This year certainly had its ups and downs, we’ve experienced the tribulation of hurricane Matthew and the stresses of everyday school work, nevertheless we have a lot to give thanks for. The trials and the successes are what made this annual thanksgiving lunch so special.
Thanksgiving this year was celebrated as a lunch at CHTM. A lot went into the preparation and creation of a fantastic menu and everyone worked extra hard in the kitchen, on service, hosting and decor. I can surely say it was worth it as people truly enjoyed their meals and we only received positive reviews.
Although the menu included the traditional ham and turkey selection, we went out on the whim and included salmon which was one of the best sellers. We also served specialty themed thanksgiving drinks including the crowd’s favorite, “caramel apple mimosa”. The restaurant also served several takeout orders that were well received and positively reviewed.
The atmosphere was filled with laughter and joy as groups of friends enjoyed each other’s company. This was the perfect kick off to what we all hope will be a joyous and fun- filled Christmas season.
The restaurant experience continues to be a learning experience for us all. It’s tough on many days but absolutely rewarding at the end of it all. The managers of this restaurant, Sashanee Nevers, Kendrea Harris and Nicole Miller appreciate the hard work and dedication of our fellow students, the guidance of our instructors and the support of our guests.
It was the start of a new tradition in our small setting as CHTM launched its distinguished lecture series. Lecturer, Ms. Elizabeth Mackay made this possible for us – new traditions to our proud legacy, but let’s start from the beginning.
As we made our way to the first lecture series, the morning showers of November 16th were never apart of the schedule but we embraced it anyway and turned out in full force, both students and staff.
On entry to the dining room, we were greeted by Patria and Keron who invited us to sign in. It was a late start to an early morning but the food prepared by our very own Cooking Club made up for that. We all sat and ate to our hearts content as we awaited the arrival of the presenter for the lecture series.
Chairing was Ms. Elizabeth Mackay who welcomed the director, Dr. Andrew Spencer as he launched the series. The invited speaker was introduced by Ms. Mackay. Mr. John Bowleg, Hydrologist and Engineer from the Water and Sewage Corporation spoke on the topic ‘Climate Change and Caribbean Tourism’. Mr. Bowleg gave a brief introduction to the islands of the Bahamas. He further explained a few key terms such as integrated water resources management, integrated coastal zone management, global warming and climate change. He then explained expected occurrences due to climate change. Some of the impacts mentioned were the increase in the surface temperature of the earth, the rise in the sea level, degradation of freshwater quality and expected increase in flooding and erosion in coastal areas.
Mr. Bowleg discussed water resources in The Bahamas including rainfall patterns, runoff, groundwater resources, extraction rates and the use of reverse osmosis to provide water resources in the islands. Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) and Seawater District Cooling (SDC) were next on the agenda as he explained their potential to provide both energy and water; both areas critical in the tourism industry.
It was a very interesting presentation and we could see that Mr. Bowleg really enjoyed educating us on this as there was passion in his presentation. The floor was opened to questions as Keron Best asked him about reverse osmosis and OTEC while Josiah Joseph had questions on OTEC implementation. There were questions from a few others which included Neil McIntyre, Jenielle Rhone, Ms. Mackay and Dr. Spencer. Trichina Smith thanked Mr. Bowleg on behalf of the CHTM family and presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation while Ms. Mackay made her closing remarks and extended heartfelt thanks to all who made the morning a success. The first of many lecture series was over, a new tradition, a new experience.
Our event photographer, Jenielle Rhone, did a great job after just 10 minutes of training. She did, however, take a few ‘candids’, check out this hilarious video of how NOT to take great photos.
November 10, 2016 marks a historic day for the Bahamas and the former College of the Bahamas. The University of the Bahamas Charter Day activities began at 9am with the unveiling and blessing of the University’s plaque.
This was followed by a march to the nearby Thomas A. Robinson Stadium where the official speeches were held. Government officials, University officials, faculty, staff, students and invited guests and the wider community participated in the activities in a spirit of joyous achievement.
The island of New Providence was in near chaos, as the meteorological office announced that a category 4 hurricane would make landfall within two days. Persons were seen securing windows and doors, purchasing canned foods, candles and battery operated torchlights.
Classes were suspended on the 5th of October, 2016, by the Ministry of Education, until further notice. It was not until Thursday the 6th of October at approximately 5.45am that the windy journey began.
Prolific batsman Hurricane Matthew was in fine form with winds of 130 mph and gusts exceeding 140 mph. Trees were uprooted, powerlines and poles downed, and flying debris dispatched for six runs to all parts of New Providence and Grand Bahama Island.
This devastation had a significant impact as houses were severely damaged and some structures completely destroyed. Roads were impassable and much of the island, including students’ accommodations, were without water and electricity for as long as twelve (12) days.
Students of CHTM were geographically dispersed due to the hardship faced by the devastation. Some sought refuge in their homeland or with family and friends in Nassau where amenities were up and running after four (4) days. The less fortunate of the student body had to stick out the perilous times, including fetching water at public pipes and walking miles to charge devices.
It was not until Friday the 14h of October, when the lord answered our prayers. Thirty-eight (38) students were transferred to Nettie’s Pride of Nassau on Cable Beach where we reveled in the simple pleasure of electricity.
Classes resumed on Tuesday the 16th of August and everyone was on their journey to recovery. It was no doubt a difficult experience and we have all worked hard to achieve normalcy as repairs were completed and utilities restored.
On a positive note, hurricane Matthew was an exercise in teamwork and perseverance. Students, faculty and staff were supportive in whatever ways were available to them. We pulled through and no student was hurt so there ends another tale in our CHTM adventure.
Preparations were well underway weeks in advance of our restaurant originally scheduled for, October 7th, 2016, when disaster struck. When we were told that our restaurant was postponed due to the threat of Hurricane Matthew, we all hoped that the Bahamas, namely New Providence would be spared a visit from one of the most destructive hurricanes of recent years. Sadly, all hope dwindled quickly when the threat became reality.
Hurricane Mathew moved slowly as it ploughed through the archipelago with high winds, heavy rainfall and storm surges causing extensive damage to the island chain, leaving most of the islands without power and water.
Days passed with no word as to when electricity and water would return and most students, including myself and another manager of our restaurant returned to our home countries because living without these necessities was extremely difficult.
Within a week of returning home we were advised that power was back and our restaurant would be in the next 4 days. With most students still being away, it seemed like an impossible task to complete. Flyers had to be printed and distributed, décor had to be completed, the schedule needed to be changed, shopping had to be done and most importantly, we had to find the next available flight back to Nassau.
Two days before the big day, we finally arrived in Nassau. Despite having little sleep, even less time and a lot to accomplish, we pushed through. We were confident that our advanced planning and preparation would ensure our restaurant’s success and we were right.
Despite having no time for marketing and most of our confirmed reservations cancelled because some people were still recovering from the disaster, our restaurant was a success. The food was brilliantly executed and the décor was exceptionally fitting for the theme of our restaurant.
Regardless of the hardships as a result of the disaster, all of our ‘employees’ came out and worked to the best of their abilities like real soldiers regardless of their troubled minds. This displayed the true managerial abilities and potential of all of our students. Managers should be able to handle any punches thrown and come out strong despite the scars and bruises. After this experience, we can say that our skills were proven, our faith in ourselves tested, and DEFINITELY our grades earned.
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it is not the end.” ~John Lennon
By Suzana Frederick and Corrie Smith, BSc. Hotel Management, 3rd year students
Caribbean fusion – loving life, learning and living hotel and tourism management.