“Our New Families in The Bahamas” October 3, 2010

By Caciques Taylor Schendel and Will Overman

            This weekend the entire student body spent their time off campus living with their homestay parents. For the majority of us, this was a new experience, and leading up to Friday afternoon there was some serious trepidation. Taylor and I spent our time in Deep Creek with veteran homestay parents. Taylor stayed with Nehemiah and I stayed with Donnalee. The weekend was full of authentic Bahamian cuisine consisting of succulent lobster, sweet conch, and yellow snapper that would rival that of the gods.

            So, I, Will Overman will now tell my story: I arrived at Donnalee’s Friday afternoon and was quickly welcomed into the family. As Chris Daniell and I made our bed, Donnalee prepared chicken sous, which neither Chris nor I had eaten before. It was amazing. It was a combination of sweet, tangy soup with chicken that fell off of the bone. The next day, we all got up and went into the fields to pick some okra, sweet peppers, and bananas. After that we went back home to prepare the next meal. Donnalee gave me a tutorial on preparing conch, and then I pounded the conch until the cows came home in order to tenderize it. Once all of the food was prepared we went over to seaside and grilled out. As if this wasn’t enough, we then went to a gospel concert in Green Castle. The next day, Sunday, we didn’t have much time, but we made it to church. It was my first time to church in the Bahamas and really didn’t know what to expect, but I had a great time and did a lot of singing. Besides being chased by a bunch of local kids throwing Knapps (small Bahamian fruits) at me, church was the highlight of my weekend.

            Taylor: During my homestay weekend, I stayed with Nehemiah and Bernice, a longtime Island School family. I immediately felt at home when we were offered dinner right away, and it was comfortably informal. It reminded me of meals I have with my family back home, where not everyone eats at once, and the kitchen is always open for seconds. Then, we spent the night hanging out with Krissy, our DCMS buddy, playing Uno in her grandmother’s shop. It was obvious that we didn’t need constant activity to bond and have fun, something as simple as helping her grandmother organize shelves was just enough. The best moment of the weekend was Sunday afternoon, when the Redskins Eagles game was on, and I taught Bernice and Miah what 4th down meant, and how much a field goal counted for. After a whole weekend of mostly learning and observing, it was nice to be able to teach a part of my own culture, to my new family in the Bahamas.