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Sheryl Bastian (name changed) struggles to use words in the right context in our conversation, but I know what she means. I don't correct her because I do not want to embarrass her. I listen as she tells her tale of being able to speak words and hold a conversation, but when placed in a position to write those very same words down, she realized that she could not spell.
The 56-year-old grandmother of one, says realizing she was not as literate as she should be did not emerge until she was put in a clerical position at her job of 14 years, and forced to take messages over the telephone.
In the midst of a rising crime rate, there are not enough prosecutors to ensure criminals are prosecuted quickly, The Nassau Guardian can reveal. According to Guardian sources, the workload of prosecutors has increased but the office has not received any additional manpower.
Rotary continues to help rebuild Haiti after the devastating Earthquake of January 2010 killed more than 300,000 people and left over one million displaced. To highlight Rotary’s work and to bring attention for a request for donations, a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) will be aired in 6 countries in District 7020.
On Friday May 20th , 2011 a group of Bahamian and Haitian-Bahamian artists, hosted an art exhibit and mini musical concert in Nassau at Jacaranda House, called "Nostrum Fabula" (Latin for "Our Story"). The event was under the patronage of the Bahamian Governor General and the Haitian Ambassador to The Bahamas; the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture also attended. Leading broadcast journalist, Jerome Sawyer, served as the master of ceremonies. It featured Bahamian folk musical artists like the Region Bells and the disc jockey alternated between Kompa and Goombay music.
An untitled art piece by Bernard Petit-Homme, a 26 year old Bahamian born of Haitian immigrant parents, served as the cover art for invitations and promotional material for the event. The image features the Bahamian and Haitian flags. The flags make up the torso of a man who is both black and white; he is silhouetted by the orange and yellow sun; his arms stretch across blue waters of the sea. In the painting Petit-Homme seeks to reconcile his Haitian and Bahamian selves and acknowledge the mixed bloodlines of many as a consequence of slavery. He crafts a celebratory message of unity and brotherhood; a message that ran like a thread throughout the entire event, at which the Bahamian and Haitian national anthems were played.
However, the spirit of unity, tolerance, mutual understanding and respect expressed at the exhibit are not shared by everyone in The Bahamas. Indeed, it is safe to say, that despite their proximity, their many shared cultural practices and a long history of relations between Haiti and The Bahamas, the attitudes of most Bahamians towards Haitians is one of resentment, suspicion or outright hostility.
The Haitian "problem" in The Bahamas is shaped by a number of factors. Haitian migrants are a crucial source of cheap, reliable, motivated labor, particularly in the agricultural sector. Increasingly, however, as the middle class shrinks and the ranks of the Bahamian working poor swell, there is growing resentment toward Haitian immigrants and their children because they are now competing for jobs deemed above their social station. Where once a Haitain only worked as a gardener, farmer, grounds keeper or "handyman"--work young Bahamian men have looked down on for the past forty years--they are now working at gas stations, in hardware stores, and gaining employment as masons and carpenters, jobs Bahamian men have dominated. Many a Bahamian contractor prefers Haitian immigrant labor to Bahamian, not simply because it is cheaper, but because it is better.
There is also the real and perceived strain on national services, such as education and health care, created by the immigrant influx. And there are national security concerns, fed by the fear of Haitian immigrants "violent" people. Added to this are Bahamians' fears of cultural erasure, and political/economic displacement due to the perception of Haitians as a lurking enemy intent on "taking over." All of these factors make the Haitian-Bahamian encounter a vexed one; one that reveals class, color and ethnic fault lines.
The often bigoted public discourse in newspapers, on radio and television speak to the volatility of the situation. For a time I would cut out the more virulent letters to the editor I came across in the papers. One of the most memorable was entitled "Haitians Attract Flies." The most recent was blaming the devastating quake in Haiti on devil worship. I grew up with certain received notions about the Haitian people; they have been the butt of jokes my whole life. There was no greater insult among us as children than to be called Highshun. There is a stigma attached to Haitian origins; a social/ethnic blemish that many young people try to hide because of the stinging ridicule and contempt heaped on them through no fault of their own. I remember a young man at COB who insisted on Anglicizing his name in my class and others who tolerated all sorts of mispronunciations because they at least didn't sound French.
