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It was my first time at a James Catalyn and Friends stage play, so I was more than excited to see "Lost Love". It turned out to be funny, interesting and relevant. For the most part, I enjoyed it, even though it dragged at times, but despite that it's a play I think people should see if it returns to the stage.
"Lost Love", a play that holds a magnifying glass to issues of ageism in The Bahamas, played recently to a packed house at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts.
It confronts how old people with dementia and Alzheimer's are relegated to geriatric homes and treated horribly by their families, and encourages a more positive attitude toward the social issue.
Set in a traditional Bahamian home, the play's main theme runs throughout the drama and is centered around Addie and her sister Annie. Addie is the primary caregiver of their elderly mother, Rebecca, who has Alzheimer's and becomes increasingly difficult to take care of. Annie on the other hand lives a carefree life and is only concerned about her life's pursuits and illegal job of selling numbers. She has no time to help Addie with the care of their mother.
Other members of the drama include Addie's son Samson who is for all intents and purposes a responsible young man -- a refreshing change from the societal depiction of young men today; Claudius, Addie and Annie's brother who chips in to take care of his mother when needed. There is also Emma, a caring neighbor; Enty, a charming old friend of Rebecca who represents an old person of sound mind but not of sound body, and last but not least, the family priest who does his best to help lead Annie down the right path.
From curtains up, the characters fit into their roles perfectly. Their use of "Bahamianese" and funny colloquialisms seemed natural and unforced. The comedic factor flowed seamlessly. Annie quipped sayings only your grandmother knew one after another, which kept the audience in good humor for the duration of the play.
While the play is undoubtedly a comedic piece of work from Catalyn, some of the jokes in the play seemed a bit predictable. I could almost see the punch lines coming. I had the pleasure of sitting beside a lady who got so into the play she kept talking to the characters in moments of silence, often preempting things they would say.
One of the biggest highlights of the play was the character of Rebecca, who provided a good portion of the comedic value. Her sayings of "Well who you is?" and "They ain't feed me for the day" right after eating kept the play moving along quite nicely. Her character was written and directed with a lot of insight into older adults with dementia and Alzheimer's and the toll such a situation can take on families. The way Rebecca addressed the burden of her disability on her family touched on how difficult it is to take care of an older person with the disease -- but did so charmingly without too much seriousness that might have weighed the play down.
One of the characters I found interesting was Annie, the recalcitrant daughter of Rebecca. Annie is introduced in skin tight jeans and a sexy top and mimics old fashioned ideas of a good time girl. Annie is completely selfish and dabbles in illegal numbers selling to support her lavish lifestyle. She is notorious in the community for cavorting with men and presents herself as entirely materialistic and unconcerned with her mother's plight.
Addie, who is the complete opposite constantly admonishes Annie about her behavior which seems to push Annie farther away and makes her act out even more.
Annie stays very consistent to her character until the third act where she does a sudden about face and turns into a good person who cares about her mother and comes to take care of her regularly. This was a bit anti-climactic, not only in the suddenness of the change, but the about-face happened as a result of a conversation Annie had numerous times with her family members about her behavior. One was left wondering what was so different about this conversation to sway Annie to the other side so quickly and completely.
The overall story speaks to a well-known issue in The Bahamas and connected with the majority of the audience. The play clipped along in the first two acts and dragged a lot in the last act for me, but Rebecca's charming portrayal of memory loss prevented the audience from becoming too bored.
For me the themes of the play were almost too well developed, becoming very repetitive after the second act. I kind of felt beat over the head with the admonition to take care of the elderly over and over again -- which coincidentally the older audience did not mind, but as one of the few young people in the theater, the constant repetition took away from my overall enjoyment of the play.
I was delighted to see that a lot of effort went into character development. That being said, there were moments when the characters seemed to be reaching for their lines as there were lots of pauses and shuffling to get back on track, but the fumbles were skillfully handled, and did not detract from their stage presence or acting.
And it was sometime during the second act that I wondered where the title of the play fit into the story, since it seemed to have no real correlation at the time, but during Annie's redemption, she recited the poem "Lost Love" and tied it in quite nicely. The poem was one of the more poignant moments of the play and seemed to note the redemption of a person lost in the world find themselves and love as result. After the poem Annie embarks on her new journey as a better person.
