Saturday, September 02, 2006

Jamaican pictures

Here are some pictures and stories from my trip.

This picture is of me, Dalton (a friend from Discovery Bay), and Holly (my cousin). Dalton was a friend of Holly's when she was in the Peace Corps in Discovery bay and was absolutely wonderful with helping me perfect my driving skills on the left-hand side of the road (quite challenging at times!), taking us to local parties and restaurants, and introducing me to new places we would have never known about otherwise. The last day I was there, Dalton and I hung out in a bar (made up of one counter and enough room for about five seats) up in the hills in his home town (Farm Town...a wonderful quaint area) and burned reggae CD's. A great way to end the trip in Jamaica!

My favorite picture...Kids from a local camp showing me baby hermit crabs:

Jackie, in the picture to the left, is an amazing lady. The day we met her she had 25 kids with her. Jackie takes in children--physically and mentally disabled, physically and sexually abused, and others whose parents decided to give them to Jackie. Currently, about five (or more) of these children live with her. In the summer she runs a five week camp. She teaches them basic survival skills since so many of them are on their own. She wants to teach them basic skills so that they succeed with whatever lot in life they have been given. Since Jamaica doesn't always have the conveniences of electricity and running water in all areas, Jackie teaches them things like how to make pudding over an open fire. She doesn't have many volunteers. Most times it is just her. And she doesn't receive much funding. Funders usually want to tell her specifically how to use the funds. She feels she knows the kids better than the funders and knows what they need. The last big grant she received was used to create a something she felt would benefit the kids longer term. I guess the funders didn't like that because it wasn't the way they had designated the funds. She said she hasn't received anything from them since. It doesn't stop Jackie. She is committed to the kids.

Arriving in Discovery Bay (Puerto Seco beach):

Puerto Seco Beach is the most beautiful beach. It has beautiful white sand and wonderful clear water. You can buy jerk chicken and rice and peas at the cook shack and then buy ice cream from the man on the motorcycle (picture to the left).

Columbus Park:

Discovery Bay is supposedly where Columbus first set foot. The locals don't seem too thrilled that Columbus came to "found" the area they had already established. They see Columbus as a rapist who took over, raping the land and the women and creating slaves out of the people already there. And we claim him as a "hero" in our history books.
(side note: Shouldn't we re-think who we claim as our historical heroes??? Our country claims to have such issues with "immorality" these days...yet we hold up historical "leaders" who raped and destroyed land and people and supported and contributed to slavery. What example do we set for our children when those are the "leaders" we hold up...and what do we say to our children when we brush aside their faults as "just a product of their time??)

Foods in the market:

The market is always a favorite place of mine. I love to see (and eat!) the native fruits and vegetables. The huge avocados are absolutely wonderful diced on a plate with lime squeezed on top and a little salt. So much more flavor than the avocados here! The lady who ran the Patiently Waiting Villa we stayed at made us Acchi and Saltfish--a breakfast dish. The acchi (the pinkish stuff with black seeds in the picture to the left) is something like scrambled eggs...combined with saltfish and sauteed onions...delicious!

Beautiful trees and flowers:

I'm so disappointed that I never did get to drink coconut water straight from the green coconuts (the tree in the picture above). We did crack and eat a fresh coconut, though. Jamaica was so lush and green. Just the greenery around was relaxing!

Natural Waterfall outside of Ocho Rios:

This was a beautiful place undisturbed by tourists. It's down from Dunn's Falls, the popular tourist waterfall. The interesting thing about this natural falls is that it is where the locals come and take baths...literally!! well as play and swim. What was even more intriguing to me was that they don't necessarily bathe there because they don't have running water at home. The lady that took us there has a wonderful home. Yet she went with the full intention of bathing...soap and all. She explained that they just love the clean and smooth feeling of the water. Though most bathe with their suits on, there was at least one man who took the task seriously using the waterfall as his own personal shower!

Outdoor bar:

Though a little difficult to see, the hut-looking structure on the water is an outdoor bar. We attended Dalton's friend's birthday party in the open-air with the water lapping right below us.

Those are a few of the pictures and the stories. If you know me well at all, you know I have many more pictures from this trip in my collection that I would be happy to share if you're interested in living vicariously and seeing someone else's "home movies."

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