In this uneasy climate, many Bahamian artists attempt to resist the stereotyping of the Haitian people. Artists such as John Cox, John Beadle, Jackson Petit-Homme, Maxwell Taylor, and Eric Ellis, and writers such as myself, Telcine Turner-Rolle, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, Keith Russell, Nicolette Bethel and others have attempted to prick the conscience of Bahamian society. My play "Diary of Souls" was a fictional treatment of a true event; the tragic death of Haitian refugees at sea in the Exumas in 1990. Sadly, these tragedies have been happening for a very, very long time and still happen.
At stake is the very notion of what it means to be a Bahamian. Haitian immigration challenges the core values/ideals of the Bahamian state, putting the people and the nation on trial, and calling international attention to the question of just how committed The Bahamas is to freedom, equality and justice for all.
But we are an itsy bitsy country. We cannot possibly be expected to have an open door policy. We have the right to protect our borders from illegal entry. We are not the continental United States or Canada; we are specs on the world map. And even in a nation the size of the US, illegal immigration from Mexico and further south is the source of heated debate and conflict.
But though we may protect our borders, Haitian immigrants and those of Haitian descent are here to stay. We may not all want them here but all need them here. We need them, as we have always needed immigrants, to help build our country by doing the things we can't or won't do. It makes no sense to drive a wedge between them and us, to create a hated, disenfranchised underclass.
The reality is that our citizenship laws ensure the imperilment, not the protection, of The Bahamas. Disenfranchising a person for 18 years or more, while they await entry into the exclusive club of Bahamian citizenship, creates frustration, shame, anger, alienation and bitterness in the hearts thousands of young people who know, have, and want no other home but this one. It's simply inhumane, short sighted and stupid.
If we cannot bring ourselves to make citizenship automatic upon one's birth for all those born here, we should at least amend the constitution to lower the eligibility date. Why not 10 years old instead of 18? Avoid creating frustrated stateless teens that can't get scholarships, can't fully participate in national life.
Of course, there's always the other option. While picking up my son from school, a gentleman who was also waiting for a child, told me he had the solution to the Haitian problem. "I would blow their boats right out of the water when we find them." And then he proceeded to carefully lovingly take a child's hand and lead her out of the school yard.
IAN STRACHAN is Associate Professor at the College of The Bahamas.
Bahamians often forget and a growing number perhaps don't even know that one of the most famous faces in black cinema had deep Bahamian roots.Indeed, Sidney Poitier, who was the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1963, was hardly afforded the same gestures of national pride reserved for Bahamian sportsmen who win gold medals in the Olympics.
Yet a young specialized film festival under the College of The Bahamas aims to honor his memory with an annual five-day festival of films and roundtable discussions and lectures about the kind of thought-provoking films he had starred in.
"I thought it was a way to introduce him to a younger generation of Bahamians and to honor him," said one of the festival's creators and organizer, Dr. Ian Strachan.
"To my knowledge there's no public commemoration no street or school or building named after him, his house is not a public heritage site, which I think is both foolish and sad because we're a tourist destination and we need to focus more on cultural tourism," he said, "and by the same token, Bahamians need to know more about the achievements of Bahamians, the contributions they have made to world history and well as local history."
Now entering its third year, The Sidney Poitier Film Festival is shifting its focus from films and discussions featuring Poitier to films and discussions centered around thought-provoking cinema of his caliber in his memory.
This year, said Strachan, the focus is on migration, tying into a campus-wide initiative to center many class discussions and research projects on the same subject in order to comprehensively explore the current and complex global focus.
Under themes of citizenship, migration to the U.S., to Europe or from rural to urban communities, and even spiritual journies, the variety of films spanning across decades and cultures from "Cry the Beloved Country" (1952) to our very own "Rain" (2009) by Bahamian director Maria Govan touches upon a number of thought-provoking issues surrounding migration.
"We want to try and give a global perspective hopefully to help our students and the wider community to see that this is not just something we are grappling with, but this is something that is a global phenomenon," said Strachan.
