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Across The Bahamas, thousands of students are setting aside time for daily doses of TV, tuning into a series of lively, original Bahamian shows allowing them to interact with humorous characters, prepare for standardized exams, learn a language, create a science project or improve subject knowledge through educational music videos.
The music video shows, headed by a three-man Ministry of Education team for The Bahamas Learning Channel, are now co-sponsored by Commonwealth Bank. Airing on ZNS weekdays from 5 - 5:30 pm; on Saturdays from 10 am - 12:30 and on Cable Bahamas Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 3:30 to 5 pm, The Bahamas Learning Channel attracts students, teachers and parents.
Programming with a purpose, it's a modern media-based delivery system making learning everything from vocabulary to mathematics more fun.
This is the eighth year of The Bahamas Learning Channel, but the first time Education has partnered on the project with Commonwealth Bank, the education bank whose contribution to education at all levels to date tops $2 million, including a $500,000 endowment for the College of The Bahamas Emerging Leaders program. The bank also co-sponsors a back-to-school annual parenting forum, provides 10,000 backpacks and supplies for students throughout the islands and assists the Ministry of Education with computer equipment, projectors, screens, electronic whiteboards and other learning tools.
Now, the bank's entrance into the televised education arena has paved the way for the resurgence of three of the most popular interactive game shows allowing students with different level capabilities and competencies to learn at their own personal pace and prepare for national exams, according to the channel's executive producer, Jevone Williams.
"This partnership with Commonwealth Bank will change the future of our country, because the programs not only educate and expose our students, but more importantly motivates them to be interested in all aspects of education and learning, helping create holistically developed students," Williams said.
"The Ministry of Education is extremely appreciative of Commonwealth Bank for partnering with us on the creation or revamping of three of the most popular shows - Glat Attack, Family Island Glat Attack and Science Bowl -- as we change the face of education in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas."
For the bank, education and youth development are top priorities.
"Education is a critical component of our national development," said Ian Jennings, Commonwealth Bank President. "What happens in the classroom from a very early age influences how the country evolves for decades, the progress we make, our ability to compete, our commerce, family and social relationships, standards, morals and ethics. We at Commonwealth Bank believe education is the key to a healthy society and we are committed to doing all we can, including this sponsorship of The Bahamas Learning Channel."
The line-up of shows caters to various educational levels with programs covering basic science, math and vocabulary, including the newly revamped interactive game show named "The Commonwealth Bank Glat Attack" mirrored after Jeopardy and aimed at preparing sixth grade students for the national Grade Level Assessment Test. A separate Commonwealth Bank Family Island "GLAT Attack" will allow Family Island students' skills and talents to be broadcast to the entire country. Other programs include the Commonwealth Bank Science Bowl, Spanish classes, Mad Science with sixth grade Abaco students, Gary the Explorer, Tell Me a Story with Bahamian stories and Once Upon a Time with customized Bahamian students' stories.
"This donation to the Ministry of Education's Learning Channel is one more step in our goal of creating the best possible education environment for the students of The Bahamas," said Jennings.
Commonwealth Bank is The Bahamas' most widely held public company with more than 6,000 shareholders, some 575 employees and branches in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco. The bank has paid quarterly dividends consistently since going public in the year 2000.
The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Qualifier in the CONCACAF region, going on at the national facility at the foot of the Sidney Poitier Bridge on East Bay Street is providing much more than competition excitement.
Interestingly enough, although without any initial focus, the qualifier is bringing to center stage a cultural enigma in this country. It is difficult to understand why the growing presence of residents, biologically connected to Haiti, evokes so much passion in this country among those who consider themselves indigenous Bahamians.
A reality check should have been done long ago. People of Haitian background are now etched in the very fabric of this nation. They are cemented in the base of this archipelago, actually from Grand Bahama and Abaco in the north, all the way down to Inagua in the deep southern Bahamas.
The time has arrived for all Bahamians to appreciate that the legal immigrants, however they got to be here and their offspring, for whatever reasons they came to be born here, are part and parcel of the legitimate Bahamian mix.
I looked down at the line up of Team Bahamas prior to the start of the game against Guatemala. Our National Anthem was being played. There was Lesley St. Fleur and Team Captain Nesly Jean lustily singing along as patriotically as any other on the squad. In the matches, they were out there with Gary Joseph, putting every ounce of strength in their bodies on the line to bring honor and glory to The Bahamas.
