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Morning Sun
  • Marvardo Patton is the only student from the Bahamas enrolled at PSU

  • When people hear that Marvardo Patton is from the Bahamas, a certain image comes to mind.

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  • Editor’s note: This is the fifth in an ongoing series looking at one student from each foreign country represented at Pittsburg State.
    When people hear that Marvardo Patton is from the Bahamas, a certain image comes to mind.
    Maybe it’s the Atlantis Resort. Or beaches. Or warm weather.
    But that’s not necessarily the case.
    “It’s basically a third world country similar to Romania technology wise,” Patton said. “It’s a footstep behind America because of it.”
    Patton is from Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas, which is located on Providence Island. The north side is the tourist area, filled with shops, hotels, restaurants and other tropical fun. But the south side of the island is quite the opposite.
    Marvardo said that despite the economic conditions of some parts of the island, the people are what truly makes the country what it is.
    “People wise, the Bahamas are 21 square miles on seven main islands,” he said. “Everybody knows each other, they reach out. It’s easier to make friends and reach out to communicate. It’s a slow town compared to here.”
    Patton is the only student from the Bahamas enrolled at Pittsburg State. There are roughly 40 countries represented at the school.
    One big, overwhelming difference for Marvardo is the stark weather change.
    “Right now at night, it’s 26 degrees,” he said. “Two nights ago, my brother was complaining at home because it was 55 degrees. That’s the coldest it gets in the winters.”
    The Bahamas are often a hurricane hot spot, as the country is just a couple dozen miles off of the coast of Florida. Patton said tornadoes are more of a concern for him than hurricanes, though.
    “I feel more intimidated by tornadoes because I’ve seen the effects,” he said. “I guess I’ve just adjusted for hurricanes. I’ve never had my roof taken off by a hurricane. You won’t see a house flying through the air in a hurricane, either. It’s just a lot of rain.”
    A common refrain for many international students is that American food is quite different than food from their home country. Patton is no different.
    “In the Bahamas, they do have fast food, because it is so close to the vicinity of the Americans,” he said. “There are a lot of Bahamian-based foods, like peas and rice, fish other foods. There’s no fish out here, but back home, there’s fish all the time.
    “There, you can grow fruits and vegetables yourselves because of the climate. Out here, you can’t find a tree with fruit on it.”
    Patton is working hard on a degree in business management, with a focus on auto technology. He said he’s always liked cars.
    Page 2 of 2 - “So I came out here, because the tech center is rated No. 1 in the auto industry, and it just looked good,” he said.
    The transition from tourist hot spot to southeast Kansas has been easier for Marvardo than it has been for other international students.
    “A lot of people basically can tell you where we are located. When I say I’m from the Bahamas, a lot of people know where that is at because of tourism,” he said. “A lot of people know about it. Everybody thinks it is so cool because I’m from the Bahamas.”
    It may be cool to be from the Bahamas, but Marvardo said it’s even better to be in the Bahamas.
    “I’d say it’s more hospitable. I can’t say what the reason is, but when people are walking down the street, they could hitch a ride if they wanted to,” he said. “Here, you could walk around in the snow and nobody would stop and pick you up.”
    Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.
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