04032020 WEEKEND

Page 28

28 | The Tribune | Weekend

Friday, April 3, 2020

community

Local balloon artist puts Bahamas on the map By ALESHA CADET | Tribune Features writer | acadet@tribunemedia.net

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n March 26, local balloon business owner Cecile Williams-Bethel joined hundreds of balloon artists from around the world as they brought joy to people with the “One Million Bubble of Joy” initiative during the current pandemic. The website, www.onemillionbubbles.org, explains the initiative like this: “...balloon designers around the world will help to fill their neighbours, towns, and cities with joy by deploying balloon art in their community. The world is changing rapidly and who better to spread joy than those who know how to create it. Nothing brings smiles to people’s faces like balloons do, and the professional balloon decorating and entertainment industry wants to help people find their smiles and joy during this challenging and frightening time we have entered”. For her part, Cecile, owner of the party supply and décor company The Balloon People, said she wanted to pay tribute to healthcare providers in general, but in particular to those here in the Bahamas. As a result, and being very patriotic, she began her display with a design of the country’s flag. “It was only fitting to also build two sculptures representing the doctors and nurses in our system. And then, even though we say it orally, I chose to create one of our acrylic signages where I penned a hearty ‘thank you’ to all of our health heroes,” she said. “I was particularly drawn to this group of essential workers because of my familial ties to this career path. My mother dedicated 40 years of her life to nursing. My uncle was one of the first male nurses in our country and he served for more than 30 years. My aunt served in the admissions office of PMH for more than 30 years. My cousin is currently a physician at PMH and I have a couple of cousins that are nurses in the system. I am acutely aware of the sacrifice that these heroes are making to care for our sick during

THE ‘One Million Bubbles of Joy’ display by Cecile Williams-Bethel, owner of The Balloon People, pays tribute to healthcare workers.

“It was only fitting to also build two sculptures representing the doctors and nurses in our system.”

this time and so I wanted to say thank you.” She added: “One Million Bubbles of Joy was an initiative where over 200 professionals in the balloon industry from all over the world...used their talent and skills to create something artsy and fun to be displayed in their yards, which would bring joy, hope and smiles to others. Our hope is that when this is all over, one million balloons would have been used to create 10 times as many smiles during this awful COVID-19 experience that we are currently living in. Our contribution to the count was approximately 950 balloons.” She said it felt wonderfully rewarding to see the purple balloon marker placed on the map on the One Million Bubbles of Joy website, showing that the Bahamas had participated and was represented in this global project. “My tribute to healthcare providers will be seen all over the world. Sometimes we take things for granted. I wanted the Ministry of Health to know that their service is appreciated,” said Cecile. The feedback she received for her project, she said, has been nothing short of amazing. “It has and continues to be very uplifting for me, the feedback. Vehicles that passed my front yard slowed down to ensure that they got a picture or just to take it in visually. Our social media pages have been abuzz with positive vibes from those who have seen my creation. I had to work alone because of the provisions laid out in the Emergency Powers Order 2020, but the hours spent working on it resulted in something powerful,” said Cecile.