Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Little Farmers Cay, Family Island, Bahamas

Little Farmer's Cay is one of my favorite communities in the Bahamas.  Why?  Because we were allowed to be a part of that community!

Somehow, this blog was erased after it was initially posted, and I am trying to re-write it months later. Because I may not remember all the details now, I can tell you, that I remember the community acceptance that I felt there. I have NO photos of Little Farmers Cay. These are photos from the Cay directly across, Great Guana Cay.

When I was in Marsh Harbour, I met a couple on a sailboat that had a few bags of items that they had planned to take to Little Farmer's Cay, to the pastor there.  The weather had kept them from getting down into the Exumas, and I volunteered to take the items, (Coloring books, crayons and markers, toy trucks, and miscellaneous other items for the kids at Little Farmer's Cay) with the caveat that I wasn't on a schedule...  Another sailing couple gave me toys for some of the family islands, which I added to some I had brought, and I had the joy of handing out toys and coloring books in a lot of the smaller communities.

Anyhow, back to Little Farmer's Cay...  I had never stopped at that island before, so while Allen took a recovery nap from our beach combing, trail hiking, cavern exploring day, I took the Whaler into the town dock at Little Farmer's Cay.

A couple of friendly gentlemen greeted me and helped me tie up while asking me if I wanted to buy anything, if I needed a guide, a meal, etc.  I explained that I didn't want to buy anything, but had come to give something.  I explained I had some items for the church, and asked if they knew where I could find the local pastor.  They informed me she was off-island for the next ten days, but one gentleman said that he would escort me to a church board member.  We walked up the dock into town, bearing a couple of bags.  I greeted everyone we passed, and together we delivered the kids' supplies. 

My escort asked me if he could buy me a drink, and I thanked him, and told him I didn't drink.  He laughed, and asked me if I drank water or coke.  I followed him into the local bar, and began a delightful afternoon.  Several of the town residents came in, and we set about discussing, if not solving, various world problems.  The lady next to me suddenly turned to me, and asked if I had plans for supper.  I stammered something about a starving teen-ager I'd left on the boat.  I thought she was trying to get me to go to the local eating establishment. 

Suddenly the whole room was involved, and the next thing I knew, Little Farmer's Cay had decided to have a spontaneous community dinner fish fry, cooked over an outdoor fire.  Plans were made as to who was bringing what, and my orders were to bring nothing but Allen.  I returned to the boat, and Allen and I returned to the dock for one of the most fun evenings I've had in the Bahamas!

The guys took Allen under their wings and taught him to play dominos, Bahamian style.  There weren't any teen-agers on the island, as they had evidently all gone to Nassau that week.  They treated Allen as a young man, and he had a great time.

I enjoyed helping cook over the open fire, and eating the different items being cooked up.

Most of all, I enjoyed being treated as though I was an extended member of the community rather than a tourist.  The little kids were all running around playing together, when three six or seven year olds came running up to me to settle a dispute.  One little girl was whining, half crying, and told me, in a tattling tone that the boy had thrown a stick at her.  I asked the little boy, "Did you throw a stick at her?"

He looked down, and then protested, "She threw a stick at me first!"

"Did you throw a stick at him?" I asked the little girl.  The subsequent looks told me both of those two were guilty. 

I started into my adult tirade.  "I don't care WHO started it, both of you are smart enough to know better than to throw sticks at somebody, don't you?"  They nodded.  "What would happen if you hit them in the eye with a stick?" (Hey, its the age-old line, and it works pretty well...)

I think I demanded apologies to each other, and asserted that if they couldn't play nice with each other, they'd have to come back up with the adults... (the untimate threat) The kids went back to playing, and a couple of aunties came up behind me and nodded their approval, and we went back to where we were cleaning up.  No one thought anything about it.

Why had the kids run to me?  Because I was the closest adult in the community.  Yep, that's how I knew I was part of the community.  The aunties agreement confirmed it.  It really does take a community to raise a child. 

Later, I had those same kids snuggled up to me as we sat together, enjoying the warm atmosphere of the Family Island.

I'm looking forward to going back to my extended community family at Little Farmer's Cay.

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