Weekend of Fun in the Sun…

The last few days have been nothing short of amazing. Jamaica is the only country I know that do community projects on labour day. And I certainly had my day jam packed with heavy labour.. I may have to take up painting as my trade with all the experience I have received. Labour day is a great way to connect with the community and essentially build stronger communities. But the fun didn’t stop there. I had a chance to visit a beach in Runaway Bay, St. Ann. The drive from Kingston to Port Antonio and then to St. Ann was nothing short of amazing. Talk about a country that takes your breath away! There is no doubt this country is beautiful. 

There were a few things that had me laughing:

1. “Excuse me, how far is Runaway Bay from here?”

“Far”

We stared at the couple waiting for more information.

“Far, far” the woman responded again with a piting look on her face.

“Far far” the man next to her reiterated.

“Oh, thanks”

I looked at my friend wondering how did that response answer our question. The stop light changed and we tried to calculate how far is considered “far far”. It turns out 30 mins drive is the appropriate amount of time that is referred to as “far, far”.

The second situation happened at the beach. I saw a woman walking along the beach wearing socks. I have no idea what the logic behind that one was… 

This blog is brief because I have my first math test to write and I need to get back to practising..

Shopping Downtown Kingston

Shopping downtown I was determined to get the best bang for my buck so I went shopping in the heart of Jamaica- in it’s most renowned city, Kingston. For an early Monday afternoon, the streets were clear, except for the vendors that lined the streets. People have come from near and far to sell their goods- from ground provisions to seafood, to pots and pillows. All of these things were on my to-buy-list for school. I needed pots to cook, fruits and vegetables, and everything to start my life on campus. I still needed more household products and items to dress up my bathroom. After putting my $225 into the Jamaican economy, I am satisfied with my purchases. I bargained two dutch pots for a price of $20, the original prices were $15 and $13. I have converted the amount into the Canadian dollar equivalent. I walked away feeling pleased about my negotiation skills, but saddened because this is the vendor’s livelihood. I know I would not get a pot like that in Canada for $10. The price would have been doubled. Am I contributing to stealing from the poor? When I was unpacking the same pots and preparing to cook, I thought about the man. I hoped he made many more profits after selling to me.

Shopping Downtown

Seeing a woman pushing her cart filled with okra and callaloo, in her unpushy voice, she looked at me as I stood by the fish stand and asked if I wanted okra. I thought about it and told Tallia’s friend (the one holding my money and actually doing the shopping for me), that she should buy the okra and the callaloo. The lady gave me my change and continued on. I am standing next to the fish lady, who is scaling my fish, and listening to her.

“How many years are you studying…three-four years?”

“Just one year”

“Come on, it hot” Patrice said in her Jamaican accent. The woman ignored her and continued her interrogation.

“So how many months you gone now?”

“I just started yesterday” I replied and then ask questions of my own.

“What time did you start to work today?”

“I started after 9am, I have to be with my family.” Upon further inquery she meant that she had to send the children off to school before she arrived at the market.

By the time she handed me the fish, Patrice packed it away in the black plastic bag and walked away. The woman was offering words of encouragement as I was walking away. I tried to listen, but Patrice was building an uncomfortable distance from me. I bid the woman farewell and went on my way.

Shopping downtown The day was hot and my feet started to hurt from all that walking. It was getting later in the evening and the crowd started to build. Maneuvering my way and keeping up with Patrice, was a bit hard. I saw the water melon cart and I had to stop to purchase some. Then a woman stood by me with her bags of lettuce. It wasn’t on my list, but I had to buy one from her. Patrice suggested I choose the one I wanted, then took it from me and added it to one of the black bags. Patrice held the bulk of the groceries and I had my hands filled with a crate of eggs in one and water melon in the other. We go back to the wholesale shop to retrive the rest of groceries I had bought and with no hands to carry them, Patrice asked Lisa, the woman working in the store, to carry the groceries back to the store Patrice works at- the one my cousin, Tallia owns.

