Saturday, March 19, 2011

Caribbean Beauty Pageant

One of the young women in the branch, Ishelka, was in a beauty pageant so I went to support her. Here I am with Nabila (YW 2nd counselor), Sis. Case (senior missionary), and Ernistine (Ishelka's mother.)

The entire night epitomized the Caribbean culture. It was supposed to start at 8:00 p.m., but didn't begin until 9:15 (which meant it lasted until 1:45 a.m.) The crowd was excited and loud and danced and cheered from beginning to end. There was food aplenty, from popcorn and drinks and chips, to fish and ribs and chicken/rice as you would expect here. There was alcohol of course, and many people milling around who had had too much of it. There were a few fights and some heated debates all around us, and as you know most Caribbean people do not have an "indoor voice." It was outside so as you would expect, there were dogs milling around, waiting for a morsel of food scraps. The bands that took up most of the time in between the pageantry events were loud (you should know what I mean when I say "loud," in that your chest pounds with each beat.)

One thing that is sad to me, but is common at events like this here, (Adrian has also witnessed it at all 3 of the Ms. Marriott pageants here that he has attended) is that when a contestant trips or forgets their words, the crowd laughs loudly and makes a huge scene out of it.

These drummers were a welcome change in volume and played while the girls paraded around.

This is Ishelka wearing her school uniform for her opening speech.

The women scream and jump around and cheer non-stop.

Here is the dog that shared the night with our little group.

One of the categories was to display a unique, hand-crafted outfit. They included many different elements, such as outfits being made completely from paper towels, fruits and vegetables, leaves from various trees, money, and fabrics from traditional carnival clothing.

This is Ishelka during the talent portion.

These are some of the evening gowns. Everything is colorful and quite different.

So proud of Ishelka. She received 2nd runner up and got the highest scores for her interview. Incidentally, throughout the pageant her motto was "Be strong and of a good courage; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest" from Joshua, which was the youth mutual theme for 2010.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Beginnings

We had our annual New Beginnings program a few weeks ago. The theme was "A New Heart" and we all took part in a skit that was centered around the theme. There were 3 of us leaders as surgeons, another leader as the head nurse, seven of the young women as nurses, and one girl was the patient who was in need of "surgery", with the young women values in her heart being repaired or replaced after being damaged by sin.

We had a fun night and the girls thought it was grand to be able to play dress-up. The funniest thing of all was seeing the young women who were dressed in nurse uniforms and scrubs come out for the play in their fancy shoes. Also, these nurse outfits are actual uniforms that the nurses wear here in the hospital. It reminds me of something you would see in the movies from the 1950's. I think I'm going to try one on and take a picture of myself before I have to return the uniforms this week.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Credit to Bear Grylls

Do you know this guy? Brennan loves watching him on the T.V. show "Man vs. Wild." Here is Brennan's latest experiment that he HAD to try out after gleaning the idea from Bear. I think someone would be pre-determined to be in a Discovery Channel show like this if their name is "Bear."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


We had 2 individuals get baptized a few weeks ago. One was a local girl, the fiance of one of the young adult men in the branch, who, by the way, we are also putting on a wedding for this Saturday. The other was an American, a friend of one of the medical school students in the branch. The last time we had an adult-convert baptism was about a year and a half ago. We found out the night before that there was no water at the church, which usually wouldn't be too much of a problem because we would just pull water in from a street faucet, but the entire neighborhood was out of water. (I know it sounds odd, but if you've lived here, you know that sometimes there is no water and sometimes there is no electricity, and you hope that they don't both go out at the same time!)

So, to get on with the story, the baptism was at the beach behind our house. It was a nice experience and it was great to have instant entertainment for all the kids, and we didn't even notice their shrieking and laughter because of the sound of the crashing waves. The downer for the day was that most of the local members were not able to make it in time for the baptism. (Only a few didn't make it because of their own tardiness.) Many of the members coming with our friend, Jason, were forced to pull over on the way to the baptism because smoke began coming in through the air conditioning vents, and when they all piled out of the car, there was nothing to do but watch as Jason's car mysteriously went up in flames. The fire department actually did arrive, and it was in amazingly record time. But by that time the engine and front tires and dashboard had already burned up/melted.

Thank goodness for the 10 American visitors who were on vacation and helped out with the attendance. I would probably say that 25% of our branch is made up of Americans who are here for veterinary or medical school, and us with Marriott. Those numbers are definitely not represented in this picture.

So long white jeep, you lived a good life.