#Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas, October 14, 2019 — One of the oldest cultural events in The Bahamas, this year, did not happen; the annual Conch Cracking Competition in McClean’s Town experienced a tragic but necessary interruption; the 2019 staging of the event is yet another casualty of catastrophic Hurricane Dorian.
The storm which hit Grand Bahama on September 2, is clearly not over. The annual highlight in the eastern settlement of hurricane surge-swamped Grand Bahama Island is an economic booster, which has given the community distinction since 1972.
The competition was started in the fishing village by a teacher from England, Jeffrey Morgan, as a way to raise money for the school; it has grown to become the only competition of its kind in the Caribbean region, perhaps even the world.
An over 45-year tradition heartbreakingly halted and revealing the depth and width of the impact, even weeks later, of the most horrific hurricane in modern Bahamian history.
BahamasGeoTourism.com describes the McClean’s Town Conch Cracking this way: This annual homecoming event began in 1972 and attracts both domestic and international visitors, who enthusiastically vie for the coveted and authentically Bahamian designed conch trophy, awarded to the best Conch Cracker in the country. Contestants compete to see who can most swiftly extract [and clean the meat from] a given number of conchs. There is a competition for men, for women, for locals, and for visitors!”
It is true; there is no bigger galvanizing event in the East of Grand Bahama and tourism officials, to whom Magnetic Media spoke said the task of upholding the tradition this year was of mammoth proportions; there was simply too much to overcome in the aftermath of hurricane Dorian.
It is still untold how many died in east Grand Bahama and property damage losses, when tallied, are expected to be in the millions.
Drone video by Live Storms reveal that McClean’s Town, a cozy settlement sitting on a picturesque peninsula was smashed by the storm. Roofs gone, buildings bulldozed by the surge waters, others gutted and raided, vehicles turned wrong side up and forced into the ocean and there is debris.
Eastern Grand Bahama, with its ecological richness, is also where there was an oil spill.
Hundreds of residents and tourists would have now been preparing to take the hour-long drive back into Freeport after having watched or competed in the hammering open of conch shells to draw out the conch mollusk (conch cracking), or enjoyed the East’s signature coconut cocktail: Gully Wash or having dined on fresh seafood, including savory cracked lobster – for which east Grand Bahamian home chefs are acclaimed.
But this will all have to wait – we pray – for 2020, when the McClean’s Town Conch Cracking and the resilient people of the community can reveal a glorious bounce-back.
Traditionally, the McClean’s Town Conch Cracking Competition is held at the McClean’s Town school in October on the public holiday which is today identified, in The Bahamas, as National Heroes Day.
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”
Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.
A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.
TCI & Bahamas and over 20 other countries put at higher risk by CDC, Residents say DIVERSIFY
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – ‘We need to diversify!’ is the main call from residents of the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas after the recent bumping of their countries to a level 4 in the US, Centres for Disease Control’s Travel Health Notice index. The Turks and Caicos Islands along with the Bahamas, Cayman, Bonaire, Curaçao Trinidad and Tobago and 16 other countries were officially added to the CDC’s level 4 list on Tuesday.
Jamaica was also moved up to level three.
Despite a record breaking year for arrivals, one TCI resident said, “Maybe now the PNP will put something credible into place to go with their words about diversifying the economy.”
A Bahamian resident added his views from Grand Bahama.
“Tourism is running the whole country, which is ridiculous because every time something goes down in the rest of the world tourism is the first thing that drops off. With Covid you think they would have learned a lesson, no, they’re still using Tourism as a base for everything.”
This is a blow for all the Caribbean countries listed, who are still trying to rebound from 2020’s economic shocks due to the freeze on travel and tourism when the Coronavirus Pandemic first started.
It is especially difficult for the Turks and Caicos which mandates that travelers must have travel insurance to vacation on the islands as level 4 ratings makes that security more difficult to procure.
Back to the Bush, Traditional Remedies make a Come-back
By Shanieka Smith
You may know it as the Wild Hyssop; American blue verbena, mosquito plant, holy herb or simpler’s joy. You may even know it because of its rich purple colour or its tiny and delicate leaves and five-petaled blossoms. But what you really need to know is that Vervain has several healing properties; it is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antispasmodic, and analgesic (pain-relieving).