When Jean scored the nifty winner out of a goalmouth scramble, we were ecstatic. It was 4-3 Bahamas with a little over a minute to go and we were headed for history and an established presence in CONCACAF Beach Soccer.
The victory over Guatemala Thursday, combined with the 9-1 triumph over Puerto Rico in the first match, was a collective statement by The Bahamas. Whatever happened in the following game on Friday against the United States (played after this column was produced), The Bahamas had already sent a clear message to fellow CONCACAF nations.
Our beach soccer program is making waves.
This is the case largely because of players of strong Haitian background.
Note that against Puerto Rico, St. Fleur scored three of the nine goals. Joseph netted two and Jean got his first of the tournament. Against Guatemala, along with the clincher, Jean scored another. Take them out of the picture and you are eliminating their eight goals as well. The Bahamas scored 13 goals in the first two games.
I believe readers get the point.
It surely is a sports lesson for the nation.
St. Fleur is perhaps the best Bahamian soccer player since the days of the fierce striker Leroy 'Uncle Lee' Archer Sr. They are the two most ferocious Bahamian attackers I have ever seen. It was danger time always when Uncle Lee got on the ball.
The same is so for St. Fleur. Further, he has been our most noted soccer ambassador. He has played at a high level in Canada and Jamaica over the last three years and is well respected by peers.
The little dynamo is not named Rolle, Smith, Major, Moss, Jones, Sawyer, Albury, Sands, Bethel or Sturrup.
Let's ask the question.
How did we come by those surnames? Those are heredity names we inherited from immigrants.
What is the beach soccer qualifier demonstrating?
The event is showing all and sundry that the St. Fleurs, the Jeans, the Josephs, the Pierres and those of the many other French-sounding surnames can carry the banner of The Bahamas just as ably as anyone else.
I had a chat with Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis following the Bahamas-Guatemala match and he is very aware of the cultural significance being emphasized at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2013 CONCACAF Qualifier.
Go Team Bahamas!
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
Based on eyewitness testimony it appears that Haitians died in the recent journey that ended near Mangrove Cay, Andros. A man who identified himself as the captain of a Haitian sloop that ran aground in the area told authorities that four passengers jumped ship at the start of the voyage and 12 others drowned at some point during their seven-day journey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell confirmed.
There is no proof to support the claim by the captain, but it is common for Haitians to die in these smuggling operations. Eleven Haitians drowned in June in Abaco in a smuggling attempt.
Haiti is the poorest country in the hemisphere. It was also devastated by an earthquake in 2010 that killed more than 200,000 people. Many of its people live in desperate circumstances and want to leave.
Many Haitians have historically thought of The Bahamas as a relative land of opportunity to escape to. They assumed more jobs existed here compared to Haiti. The Bahamas was thought of as less violent.
The Bahamas of today, though, is not as it was 15 years ago. The unemployment rate was last measured here at just under 16 percent. We have had four murder records in five years.
Despite Haiti's historical problems, a turnaround is underway. Many Bahamians are not aware of this. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Haiti's economy grew by 5.6 percent in 2011 and it is projected to grow by 7.8 percent in 2012 and 6.9 percent in 2013.
This is good news for Haiti. This is good news for The Bahamas. Haitians who live here should inform their brothers and sisters at home that The Bahamas is struggling with its own economic problems since the financial crisis of 2008. Jobs are not plentiful as they were in the boom days of the late 1990s. Coming here is no guarantee of a peaceful or prosperous life.
Bahamian inner cities have become increasingly violent in recent years. Successive governments have fought to reduce the high crime rate in New Providence, but no permanent solutions have been arrived at thus far.
Haitians should be excited at the turnaround in their country. Rather than risking their lives on a dangerous passage for an uncertain future in a country with its own problems, Haitians should look to be part of what appears to be a sustained period of growth in a country we are all cheering for.
Countries become great when their citizens make them great. Haitians can make Haiti great again.
