We have been anchored in two different harbours along the coast of Eleuthera for the past two weeks. It is a picturesque island with caving, bodysurfing, fishing and snorkelling opportunities. We caught our first lobster here and ate the first fish caught on our rod (a type of mackeral called a cero)!
Lovelier than the scenery have been the people. We were advised that the way to see the island is to stick out your thumb and hitch a ride. We were told that everyone here stops if they can and that it is completely safe. At first, we were reluctant to do this and looked into renting a car (too expensive) and hiring a taxi (hard to connect). So, we hesitantly tried it. The first people who picked us up were a mother and her young daughter on the way home from school. Since then, we have had rides in the back of trucks, sometimes crammed in with other hitchhikers, more rides with mothers and children, with a silent, dredd-wearing gentleman, a retired Canadian couple and, quite amusingly, from the taxi-driver we had tried to contact earlier! (I am not sure it is a great business strategy for a taxi driver to pick hitchhikers up…but it certainly is generous!). We’ve also been picked up when we were not hitchhiking, but were obviously heavy-laden with our clean laundry. Basically, we get the sense that in Eleuthera, if you have something that someone else does not have, it is yours to share.
It is so inspiring to visit a place where people still trust others and are trustworthy, and where they notice those they pass by, assuming that it is their responsibility to help each other if they can. Besides free rides, we have been given fruit to try and a free book by a local author. The owner of the pizza restaurant we visited got in her car and went and purchased us drinks (her children had finished off all her own beverages for sale!).
The sailing community behaves in a similar way. Dave, from the boat “At Last” spent about three mornings on our boat helping Travis try to figure out our alternator problems. Another boater gave us a fuse, when the new alternator blew one while being installed. There is the understanding that sailors need to help each other – it is a small community and you may be the only person who can give the assistance needed.
I realize I am a long way from living like this back at home. And I don’t think that the culture around me models this sense of inter-connectedness. Instead,
I think that too often we feel ashamed if we need help and we believe that if someone else doesn’t have what we have, it is our own choice whether or not we share it. There is no concept that what is mine has been given to me to share. I am going to ponder this some more and invite God to change my understanding of what belongs to me and who belongs to me!
The kids ran ahead as we made our way back to the cave entrance. I am looking at them through stalactites and stalagmites.
I’m looking at the kids though stalactites and stalagmites
One thought on “The Kindness of Strangers”
Wow. What an amazing adventure you guys are having. You are creating awesome memories. Can’t believe my friend is hitch hiking her way around….