Among its purported benefits, vervain is used to treat headaches, other aches and pain, insomnia, digestive dysfunction, depression and anxiety, and upper respiratory tract infections.
This means it’s perfect for the time we live in now as the coronavirus infamously attacks respiratory systems.
Neem – the tree for solving global problems grows “almost anywhere” in the lowland tropics.
Every part of the Neem tree is beneficial: the bark, leaves, seed, fruit, and twigs. It has over 130 biologically active compounds that can keep viral and bacterial diseases at bay. It is also a powerful immune stimulant.
Yes, it is bitter and has a garlic, nutty aroma but that is a sign that it is good for your body but not so good if you are trying to become pregnant, according to experts on the plant.
Neem is “A” class, which means it is antiviral (inhibits the growth of viruses), antifungal (inhibits the growth of fungi), antibacterial (destroys the growth of bacteria), analgesic (provides pain relief), anti-inflammatory (reduces certain signs of inflammation, swelling or tenderness), antimicrobial (destroys the growth of microorganisms) and it is age-defying.
As everyone is in survival mode, Moringa, the survival food, which contains all the nutritional elements may be just what you need.
Moringa has protein, calcium, eight of the nine essential amino acids, iron, Vitamin C and A minerals and more. The best part is that all parts of the Moringa plant have their unique health properties and you have different ways to use the plant.
Moringa leaves can be dried and grounded in powder form or as supplements. You can also use it to make an essential oil as well as a delicious drink from fresh leaves.
To improve both health, cure digestive disorders, protect your heart and cardiovascular system, reduce blood sugar levels, boost energy levels and immunity, try Moringa.
“Go home Elena, go home Elena, go boil Cerasee fi yuh belly” – This Caribbean folk song was loved more than the plant itself. But if your grandmother could not convince you enough, COVID-19 is here to remind you that your body needs to remain healthy and Cerasee can add to your body that renewed look and feel. The fruit, leaves, and seeds of the bitter melon plant have medicinal properties and are used as traditional medicine in many parts of the world. The herb is a natural detoxifier, containing vitamins A and C, as well as phosphorus and iron.
It is mostly used to make a hot beverage to calm symptoms of hypertension, diabetes, liver problems, fever, and constipation.
LEAF OF LIFE
Miracles still happen and if you do not believe, have a nice warm tea or a cool blended drink made from the Leaf of Life. You can also enjoy the raw plant. The tall, erect, succulent perennial herb is native to Madagascar and has become naturalised in tropical and subtropical areas.
It is used as a herbal remedy to treat respiratory conditions like asthma, colds, coughs, shortness of breath and bronchitis. The Life plant has several health and beauty benefits and the good news is, you can even have it as a houseplant.
The Aloe Vera plant is packed full of immune-boosting polysaccharides, just what you need now to strengthen your body and build resistance against harmful bacteria and viruses. Along with being used in cosmetics, the thick, short-stemmed plant has antioxidant and antibacterial properties that help to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria that can cause infections in humans.
It also enhances insulin sensitivity and helps improve blood sugar management, so if you are diabetic, it is good to add Aloe Vera to your medicinal list.
Papaya trees are almost everywhere on the island, so you have no excuses. Moreover, the nutrition filled fruit is not only a healthy choice, it’s a tasty one too.
Add papaya to your fruit salad, scoop the raw fruit with a spoon, blend the seeds into a creamy salad dressing and don’t forget to add the green fruit to your meat pot.
As you enjoy the juiciness and freshness of the fruit, it will help your body to reduce stress, prevent cholesterol build-up, arthritis, and ageing. The leaves are also proven to be helpful in preventing cancer.
Papaya is also one of nature’s natural contraceptives, they say.
Lemongrass or Fever grass is commonly taken orally, applied directly to the skin, or inhaled as aromatherapy.
It contains substances that can relieve pain and swelling, reduce fever, improve levels of sugar and cholesterol in the blood, stimulate the uterus and menstrual flow, and it has antioxidant properties.
A hot cup of lemongrass tea every morning can significantly improve your health.
Also, the leaves and the oil are used to make medicine. So what better way to enjoy the benefits of this herb than to grab it fresh from your backyard and enjoy the pure scent and the soothing taste?
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