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“Long Live SGI-Bahamas!”

Members of the newly formed Bahamas District, Nassau, July 18. Photo by BETSY EPPSTEINER.

by Betsy Eppsteiner
Florida Zone Vice Women’s Leader

On behalf of the SGI-USA Caribbean Region, I am overjoyed to announce the formation of Bahamas District in June! It is the members’ strong faith and indomitable spirit that made this possible. A special debt of gratitude is owed to the pioneer members who, with a stand-alone spirit, have laid the foundation to fight for kosen-rufu in this wonderful country.

Bahamas District has three district leaders and two unit leaders. They are spread across three islands, including New Providence (Nassau), Grand Bahama (Freeport) and Abaco.

When they first heard about the July Youth Discussion Meeting, the leaders immediately scheduled the gathering and, uniting with the members, reached out to many young people. Bahamas District welcomed 11 youth guests to their July meeting, and across the Caribbean Islands, 217 youth members and guests participated.

During a recent trip in June, we conducted home visits, a leaders meeting and a discussion meeting, where nine people attended, including two guests. One of the most moving aspects of the trip for me was hearing Linda Giovino’s experience at the discussion meeting. Under difficult financial circumstances, she took a plane from Abaco Island, where she is currently the only SGI member, to Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, to attend the weekend activities.


In 1996, Linda (pictured fourth from left) attended the opening of the SGI-USA Florida Nature and Culture Center with SGI President Ikeda. He was made aware that Linda was a member from the Bahamas attending the event. After the FNCC’s opening, his flight to Cuba stopped in Nassau. While there, President Ikeda asked to meet with her. During their interaction, Linda recalled, Sensei encouraged her that they were not just friends that day, but rather friends throughout eternity.

President Ikeda then presented the members with the message: “Here, too, the SGI exists. Long live SGI-Bahamas!” (see below).

This unshakable bond of mentor and disciple has enabled the members of the Bahamas to deepen their faith. Because of her seeking spirit toward her mentor, Linda is cheerful and positive, no matter the challenge.

Several members and even a guest shared that one of the reasons they enjoy practicing in the Bahamas so much is that the SGI community feels like a family, and the members truly care about one another.

In this month of August, as we celebrate the 72nd anniversary of Sensei joining the Soka Gakkai, Bahamas District is determined to do shakubuku and raise youth who can take the lead for kosen-rufu here and help change the destiny of humankind! WT

SGI President Ikeda’s Visit to the Bahamas

The following is an excerpt from SGI President Ikeda’s autobiographical novel The New Human Revolution, “Vow” chapter, vol. 30. President Ikeda appears as Shin’ichi Yamamoto. The events take place in 1996.

Before traveling to Cuba, Shin’ichi [Yamamoto] flew to Miami, where he visited the SGI-USA Florida Nature and Culture Center for the first time and attended the 21st SGI General Meeting, together with representatives from 52 countries and territories.

On the afternoon of June 24, he made his first visit to the Bahamas, a nation of 700 islands in the Caribbean. At the time, there were no direct flights from the United States to Cuba, and the only way to go there was to travel by way of a third country. This trip to the Bahamas brought to 52 the number of countries and territories Shin’ichi had visited.

Two members, a man and a woman, were waiting to greet him at the airport. Shin’ichi only had a stopover of about four hours or so, but he encouraged the members wholeheartedly and presented them with a short message he inscribed: “Here, too, the SGI exists. Long live SGI-Bahamas!” (Oct. 5, 2018, World Tribune, insert, p. 8)

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