by Caciques Ihna and James Yesterday, we visited a cruise ship port inSouth Eleutheracalled Princess Cays. Through our interactions with tourists, local Bahamians and cruise ship employees, we were able to get different perspectives on how the industry affects the individual lives of local Bahamians, and their economy as a whole. For most, this trip was an eye-opener. We started to realize how muchIslandSchoolis really changing us, how it has affected the way we act and think.

Ihna:  During our tour of the facilities, we often asked questions that related to how sustainable the area is. They were atypical questions, like “How do you get rid of your waste (both human and garbage)?” and “Do you use chemicals to get rid of the mosquitoes?”

All in all, it was a very interesting experience. It was really our first time being around non-locals and in fact, for me, I felt more comfortable approaching the Bahamian workers than the tourists. I felt a disconnection or a difference between me and the tourists, despite the fact that I am from the same country. I, along with most of the students, considered myself as something more than just tourists in this foreign land. Unlike the people from the cruise ships, we enjoyed more than just the pretty beaches and clear, blue waters of The Bahamas. We have enjoyed the company of its people, feasted in its delicacies and savored the many aspects of its cultures. We were here for a purpose that is more than just for vacation; we are here to learn, we are here to become a part of the culture and its traditions.

James:  Princess Cays was like a whole different world than the small community The Island School is centered around. It was a strange experience to see people experiencing The Bahamas in a different manner than I have during my stay here. My time here has been centered around getting to know local Bahamians at different settlements and trying to immerse myself in the local culture. Most of the people I saw were simply experiencing the beach and amenities that Princess cruise lines provide. It was a completely different experience than I had, and one that was hard for me to relate to. It made me feel strange that these people weren’t experiencing Eleuthera the way I had, all they had to remember The Bahamas was a sandbox beach and clear blue water. I felt distant and divided from the tourists, wishing they had and could experience Eleuthera in the way I had.