Friday, November 13, 2009

Veteran's Day Cheerleaders on Andros

Hello Again - well we have been here over a year now - time flies!
Last year there was a different OIC (Officer in Charge) and the AUTEC Navy Base I support and the Veteran's Day ceremonies were really quite minimal. So - this year I made a point of offering to do a Non-denominational Veterans Day Service in the Chapel. From what I hear there were discussions about the offer at the base but, we have a new OIC now and they decided to do their own thing. It actually was wonderful.

At 7:30, during the Flag Raising, a color guard with sailors in dress whites was present. The chaplain of the base VFW post did an opening prayer, the OIC spoke, the bugle sounded, and the flags were raised with much solemnity while everyone stood at attention. All in all it was quite impressive.

What I didn't know was that, as part of the weekend-long celebration the cheerleaders for the Jacksonville Jaquars were on the base. The night before they performed at the baseball field (an event I missed), and they were there for the flag raising. The OIC made an interesting announcement during his remarks related to the cheerleaders. It seems that the night before one of them had confided to him that she had just joined the Navy and would be reporting for basic training at the end of the football season!

Well, after the flag raising this gave every sailor on the base a reason to talk to her and she was instantly the most popular cheerleader on their squad!

On a different note - one of the wives of a civil engineer on Base is also the Chapel Coordinator for the Base. She does a great job of coordinating the facility among all the various groups that us it. Well her hubby has taken a new job and they'll be leaving the Base at the end of the month. As she packs she needs to clean out her cupboards and asked if I would take some of the extra food she had in her cupboards. Well - there is no such thing as extra food for a Bahamian so I ended up collecting 3 good-sized boxes of food!

After sorting frozen stuff from dry goods, and sorting out the opened and unopened boxes, I was able to put together alot of things to give to the poorer members of our Churches. Boxes of grits, intant oatmeal packets, candy, pasta . . . One family of 8 living in a two-room shack was very thankful for what I could give them and they really need it.

Last year AUTEC donated a large food basket to me for Christmas that we pretty much gave away to families in need. With the economy the way it is I hope they repeat that generous offer. Its one thing to give a family money - its something else for them to get a food basket. Even staples like grits are very welcome, but seeing meat (like a can of tuna or a tin of corned beef) is very prized and they can't thank you enough.

With that said, Bahamians are very generous themselves. We have had women give us home made breads, and wonderful home made tarts (I love the coconut, Gin prefers the pineapple). One man even rides to the church on his bike with a plastic bag hanging from his handlebars - inside the bag will be two dinners, home made bahamian fish dinners with rice in a great sauce.

Anyway - charity here goes two ways - us to them and vise versa (See how they love one another is very real here).

Till next time.

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