There’s an open field next to Xanadu that hugs the marina as it moves in towards land. The grass is short, and there is a small dirt path around the space. It’s supposed to be a track, but it isn’t a specific size and it definitely isn’t a circle. Most of the time it is empty and in my past six years here I have rarely seen someone using it. That is, until this year.
Every day we return to Xanadu around the same time, and there have consistently been a group of people working out on the track. They aren’t star athletes and they don’t have supreme equipment; they’re normal Bahamian locals trying to better themselves. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but seeing that track used gives me hope that the island is continuing to resume normalcy, if such a thing could exist on an island like this. The three hurricanes in 2005/6 and the subsequent recession have pummeled this island for the last seven years, but the resolve of those still on this island is stronger than ever.
It’s always interesting to hear the day-to-day of an islander, and today I talked to a teenager in the village about his routine. Robert (not the same one from yesterday) lives near the front of Rainbow Village and as hung over the side of a ladder to paint the top of a wall, he stuck his head out the window to say hello. Today Robert was headed to the bay to swim, but after he left a storm rolled through some of the island and was enough to convince him and some of his family to turn back.
How many times have our plans changed so quickly? And how often must we live with the small disappointments in life? In that moment, I felt like I was on the level with Robert, and he on mine. No matter where we come from or what we do, sometimes it really is about the little things that connect us.
Tomorrow is our final day on the worksite. There will be plenty of sadness, but I also hope the team is able to appreciate what they accomplished this week. We’ve been able to make a few lives just a little bit more normal, and there’s nothing sad about that.