St. Maarteners have fun at USC Tropical Bonanza

THE HAGUE–St. Maarteners and others with Caribbean roots residing in different cities in the Netherlands enjoyed the first Tropical Bonanza of the Unified St. Maarten Connection (USC) at Lindo Beach in Scheveningen last Saturday.

The fundraising event, which aimed at bringing the Caribbean to the Netherlands, was a combination of USC’s flagship event Eats N’ Treats, combined with sporting activities. In the past years, USC has regularly organised highly-successful sports events in The Hague which served as a get-together for mainly St. Maarteners and other Windward Islanders.

Saturday’s indoor beach location stirred up a true Caribbean feeling, especially for the persons who are not able to return home for the summer, said USC Netherlands Chapter Director Christella Garard.

Athletes and sports enthusiasts took part in a beach dodge-ball competition, a beach flag football competition, a beach Zumba session and in an individual obstacle course run. Amongst the teams for the beach flag football were the Heavy Hitters, Dem Boyz, United and USC’s very own. The teams were involved in a very fierce, but exciting competition.

A total of 16 participants, consisting of athletes, volunteers, and members of the public took part in the obstacle course run, where the winners received a cash prize and a bottle of champagne.

Team United won the flag football competition. In the obstacle course, Joshua Lobato de Mesquita won in the male competition with 0.48 minutes, followed in second place by Cairon Herbert with 0.52 minutes. In the female competition of the obstacle run, Norma-Jean Esther Ilario won with 0.57 minutes, while Ruthlene Baptiste placed second with 1.02 minutes. The overall winner was Joshua Lobato de Mesquita.

Saturday’s event also dedicated attention to the children: there was a kid’s corner where the children could have fun colouring and watching movies. Many of the children also participated in the kid’s obstacle course, while being cheered on by parents and other spectators.

One of the highlights of the event was the raffle, where three prizes were given out. The first prize went to Alma Arrendell, who won a one-night stay at Hilton Rotterdam. The second prize went to Le Var Richardson, who won a ticket to USC’s third Christmas Gala which will be held on December 9 this year. Third prize winner Laurens Pfennings took home a blender to prepare smoothies.

And, because the Caribbean culture includes a large appetite, many enjoyed a plate of rice and peas, plantain, coleslaw, potato salad, Johnny cake and chicken (the “Heart of SXM” menu), or veggie-balls for the vegetarians (the “Veggie Delight” menu), as well as hot dogs made on the spot for a quick snack. All of these items were donated by students and young professionals from the islands.

“It was a successful event which brought new experiences for USC in 2017, and we thoroughly enjoyed it,” said USC Sports Coordinator Edwina Hodge, who coordinated the sport activities of the event with the help of volunteers Ruben Schaminee and Rainer Ranis.

USC Head Event Coordinator Raquel Chittick, together with the USC Event Committee, made sure that the day ran smoothly. Members of the Projects Committee, the USC Board and volunteers were busy carrying out different tasks throughout the day.

“It’s always humbling to see how many people come out to support us at events. Everything that we plan and execute is done with the idea of giving back to the community. At the end of the day we end up getting so much love and energy back from them,” said USC Director Garard.

“We hope to continue to put smiles on the faces of students, young professionals and members of the overall community here in the Netherlands,” said Garard. Saturday’s event was co-hosted by Small Islands Unity (SIU). USC celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2017 with several more events being planned for this year.

Source: The Daily Herald