Harbour, Abaco - Friends of the Environment is hosting its
fourth annual Lionfish Derby in Marsh Harbour, Abaco at the Marsh
Harbour Marina and Jib Room on Saturday June 15th. Lionfish have become
a major threat to the marine resources in the Bahamas. Although this
fish is here to stay, derbies such as this one are a way to help
maintain local populations and generate awareness about this voracious
The event will commence on Friday June 14th, 5-7pm
with the Captain's Meeting and Late Registration. The All Day Derby
will start at Sunrise and end at 4pm with the Awards and Lionfish
Tasting starting at 6:30pm.
The countdown is on to the Taste of the Caribbean competition and as long as the team members stay focused and don't worry
about what other people are doing, they should be okay says team coach Devin Johnson.
Prior to heading off to Miami on Wednesday for the June 22-26 competition at the Hyatt Regency the team prepared a presentation
dinner which Chef Johnson says had some ups and downs, but he told the team that now is the time for them to stay together
and operate as a unit, straight through the conclusion of the competition.
"They have to stay together and be one straight throughout. They have to know each other like they're married. All the other
things they used to do before, they have to put aside and get to know more about each other so that they know each person's
movements in the kitchen.
For the five-course presentation dinner held at Old Fort Bay Club the team served crawfish and okra broth with mini dumplings;
pan-seared Nassau grouper atop grilled shucked corn and grits laced with Auntie Vicki's stew gravy and curry coconut conch
balls on a bed of vanilla infused callalo with grandma's backyard tomato jam and fever grass oil; Abaco key lime sorbet; duo
of island jerk flank steak with fence line mushrooms finished with jerk-tamarind reduction and smoked sour orange scented
duck sausage accompanied with sweet potato bread, wild thyme flavored vegetable slaw; and chocolate coffee mousse, local strawberry
guava pudding with Myers' dark rum emulsion and mango ice cream with mango-mint chutney.
The meal served at the fundraising dinner was 85 percent what the team's management were aiming for, says Chef Johnson who
brought the errors to the team's attention before the evening was finished.
"The meat wasn't as tender as I expected, some of the crisps and components and some of the flavorings that I wanted just
weren't there. Some of the consistency -- like the entrée was one of the weakest dishes on the evening with the meat as well
as the sauce. It wasn't what we expected."
Despite the errors, Chef Johnson said the team was getting stronger daily, and being more consistent in what they do, and
because of that he said they were getting more confident.
"I've told them to stay focused, stay to the plan and stay doing the same things they've been doing all along which will better
He also switched up the dessert because he wanted the pastry chef to be able to think on his feet.
"Because there will be other teams there, and in case another team picks all of the fruit before them and there's only one
fruit left, we want them to know what they're going to do. We want them to be able to think on their feet. If there's just
banana left, I had them do banana three different ways, because it may be the only thing left, and that's what we had them
Besides the actual competition, Chef Johnson says the team should expect to engage in lots of classroom work leading up to
the competition, and they're going to have to do their time cards.
The premier Caribbean competition provides education and inspiration to industry peers and consumer culinary enthusiasts and
provides education and inspiration through seminars, workshops, tasting and demonstrations created to enhance performance,
style and profitability in food and beverage operations.
With the rookie team, Chef Johnson's advice to them is to stay focused, and not watch, or worry about what other people do.
"When we won the gold last year, we had to choose between going first or last. I picked last, the reason being, while they're
in the room I can be going around to see what the other competitors are doing."
The road to Taste of the Caribbean starts in the Caribbean as each island holds individual competitions to select three chefs
-- one pastry, one junior chef and one bartender that comprise the national team. There are four new components to the competition
-- the taste of the nation street festival which allows competitors to depict two savory dishes, one sweet and one rum beverage
and three individual competitions -- seafood, beef and chef of the year,
At the competition, a random drawing takes place where teams are assigned their competition spot, lunch or dinner. The competition
is a hot food one where the competitors cook and present food to be judged on taste as well as execution of skills and presentation.
Ingredients for the basket are the same for everyone and are not revealed in advance.
Bartenders representing their individual countries, similarly prepare a variety of drinks, demonstrating their creativity,
bartending skills and personality. There are three-rounds of competition in the non-alcoholic, vodka and rum categories. The
top four bartenders go on to compete for the title of Caribbean Bartender of the Year. In the final round they have 30 minutes
to design and prepare a cocktail of their choice.
