Monday, June 29, 2009

Bajan Family Home Evening

Tonight we had FHE at our house. Bro. Alleyne, a counselor in the Branch Presidency, suggested we have FHE at our house. The three pictured here (left-right: Esther, Bro. Alleyne, Shirleen) don't have family that are members, so we got together to have our own FHE. These three all live pretty close to each other, so it's easy to get together. Tonight we watched the Commemoration of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was a recording of the broadcast the Church did for the Prophet's 200th birthday celebration. Before we started the DVD, Bro. Alleyne bore his testimony of the Prophet and talked about how important it is to have a testimony of Joseph Smith and an understanding of all he did to restore the Church and bring in this dispensation. During the presentation, I thought about who I was with and where I was. I was sitting in a home in Barbados with three Bajans, whom I've known less than a month and whom are all a lot older than me, sharing our testimonies of the Restored Gospel. I admire these individuals for their conviction and testimony. I don't know how long each of them have been members, but I know that Shirleen joined the Church 3 years ago and now has a nephew out on a mission in England. I love that even thousands of miles from home, I can still feel "at home" because of the Gospel. I really enjoyed tonight's FHE. I know that the Joseph Smith was a true prophet and I will be forever grateful for all he did and the truths that were restored through him.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Beautiful Barbados

There's a song about Beautiful Barbados, it talks about the surf and the sun. It would be appropriate to post it here if I could find them, but the internet search is being less than helpful, so I'll just have to tell you that there is a song and it talks about the beauty of the island and the need to come back. Already, I can say that if you come, you will definitely want to come back.

Sea, surf, sand, sun--what more could you want?

I found a new beach spot that I really like. I took these pictures on Sunday afternoon. Sunday seems to be the hoppin' day at the beach. The beach was almost empty the day before, but on Sunday all the locals were out, boats were sailing, people had bbq's, dancing, lots of stuff going on.

Sorry for the solo shots, but that's all I've got. I took a whole photo shoot and this is one of the better ones.

Late afternoon sun on the sea is incredible, absolutely beautiful! I wish I was a better photographer, but I think I captured a little bit of the beauty of the afternoon.

This is a gorgeous sunset the other night. I was sitting in my room and saw an orange hue being cast on the neighbors house. I ran outside and saw this. The entire sky was orange!

I love the silhouettes of the palm trees in the sunset. Barbados definitely has its magical moments!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Equinox

I just want to acknowledge that today is the summer equinox, meaning the longest day of the year (most sunlight) and the first official day of summer. I look forward to June 21 every year for this reason and I have come to love and appreciate long summer nights and early summer mornings. Too bad the Caribbean doesn't participate in day light savings time, so it gets dark here by 7pm, even today. Still, yeah for long days!!! Welcome to summer.

My Barbados Home

"New Dawn"
This is the house I live in. All the houses have names and 'New Dawn' is mine. The apartment in the back is 'New Dawn 2.' The front window is my bedroom.
The view when you walk inside the door. This is the formal dining room and behind that wall is the kitchen. To the left is an entertainment room, bedroom, bathroom, and master bedroom way in the back. Lots of windows for natural light. The sun is almost always shining here, so you only need to turn the lights on after dark.
The view from my bedroom window. This is the same window from the first picture. Yes, the windows have bars, but they are pretty bars and might have something to do with storm/hurricane protection. Sorry that I couldn't provide a full picture tour, but the rooms are fairly small and hard to take clear shots from.

Pan American Health Organization: Barbados

This is the PAHO building where I work. After talking with some people, I realized that I never explained why I am in Barbados and what exactly I am doing. Currently, I am at BYU in the Masters of Public Health program. As part of the requirements for the program, I have to fulfill an internship. I'm in Barbados working for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), specifically the Eastern Caribbean Coordination (ECC) office. PAHO is the oldest international health organization and sometime in the 19050's joined with the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Organization. PAHO now acts as the regional organization for the WHO covering Latin America and the Caribbean. Specifically, I am working in the areas of non-communicable diseases (chronic diseases) and mental health, and we cover the 10 countries in the ECC. I just got my project finalized so I have something specific to work on. I will be working on a diabetes project that involves following up with the 5 participating countries to see where they are in implementing a program to improve the quality of diabetes care in the countries. I'll be writing a survey, sending it out to the ministries of health, analyzing the data and writing report on the findings. In addition, I"ll be learning about mental health and working on some mental health legislation for the islands. Should be pretty interesting. It's not quite like building learning centers out of bamboo and twine with machetes and hammers as your only tools, or like playing with little African orphans, but it's still part of saving the world--even office work and program planning and assessing needs to be done. I'm two full weeks into the internship and have another 6 weeks here in Barbados. This internship is helping me to see what public health is on a day to day basis and give me a feel of what a job might be like. I'll let you know how I like it.
Can you name the 10 eastern Caribbean countries (English speaking)? Next post will reveal the answers, prizes to those who can name them all! (Hint: Barbados is one of the 10 countries)
I actually have a huge cubicle and this is my workspace. I get my own computer, phone, drawers, and overhead cupboards. The chair doesn't look terribly comfortable to sit in for 8 hours/day, and it's not. Don't worry, I switched my chair last week to a comfy swirly one and it has made a world of difference! So far, I've mostly been reading and working on a lit review on the burden of diabetes in the Caribbean. Hopefully, I'll get to do some real work this week and get my project underway. I've also been working on writing a project proposal for my MPH project and doing more background research of the main health issues in the Caribbean. I was talking to a friend about what I do everyday and the response was, "So pretty much you're in school." My response back was, "Yes, it is a lot like school, but I'm going to school in Barbados, so that's makes all the difference." Yes, I research, write proposal, write lit reviews, and read a ton. Good thing I like school!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Walk