"Human beings are on the move, sometimes for opportunities, sometimes they have no choice, sometimes to avoid prosecution; people just move. There are so many levels upon which it can be discussed."
Strachan points out that even though the festival no longer directly focuses on Sidney Poitier himself, the theme is still relevant to his story and to feelings surrounding the star's decision to leave and never return to The Bahamas. Yet, as Strachan pointed out, Poitier in fact had U.S. citizenship through his birthplace of Miami, despite his Cat Island roots.
"The politics of identity are interesting in migration," said Strachan. "Sidney Poitier changed a lot about himself and won awards and became the most famous black face in cinema in his time while living and working in the U.S. The expectation is that he'd come back to'do something'in The Bahamas in film the notion of establishing a film school or something."
"But I think his contribution, his gift, is those films he made. He doesn't have to help you become a star why is that his responsibility? Just because he doesn't live here, does that negate his achievements?"
The worldwide film icon Sidney Poitier we know and love wouldn't have existed if he had lived in the 1950s Bahamas with its few performing opportunities, proving that migration isn't as black-and-white as modern-day politics and heated debates make it seem. To that end, said Strachan, the festival aims to challenge such stereotypical notions in order to stretch the Bahamian consciousness about national identity.
"If we had to boil it down, we're trying to look at films that will create a level of empathy and awareness toward the migrant to understand why people migrate, the challenges they face, the humanity of people who feel their best option is to move and the price that they pay," explained Strachan.
"I'd like to create greater sensitivity in the community, or a greater level of understanding, to combat fear or hatred or stereotyping or simplistic thinking about problems that are complex," he continued.
"So the films we chose hopefully lend themselves to just the opposite of those things so that we can become a more tolerant society and not tolerant of evils, tolerant of difference because we are more diverse than our national narrative and identities allow."
Yet the Sidney Poitier Film Festival also contributes to a small but strong and growing effort for cultural variety in the academic and creative communities who want to demand more out of their local entertainment options. Compared to cities abroad that feature specialized events like this, The Bahamas has little to offer even by way of film variety at local cinemas, yet efforts like this aim to change that by expanding the aesthetic demands of its guests.
"We're starved for that diversity in entertainment and cultural activity," said Strachan. "Choices here are driven by the commercial global capitalist agenda. We have to try to fight them and create an appreciation for films that have more depth with regards to human experience because it affects the human consciousness."
The Third Annual Sidney Poitier Film Festival will run February 29 to March 4. Established by the School of English Studies at the College of The Bahamas. All films are screened free to the public and are viewed at The Harry Moore Library, College of The Bahamas'Nassau Campus, Oakes Field. For a full schedule of events and more information, check out www.poitierfestival.yolasite.com, call 302-4381 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Wednesday February 29, 2012
2 p.m.: La Haine (1996)
Aimlessly whiling away their days in the concrete environs of their dead-end suburbia, Vinz, Hubert, and SaÃ¯d a Jew, an African, and an Arab give human faces to France's immigrant populations, their bristling resentments at their social marginalization slowly simmering until they reach a climactic boiling point. (98 mins.)
3:45 p.m.: Lakay (2009)
A powerful and engaging social issue documentary investigating the living situations and treatment of Haitian immigrants and their children in The Bahamas.(15 mins.)
4 p.m.: Roundtable: Migration and World Cinema
Dr. Keithley Woolward, Dr. Toni Francis, Dr. Mayuri Deka, Dr. Raymond Oenbring, Dr. Ian Bethel-Bennett
6 p.m.: Sugar (2008)
Sugar is the inspirational story of Miguel Santos, a gifted pitcher struggling to make it to the big leagues of American baseball. (120 mins.)
8 p.m.: Milk and Honey (1988)
A proud but penniless Jamaican woman seeks employment as a foreign domestic in Toronto, only to find it not a land of milk and honey but of compromise and diminished expectations. (89 mins.)
Thursday March 1, 2012:
2 p.m.: El Norte (1983)
Brother and sister Enrique and Rosa flee persecution at home in Guatemala and journey north, through Mexico and on to the United States, with the dream of starting a new life. A work of social realism imbued with dreamlike imagery,"El Norte"is a lovingly rendered, heartbreaking story of hope and survival.(141 mins.)