No matter what, the play, which played to a packed house on opening night was most successful in its real factor and the audience seemed to have a good time relating to the vibrant characters and the funny colloquialisms. James Catalyn and Friends did a great job of pulling off a good Bahamian play.
"Lost Love" was written by James Catalyn and directed by Omar Williams.
At New Life Fellowship Church, their mission is to love God, love people and serve the world. And part of the mission of loving people is being real with people about what they may be dealing with and faced with.
It is with that in mind that New Life Fellowship Church Pastor Jermaine Watkins is hosting a six-part "Sexpectations Series" with a fresh take on relationships at the church in Westridge.
"Sexpectation in the simplest form is the expectation that males and females have about sex. It delves into relationships and is straight talk about the challenges of relationships and the day-to-day aspects of relationships in general," he said.
"The truth is, relationships can be difficult at times. Even the best relationships go through rough times. What are the causes? What are the effects? Nobody wants to talk about it?"
But Watkins decided to address the issue because he said everyone has "sexpectations".
The first week of the six-week series dealt with the topic "Love at First Sight". He said finding the right one can be a task, but that after finding that one, the results he said are amazing. He also talked to his members about redefining the myth, and about what draws couples together. And about the qualities that build lasting relationships. He reminded them that finding the right person is not necessarily love at first sight and talked to them about digging deeper.
"Perfect Seasoning" was the topic of discussion for the second talk. The non-denominational pastor reminded them that there is a time and season for everything under the sun. And that it's important for them to know not only know what season they're in, but how to handle it.
"We have to understand that whether you're married or single, there are seasons and it's important to understand what season you're in - particularly for singles, understanding that if you're single to appreciate where you are and to appreciate that season and what God has for you in that season; what it is you need to accomplish in that season so that you're ready for the next season. There are so many persons looking for Mr. and Mrs. Right when they are Mr. and Mrs. Wrong. You have to be the right person in order to find the right person," said Watkins.
Last week, the members of New Life Fellowship Church heard about "Great Sex". Watkins spoke to his members about the secrets and components to having great sex.
"Great sex starts before the bedroom, and it's not about what you can do in the bedroom, it's about the emotional and the physical and how they tie together. And so when the physical is there without the emotional, oftentimes a person would feel empty, even after the act, when it was something that God designed to be fulfilling and for pleasure," he said.
"Oftentimes if they're not connected a person can feel empty, robbed, or even cheap, because it was just a physical act. We want our married couples at New Life to have a great sex life, because it is a sign of a healthy marriage."
Watkins said married couples that have a healthy sex life, and are sexually fulfilled are less likely to step out of their marriage.
"Reconcilable Differences" is the topic on the table for Sunday, October 28. Watkins will address conflict resolution and speak to them about discovering the root causes of conflict in their relationships and what can be done - if anything at all.
"Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man" is the topic of discussion for Sunday, November 4.
"It has been said that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, what happens when those two planets collide?," he asked.
"Sex In The City" on Sunday, November 11, closes out the "Sexpectations Series".
"I want [my members] to have proper expectations about relationships," said Watkins of the "Sexpectation Series".
"And to understand that relationships are challenging and difficult and that they have to be prepared for whatever season they're in - and not get frustrated at the season that they're in, but to understand and embrace that season and understand that there's a purpose and a reason for it."
God's idea for His people
He said marriage and relationships are God's idea and that He wants the best for His people. But in order to experience the best people have to find out what God wants for them.
"I want people to come away with a greater appreciation about what God's word says about relationships and marriage and also how they can apply it to their marriage so they can be a better husband, a better wife, a better boyfriend, a better girlfriend, a better person," said Watkins.
He said people's "Sexpectations" was a topic that needed to be addressed because people - even believers - live in the real world, and face real world challenges. And he said he wanted his church to be relevant.
"Too often I have to talk about it in private, so I thought if we presented it publicly, that it would not only help those that are dealing with it now and that have come to me, but those who have not yet come to me, to assist them in dealing with the challenges that perhaps they might not want to ask about, but have questions about, because everyone has questions about their relationship... or a relationship they would like to have," he said.
"It's Biblical what we're talking about, but we just put a contemporary modern twist to it so that it can be applicable to people."
And people have been turning out to hear Watkins. He said their attendance has been encouraging and lets him know that their was a need for the discussion.
Watkins, 30, said that the topic of sex is discussed in many churches in a roundabout way, but he said there is a generation that does not want the fluff version, but the real deal, because of what they've been exposed to.