The Bahamas has participated in Taste of the Caribbean annually since 1998, and has captured four team gold medals, and one
silver medal. Two persons have been selected as Pastry Chef o the Year, Sally Gaskin in 2004 and Tracey Sweeting in 2006.
The Bahamian team has been honored for the best Caribbean menu, and won numerous individual gold medals.
Now that the former member of Parliament for the Golden Isles constituency and former minister of youth, sports and culture in the Ingraham regime, Charles Maynard, has passed away, the opposition Free National Movement (FNM) must now decide who it wants to be its new national chairman.
The FNM, it seems, has gotten over the sudden and tragic passing of Maynard. Now the official opposition party must regroup if it hopes to hold onto the North Abaco seat in the upcoming by-election. Maynard's passing has left a huge, gaping void in the opposition. But the party must now find a replacement who would be able to fill the giant shoes that were left by the late FNM chairman. Contrary to what the deputy chairman of the FNM, Dr. Duane Sands, recently said to The Tribune about it being too soon to select a successor to Maynard, I believe the party must immediately find a replacement. Maynard's passing was tragic. But life goes on. I was surprised after reading a report in one of the Nassau dailies that FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis is in favor of former FNM Chairman Carl Bethel being selected to the vacant chairmanship post. I wholeheartedly agree with the FNM leader when he told the press that Bethel has a lot to offer. He is one of the most consummate politicians in The Bahamas. Even though many of his political detractors have been very critical of the former member of Parliament for the Sea Breeze constituency, he has maintained his composure, patience and dignity.
I have never seen a Bahamian politician who is more diplomatic than Bethel. Rather than stoop to the level of his critics, Bethel has remained steadfast in his professionalism, even after suffering a crushing defeat at the polls on May 7 at the hands of an individual who had never been a member of Parliament.
Bethel is a true statesman. Despite what the critics say, I still believe that there is a future for him in frontline politics, especially in the FNM. Perhaps few were surprised that Bethel had lost his contest. It was the second election loss for him in as many as 10 years. In 2002, he lost his seat to a political novice. Many so-called political analysts were predicting that Bethel would go down again in defeat in 2012, and they were right. His last election defeat was another unfortunate setback in his celebrated political career. But I don't really fault him for his loss. What happened on May 7 was a wholesale rejection of the FNM by fed up Bahamians. Bethel lost his seat because he just so happens to be an FNM. I don't think it had anything to do with his individual performance in Sea Breeze. While he was the minister of education, he had taken a lot of flack for several child abuse allegations in the public school system.
His critics were adamant that that was one of the reasons for his removal from that ministry. They have chosen to interpret his removal from that post as a firing. However, FNMs saw it as a much needed restructuring for the betterment of the party. Be that as it may, no one can deny that Bethel is a quintessential FNM who worked himself up through the ranks of the party. During the disappointing eighties when the FNM was so accustomed to losing to the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling, Bethel was there. He is no johnny-come-lately to the FNM. The current leadership of the FNM should not discard him or second generation FNMs like Tommy Turnquest to the political bone yard.
The last five years have not been easy for the former FNM parliamentarian. Not only was he removed from the Ministry of Education under the former Ingraham administration, he also had failed to hold on to the chairmanship post of the FNM in May. What's more, he was the sitting chairman of the governing party that was nearly wiped out of Parliament. But now it looks like he is about to make a comeback to frontline politics. Minnis was dead-on when he told the press that Bethel has "institutional knowledge" that he would not ignore. He is a walking political history book. I think one example of Bethel's erudition will suffice.
I was glad to hear the former FNM chairman, Michael Foulkes and Janet Bostwick defend the record of the FNM on the Wendell Jones radio program, "Issues of the Day", on Love 97.5 FM, some months before the May 7 general election. As I listened to Bethel on the program, I came to the conclusion that he is very knowledgeable on Bahamian history. The trio reminded the host and the listening audience of what The Bahamas was like during the 1970s and 1980s. During that interesting period in Bahamian history, few understood what true democracy was. I was astounded to learn that a Cabinet official wanted the government to rusticate its political opponents to the island of their births. This was nothing short of dictatorship. I am equally amazed that The Bahamian people stood idly by and allowed the then administration to get away with such a dangerous proposal. That the Bahamian people would even allow such a dangerous proposal to even be entertained in the modern Bahamas tells me that they were so afraid of the then opposition FNM and elements of the defunct United Bahamian Party (UBP), who had joined up with Cecil Wallace-Whitfield and his fledgling political organization in the early 1970s, that they were willing to tolerate almost anything from the hierarchy of the then government.