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After Tallia drove me back to campus, I sat down on the sofa, removed the shoes from my burning feet and let the breeze from the fan blow on them. It was a long, hot day downtown, but the hustle and bustle wasn’t too terrible and it was worth the trip. It helped tremendously to have someone else do my shopping while I follow and make final decisions. The experience was a good one and now that I’m back in my apartment, I am thinking that it’s beginning to feel like home.

Inspirational Mountain View

Inspirational mountain view A look from any one of the windows of my apartment will reveal a picturesque view of Jamaica’s beauty. The lush green mountains and the way they elevate to the sky is not to be ignored. It’s raining, like the sprinkler in the clouds is set on low to water the trees on this Sunday morning. Each time I look out the window, I am thankful because a few months ago, all that I’m seeing now was just an imagination. I am impressed how God listened to a simple prayer and made it reality over a series of months. My new apartment comes with a bed, the necessary appliances and furniture, a kitchen and a bathroom. Initially, I found it small, but after settling in, I realized it was  the ideal size for me. I am deeply amazed by God’s unlimited provisions and how He works on the desires of my heart and withholding nothing.

Inspirational mountain view Choosing to live in Jamaica has been a long time dream of mine- maybe I have the solution for the plummeting economy, or maybe I have a book that can bring hope to hopeless lives. For these reasons, which have been buried in my heart for sometime, I have come to see how God can use me. I am aware that it is not a path frequently travelled- leaving my home to venure to Jamaica to pursue higher education. I’m reminded of a poem by Robert Frost, taking the path less travelled, he says, has made all the difference. So on this journey of mine, I hope that this path that I have chosen will make all the difference.

Inspirational mountain view I am in awe though, as I look out the glass door of the balcony, the very thought of having a desk by an open window, except this isn’t a window, it’s a glass door, has become a reality. My want of being inspired by the beautiful scenery was not overlooked by God, he made sure, even that desire became a reality. The room is clean and has not been used much. The building supervisor said himself that he was surprised the  lodgings department had given this room to me because noone has occupied it for sometime. I know they made no mistake.

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From this little corner room, I will be able to see a view of Jamaica that many will never see, and I’m looking forward to appreciate it when I open my curtains each day. I’m hoping to enjoy it every morning when I sit by the balcony to drink my tea, and more importantly to use the scenery to inspire the author in me.

Mona School of Business and Management: Orientation Day

I had orientation a few days again. It was held in the very same Faculty of Law building I made a declaration a year ago that, “I see myself here”. As I sat down by the quadrangle inside the building looking up at the sky, I feel that this is where I’m supposed to be. Although I expected to pursue a degree in law and not business, just being in Jamaica on this beautiful campus makes me think it does’t matter which graduate program I’m taking. It is surreal that I spoke something out into the universe, and God made my desire a reality. The orientation lasted approximately two hours. They briefed us on the important elements of the program, they welcomed us and made it clear that we are the best of the best. And this program is the best in Jamaica. It is approved by the Association of MBA and as they say, only 2% of schools have this approval. In other words, I should be proud to be here.

I see the schedule  and there is little breaks in it. So from May to August it will be intensive.

 

Jamaican nuisances: Things that bugs me here

1. Ants:

The ants are not my friend. They go everywhere.. in my clothes, my food, they bite me and crawl on my computer. I hear they chew electrical cords so I have to make sure my computer is safe. They make rows on the walls but I have no idea where they are going- there’s no visible food source. Thet are on my cotton swabs. I had to go through all my belongings to get rid of them. There is something called Naphthalene balls- or (canphor balls?) That’s what I place everywhere so let’s see if that will keep them away.

2. Mosquitos:

I expected them but it’s not nice they leave big bumps on my skin. Let’s hope this vape mat works. It’s an electric plate-like thing you put on the ground and it is suppose to shock the mosquitos I think.

…that’s it so far- but this is only day 5.