"I realized that in order to reach people that weren't going to church, which was my generation, we had to do something that no one else was doing. If you want to reach people that no one else is reaching, you have to do something that no one else is doing. And while there are many great contemporary churches, we just want to be real," he said.
"It's not about being vulgar. There's a fine line there in being real, that you don't want to be distasteful, but we want to be relevant and these are issues that real people are faced with. People are looking for authenticity and relevance, and that's the type of church that New Life is. We want to be authentic and relevant."
New Life Fellowship Church is located in Westridge. Taking the entrance from JFK Drive through the pink walls, take the first right. The church is on the first property on the right-hand side, the second entrance with yellow walls.
SEXpectations Series: A fresh take on relationships
October 28: Reconcilable Differences. Discover the root causes of conflict in relationships. What can be done at this point... If anything at all!
November 4: Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. It has been said that Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus! What happens when those two planets collide?
November 11: Sex In The City
Everyone's doing it... Right? What you're really looking for may be hard to find!
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) will elect a president to chart the organization's course for the next few years on November 17, if all goes according to plan.
The choice will come from an interesting group of hopefuls.
There is the incumbent Mike Sands, a two-time president who was once dismissed by the organization because there was a greater feeling of confidence in Curt Hollingsworth.
Sands was able to regain the office when Hollingsworth was unable to sufficiently satisfy those who vote that generally he was up to the task of leadership. Now, they both want another go at the presidency. The fact that they have been rejected before speaks volumes about how they are regarded in the BAAA.
Then, there is Iram Lewis, making his first try for administrative leadership of the BAAA. A former outstanding athlete (like Sands), Lewis is a fresh face. That will entice some. On the other hand, he is untested in sports politics and will have to prove that he is capable of matching Sands with strategic moves.
Quite frankly, Sands has the inside track. As the incumbent, he would certainly have a support base. In a three-way fight, the chances are excellent that he will gain the difference in voting, even if just by a small number. I understand that Sands is building for a huge power play that includes the presidency also of the Bahamas Olympic Committee (that election is in November as well). He is without a doubt a larger sports administrative force than his opponents.
The view here is that combining their slates to oppose Sands would have been a surer way for Hollingsworth and Lewis. As it is now, the race favors Sands, certainly. Whatever happens though, the road ahead has a number of challenges for the new president and the rest of the executives.
I believe the absolute priority for the successful candidate will be bridging the gap with the Grand Bahama Amateur Athletic Association. Sands definitely is not a favorite in the eyes of the Grand Bahama track and field family. If he wins, the advice is for him to work hard to mend the relationship.
Grand Bahama is very important to the overall development of track and field in the country. The BAAA needs a GBAAA with its members feeling that they are respected and appreciated.
Will Sands, given his character, ever be able to work closely and respectfully with colleagues in Grand Bahama? Many are uncertain. Based on history, I too have my doubts.
What about Hollingsworth?
I was not impressed with his interim term leadership. Obviously most in the BAAA family were disappointed. How they feel now is another matter.
How about Iram Lewis?
The jury of course would be out until he demonstrates, at least, an adequate approach to leadership. I'm convinced though, that he represents the best chance for the GBAAA to be fully unified with the presidency of the BAAA.
That might not be enough for Lewis.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
Can Caribbean countries collaborate to move art forward in the region?
It's a question that Caribbean curators, writers and artists came together to begin to answer at the recent Aruba Linked/Caribbean Linked arts symposium.
It's also a question that Bahamian artist and NAGB chief curator John Cox hopes that the answer to is yes.
"There's a collective consciousness that sees there is a need (for the region) to come together and promote its art to the world," Cox told Arts&Culture after returning from the symposium.
"I am sure there are also some Bahamian artists, and artists from other countries in the region, who don't see a need for it but there is also a core group of people throughout the Caribbean who see where the ovals overlap and that we can do something."
Indeed, the four-day (Oct. 12-15) symposium was itself the product of a collaboration. Caribbean art networks Ateliers '89 of Aruba and Fresh Milk Art Platform of Barbados organized the event that covered a wide range of topics related to the potential for Caribbean collaboration in the visual arts and how it can benefit the region as a whole.
Cox, also the founder/director of Popopstudios International Center for the Visual Arts and a part-time lecturer at The College of The Bahamas, was among the panel of symposium presenters.