I am glad that this plan never saw the light of day. Obviously somebody within the then government had put a stop to it. The FNM is now, for all intents and purposes, in a rebuilding mode. It has two new leaders, Dr. Minnis and Loretta Butler-Turner. Moving forward, however, the party must see to it that veteran FNMs such as Bethel and Turnquest have a meaningful role to play in the party. The two still have a future in frontline politics. And the FNM needs them.
- Kevin Evans
Not many emerging artists at The College of The Bahamas get a chance to spend their summers just focusing on developing their work in a dynamic community of practicing contemporary artists, but this past summer at Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts four student artists flourished.
Veronica Dorsett, Yutavia George and Steven Schmid were the 2012 recipients of the Popop Junior Residency Prizes sponsored by Popopstudios ICVA and The D'Aguilar Art Foundation. Meanwhile, Christina Darville was selected for the 2012 Antonius Roberts Award.
Now in its third year, the awards not only recognize the great potential displayed by the four emerging artists in their work, but also gives the students a space at Popopstudios ICVA for the summer months to strengthen their artistic practice.
In addition to developing their practice, the residents are exposed to the larger Popopstudios community of practicing artists, workshops and other projects in the space to fully immerse themselves in Bahamian contemporary art.
Add to that a trip to Schooner Bay, Abaco where they worked on an installation with Antonius Roberts and a 10-day excursion of museums and creative spaces in New York City - which gave the residents fresh perspectives on their artistic practices - and the program becomes a turning point in their artistic careers.
Now coming to a close, the four junior residents take a look back at how they have grown during the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and prepare for an upcoming feature at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas early next year.
With a very process-oriented approach to her own work, Veronica Dorsett aimed to think through her ideas fully before committing them to paper.
Her work over the summer centered on the repetition of a single object: a casket - the remnants of a traumatic loss earlier in her life. It began as a jarring body-sized representation, but has diminished in scale through the summer as she worked through its significance.
"I wanted to use this experience as a self-healing process and that's why I think I had trouble producing work sometimes," she says. "Because it's not just about me making work; it's about making it through this and a battle of representing it properly. It was a personal battle."
Through the trips to Schooner Bay - where process made up most of the final simple installation piece there - and New York City - where she discovered the value of streamlining process - Dorsett came to terms with her artistic practice.
"When we see artists doing work that show us the simplicity of process, it allows us to step back fifteen steps and ask if all of the steps are necessary," she says. "There was a sense of freedom and possibility in that, and of pushing the envelope and it helped me to stop limiting my mind."
Through this as well as through feedback and encouragement from a community of artists in these spaces and especially at Popopstudios, Dorsett feels ready to push through her last classes this semester at The College of The Bahamas for her associate's degree in art and to plan for study abroad in 2013.
"I've been able to work out my process better and I've grown more as an artist, especially to have more confidence in my ideas and decision-making," she says.
"I was hesitant at first. But now starting this school semester I have a lot for confidence and I'm able to stand by my work and commit to it and be responsible for it. So I've grown a lot personally."
Steven Schmid came into the residency thinking and working big - yet over the summer, he's developed an appreciation for scaling back.
Though he has continued to explore in his work the balance between beauty and grotesque through intricate mixed-media pieces, he challenged himself to make smaller pieces for a variety of exhibitions and projects over the summer - especially as the two trips abroad refocused his process.
"A lot of us came into the residency with ideas of what we wanted to accomplish but our time in Schooner Bay and New York made us rethink that," he says.
"Schooner showed us that the idea is just as important as the finished piece - the idea of thinking more before you do work. Schooner Bay was mostly talking and collaborating, and the conversation became 90 percent of the work."
Indeed, the value of slowing down and editing the artistic process became even more apparent for Schmid in New York City, where he was blown away by the quality of finished work in the museums they visited including the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Guggenheim and Dia Beacon.
"New York showed me how to be confident in my materials and decision-making," he says. "As young artists I think we try everything and work on and abandon different projects instead of really immersing ourselves in one thing completely to problem-solve it."
