St. Helena

See you later St Helena

30th September 2017

It’s the third day aboard the RMS. Thankfully the sea sickness that I suffered yesterday is much improved. Claire, my lovely pharmacist roommate had sorted me out with some fabulous drugs. Though it did make me drowsy and subsequently I spent most of yesterday napping and, still managed to fit in a good eight-hour sleep.

Today, my body finally adjusted to being inside a slowly rotating washing machine. Compared with sailing over New Years though, the voyage is somewhat bouncier. The sun breaks through the clouds on occasion but mostly the sky is thickly covered with a strong wind blowing into the side of the ship.

The food is excellent and the service from the staff faultless as always. Apart from the nausea, it is a joy to back on board. 

St Helena already feels a good distance away and I think of it fondly. I don’t feel sad though, it felt like the right time to leave. I’m excited about the adventure ahead of me and professionally I have fulfilled my job’s mission to support and teach the latest in midwifery, bearing in mind the context of St Helena. I hope that there are more Saint babies born soon to keep the hospital busy and more Saints will return to the island in the coming years to start their families.

I have seen how strong the Saint women are, to have their babies with no option of epidurals or water births to ease their labour pains. The Saints have a quiet confidence. They have a strong sense of self and trust in their body’s own ability. Fear of childbirth is so prevalent among women in economically rich countries that it takes a lot to unlearn some of this thinking. If I could bottle up this assurance and pass it on to some of the women I care for in the UK I would love to. 

I am glad to have completed nearly all the post box walks. I would have liked to have completed all of them, but I have been on full on foot-rehab following my accident. I am more than happy with the progress I’ve made with my foot and I hope soon to be able to start running on it soon. As my partner Bernie says, if you are going to break any bones, there is no better time to do it than when you are dancing. Vive la dance!

I had a wonderful party with my friends on my last weekend and then a delicious meal at the Orange Tree Oriental restaurant with my colleagues. My smart car AKA Mr Smarty Pants lives to roam on St Helena. I hope he has many more years in front of him of the first smart car on island. If you ever visit St Helena do look out for him.

The island has many new and exciting developments coming up before the end of 2017.

On the 22nd September, the day I left, the local and international community had the pleasure of being able to book flights to the island. The flights should be fully operational from October. It’s going to be a very big shake up for St Helena. For the whole history of the island the only way people could arrive was by sea. Now, with regular weekly flights, it won’t be a three-weekly turnaround of faces but much more frequent coming and going of tourists, locals and SHG employees.

I will look forward to seeing pictures of people enjoying the new Mantis Hotel in Jamestown and the fancy new cocktail bar up at Half Tree Hollow. All these should be completed by Christmas. The swimming pool, that was never open during my time on island, should be up and running by the end of the year. It will offer a fresh-water alternative to the ocean, which is currently, the only place to swim.

Now onto New York City until late December. This will include a trip to Canada and a possible trip to Brazil, both countries I’ve never visited which is wonderfully exciting.

As well as enjoying much needed time with Bernard, I will be undertaking a course in nutrition and health coaching. I will offer coaching to busy women looking to making healthier shifts in their diet and lifestyle, to create lasting changes and make them feel happier in their own skin. After years of working in a female dominated field, I know what a confusing and difficult relationship we, as women, often have with our relationships with food. Emotional issues of control, stress, loneliness or low self-esteem are played out with the food on our plate. I want to support other women lead healthier lives, achieving the health goals that they want. After New Year I will be also returning to do some NHS midwifery shifts which I am very much looking forward to.

Thanks for everyone that has followed my St Helena journey on this blog. It has been an absolute honour to welcome into the world some of the island’s youngest residents. I will never forget the beauty of the island and the joy to swim in the abundant waters or stare from Diana’s peak at the glorious views all over the island.

If anyone wants any advice on things to do on St Helena then do let me know. It’s a fantastic place to see some wonderful unspoilt natural beauty both on the land and in the sea.

 

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