Representing the NAGB, Cox spoke on the Bahamian visual arts condition and how the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas (NAGB), Popopstudios and the Art Department of The College of The Bahamas have helped shape that. He also spoke on how those institutions have helped develop the critical mass in The Bahamas.
Other presenters included Rocio Aranda Alvardo, curator at El Museo del Barrio of New York City; Paco Barragan, independent curator, Madrid, Spain; Holly Bynoe, visual artist and co-founder of ARC Magazine of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Annalee Davis, visual artist and founder/director of the Fresh Milk Art Platform. Elvis Lopez of Ateliers '89 moderated the discussions.
Discussions focused on existing links between countries in the region and the possibility of creating new linkages, challenges, the importance of mentoring young creatives, the development of new Caribbean products, the expansion of the critical arena, the role of the web and the need to expose art production beyond "Caribbean" themed exhibitions.
It also looked at the benefits of having a greater internal sense of what's going on in the visual arts in the individual Caribbean countries, Cox explained.
"One country can't do it alone," he said. "But if we join together, we can move art forward in the region. It is very, very important. The critical mass is growing, how we communicate is changing and younger artists want to be a part of a bigger art community."
That point should not be lost on The Bahamas, which is oftentimes regarded as the stuck-up cousin of other Caribbean island nations. It is a strained relationship, but one that seems to be slowly changing for the better, at least amongst Caribbean artists.
By the Caribbean coming together to promote its diverse and talented pool of artists the region will have a better chance of making more of a mark on the international arts scene, and hopefully begin to lose the Caribbean label and simply be seen as 'artist'.
For its part, The Bahamas has its work cut out for it. It is often poorly represented in international exhibitions of Caribbean work. Take for example the Caribbean Crossroads exhibition now on in New York City. Of the 600 works of art featured from the Caribbean, The Bahamas has less than five artists represented. Aruba had 40.
The opportunity to visit and experience other art communities in the Caribbean brings a valuable perspective, said Cox.
"It allows me to compare what's going on in our community. I learned what we can learn from each other. I learned that The Bahamas has more administrative cohesion from institution to institution, and this is something that we can bring to the table," he said.
Cox is referring to events like Transforming Spaces, when individual galleries work together to put on one of the premier art events in the country.
One of the goals coming out of the conference is to create exchanges within a network of participating Caribbean countries that have the resources, allowing artists to experience the various art spaces, he noted.
Cox said existing programs, such as the Popop Junior Residency Prize could also be expanded to allow prize winners to experience different art networks in the Caribbean.
The discussion did not end on the last day of the symposium. Aruba Linked panelists have been invited to Transforming Spaces 2013, and Cox hopes that he and independent curator Paco Barragan can co-curate a project at the NAGB.
"But we can talk about this stuff until we drop dead," said Cox. "We need to do something and we don't have to wait for the government's support to do it."
I read more business books than are probably good for me, so it's refreshing to come across an entertaining guide to enhancing our professional effectiveness by becoming more persuasive. This is a vital skill for any Bahamian business leader or manager aiming to coax employees to improve productivity, encourage the commitment of partners or engage more effectively with customers.
The authors come from a diverse range of backgrounds on both sides of the Atlantic. Noah Goldstein is a U.S. management academic; Steve Martin (not the comedian) is a member of the UK Institute of Leadership & Management (the best people usually are) and Robert Cialdini is a professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University.
We all face the daily challenge of persuading others to share our viewpoint including colleagues, the boss, and not forgetting the 'big boss' at home. 'Yes!' is based on more than sixty years of research into the psychology of persuasion and the result is fifty simple strategies that aim to make you much more persuasive at work and in your personal life.
One such strategy is based upon our psychological need to conform with others. This has resulted in a hotel sign that does not simply ask that you re-use towels to save the environment, but claims that most guests re-use towels to save the environment, resulting in significantly more re-use by plugging into our deep-rooted desire to adhere to group norms.
'Yes!' then goes on to catalogue the numerous ways that we can influence others with subtle changes to our approach and lists real life examples that includes: Sales of jam multiplying tenfold despite consumers being offered fewer flavors, and customers preferring Mercedes despite claiming earlier that they wanted a BMW.
These examples and numerous others are used to demonstrate what the authors term the six weapons of influence at work, including:
1. Reciprocity to underpin commitment;
2. Liking to change preferences;
3. Social proof and the impact of group norms;
4. Authority to influence others;
5. Scarcity being used to create demand;
6. Consistency and the expectation of quality.
In conclusion, 'Yes!' combines some practical and effective lessons with real insights into how people behave. Perhaps its a book Bahamian politicians should read in preparation for the next general election in 2017.
