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We first featured Willie, our Maintenance Man at CCC, in our newsletter a couple years ago, and wanted to share more with you about this kindhearted man who will be celebrating 31 years of service at Christopher Columbus Condos next month.

Almost everyone has met one of those people who quietly work in the background, with a servant's heart and no request for recognition, yet we know without them a business, organization or family would not be as successful. At Christopher Columbus Condos our behind-the scenes-guy is Joseph a.k.a "Willie."

Willie just so happens to call one of our housekeepers, Delma, his wife! When asked what it’s like working with his wife, he said it’s a blessing that “can’t be put in just a few words.” It’s a joy every morning to get to ride to work with his wife by his side. Willie is a big family person. He has two girls and one boy, of whom he’s very proud. His oldest daughter is a lawyer, the next daughter in line is a doctor and his son works in customs at the airport. Willie has 6 biological grandchildren and 5 grandchildren through an informally adopted son from Honduras. Willie himself is originally from Honduras.

On any given day at CCC you can see Willie fixing a hut, cleaning the grounds or hanging lights up for a party. He loves seeing tourists visit because it’s good for the island and he recommends outdoor activities (Turtle Farm, Botanic Park, etc.). His favorite place to chill out, aside from being at home with his family, is Smith’s Cove. He says he also enjoys eating out a couple times a year, but that he mostly enjoys cooking for his family, making things like turtle stew and rice, ribs on the grill, stew conch and green salads. “They say I’m a pretty good cook,” he laughs.

After being at CCC for over 30 years, Willie has got to know owners and other staff members very well (some have come and gone). He has especially enjoyed the special bonds that are built. He said a previous owner even took part in a couple of baptisms that his church had in the CCC pool. You read that right! In the 90s (he guessed about 20 years ago) a couple of baptisms took place at CCC. I joked with him that I had no idea the waters were so holy. He attends church at the Church of God Gospel Hall and worships with a congregation called the Ambassadors of God that he helped found over 20 years ago with the pastor. They rent a place in Georgetown and are currently looking into building a church for permanent placement.

Talking with Willie is such a pleasure, one that I hope each of you will get to experience. He has the most warm personality, and has a way of reminding you what is most important in life. He says, at the end of the day, “I don’t ask for too much other than seeing my family happy.”

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If you haven't experienced the Cayman Turtle Farm check it out next time you visit Grand Cayman! While it's an absolute must for kids, it's also a great time for adults.

holding a baby turtleThe Best Part!

The most popular attraction? Holding baby turtles! Technically the turtles are yearlings (a turtle in it's second year of life), but they seem like babies compared to their adult counterparts! The farm has small wading pools called Turtle Touch Tanks where yearling turtles swim around in circles. Kids are welcome to climb into the pools and play with the turtles, and all are welcome to hold the sweet turtles. Just make sure to use the hand washing station before handling the turtles, and if you need help handling a turtle one of the employees is always around and willing to scoop one up for you and give you tips. On my first trip, I can remember the employee telling me that the turtles liked to be rubbed right under the neck. This made me laugh, but it really seemed to relax the turtle he was holding.

In addition to the Turtle Touch Tanks, visitors can also check out full-grown green sea turtles swimming around in The Green's Breeding Pond. They are huge, and really fun to observe. You can also see a Loggerhead sea turtle in Loggerhead's Sea Loft. These are both for observation only, but there is another option to get up close and personal with turtles in the Turtle Lagoon. In the Turtle Lagoon you can swim and snorkel with yearling green sea turtles and other sea life while exploring coral and small little islands that iguanas and even peacocks rest on! Many of these experiences are included with a basic admission ticket, but some do require an extended pass.

How the Turtle Farm Began

The turtle farm was founded in 1968 by a private group and was purchased in 1983 by the Cayman Islands Government. The goal of the farm is "to produce enough turtles to supply the needs of the local market and to continue releasing turtles" into the wild in an effort to conserve the population and ensure green sea turtles flourish around the islands for years to come.

The farm has lots of information about the sea turtles of Cayman and their efforts to build the population in The Education Center & Hatchery.

small waterfall at turtle farmAnd there's more!

As if all of these turtle-y reasons aren't enough reason to visit, the farm also has a small water park (Breakers Lagoon), a gravel path with old traditional homes (Cayman Street), an area for birdlife (Caribbean Free Flight Aviary), a 9 foot saltwater crocodile named Smiley (Smiley's Saltwater Lagoon), several nurse sharks and more in a small aquarium (Predator Reef) and a cool nature trail (Blue Hole). 

Parking Lot Photoshoot

And last but not least, the parking lot is reason enough to go. The views are outstanding and perfect for an impromtu photo shoot with family or friends.

Daphne walks towards the ocean in lot
  Toni in front of rock and Caribbean Sea   rugged rock wall and ocean

 

 Want to hold baby turtles? Come stay with us and visit the farm!
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Meet 7 Year Old Tariq

Mr. Bodden in Heroes SquareThis month we feature a young CaymanKind! Tariq is 7 years old and a Year 2 student at Savannah Primary School. He was born in Cayman and is Caymanian on both sides of his family tree - in fact his maternal great-grandfather is National Hero James M. Bodden Sr. (There's a statue of him in George Town.)

Tariq lives in Lower Valley and has an older brother and a younger sister. Some of his favourite things are super heroes, wrestling, Star Wars movies and sushi. He also loves turtles, and his most requested outing is to the Cayman Turtle Farm. He says he loves living in Cayman because of the sunshine, but wishes we had Disney World here.

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