We spent the last week of our program in Tobago. We were so busy that whole week, so I didn't have time to get caught up on the blog. But I still wanted to share what we did, so here is a recap of our week in Tobago.
Saturday started off well. We all had a great breakfast and met to discuss the end of our wave energy project. The paper we were writing was stressful, so it was nice to finish that project. When we were done with our meeting and taking a group photo, we packed up our stuff and hopped on the bus. We went to the mall again to have lunch and do a little souvenir shopping. After a couple hours at the mall, we left to drive around Trinidad to see a little more of the island before we left. We spent a little time at the botanical garden where we saw many flowers, a silk cotton tree, and a couple parrots in the tree. Finally, it was time to head to the ferry to go to Tobago. I was nervous about this trip, because I get sea sick. The ferry was by far the worst part of the trip. The first 30 minutes were okay, but then everyone started to get sick. I was feeling so terrible. I was so relieved when we finally made it to Tobago.
*group photo above was taken by Penny Ann Dolin and photo of purple flowers, me, and sunset were taken by Justin Loveall
After such a long night, I was glad to spend the day going something fun. We all took a glass bottom boat to the Buccoo Reef to go snorkeling. It was so cool to swim around and look at such interesting fish. There was tons of coral and colorful fish to look at. When we were done snorkeling, we took the boat to the Nylon Pool. It is a shallow pool in the ocean with the clearest water I had ever seen. We relaxed in the water and exfoliated with the sand. After that we were all pretty hungry, so we headed back to the beach for lunch. I had the best homemade coconut ice cream (I plan on having a recipe follow soon!). We spent another hour on the beach before going back to the hotel. It was so nice to slow down and enjoy the island.
*underwater and group photo were taken by Kevin Keleher
The main reason we went to Tobago was to study cassava, but specifically the production of farine (a meal made from the cassava root). We were there to analyze the system and determine whether expanding production would be sustainable or not. Monday morning, we went to the Tobago House of Assembly, Division of Agriculture to learn more about the cassava plant and farine production. After the lectures and a snack, we broke up into two groups, processing and marketing. I was in the processing group. Our job was to go homes and interview people that made farine. It was so cool to get to know people from Tobago and learn about their culture and traditions. I had such a great time meeting five nice ladies. Once they got talking, they were so excited to show us their tools and their final product. I'm glad I had an opportunity to meet these women.
Now that we all knew more about cassava, we had a chance to harvest it. We went the government farm and learned about how to grow and harvest cassava. Many of us had a chance to harvest it ourselves. It was great to learn hands-on about all the steps involved of make farine. After we harvested enough cassava to make a batch of farine, we went to local farms to talk to farmers about how they grow and sell their cassava. It was great to meet more people living in Tobago. After we were all done with our school work, we went to visit the waterfall. It was beautiful. I wish we had spent more time enjoying the water. Unfortunately, when we were already on the road back to the hotel, I realized I had forgotten my phone in the changing room. I was worried it was gone until my mom told me a nice lady had my phone and called her to let her know it was safe.
*photo of me taken by Laura Azevedo