Life on the Cay has been nice…slow-paced but I’m enjoying that. I’ve been busy applying for jobs every day but in between working with my mum cleaning houses. I’ve also been spending as much time into the kitchen and into my writing as I can squeeze in. Cooking for my mum has been particularly enjoyable – although she’s not always sure about my weird combinations and there’s a lot that I’ve been learning from her. Albeit it is usually a case of ‘you should have done it like this, not like that’ after I’ve already cooked it. Mothers, eh?
Recent freelance work has been so much fun and includes recipes for a local magazine called Abaco Life as well as more historical-based articles and so I’ve been putting in some time at Green Turtle Cay’s Albert Lowe Museum where my Dad works. I am forever calling him the ‘Oracle’ for knowing as much as there is to know about the contents of the museum and you know what, it’s just been so nice to spend time with him there whilst getting my brain filled with this island’s history. I even helped him give a tour to over 50 school kids, I recognized the complete boredom on their faces so I tried my best to keep their interest by relating their lives to the children who use to live on the Cay. “Imagine sharing your bedroom with all of your brothers and sisters”, “not having an indoor toilet”, “these would have been your toys”, “you would’ve worn this” etc – the reactions were priceless.
Being in the museum and working for Abaco Life has also allowed me to appreciate and work with some of the local history in the form of artwork. Above are some photos of summarizing some of the island’s industries: turtle hunting (now illegal and less common, thankfully) and boat building (also less common which is unfortunate). There are also paintings, breathtaking like this one of Green Turtle Cay’s most highly admired midwife of the 20th century, ‘Dana,’ by local artist Alton Lowe. What a beautiful woman she was described to have been and who delivered majority of the children on the cay who are now grandparents and great-grandparents. Green Turtle Cay is such a small place (5 miles long) so the amount of history it has is really quite incredible. It’s practically overflowing with it and with the restoration of some of the Cay’s older homes (the ‘Chamberlain’ house below will be featured in one of my next articles in Abaco Life), it’s really reassuring to see that the past is being held on to.
Another favorite house of mine, with its aged white and pink exterior (below), is for sale. Where’s this high-paying job I’ve been aiming for so that I can save it from disrepair and termites?! If anyone knows of a job – please feel free to send my blog on!
Green Turtle Cay was first settled in the 18th century and was once a booming place to live. We had a cinema and live performances which drew in people from the mainland of Abaco on sailboats and other vessels. The architecture, which I particularly love, can be related to that which you can find in Key West where many were transported from GTC before and after the Great Hurricane of 1932. With that destructive hurricane, the population dramatically decreased – people went elsewhere to find work and to rebuild their lives but, it’s starting to regain its popularity with tourists. With a population of about 500 people (everyone knows you and you know everyone) and with life as slow paced as it is, I am always amazed that people find it…this hidden gem of unspoiled paradise.
A lot of people ask what it’s like to live in the Bahamas – I don’t know what it’s like to live in the capital of Nassau or the out islands way down south like Long Island where my family originate from, but I do know that life of this Cay, my Green Turtle Cay was surreal. Where else would I have experienced such safety? Such a tight-knit community who genuinely care about your well-being and are still people who cheer on my achievements and development. Where else would’ve been as beautiful? I’m so comfortable walking around in my flip flops or cycling to and fro on my bike how will I ever get use to shoes and cars? I love my skin being tan and my worries seemingly left in the UK. This laid-back lifestyle suits me but there is so much to experience and so much more to be learnt.
While I get the hang of writing more historical-based articles, please keep an eye on my blog posts. I’m quite excited to be sharing as much information and photographs of where I grew up and to be learning more about it myself.