By Cacique Ihna As our van pulled up beside a field covered with more rocks than open land, multiple “Are we here?” remarks filled the car. My scrutinizing eyes surveyed, in confusion, the surrounding area that appeared to be just a random unharvestable plot. Going to the “farm”, I had an image of big, open fields with neat rows of crops, but, instead, random blotches of fruit trees welcomed me. I was a bit ashamed of myself; all term, I have been learning to always keep an open mind and to try to rid all my preconceived notions but that is not what I did. I quickly thought of the farmer, Reverend Nixon, as someone who must have been careless, but, after I met him, I realized how industrious he actually is. He ran a 17.2-acre farm by himself, rarely asking for help from others. In addition, I learned that it is almost impossible to have an organized farm considering the soil composition.

Besides the appearances, the amount of fertilizer, growth-enhancers and insecticides that Reverend Nixon uses also surprised me. I thought as a small-scale farmer, he would grow crops organically. I suddenly became disinterested in him and his line of work. For a moment I lost faith in him and all the local farmers. For a moment, I lost respect. I then remembered what my teachers taught and repeated these past few weeks - do not quickly judge. In retrospect, I saw where he was coming from. Bahamian soil has very poor conditions that prevent crops from growing properly. Reverend Nixon, as a retired man, only had his farm to depend on. If his farm were to collapse, he and his children would have nothing to depend on; he did not have a choice.

In the few weeks that I have been here at The Island School, one of the most important life lessons that I learned is to always, always keep an open mind and to consider all things. Step by step, Island School is shaping me to be a different and better person and I cannot be happier to have been given this opportunity.