Ta-daaa – 180 Days of Magic

Sleights of moment, waving the family wand

All afraid now – the big scare

Posted by PlayGroundology on October 10, 2008

Yesterday morning our hearts sputtered, stuttered, stopped for what seemed an eternity. Nellie woke up at her standard Barbados middle of the night feeding time. We stumbled through our by now familiar bleary eyed routine – Mélanie downstairs to warm the milk, papa rocking and snuggling our little girl. When the milk is ready I start feeding Nellie-Rose and Mé pokes her head in the bedroom next door to see how wonder boy is faring in deep sleep on the big bed.

Mélanie called out to me, “Noah isn’t in his bed”. A second later, it was, “He’s not in his room”. The bottom was dropping out of my stomach and a desperate, clammy feeling of fear swept through me. I was still feeding Nellie as Mélanie went downstairs to look in the living, dining room and kitchen. No Noah downstairs. Disbelief, racing heart, adrenalin pounding and so worried for our little lad.

There was one last room to check – an upstairs washroom next to Noah’s bedroom. We leave a light on there every evening and close the door over until it’s nearly shut. The door was ajar a couple of inches just as we had left it when we went to bed. We pushed it open to discover Noah-David sleeping on the floor with teddy beside him. They had blankets, pillows. a glass of water, a book, some toys along with an assortment of toilet products one of Noah’s new gros, gros travail clean up capades.

What a huge, cleansing wave of relief and happiness. Now we could laugh nervously and bring the internal shaking under control. Noah’s explanation for this turn of events was straightforward, “Teddy and me are camping”. We told him that if he absolutely had to have any other camping adventures to please keep them in his bedroom. We explained that we were worried because we couldn’t find him right away when we saw he wasn’t in his bedroom. He had made all his ‘camping’ preparations after we had fallen asleep, some time after 21h30.

When rationality sank back in and the pulse quietened down to a standard rate, we realized that Noah wouldn’t have been able to leave the house on his own (unable to open the doors) and nobody could have broken in without our hearing them. The house has good built in security features. There are dead bolts on all the doors and wrought iron burglar bars on all the windows and the double doors leading onto the verandahs. There are also usually 2 Rhodesian Ridgebacks running in the fenced backyard but as we didn’t want the responsibility of caring for them they have been farmed out for the duration of our stay.

Security is a fixation in Barbados for businesses and private dwellings, for the rich, middle class and poor. It seems the rule of thumb is that the more material goods one has, the more elaborate the security. For most it’s dogs. With the 2 to 3 dogs per household we’ve seen in our Bagatelle neighbourhood, it seems quite likely that in Barbados dogs are more numerous than people – at least in the area immediately surrounding Bridgetown. Cats on the other hand are pretty scarce and those that I’ve seen, with the exception of country cats, are skinny, bedraggled and veering towards the feral.

We’ve been told on 5 or 6 occasions by Bajan strangers to be careful who we speak with, who we ask directions of. This information is shared with kindness and openness as a help. But according to the Barbadian government crime here is not out of synch with other countries (full 2002 report).

There is a level of insecurity I feel here on some occasions that I am not accustomed to. It makes me leery, cautious and tips toward paranoia. It is usually linked to being lost on the roads. The more elderly people we ask for directions are quietly amused and puzzled as to what might bring us to their particular corner of BIM but they always set us straight on which way to go. Other than admonitions to be careful and the odd less than friendly look there has been no tangible reason to feel vulnerable. In fact, there have been 100s of reasons to feel welcome – small kindnesses, salutations, courtesies and storytelling. All this to say that it’s important to take reasonable precautions. There’s an under the surface tension between come from aways and locals, a corollary of the tourism industry that brings in 4 times the local population in tourists annually (in excess of 1 million visitors).

Barbados is alone in the Caribbean in terms of standard of living and at the top of the class in comparison with countries from the developing world. This is seen in respect to education and health, a variety of other social indicators and infrastructure such as roads, water and sewage. Here’s some quick facts on the country. More detailed government statistics are also available.

Tonight we’re off to a quality of living event in Oistins on the south coast. There’s a regular ‘Oistins Friday night’ with crafts, a fish fry and music sweet music. I’m sure that Noah will be wiggling his hips and showing his moves. We had a dance session at the house last night. His enthusiasm and endurance shouted out that he has been missing this activity. We’ve been a bit negligent, or perhaps not totally aware, of Noah-David’s music needs since we’ve been here. We’ll make sure now to have some tunes jamming every day until we leave. We’re Oistin bound for a socareggae jam.

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One Response to “All afraid now – the big scare”

  1. […] locked house. In a split second the well fineness of our world bolted toward chaos, panic and fear. Once resolved, we cosied up to love sweet love, hugged our boy and ourselves rocking until the rhythm like a […]

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