"So that realization helped me commit to my practice and not let anything go and completely explore it," he continues. "New York also showed us the idea of clarity - that we have to make 100 pieces and present only one to choose what works in your practice and space and context for a clean show."
Only completing two final classes before receiving his associate's degree in art, Schmid is excited to continue to prepare for studies abroad while taking part in various art exhibition opportunities that Popop has exposed him to in Nassau.
"Being here I was working constantly and I think that's going to carry over because we have between all of us three exhibitions to be a part of through to the end of the year," he says. "The opportunity here is great."
For Yutavia George, working at Popopstudios has given time to focus on what ideas truly speak to her in what media, as she shifts from installation work to mixed-media work.
Her paper stencil silhouettes have allowed George to explore value in a new medium and show her the importance of editing - not just through the input from others, but also through developing her own eye.
"Being here forced me to be more responsible for my work," she says. "There are people you could talk to here at Popop, but it's more about listening to an internal conversation - about asking yourself is this important? Should I edit this?"
"I think each one of us went through that process of trying to define our work. My work has evolved even just in the way I think about it - through concept and composition. "
Meeting and speaking with artists on their trips to Schooner Bay and New York City, says George, also showed her the value of collaboration in the artistic community as they spoke extensively with a New York City artist about their struggle as a community and also created an installation at Schooner Bay with input from
"After the trips, collaboration has also put on a pedestal," she says. "It's more important to share ideas than to keep them to yourself because when you share ideas, you can find more to add on to your idea or even change the way you think about it."
The process of idea-sharing is important to George who will go on to complete her bachelor's in education at The College of The Bahamas and then teach, which she looks forward to doing. But her time at Popopstudios has given her invaluable feedback that she will continue to use to explore her artistic process.
"Popop has been so different from working in school because we have been able to get direct feedback on our work from established artists we admire," she says.
"They would provide us with examples or things to research that allowed us to develop our work creatively instead of opinions from our peers at the college where it would be very concrete or less constructive. It's such a creative environment."
Darville started her residency as the recipient of the Antonius Roberts Award with the ability to make beautiful intricate designs on paper, but the summer has allowed her to think about how to use the designs on different objects in order to transform them.
From transforming bottles, paper bags and more into pieces of 3D art with her pen work, Darville found a passion for repurposing old and found materials, like the shipping pallet she made into a beautiful shelf.
"I was interested in using found objects and materials and having my mentor as Mr. (Antonius) Roberts inspired me and helped me realize that I could use different materials," she says.
"I'm gravitating more to installation work because of that. I love to do graphic work and I want to tie it into what I do with my designs now."
Like the junior residents, Darville found an appreciation for streamlining her process into less complicated ideas during the two trips to Schooner Bay and New York City.
"I had to narrow the ideas down," she says. "I had to say, ok, this is an important idea but you need to do this and not that. Having the residency made it more of an open-ended process instead of having deadlines you panic about in school."
But more than that, Darville found the courage to pursue her true passion in life - art - rather than in education, which she had committed to in her studies at The College of The Bahamas years before. Now, she looks forward to finishing her associate's degree in art and then pursuing art, especially graphic design, at an institution abroad.
"Being at the Dia Beacon in New York influenced me a lot," she says. "When I was looking at work by Sol LeWitt, I knew at that moment I didn't want to do teaching anymore. That was a problem I had been facing the whole summer, and to see artists using lines like I was, it inspired me to realize I didn't need teaching anymore, because this is what I want to do. I'll make it work."
"If you don't have that ambition, you aren't saying anything in your work," she continues. "You have to have that drive to wake up in the morning and say this is what I want to do; this is the art I want to make. I feel like I've changed so much. Winning this residency puts into perspective what you want to do in life."
Hukilau -- give yourself a pat on the back if you've heard this word before, know what it means, or even how to spell it. A hukilau is a way of fishing invented by the ancient Hawaiians, and is also the world that stumped Bahamian spelling bee champion Sujith Swarna and ended his run at the 2011 Scripps National Spelling in Washington, D.C.
