The Land I Love

Following my heart, turned out to be a good decision after all. The moment I said good-bye to one season, the sooner I am beginning to see new opportunities arising with each new day. This last couple of weeks, I have been able to attend events, meet amazing people, spend more time with friends, and explore a deeper Jamaican history.
Just a few days ago on August 6, 2015, I celebrated Independence Day at the annual gala held at the National Stadium. I stared in awe at the numerous performances; including shows about Jamaicans fighting for freedom, and listened to music that aroused my sensibilities and triggered thoughts of my childhood days. I stared at the proud Jamaicans intent on creating a united wave across the stadium. A simple seemingly impossible act was made possible because we were united, I thought, as I watched in astonishment at the hands rising and falling all around the stadium. I imagined it would never end. The lesson of unity gnawed at my heart the rest of the night, leaving me to ponder: What are the other impossibilities that we could accomplish when we work together? Could we use music to break down the different classes and political divisions here?

The Land I loveSuddenly the lights went out, leaving us in darkness while lulling to music such as “Cherry Oh Baby” and “The Land of my Birth”, old songs by Eric Donaldson. I felt sure and proud to be Jamaican that night.A light switch had been turned on, and I realized that this was where it all begun. The spectacular fireworks brightened the stadium with myriads of designs plastered across the night sky, and filling the stadium with wide open eyes staring in amazement. The fireworks shed light within my own heart, causing me to reflect on such things; my first dreams were made on this land. Not just that; my first words, first steps, and first lessons all took place here. And although at this moment I do not know where I will end up, I am sure that all my future steps will leave a traceable trail back to this island.

The following day, I woke up feeling sure that I had made the right decision- to extend my stay. I was introduced to new colleagues, Dervan Malcolm and Leo Gilling- on Power106FM, who reassured me that there is a new option; to embrace  my Jamaican roots, while accepting that I am also Canadian, as an official member of the Jamaican Diaspora. So when it came time to leave the radio set, I was renewed and felt hopeful that Jamaica will always accept me no matter where I am, and will create room for me should I choose to call it home.

Related: A Taste of History

Weeks before, I was going through the pain of walking away from this country that I have come to love over the last year, but now with my new awareness, I am realizing that I will never be separated again. I am empowered to walk the Hall of Fame as a proud Jamaican.  The energy and smiles from the people I met over the last couple weeks imprinted something new on my heart- we are all proud, strong and a powerful people. I am charged to be optimistic about a brighter, more united future for my Jamaica, the land I love.

I+am+Jamaican.

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.

RelatedNight Market Culture In Taiwan

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.

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.