4:30 p.m.: A Day Without a Mexican (2004)
California awakens one day to discover that one third of its population has vanished. A peculiar pink fog surrounds the state and communication outside its boundaries has completely shut down. As the day progresses, it becomes apparent that the sole characteristic linking the missing 14 million is their Hispanic heritage.(100 mins.)
6:30 p.m.: The Other Side of Immigration (2009)
Based on over 700 interviews in Mexican towns where about half the population has left to work in the United States,"The Other Side of Immigration"asks why so many Mexicans come to the U.S. and what happens to the families and communities they leave behind.(55 mins.)
8 p.m.: Lilies of the Field (1963)
An unemployed construction worker (Homer Smith) heading out west stops at a remote farm in the desert to get water when his car overheats. The farm is being worked by a group of East European Catholic nuns, headed by the strict mother superior(Mother Maria), who believes that Homer has been sent by God to build a much needed church in the desert. (94 mins.)
Friday March 2, 2012:
Rural to urban Migration
12 p.m.: Made in China (2007)
This documentary tells one of the millions of stories of migrants from rural China who comprise the backbone of the Chinese economic miracle. It provides a human face behind the ubiquitous label"Made in China".(52 minutes.)
2 p.m.: Sugar Cane Alley (1983)
Set in 1931, Sugar Cane Alley paints a rich image of life in Martinique, filtered through the coming-of-age of a bright, sweetly opportunistic boy learning to reconcile the value of his shanty-town roots with the educational opportunities that beckon him to the big city. (103 mins.)
4 p.m.: The Harder They Come (1972)
Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff stars as Ivanhoe"Ivan"Martin, an aspiring young singer who leaves his rural village for the city of Kingston, hoping to make a name for himself. Robbed of his money and possessions his first day in town, he finds work with a self-righteous, bullying preacher and an unscrupulous music mogul who exploits young hopefuls.(120 min.)
6 p.m.: Rain (2008)
Determined to reconcile with the mother who abandoned her when she was just a toddler, a Bahamian adolescent boards a local mail boat and sets sail for Nassau in director Maria Govan's intimate family drama.(93 mins.)
8 p.m.: Cry, the Beloved Country (1952)
Adapted from the novel by Alan Paton, this 1951 film is set in South Africa and is a commentary about apartheid. It stars Canada Lee as a native aging Christian priest, who travels to Johannesburg in search of his sister and his son. He finds that his sister is a prostitute and his son is missing.(103 mins.)
Saturday March 3, 2012
2 p.m.: Dirty Pretty Things (2002)
A riveting thriller about an illegal immigrant in London named Okwe(Chiwetal Ejiofor,"Amistad"), a doctor in his homeland who now works days as a taxi driver and nights as a hotel desk clerk. (97 mins.)
4 p.m.: The Other Europe (2006)
"The Other Europe"is a penetrating study of the economics and politics behind the immigration debate in Europe.(58 mins.)
6 p.m.: Paris Blues (1961)
Ram Bowen and Eddie Cook are two expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris where, unlike America at the time, Jazz musicians are celebrated and racism is a non-issue. (98 mins.)
8 p.m.: A Warm December (1973)
Dr. Matt Younger and his daughter arrive for a month-long visit to London for dirt-bike racing and unexpectedly, a new romance for the widowed Dr. Younger. His new love interest is the beautiful and playful Catherine who seems to enjoy eluding Dr. Younger as much as she enjoys eluding the mysterious men who are following her. (99 mins.)
Sunday March 4, 2012
2 p.m.: Sankofa (1993)
A self-absorbed black American fashion model on a photo shoot in Africa is spiritually transported back to a plantation in the West Indies where she experiences first-hand the physical and psychic horrors of chattel slavery and eventually the redemptive power of community and rebellion. (124 mins.)
4:30 p.m. : Fanon (1996)
This innovative film biography restores Fanon to his rightful place at the center of contemporary discussions around post-colonial identity.(52 mins.)
5:30 p.m.: Belonging (2004)
Born into exile as the daughter of political Ã©migrÃ©s, Kethiwe Ngcobo and her family returned to their longed-for homeland, South Africa in 1994. (52 mins.)
