home.
We wrapped up the night with an evening filled with karaoke and fellowship with the Tarpum Bay locals (all footage of karaoke will be destroyed upon leaving the island.. sorry folks! But whether she claims it or not, Dr. Coburn can “sang” my friends).
Please stay tuned for updates as we continue our experience immersed in Bahamian culture.
So long for now,
Mary Chandler & Elisabeth