Barbados Flag

Interesting looking plant and flowers along the road

Me with a view of the Caribbean in the background

View of the island and Caribbean Sea

One of the many cricket fields

Sundays are pretty chill here in Barbados. Church is at a nice leisurely time of 10:00 AM and then the rest of the afternoon is spent doing whatever Sunday activities you would like. Sunday is Shirleen's only cooking day, so we had dinner shortly after church got out...rice, meat something with gravy, sweet potatoes, steamed veggies, and fresh veggies, with lemonade (made with limes, but it's still called lemonade...not limeade). After dinner, we rest. The cleaning comes later and Shirleen gets mad at me when I try to do the dishes right after dinner. My habits are being shaken up a bit with that one! Anyway, I read, took a nap, and then went for a Sunday walk. Every time I go out, I try to take a new path and explore new areas. It's dark by 7, so the rest of the evening is spent inside, so everyone who uses gmail chat should be on so I can talk to people. There's only so much reflecting and reading I can do in one day!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Start of Hurricane Season

My attempt at capturing the pouring rain

Notice the palm tree...and the wind

June 1 marks the beginning of hurricane season in the islands. The season goes from June 1-Nov 1. Fortunately, Barbados is outside the main hurricane belt and hasn't seen a destructive hurricane since 1954. Let's hope that trend continues through 2009. As it is hurricane season, we should expect to see lots of rain and maybe a few tropical storms. Barbados is such a small island that often times the high winds from the storm blow the rain clouds over very quickly and the storm moves back out to sea. Yesterday we saw the ominous dark clouds coming and before we could get ready, the rain blasted down coming in a sideways direction. I ran quickly to my room to shut the windows, but not before the rain had soaked my bed and sprayed my computer which both were sitting about 2-3 feet from the window. By the time I got the windows shut, the rain had pretty much passed by. I don't mind the 5 minute storms, but I don't want to be out walking when they occur...they are hard, fast, and furious. And usually you would be grateful for a little rain to cool things down, well not here, it brings the heat up from the ground and makes it even muggier...but there is that great smell of rain when you can smell the earth. The pictures above are attempts at capturing the storm.

Friday, June 12, 2009

First Impressions

Worthing Beach

Worthing Beach

Flowers across the Street


Road outside my house

Barbados is hot! Last night I got in well after dark and couldn't really see anything, so my first impression was "Wow, I've never felt humidity like this before." It really isn't too bad, but it will take some getting used to. Parts of the island remind me of Mozambique and it's weird when everyone is speaking English. I'm not used to being in a foreign country where I can understand everything. Of course, the English is a little different from mine, but I'm getting used to it...I just have to listen carefully. Here are some pictures that I took today on my walk. Most of them are of the roads and houses and a few of the beach I walked to. The supermarket, bank, and post office are about a 25 minute walk and the beach is across the street. This weekend I will look for other beaches where I can lay out and read. The water is seriously warm and a beautiful turquoise. I can get used to this! Enjoy the pics.

Traveling is Never Easy

I'm importing some posts from the Didenhover blog so that I can start this blog with the beginning of my adventures in Barbados. Here's the first one.

I made it safely to Barbados. The trip wasn't easy, but I made it. The adventure began at 3:18 AM when I woke up from my wonderful night's nap to get ready to leave for the airport at exactly 4:00 AM on the dot! All who doubt my ability to get to airports in a timely fashion should be surely impressed with my punctuality! I arrived at the SLC Airport in plenty of time to get checked in, check my bags, which were impressively under the weight limit, go through security, and sit down in comfy chairs waiting to board the first leg of my flight. So far so good.

The flight to Dallas seemed somewhat uneventful until we were heading down for our descent and hit some intense turbulence. The skies were so bad that they diverted us to Austin where we sat for 40+ minutes to wait out a storm that was hitting Dallas pretty hard. I guess the storm passed and we headed back towards Dallas. I was supposed to catch my flight to Miami leaving at 11:20 AM and by the time we were in the air leaving Austin it was already 11:40 AM--flight missed. I assumed the worst and when I got off the plane went to a ticket counter to figure out what I needed to do. Surprisingly, the lady said my flight hadn't left yet..most flights were delayed because of the storm. So I ran to the tram to take me to another terminal. When I arrived, the person at the gate informed us the flight had already left and kinda looked at us funny for even asking. (I say us because at this time I was running around the airport with a German family who was also on the flight to Miami headed to Aruba). Quickly the ticket people said that we had been rebooked on another flight that was leaving in 30 we got back on the tram, ran through the airport, and made it to the gate about 10 minutes before it was supposed to take off. I thought, whew, I made it, I can get on the flight, and maybe even sleep a bit. As I handed the lady my ticket, something beeped and they waved me back. The German family ran on and I thought, just my luck! Well, something was wrong with my passport, or it didn't register, or something...really I have no idea. The good thing is that I got on the plane to Miami and the rest of the trip was somewhat uneventful. Wait, no I got held up at Passport Control in Barbados because I didn't have the address of where I was staying. I had to call Shirleen (the woman I'm staying with) to get the address and then I was able to get through. The senior missionaries greeted me (they were easy to spot) and took me to my final destination: Plantain Walk, Fords Road, Clapham, Christ Church, Barbados!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Welcome to the Blogosphere

Wow, joining the blogging world! I have sort of already joined as I contribute to my "family" blog, which has turned into Jaime's tribute to Ava, and to the MPH summer adventure blog. But I decided I wanted one of my own where I could keep track of my adventures in saving the world...whether it takes me to Mozambique, Ukraine, Barbados, or Provo--this will be a place to record all those adventures. It's more for my benefit than anyone else's, but I hope you enjoy the ride.