Hello from Eleuthera! Students looking out over the night skyWhat a week it has been! Our first academic rotation comes to an end, and we are all amazed at the amount of knowledge we received from our different classes. From learning to fillet a fish, to discovering a myriad of underwater creatures, to exploring and understanding the culture of Eleuthera, this week has been full of excitement and overwhelming discoveries. Finally the Island School community is complete again, with our fellow students having returned from their down island trip.

Last night was a whirlwind of excitement and emotion. Dressed in our best dinner attire, the family that has developed here at the Island School gathered in the boathouse for a wonderful event called coffeehouse. Everyone was amazed by the first performance: an a capella arrangement sung by Annie, Pablo, Maggie, and current cacique Nirina! The enthusiasm grew as we witnessed faculty performances, including a wacky skit from Liz. We saw fantastic guitar performances from Wyatt, Jimmy, Megan (who also sang), and interns Ryan and Brandon. Wild card Emma Murphy sang to Scarlet’s Ukulele and amazed us all with her unknown talent. Maggie blew us away with a fun rendition of Jackson 5’s “I want you back.” We closed coffeehouse with an Island School dance party, in which many of us tried line dancing for the first time. The feeling of community that comes from dancing wildly with great friends is unrivaled by any other. Finally, to settle us down, Liz and Whit lead a meditative and relaxing activity, where we laid down in lines with our feet pressed against the feet of a friend and silently listened to calming music. Who knew so much bonding could occur in one evening?

As we left the boathouse, we were awed by the stunning array of stars that glittered in the night sky. I (Nikki) have never beheld such a beautiful sky; the lack of excessive light pollution made for an intensely clear view of the numerous constellations. I (Nirina) did an amazing chase of shooting stars with Pablo, Annie, Claire, Ben, Graham, and Matthew Lapuck (see photo taken by Graham). The pure vibrancy of the nature above us was comforting and offered us pleasant dreams in the surprisingly cool night air.

While some of us attended morning yoga led by Tori before breakfast on our second day off of the term, others enjoyed a well-deserved sleep in. We hope we can safely say that we all woke up feeling accomplished and proud of all the hard work and “stretching” that we have completed this week. Today brings the promise of relaxation and reflection as we attempt another long Querencia. Our sense of place continues to develop as we feel more and more connected to this place we have begun to call home. We can’t wait for all the surprises and experiences the coming week will bring!

Your caciques of the day,

Nikki Taylor and Nirina Randrianarisoa