Wildlife Wonders – Mongoose
One of the most common mammals in Grenada are the mongoose. So far I have seen a large, ginger version with a bushy tail that ran across the road near the beach and a slimmer, brown version that looked more like an otter, which was in our front garden. They are Small Indian mongoose that were introduced to the Caribbean islands to kill rats and other pests in the sugar cane fields in the late 19th century. Although they are fun to watch running around, they are considered a pest themselves now because they eat bird and turtle eggs and will also get into gardens to attack chickens and eat fruit. This variety of mongoose can grow up to about 65cms with an additional 65cms for its tail. They like to stretch out and sunbathe in the morning and when they sleep they curl themselves into a tight circle. They are not in the same family as rodents such as rats and squirrels but instead are related to meerkats.
Grenadians Gifts- Bathway Beach
This is our local beach and is only about a 5 minutes walk from the house. The sea is quite rough but there is a natural coral reef creating a calmer pool to swim in and this is why it is called ‘Bathway.’ Midweek there may be just a few swimmers there but at weekends and public holidays, it gets busier with families bringing picnics or using the cooking area to BBQ. Security officers and lifeguards keep an eye on the beach and they are there from 6am to 6pm so this makes it safe to leave your belongings on the beach while you swim. There are public toilets and showers as well as a free information centre with displays about the history and geography of the local area. On the beach there is the ‘Blue bar’ which has seating on the beach as well as in the bar. When I passed by last Saturday they had the English Premiership football on the screen which made me feel at home! The photo below shows the row of shops, opposite the beach. They sell drinks, snacks, ice-cream and meals such as freshly cooked fish and chips, burgers and chicken. Meals cost about $15 which is about £5 and the ice-cream is definitely worth trying. Although Bathway beach can sometimes be more choppy than some of the other beaches on this island, it still has the distinctive Caribbean white sand and of course the sunshine that brightens the turquoise and blue waters.
Reflections from the Retreat
In preparation for setting up Hummingbird Retreat, we visited various retreat houses and talked to staff to gain advice and learn from their experiences. One wise suggestion from a retreat house manager was to ‘let the house speak to you.’ As I’ve walked around this house, I’ve sought to listen to what this house is saying. I sense that the house feels weary and neglected with even a sense of abandonment at times. Yet she holds amazing potential and a sense of openness, spaciousness, lightness and life. The expansive views of the sea and surrounding greenery as well as the openness of the courtyard gives a sense of expansiveness within those that sit within her walls and she holds a sense of inner peace and quiet dignity.
As I reflect on this house, she reminds me of so many clients that I have worked with in therapy over the years. Those that come feeling broken and neglected, focusing on their failures and having lost sight of their strengths, their huge potential and disconnected from the purpose that is unique to them. I sometimes get the sense that this house feels like that. That she has lost that purpose of being a place of hospitality, of welcome and of peace. So as I look at the house with compassion, I can see what an amazing place she will be, with a little help and a bit of work. The love and life she has known before are still within her walls and in the fruit trees lovingly planted in the garden, in her strong foundations and beautiful design. This house needs reenergizing with fresh vision and hopes, to enliven her again. As a therapist, I’ve learnt to see potential and to be a carrier of vision when the situation holds little hope and this house needs that way of seeing now. If I was offering her therapy, I would listen to what she wants and to hear her dreams of a different life and together we would create ways to bring positive change. So for now, this house is my client and we will work together. I’ve been aware of this as I’ve spent time cleaning and fixing a few things this week. I will try not to dominate her with my predetermined plans but instead to see how she wants to evolve in this fluid partnership, responsive to her needs, her history and her context and together we will release her full potential and bring her back to life.