7 p.m.: The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
The dramatization of a motorcycle road trip future revolutionary Che Guevara went on in his youth that showed him his life's calling. (126 mins.)
Choosing and wearing the right athletic shoe is a vital part of maintaining your weight and a healthy lifestyle. However, research has shown that most persons do not exercise at all or not consistently if they have foot pain. Wearing the correct athletic shoes when engaging in your physical activities can go a long way to encourage and promote regular exercise. Not wearing the correct shoes is like trying to perform a specialized skill or activity without having the right tools.
Several factors influence the type of athletic shoes you purchase and wear including the sport you play, foot type and body weight. Body weight must be considered when purchasing a shoe. Increased body weight places more demands upon the feet and shoes and also contributes to the shoes wearing out earlier.
You can find the athletic shoe to fit well and give you the needed support during your physical activity or sport. Here are some reminders to consider when purchasing your athletic shoes.
Know your foot type
Your foot type should play an important role in selecting the correct pair of athletic shoes and can go a long way to preventing many foot injuries and reducing the risk of accelerating and aggravating foot deformities. Feet come in different shapes and sizes and they must be considered when buying your athletic shoes.
For the most part, there are three main foot types -- the low-arched foot, the medium and high-arched foot. Shoes should be selected based on the foot type. Based on the foot type, the foot becomes less flexible and the shoes become more rigid to better accommodate the foot.
Choose the shoe style and type based on your foot type.
The low-arched, pronated foot should wear motion control shoes, while the medium-arched foot should wear stability type shoes with a slight curve in the middle part of the shoe and the high-arched foot should wear a neutral cushioning type shoes. Whatever shoe you purchase must be supportive and fit properly.
Buy a sport-specific shoe
The sport or activity you are planning to engage is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing shoes. It is best to purchase sport specific shoes. If you are going to walk or play soccer for example, purchase walking sneakers or soccer cleats. The sport specific shoes are specially designed for the movements usually conducted in that sport and will support your feet better while performing it.
Purchasing a shoe designed for the exact sporting /physical activity you will be participating in not only improves your performance but also protects your feet from foot and ankle injuries. Of course, if you are playing basket ball or soccer then buy the shoes for that sport.
All shoes are not suitable for all activities.
Walking shoes tend to be stiffer while running shoes are more flexible, with extra cushioning to handle the greater impact on the foot anticipated when running. If you plan to do both activities, choose a shoe for each sport or choose a cross-trainer style shoe for general or multiple activities.
Measure your feet before purchasing athletic shoes
When buying athletic shoes, try on the shoes and walk about in the store to be sure it is a perfect fit. Remember, to make sure there is at least a thumb width of space between the longest toe and the end of the shoes.
Don't forget the socks
Without the right sock, even the best athletic shoe won't fit or function properly. Fit your shoes with the sock or type of sock you plan to wear during the sport to ensure a proper fit. The right athletic sock should be made of a natural and synthetic blend to help wisk away moisture and not have any large seams that can cause blisters or irritation.
Finally, remember, the old adage, you get what you pay for. The reality is that a good quality shoe that fits well and provides the support your feet need to continue with your sport or physical activities will cost some money. It is estimated at anywhere from $80 to $200 or even more, based on the sport, the type of shoes needed and your foot type. Don't only look for a specific brand of shoes, rely more on the fit when you try on the shoes.
These shoes don't last forever and should be changed on a regular basis. Don't wait for the shoes to wear out or be torn to replace them. The older the shoe, the more likely it has lost its built-in support and can no longer support your feet. For example, it is recommended that running shoes last anywhere from 200 to 400 miles. So if you run a whole lot per week, your shoe will wear out faster than someone who doesn't run as many miles as you. Think of your sneakers like the tires on your car, so keep a close eye on them. When the outsole (bottom) of a shoe starts to wear down, it will get smooth and start looking like the bald tire on a car. When this happens it's time to replace your shoes. You can also twist the shoe and if it twists from side to side really easily, the shoes are worn and do not offer enough support and must be replaced. Of course, if the shoe is worn, torn or changed shape to fit your feet, they need to be changed. Foot pain can also be an indication that it is time to change your shoes. Remember, foot pain is not normal. Stop, change your shoes and if the pain persists see a podiatrist for a complete check up.
oFor more information email me at email@example.com or visit www.foothealth.org or apma.org. To see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates on Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820.