'Yes' by Goldstein, Martin and Cialdini.
Published by London Profile and available from www.Amazon.com.
o Keith Appleton JP, BA (Hons), N.Dip.M, MInstLM has extensive experience within an academic, managerial and strategic leadership role. He is a member of the UK Institute of Leadership & Management and can be contacted at KeithAppleton@Hotmail.co.uk or follow him at twitter.com/WritingRightNow.
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - Check out
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A leading wholesaler has placed his stamp of approval on Super Value's apparent acquisition of City Market, expecting a surge in business for his industry.
Robert Pritchard, the vice president of ASA H. Pritchard Ltd., said it's very encouraging that the supermarket locations will remain Bahamian, instead of deferring to foreign companies to fill the void. He told Guardian Business "that's how City Market got in this trouble anyway, because it was picked up for nothing from foreigners, thinking it could be revived".
The top executive said his company knows Rupert Roberts, the owner of Super Value, "more than well", and has no doubt the stores he takes over will be a tremendous success.
That, in turn, should benefit both the Bahamian consumer and the distribution business.
"We need those major supermarkets back," he said. "It is nice to have mom and pop stores, but people still need to go to the big stores and find everything in one place. Super Value will certainly do that. It's a necessity. To me, it's a win-win for everyone, and best of all, people will keep their jobs."
Pritchard told Guardian Business it should have a positive impact on the bottom line, giving the wholesaler the chance to "restock the stores they decide to keep open".
He described the current state of Super Value as "sheer madness" in terms of customer volume, adding that it didn't seem as if anyone else is in a position to "step up to the plate".
As of yesterday afternoon, Mark Finlayson, the president of Bahamas Supermarkets Limited, said the deal between City Market and Super Value, resulting in the takeover of up to five remaining supermarket locations, was "between lawyers". While it is not yet considered a done deal, Guardian Business understands it is just a matter of approvals, logistics and licenses.
Finlayson said Super Value is only expected to cover the expenses and liabilities associated with the chain.
Back in October, Pritchard told Guardian Business he was thankful that Solomon's Fresh Market, the new store in western New Providence, was "picking up the slack" for City Market closures.
The CEO of AML Foods, Gavin Watchorn, has expressed confidence in the past that Solomon's Fresh Market could quickly grow to two or three stores.
The first supermarket opened in November at the Old Fort Bay Town Centre.
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Writing and publishing are powerful, and like any power, if they fall into the wrong hands, it can be disastrous--but if they fall into the right hands, it can change the way we think about ourselves. It can be an act of rebellion.
It's an act Lynn Sweeting knows all too well. Through her writing she uses language to snap her readers in tune to the realities of injustices felt by the marginalized in society--women, children, the handicapped--and through her greatest venture, WomanSpeak Journal, she has singlehandedly brought a scattered community together in a safe space to use language to change society.
"Without voices of those from the fringes, we lose our greatest ideas," she points out. "These are the people who have great thoughts and visions, and without them we run the risk of becoming such a disempowered people. We need voices of those who know what it is to struggle for their lives, who write to save their lives, because these voices will shake us out of our apathy and paralyzed state."
In her blog she shares personal, local, regional and international stories that give voice to those she believes society would rather see silenced, and in her poetry she masterfully weaves stories in language that are confrontational and defiant, yet poignant, conscious it is undergoing a sacred act of teaching its readers another side of history. To that end, she's been published in many journals and her work was shortlisted for the Small Axe Literary Competition Prize in Poetry in 2010.
"If we can bring forth these struggles, we can find solutions for them," she says. "You can change disaster into a great wisdom and empowerment with writing and creativity."
Yet Sweeting has always put pen to paper, working for a time as a journalist with PR companies. These experiences, however, always proved to frustrate her more than empower her, creating in her an unhappiness that only her publishing venture, WomanSpeak Journal, shook her out of.
Meeting fellow writer and activist Helen Klonaris, she found a true friend and ally. Forming a kinship in each other for the idea they shared about the lack of Caribbean women writers' voices in society, they decided to address it through their publishing venture, The WomanSpeak Journal.
