A Beaconite has been heartened to see some of the valuable efforts to contribute to sustainability in the Virgin Islands over the past week. She was so heartened that she went to several sustainability-themed events even though she wasn’t assigned to cover them. Just when she was feeling bad about not being able to buy the organic toiletries and cosmetics that she used back at home, she found out about EC Soap Co. and Sage Roots. She now carries her reef-safe sunscreen and organic hand-sanitising spray in her bag at all times and is looking forward to buying more. She was also excited to hear about Tidal Roots Farm’s grocery delivery service just as she was missing the farm shares that she had grown accustomed to. She thinks her wallet and body will be grateful for the inexpensive greens. And all of this comes after the announcement that the Virgin Islands is implementing a recycling service. She’s still looking for an easy way to avoid using so many plastic bottles, but so far she’s pleased to find so many ways to incorporate sustainable practices into her daily life.
Fasting and feasting
Ramadan begins on Sunday and one Beaconite will observe it for the entire month, the same way she’s done for most of her life. Beginning at sunrise, she’ll refrain from food and drink until the sun sets. In between work and workouts, her regular life will continue, but keeping her mind off sustenance will be a challenge. At times, it will take every ounce of effort not to lose her temper or patience, because hunger and thirst can make people into monsters. That’s the beauty of it: Learning how to be fair and kind to others even when you are suffering. It’s being able to share food even when you are hungry, and still be thankful to be alive at the end of the day despite struggling. In many Muslim countries, the entire economy shifts during Ramadan. Shops open in the late afternoon into late night and people take it easy during daylight hours. It is a celebration, a coming together, a giant party. Nights are filled with devotion as well as camaraderie between family members. This reporter still cherishes the times she and her cousins would stay up, playing games and eating delicious food while enjoying the company of her family.
‘Never stop breathing’
When a Beaconite told her mother she was going scuba diving, she had one piece of advice (gleaned from an active scuba diver in her office since the Beaconite’s mother would never attempt such a feat): “Never stop breathing.” On Sunday, during the Beaconite’s dive off Norman Island — her first time diving in the VI and only her second dive ever — she finally got the chance to put it into practice. Until now, knowing about everything that could go wrong on a dive, she wasn’t sure about her ability to refrain from panicking. But as she descended on the second dive, she could feel her mask quickly filling up with water, while her fins somehow also inexplicably came loose from her feet. By the time she signaled to a divemaster that something was wrong, she could no longer see well enough to follow his instructions. At that point, he had no choice but to bring her up to the surface and try again. It didn’t take long to adjust her gear and rejoin the group 40 feet below, where she encountered a sea turtle calmly munching grass on the ocean floor, as well as plenty of other colourful natural phenomena. On the way back, the divemaster, to her relief, said he was impressed with her ability to keep breathing and not panic. She’s actually relieved that something did go wrong: Now, as she continues on her quest to become a certified diver, she’ll be more confident in her ability to handle anything else that arises.