I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t enjoying my time in Barbados. Working at the UN has its own set of challenges – hierarchies, office dynamics and atmosphere, some menial work tasks – but I am learning and enjoying myself for sure. And outside of work, I’m really getting the chance to learn about Bajan culture. I’m getting the slang, the dance moves, the walk and the food. Okay, so I am a bit of a foodie so I like to focus on that a bit too much sometimes. On a side note, in addition to the almost daily temptation of the ice cream truck circulating in our neighbourhood, today a bakery-on-wheels came though as well! Canada needs to get on the ball on this one.
Back to Bajan food. On today’s menu: soursop punch. Soursop is a green, bumpy round fruit with white, sour flesh. Not the most appealing sounding, but mix it with some sugar, water and a bit of milk and it’s really tasty! The hard part is taking out all the seeds, blending it and straining it.
Yesterday was another food first: I actually caught and then ate my own fish that night. I went fishing with a friend in a sit-on-top kayak. Well I fished for a bit, and I caught a robin (obviously not the bird) and a herring (apparently not the same as the ones that come in cans or that are featured in Monty Python). The third and fourth from the top in the photo are mine. The technique was to throw fish pieces in the water, wait for the fish to swarm it, and then throw the baited line at them, hoping they would nibble. I can be a patient person, but after catching two fish, I was ready to just snorkel around and look for turtles. I found a mom and a small guy not far from the kayak so I just followed them around for a bit. I am really falling in love with turtles here though; they are so graceful and beautiful.
And then it was time for surf lesson #2. I have to say that I was a little bit nervous since it has been 2 weeks since my first lesson. But we were alone out on the waves and after more than a few falls, and a little technique adjustment, I actually was able to stand properly on the board! I rode that wave to the end (okay it was tiny) but picture me, fists pumping in the air yelling “yeeaaahhhh.” Success!
This photo was taken after I gave back the rental board, so I posed with my teacher's board. Mine was 7'10" - much easier to learn on. And so after that natural high of finally getting up, I learned how to cook fish stew and how to cut yams and breadfruit.
Today, I limed like it was my job. Speaking of work, this week is going to be quite interesting with staff from Trinidad and Tobago coming in for meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday is about integrating their activities, success, challenges, etc. into our annual report for this year and Wednesday we are supposed to plan how to integrate them into our country programme plan for next year. They are the newest member of the UNICEF Eastern Caribbean team, bringing the total to 11. And Anguilla might join at some point too. This is a really unique region in that way, working in some many places, with different targets and baselines in each. I will let you know how it goes! And can you believe that I actually ran on my own accord three times since the half-marathon. I think I’m officially crazy.