The Island School community will sincerely miss Nehemiah Taylor as our local legendary fisherman. He was a good friend to many and shared his kindness, insight and passion with our students and staff over the years. Miah, as everyone called him, grew up in Little Creek, Andros, spent time in Nassau, but called Eleuthera home. He loved the sea and grew up from a young age fishing. Over the years he would come to campus and share his knowledge and enthusiasm with our students taking them out on the banks and teaching them how to dive up conch. He offered his insight into the steady and tragic decline of the conch fishery and other important fisheries. He enjoyed sharing his skills as a fisherman as well as his life stories and his culture.
Miah was a natural teacher and always let the students learn by doing. With his wisdom and guidance, after fishing for conch, students would crack the shell and wrestle the strong animal from its home. He encouraged the students to eat the conch tendon that fishermen believe brings you strength. In the boat house after the students had chopped conch under his guidance, mixing in fresh lime juice and vegetables, all would be able to enjoy some fresh, delicious conch salad.
Miah would sit back with his giant smile and tell tales of his youth, remembering when there were so many conch that you could just drift close to shore and fill your boat in no time. He shared that he was worried that people were taking the younger, juvenile conch before they had time to have their own babies.
It was easy for everyone to feel comfortable in the presence of Miah, and the students loved asking him questions about his youth. He shared stories of how the settlements long ago were true extended families and everyone worked together to gather food from the sea and the land. He offered a true lesson in community, family, and support. Miah was a great philosopher, reminding others what is most important in life; he lived true to his core values with great respect for others and the natural world. We will remember Miah and his gentle, warm smile, and we will always keep his lessons close to our heart and mind. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.