As our children return to school they will also be returning to their many sporting activities including track, basketball, soccer, tennis, dance, etc., so selecting the correct shoe for their activities and foot type can go a long way in preventing many foot related injuries, and reduce the risk of accelerating and aggravating foot deformities.
The foot is a complex and intricate structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments and tendons all working together to support our body weight and adapt to a variety of surfaces as we walk and participate in sporting activities. Many foot related injuries and deformities occur when the foot is not functioning in harmony and balance.
Feet come in many different shapes, sizes and function, and all these factors must be considered when buying your child's athletic shoes. For the most part, we can divide the feet into three main types -- the low arched foot, the medium arched foot and the high arched foot. Fortunately, many running shoes are manufactured to accommodate these foot types and their function.
Motion control shoes are usually suited for people with low arched, straight feet. Stability type shoes are for those individuals with a medium arched foot (deemed "normal") and have a slight curve in the shape of the shoe. Lastly, neutral cushioning type shoes are the best fit for those individuals with a high arched foot. You may notice, that as you examine your shoes from each of these categories, from a neutral type shoe to a stability type shoe and on to a motion controlling type shoe, the shoes become more rigid and more resistant to twisting and bending. Body weight must also factor into the selection process because increased weight places more demands upon the feet.
Sports plays a significant role in millions of children's lives and more children are playing individual and team sports every day. As a result, sports-related foot and ankle injuries are also on the rise. Running and walking are the most natural forms of exercise done today. Parents should be mindful of their child's sports that require a substantial amount of running and turning, or involve contact because they can easily result in foot injuries. Choose the wrong athletic shoes and your child could end up lying on the couch nursing shin splints, aching heels or other injuries instead of enjoying a brisk walk, run or playing sports. On the other hand, choosing the right athletic shoes can prevent these injuries and protect your child's feet while they play the sports they love. By following a few simple steps, you can find athletic shoes that fit well and your child will love.
o Know your child's foot type. Choose the shoe style and type based on your child's foot type and foot function.
o Purchase a sport-specific shoe. Purchasing a shoe designed for the exact sport your child will be participating in not only improves your child's performance on the court or field, but also helps keep their feet free from serious foot and ankle injuries. This way the shoe will fit properly for the movements the feet will be doing as part of the sport. For example, if your child is playing soccer, purchase the appropriate cleats rather than have them play in basketball or walking shoes.
o Don't make shoes multitask. Walking shoes are stiffer and running shoes are more flexible, with extra cushioning to handle greater impact. If you do both activities, choose one for each sport or choose a cross-trainer style shoe for general or multiple activities.
o Measure your child's feet frequently and before purchasing shoes. Have the child try on the shoe and walk about in the store to be sure it is a perfect fit. Many shoe sellers can measure your child's feet. Remember, to make sure there is at least a thumb width of space between the end of the longest toe and shoes.
o Don't forget the socks! Without the right sock, even the best athletic shoe won't fit or function properly. Firstly have your child fit their shoes with the sock they will wear during the sport to ensure a proper fit. If your child exhibits signs of hyperhidrosis (excess sweating) or bromhydrosis (foot odor), selection of the appropriate athletic sock may reduce the incidences of these conditions. The right athletic sock should be made of a natural/synthetic blend to help "wick" away moisture and not have any large seams that can cause blisters or irritation.
If your child has had an injury to the foot and ankle they should be seen by the podiatrist who can guide them better on shoe types and other injury prevention strategies. Protective taping of the foot and ankle may be necessary to prevent sprains or fractures. Parents should consider discussing these matters with their family podiatrist if they have children participating in sports. All athletes should remember that pain is not normal and they should not play sports if they are having pain. Pain is a warning sign that something is wrong, so stop playing and see a podiatrist to determine what is the cause of the pain.
For more information or to see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996; Bahamas Surgical Associates, Albury Lane 394-5820 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.apma.org.