Tuesday was my last full day in Jamaica and I wanted to make the best of it. I had a list of things in mind. There was no real highlight because for me each moment was special in it’s own way. First, I revisited the soup kitchen. It was a nice surprise for the ladies that worked there. “I’m back” I said as I pulled the grill door open and let myself in. The ladies were pleased to see me and some who really intended to call me before I leave had the opportunity to give gifts. I suppose coming back was the right thing to do. That lady that gave me the gift, was a dear friend of my mother’s and if I am not mistaken, I believe I saw tears in her eyes. She had not seen my mother for well over a decade and the fact that I showed up to volunteer at her church came as a huge blessing and surprise to her.
Laurleen, my mother’s old friend, walked me back to Medical Associates Hospital. That was my next stop. Just that morning, I made plans to have lunch with a nurse who works at the hospital. Much like Laurleen, my mother worked with this nurse for years. They both were a part of my mother’s wedding, people who she would have taken lunch breaks with, go home with and knew each other’s children. There we were eating lunch together, the three of us. To them it may have been an exact replica of a day in history. For me, it was a way to rekindle relationships that will last well into the future.
When I was little, I would have spent a lot of time at Medical Associates Hospital. It was the place I would go after school to wait my mother; prior to me mastering how to take the bus from Kingston to Spanish town or Portmore where we used to live. So these ladies were like aunties and in Jamaica, every child has to refer to adults as aunties. I noticed that habit has not changed, as little children were referring to me in much the same way. In fact, when I was speaking to my mother’s friends, I felt the need to be respectful by during the same.
From the hospital, I walked to YMCA which is located on Hope Rd. No more than ten minutes walk and I was there. When I arrived at the YMCA I said my hellos again. My Canadian friend was ready. We also invited a teacher, as we were going to my all time favorite place to relax in Jamaica, Devon House.
This time I had mango ice cream. Can I say that I could almost imagine a real mango if I closed my eyes? I mean the ice cream was the same colour as the mango and the taste was no different. I definitely see why Devon House gets a lot of reviews and why after all these years they are still in business. There is no other place like it. And I was truly happy to sit with new friends one last time in a beautiful park eating ice cream. I learnt about some of the history particularly pertaining to Hurricane Gilbert. This hurricane which took place in 1988, destroyed the trees at Devon House. A large remnant of a tree trunk that had fallen and broken part of the fence is still visible in the park. The trees that were standing were not the same prior to 1988 but all of them have grown to be tall and strong. The house that sits in the centre of the park was minimally damaged as well. Windows had to be changed for instance. I would have never known this. It was an enjoyable conversation and when the moment to say good-bye came I realized that the truth is I don’t have to be sad. “I will see these people again” the thought crossed me. My Canadian friend will be there for another three months which gives me a medium of communication with the teachers and students.
A little after my friends left, my ride came for me. I was going to Cafe blue. I was curious about what the Jamaican coffee shop experience would be like, as I really enjoy sitting at the coffee shops in Canada engaging in conversations. Cafe blue was a little small and I didn’t like that it was emerged with another restaurant. I had a “bluecino”, much like the cappuccino except I can’t recall what the difference was. I had a chance to look back over my time in Jamaica and express the best of my experiences. I had a chance to look at the future and express what it holds for me. The day came to an end when I was returned to my cousin’s work place.
At night, I knew I wanted to revisit the church where I had been devoting a lot of my time and energy. I had a chance to take pictures of the congregation after the service and other individuals I don’t want to forget. I was dropped off at home and I said my final farewells.
But just before the night ended, Jamaica gave me a gift to remember. It was a final opportunity to sit out in the warm Jamaican night air, an opportunity to speak my heart, look into the Jamaican sky and see the countless stars, a final opportunity to share one last intimate moment before I said good-bye. Thank you Jamaica for all that you have done for me, all that you have given, and all that you have taught me. I truly hope that this will not be the end, but instead the beginning of a long beautiful relationship.
Until I see you again…