"We knew that writing of any kind was political and transforming, and we knew that our project especially had the potential to change everything--to transform our worlds, change us, to reunite us with each other as women, and to reconnect ourselves to ourselves so that we could exist fully and authentically," she says. "All of that came out in a couple of conversations between Helen and I. We bumped into each other and met and spoke for a couple of hours; we had talked about all of this and decided we would make a book."
Publishing--many for the first time--a number of female Bahamian writers and artists, the pieces, remembers Lynn, took risks, had uncomfortable conversations, and exposed truths that society would rather ignore. In fact, their first journal, published in 1992, was returned to them by a local bookstore, and was scandalized by its frank subject matter and artwork.
Yet the book--that first scotch-taped WomanSpeak Journal whose 500 copies sold out--filled a void felt by many women in Bahamian society then. Sweeting and Klonaris believed men's voices where everywhere--in politics, in churches, in the media and in the art world. Women were scattered and divided, and the journal created a focused space for them to come together in an act of community and resistance to change the ontological landscape of language in the Caribbean and talk about what it meant to be a woman, especially a woman in the Caribbean, in radical feminist voices.
"We asked ourselves, why does the patriarchal culture work so hard to stop us from gathering together and hearing each other's voice?" says Sweeting. "And it was because there was enormous empowerment to be found in that type of gathering. When we gathered together we knew that we could be able to realize that we exist, that we matter, that our stories and our experiences matter, and we would remember that we never came here to be victims, we came here to live creatively, and as Helen wrote, 'to be our sister's keeper.'"
Indeed, WomanSpeak presents to us the perfect local example of published as an act of activism, revolution and rebellion. Sweeting remembers their decision to become publishers as an act of empowerment.
"When we started in the 90s we had no authority to call ourselves publishers or editors," she remembers. "So we took that authority and used that as first act of resistance against a system that would rather us be quiet and miserable. We thought 'oh, this is impossible, so we'll do it. We can't do it, so we will'."
As in any act of such outright resistance, the pair experienced quite a backlash and enjoyed printing the letters of criticism that came to them in the following issues of WomanSpeak in 1994 and again in 1996--the very fact that people took the time to tell the pair how wrong their journal was meant the journal was having it's desired effect. Change cannot happen, after all, without discomfort--and such stories shook people out of their apathetic states by confronting their realities.
Yet the books functioned as a lifeline as well, not just for the women who so desperately needed their voices to shine loud and clear, but also for its publishers--this act of publishing, says Sweeting, was also an act of survival. They were writing and publishing to save their lives, and in doing so, they saved, too, the lives of their readers--for every critical letter, they published letters from women all over the Caribbean who had found joy and solidarity in the pages of WomanSpeak.
"When we put out books and stories, that is what we're doing--making sure we are not left out of the story of The Caribbean," says Sweeting. "We get to write the story. We made our own home, our own place to live. That is so crucial."
Despite the drive by this group of women to continue their stories, after four successful issues, the WomanSpeak journal underwent a dormant period as Klonaris traveled abroad for school and the community scattered, though still kept in touch and supported one another.
In an age of no Internet and no print on demand publishing, the project had to wait for the right time--which came just two years ago, when the writing community seemed to explode into a flurry of activity, with new writers and publishers emerging on the scene to cultivate a renaissance in Bahamian art.
Klonaris, though not relocating home, started the Bahamas Writer's Summer Institute, gathering together another community of Caribbean writers to exchange and create and add to the rich Caribbean literary heritage. Print on demand, like lulu.com, was in full swing, freeing local writers from needing to print an enormous amount of books at once with local printer minimums. A spark was ignited, and Sweeting took up the mantle again to publish more issues of WomanSpeak.
The fifth volume, published in 2010, was cause for a celebration among the community who remembered the special power and voice of the WomanSpeak journal, and an opportunity for new writers to enter into that dialogue with fresh perspectives.
Currently, Sweeting is working on the sixth volume for the January 2012 publication which will include work from Antigua, Trinidad, Jamaica and The Bahamas. The journal has indeed come a long way--from scotch-taped and spiral bindings and operating in an Internet-less world of disconnect--and now rises back onto the scene, a beautiful and vibrant collection of women writing from small places fragmented across the ocean.
Yet Sweeting knows there is a long way to go in a society that is still deeply prejudiced, and hopes writers and artists continue to come together and challenge themselves and their societies through creative activism.