After successfully spelling vellication (which means a local twitching or convulsive motion of a muscular fiber, especially of the face) and badinage (which means frivolous banter) Swarna stepped up to the microphone for his third word which turned out to be hukilau, to a dead silence in a room before thousands of people, and the
A gracious woman retaineth honor; and strong men retain riches. - Proverbs 11:16
How powerful are the words of our text today in light of the imminent global celebration of Mother's Day. Abraham Washington and Abraham Lincoln in paying tribute to their mothers said "All that I am, I owe it to my mother. All that I am or ever hope to be I owe it to my angel mother." These same sentiments were uttered at a post-graduation function by Franklyn Bosfield, Anthony Robinson, Dario Newbold and Nikita Williamson. These three young Bahamian men and young woman majored in the field of architecture at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, better known as Florida A&M University or FAMU. Each one spoke with pride of the sacrifices their mothers made in their upbringing and achievement being a part of the Class of 2013.
Also you will notice in our text that specifics are given to both sexes -- male/man, female/woman. I am not ready to go there with some of you as to the equality movement, for if I am one of the only kind, and you don't have what I have, how in the land of fairy tale can you and I be 50/50. God so designed it that a woman can be gracious and strong, but tongues wag when a man is referred to as strong and gracious.
The Concise Oxford English Dictionary describes the adjective gracious as courteous, kind, pleasant and showing elegance and politeness, and things being as they are one would attribute these qualities to the fairer sex. Buddha said that "wherever there is light, there is shadow; wherever there is length, there is shortness; wherever there is white, there is black. Just like these, as the self-nature of things cannot exist alone, they are called non-substantial."
Because mankind has been so disobedient to guidelines as set down by Holy Scriptures and words of wisdom running parallel by great philosophers of the past, the multiplicity of problems in our land and indeed this global village, stem from the lack of adherence to the words of our text -- gracious women and strong men.
As you travel here and there within the boundaries of our land and beyond, doesn't it make you sad many times to see the plight of children at the hands of mothers who have strayed far from the admonition, train up a child in the way he should go and when he is young he will not depart from it.
Mothers have a very powerful role to play in the success of their children, their children and their children's children. In many instances, we do not pass on the faith and values of our parents to our children. We want them to believe that the mode of life was always an everyday happening, and there was no such thing as achievement and success by climbing up the rough side of the mountain.
It is truthful to say that as women who seek to daily live lives pleasing to God, family and country; there are times when although gracious, a tinge of despondence seeps in because the strong arm of encouragement is withheld. Such was the case as I spoke with my friend of many years, Eleanor Johnson by marriage, but really of the Neilly/Roberts extraction of Abaco. As we shared on the telephone and she put me on hold to answer another call, she was excited because someone on the line wanted to speak to me -- someone who did not know me and vice versa.
It was not coincidence but an act of God. Eleanor told her that she was speaking to her friend Ruby Ann Darling and the lady on the other end, Leattar Sands, said that she could not believe it because she was right then reading an article of March 7 on the subject forgiveness. She was so excited as she told me that she just happened to pick up an old newspaper and read the column and it was such a blessing to her. On the other hand, I was just about to call it quits from writing, but her encouragement to continue, as there are many who may not say, but are receiving a blessing each and every week.
Even in times of conflict and difficulties, lack of respect, trials and tribulations, the woman who shines with being kind, honest, courteous, comforting and yes, elegant, God comes through with saving grace and mercy.
Yes, Eleanor and Leattar, you have indeed been gracious women this week in speaking kind words and commendations. Indeed down through the years, there have been so many gracious women in our lives -- women who may not have owned a Cadillac but nevertheless were worthy of praise and for the sake of praise to Almighty God, I include my dear deceased mother, Florence Louise Edgecombe Cooper.
Yes, Abraham Lincoln and others, gracious mothers are also the force behind strong men -- men who are rich in values, family life, Christian upbringing, community builders, role models, faithful providers and brothers' keepers. When these qualities of our text, gracious women and strong men, are downplayed, neglected and thrown by the wayside of degradation, then terror rules and roams the land night and day without any fear of rule of the land.
I pray to God in His divine mercy that hearts would be changed to graciousness, peace, love and understanding within our borders and beyond when the winds of adversity sweep over the earth. God give us Christian homes -- homes where the mother is caring, strives to show others your way is best. Homes where the Lord is an honored guest; God, give us Christian homes.
o E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org write to PO. Box 19725 SS Nassau, Bahamas with your prayer requests, concerns or comments. God's Blessings!