As an urbanite, I was apprehensive about my journey into the bush of The Bahamas. The class started off with a video of the old resort on Eleuthera. The commercial tried to set up a paradigm of luxury and class. The narrator of the commercial remarked that Cape Eleuthera resort has been “untouched except by the nice things in life.” After finishing our discussion, we set off on a trek with skilled leader Remo as our guide. In pairs of two, each group was assigned a particular plant to discuss. My partner was Jackson and together we walked down the path to the first group, no knowing what to expect. What were my fellow classmates going to teach me? The first group spoke about one of the few mahogany trees left on Eluthera. The next group discussed two plants, the Scrub Palm which is used for textiles and the Cabbage Palm. Hannah told Jackson and me that we could eat the cabbage palm. The palm actually tasted really good. It reminded me of hearts of palm which I usually eat with salads. Jackson and I were in charge of discussing the Bahamian coffee plant. As a huge coffee lover, I was ecstatic with my topic of discussion. At first, I hoped that I could eat the coffee bean. However, I learned that the beans are not ripe. Ramo said that perhaps in a few weeks the beans would be ready to be roasted, ground up and then drunken. The only problem with having a cup of “Bahamian coffee bush coffee” was that the plant only had enough beans for about a cup of coffee. As fellow classmates walked by, Jackson and I acted as though we were tired and wanted coffee. Then we started to explain what the coffee plant was. After I learned about all of the different plants from my classmates, I found my self in a new mind set. I loved my surrounding. I thought it was so exciting how one simple trip through the bush and you can come out with a whole new perspective. Sitting with my class in the field eating coconuts I had time to think. What does it mean to live on an island? Yes, it literally means to be on a piece of land that is surrounded by water. On a deeper level, I think that to live on an island is when you are in a sense of isolation. When sitting around a circle discussing our day with my human ecology class, I felt that I was on my own personal island.
On this island I had the capability to think about my life. I pondered, when do I actually spend time with nature? Yes, I do on the weekends go to my country house and go to farmers markets and pick fruit but, living in such a hectic city like New York, I am never able to get back to my “green” routes. I feel like I have set up a paradigm in my mind that I am not an “outdoorsy person.” I would much rather be sitting at home then on a hike. My paradigm needs to be shattered. I think that with just one week on academic classes behind me, I have already altered my point of view.