05/16/17/Salt Mills/ 1pm
We were able to sleep in today which was amazing. Today was dedicated to exploring the island, shopping, and visiting the Potcake Place. While we did this, the other half of the group had their last dive. We followed the map of the island and found ourselves at Juba Sound. The island is only about 20 miles long and is not hard to get from one end to the other.
After we drove to Blue Hills, which is the community where a lot of the islanders live. It consisted of run down houses, churches and one of the high schools. It was such a culture shock going from our beautiful resort to the other side of town and seeing how people actually live. A lot of the wealthy and tourist do not actually know or do not want to see the poverty and how people actually live. There is such a class difference and it is clear to see. The high school looked run down and not well kept. Compared to the other high school on the island, the British West Indies Collegiate for the privileged children, you can see the segregation. There is only one “college” on the island, where students learn hospitality. To me, this just seems wrong because they are essentially just learning how to take care of tourists which could be considered modern day slavery. I defiantly have a different perspective of the island and do not just look at it as a tourist attraction, but a place where people have to work day in and day out to stay out of poverty. Seeing all of this made me feel more then grateful for all that I have.
On a lighter note, we then visited the Potcake Place, which is a K9 rescue for Potcake puppies. On this island, and many others, dogs are not as domesticated. There are many feral dogs, dogs that are semi owned, and stray. To us, we treat our dog or pet like a baby, but here they are not as important to the people. Some get fed, but others get treated horribly. This organization was put in place to allow tourist and others to adopt these puppies giving them the care they deserve. We were not able to volunteer, but we were able to go visit and play with them. I really wanted to adopt one, but my mom would not be to happy! I was able to do a little shopping after, making sure to get some souvenirs for my family.
To conclude our day, we went to Chinson’s Grill Shack where we met our diving instructors. It was nice to have one last meal with them and reminisce on some of the best times and even some challenges we had. They are really great people and you can tell they love what they do. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to come back and scuba dive with them again.