Woo! The last 36 hours have been a total whirlwind. So much has happened, so quickly and we’re gearing up this evening for a busy week. Yesterday, we had an incredibly successful health fair with over a hundred clients who came in for blood pressure and blood sugar screening. This required us to get up at 4 am, drive to the farmer’s market, and be ready to start taking on clientele by 5:30. Representative Christensen, a trained physician, told us in a meeting a few weeks back that uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes were two of the most major problems here in St. Croix. Her words about the needs of the community guided the initiation and design of the intervention, but I don’t know if any of us realized how much community assessment we would find ourselves doing simultaneously.
We learned about all the factors that the community perceived to be blockading them health care or healthy living. Some were uninsured since the oil refinery closed in 2011. Some were uninsured because no one would insure the islander because there wasn’t enough space or money in the budget. Still more found that they knew a change in diet would benefit their health, but limiting parts of Caribbean cuisine which exacerbate such health issues may not be worth the sacrifice to control their sugar or hypertension. We also learned about the diversity of the culture. Not only are there native Crucians, but also Mainland folk, Trinidadians (is that right?), Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, etc. People from all over with different attitudes towards health, health care, and health care access. We also had the chance to learn what kinds of bush medicine people use to ameliorate any maladies they are experiencing. Moringa, a seed packed with vitamins, was not a favorite of mine. Very bitter and then sweet, I personally was not fond of it. Alex, Cathleen, Diann, and Lori on the other hand enjoyed the seeds. I will have mine whole from now on.
Yesterday evening we went to Relay for Life. I have had the fortune of participating in Relay in the past, but was so excited to get to participate in a new setting. One of our group is a survivor and it was great to hear her story and celebrate her own story by attending the event. There was lots of dancing after a few laps. Let’s just say everyone has a different and unique style 😉
This morning was an awesome adventure. We went into the hills of St. Croix and learned about different bush practices. We tried so many different types of plants which nourish, prevent illness, and cure disease. One traditional remedy he shared with us was urine. I am sure you have all heard of urinating on a jelly or urchin sting, but he recommended it for any malady, “The best cure for ear aches.” He also suggested that if anyone on our trip is stung by a centipede again, we should put it in hot water and the victim drink it, the antidote of the poison lies within the maker.
Another opportunity presented itself to try nature’s version of Warheads. They were, quite possibly, the most sour fruit we had ever tasted.
Some of our group have experienced some burning after a long, overcast winter in Baltimore. Our very own bush doctor, Alex, discovered an aloe plant on our porch and applied it generously to her own burns.