"All we can do is sort of hold on to each other and push each other into these arenas, because we're not protected and we're not safe if we hide away, and we're not happy if we just sit politely and say, 'Well, our stuff isn't that good and our work isn't that important'," she says.
"Sexism is still at work in publishing an art. We must not waste any time; we must gather ourselves together and put ourselves out there. We must include ourselves. If there's nowhere to put your art, then you have your incentive to create it."
Dog food is a big business and the market is so flooded with products that it is hard to know what to choose. The increased awareness about food sensitivities and allergies only compound the problem. And the massive pet food recall in 2007 heightened owners' anxiety about what to feed their pets. But there are factors one must be aware of in regards to dog food - palatability, price and potential. The dog food should taste good so that the dog will eat it. It should not be astronomically expensive, especially in these trying times and one should see results with their food.
Pet owners are confused by manufacturer's claims, and disheartened by health problems that may arise from some foods. They are also aware of the ills of our own foods that we eat and therefore, have begun to take a closer look at what they are feeding their animal companions. After all, if people are being told to eat fewer processed foods and more fresh foods, then shouldn't it make sense that pets should benefit from that advice as well.
Necessary nutrients: You can learn a lot about the quality of the food by looking carefully at the label on the package. You should look for the basic factors for sound nutrition - proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fats.
Proteins: These are present in all kinds of meat and meat by-products. This form of protein is the best source for your dog. A lot of dog foods use vegetable proteins such as soy because it is cheap. These are harder to digest. A dog's need for protein varies depending on his age, size and activity. Puppy foods have higher levels of protein whereas senior foods have less.
Carbohydrates: These are necessary for energy. Their sources are typically rice, corn or some other grain like wheat. However, a lot of grains cause allergies and therefore most dog foods use rice as their starch.
Vitamins and minerals: Dogs need vitamins and minerals to keep their bodies functioning as we do. A lack of iron can cause anemia and a lack of Vitamin E can cause dry, brittle skin.
Fats: are a necessary part of the diet. Fat is what keeps the skin supple and the coat shiny. Too little fat in the diet and you get a dry, brittle coat and dry skin. Too much fat and you get an obese dog. Fat is extremely palatable and that is why a lot of dog foods have fats for nutritional and taste values.
Water: Dogs can go longer without food than they can water. To stay hydrated, and to cool off, dogs need a constant supply of fresh, clean water. It is absolutely necessary to leave out a clean bowl of water at all times for your dog. Dogs can't tell you when they are thirsty, so it is important that you leave out water at all times.
Feeding a commercial diet: Commercially prepared pet foods come in three forms - dry, canned and semi-moist. Dry food is the most nutritional and economical food choice, but it is the least palatable. Canned food on the other hand are quite palatable, but more expensive, and cannot provide the hard crunchiness that benefits dogs' teeth and gums (and no, canned foods do not give your dog worms). Semi-moist is the most comparable to human junk foods. They are loaded with extra sugars and preservatives.
It is important to store dry dog food in an airtight container as soon as possible to help ensure freshness. We all know what it is like to eat stale cookies or potato chips after the bag has been opened. Yes, dogs do not like stale foods either. I am constantly telling clients to buy the approximate size bag of dog food for their dog. I don't think you will be saving a lot of money if you buy a 50-pound bag for your Shih Tzu or Poodle when you are feeing him only two cups a day. Freshness is more important.
If you are confused as to whether you should feed your dog dry food or canned foods, why not mix the two together. I like mixing the dry food with canned foods at a ratio of three parts dry to one part wet. Remember, both of these foods are formulated to provide your dog with the same types and mixtures of protein, carbohydrates and fats. While dry foods contain the same things as canned foods, the difference is that the water and blood has been removed from the dry food.
Many breeders and dog experts feed their dogs commercial name brands of dry dog food such as Pro Plan, Exceed, Pedigree or Purina One, and supplement these foods with the occasional canned food such as Alpo. I tell clients to sometimes mix the dry food with canned foods such as Friskies or tuna, mackerel or sardines to give the food some added taste. There is no denying that canned foods provide good flavor and a little additional meat that dogs love. The dry food is nutritional and hard and crunchy as long as it's kept fresh. This causes your dog to chew more, and eating the dry food helps clean their teeth by scraping off bits of accumulated plaque or tartar. Wet foods can accumulate along the gum line and between the teeth, contributing to poor oral health.
o Dr. Basil Sands can be contacted at the Central Animal Hospital at 325-1288.