EPIPHANY! My computer gives me hot flashes. As the hours press on and I'm working away on my computer the damn device gets hotter and hotter! Before you know it my thighs are on fire because my computer is about to overheat! Mac needs to really work on hooking up some AC to there laptops! Maybe it is because I spend my time trying to merge and upload photo's like the one above! That is the view from our balcony. I took this with my new camera my family got me before I left! I couldn't upload it any bigger so unfortunately your stuck with this blurry, small, does not do justice to our view photo! Sorry but you get the idea.
So Tuesday was really hot for me but I can't complain cause it was the most relaxing day I have had so far. I woke up at 8:30 to meet the cable guy so he could set up our internet and TV. Down here the service is called "Flow", there advertisements are hilarious! Jamaican advertising is a bit cheesy but its extremely entertaining! So my cable guys name is Andre and he is a really nice guy. He was telling me all about Jamaica and that he loves sports. Ends up he is going to take me and Anita to a futbol game! Everyone wants to show us there favorite part of JA.
The rest of Tuesday consisted of me sitting on my deck, Skyping my friends, getting tons of paperwork done and studying for the GRE's. I think I made enough flash cards to stretch from here to home in CT! Looks like a I may have to plan a trip back to the states just so I can take the test before Grad School deadlines in Feb-Apr. SIDE NOTE: Starting now we will be playing a game to help me study for the GRE's. In every blog I will put 3 newly learned GRE words in BOLD. I would like my readers to define them for me, WITHOUT looking them up in a dictionary. GAME STARTS...NOW!
I also was easily distracted by uploading photos, downloading music, and BBMing new Jamaican friends! Despite Tuesdays uneventful nature, I needed it. Anita & I topped off the night with a fair attempt to make fried rice without any spices and just Siracha chili sauce. That sauce makes anything edible, and that's exactly what it did for our rice.
Now Wednesday (today) is a different story. We woke up early for our Embassy Security Briefing at 9am. Genius me left my passport at home and had to made the Taxi turn around to go get it! Therefore I was late but I quietly wondered to myself..."Does the American Embassy in JA run on Jamaican time?" So I walk inside I have to wait for about 15 minutes for Bernadette to come get me and bring me to where Nicole and Anita are waiting. So we meet finally meet Angela Harvey (Cultural Affairs Specialist) and Yolanda Kerney (Public Affairs Officer). Both women were absolutely amazing and there were very honest with us about what they expect from us as Fulbrighters in JA.
Basically they broke it down into a few canonical rules:
1) Do not do anything that will get you arrested, not only does Jamaican law apply to us, but US law still does too.
2) You are a cultural ambassador of the US always remember this when in public.
3) Do not make the Embassy call your parents with bad news.
4) Do not ask about Visa's for people just because you have an "in" with the Embassy the answer is NO and will always be NO.
5) This one might be my favorite. DO NOT FALL IN LOVE, he will not be coming back with you to the states no matter what! They explained to us that we did not get any prettier or smarter or funnier on the plane ride to Jamaica so do not be fooled by all the attention! We are walking visa's according to most.
Needless to say it was very informative and we will be getting set up with Temporary Registration Numbers, TRN (similar to social security), extended visas, and multi-entry visas. See ya later another $200 USD just to stay in JA for longer than 2 weeks! Whatever it's all worth it in my book! Oh and they wrapped on the session with one more lecture, "The American Embassy doesn't find Jamaican time funny". Shit, I was wrong there is always a piece of the American way in every country behind the fortress that is the American Embassy. Why do I feel like that was probably directed at me! Whoops, my first JA time arrival!
UPDATE: Jazz is now coming on Friday, I think she is having too much fun in Negril without us!
After the Embassy I went to work for a few hours. I took photos of the facility and met a second deportee who will be one of my informants for my research! We will call her "T". T was deported to Jamaica last month (for so far unknown reasons) and has left three children in the states. She has a 17 and 16 year old that are still in school, love to skateboard and are very independent in NY. She also has a 5 year old that is currently a child of that state. She is tirelessly working to get her son down to Jamaica because she knows she will be able to make it here and provide a good home for her child. She lived in Jamaica through primary school and does believe this is home. She referred to her native countrymen as "backward" intermittently through our conversations. Because of the reference I asked her how they have received her? She replies, "it's like I'm not Jamaican; you will get treated better than me 'ere." (Jamaican's don't use the letter "h") She agrees to help me in my research and publicly be named once my research gets reviewed by the UWI IRB and the proper paperwork comes through. T is passionate about being an advocate she is happy to dedicate her time to FURI as well. As you can tell her alacrity is pervasive!
"A" came back in today like he said he would, but without meeting his challenge of bringing two other deportees today. He said he would try harder next time but he was really happy about just getting there today. He lives in St. Elizabethtown which is about two hours each way by bus, so he only leaves the country when he has to and will stay for a few days. He lives in the country so he can start his endeavor in agriculture on a piece of land his family thankfully owned. The country is bucolic He is luckier than others in this regard. He is leaving Kingston on Sunday so I am going to have my first interview this weekend! WOW! super exciting I have all day tomorrow to get a good draft of my questionairre and interviewing questions. I know that won't be the last time I see A because I plan on being in touch with each deportee at least once a month and for a few in particular every week if they will be volunteering with me at FURI. Oh so, yeah I took photos! Check these out.
The above in this order: A) The main entrance of FURI, B) Ishon & his machete trying to empty flower pots so we can "put some life in these concrete blocks" said by Marleen. As you can see this is as grassroots as it gets. C) Old Grafetti encouraging me to think this was once a school. D) That's the lovely Marleen! E) This is a shot of the outside space we have. At the end of the parking lot there is a fresh butcher who sells for a fair price. You can constantly see children particularly little girls run back and forth getting meat for their mother.
So one more pretty important thing we did today at FURI was try to get electricity. Our space does not have that yet. The electrician came today, he showed up in a Ketchup Sales Van. Now I dont understand anything about this trade but I do know there are barely any outlets and I also know that for a computer center and photo booth, you need a lot of outlets. We have a problem! But despite no power we have a desk and we have more chairs, there are also two tiny offices upstairs with another bathroom, the first one being downstairs, but it has no sink.* see bottom We also have a pantry where we can store some food and outside in the parking lot we have a pretty large shed where we hope to sell some of the produce we harvest one day. Painting will happen soon but not before our Sunday trip to Mobay to follow Martha. I told you about Martha before, I have yet to meet her but she was getting her hair done for her big trip back to Mobay's deportee community under the bridge. They have yet to receive word that Martha is still alive, and not only is she still alive but she is employed and is bringing us to come help them too! Soon Come that story.
I spoke with Carmeta on the phone for the first time today. She was thrilled that I was here (as am I) and that she would like to welcome me to the FURI family! Hooray! Ricard was due to arrive at 2:30 which of course was 2:48 and we left to drop me at home and pick up Anita so she could go to class. When he arrived his sister Paulette and niece Georgia were in the car and he was moving Georgia up to UWI to start her third year. In the backseat me and Georgia laughed about best friends and even talked about tradegy. I told her about my dog Rex, whom I miss so much, and the whole car started roaring with laughter! They proceeded to tell me they once too had a dog named Rex and then found out later in lilfe they had a brother name Rex too! Obviously a fond memory for Ricard & Paulette. Me and Georgia exchange BBM pins and we start talking about my fellow Fulbrighter's projects. I told them about Jazz's and that it had to do with the sex industry (prostitution), which by the way we have a few on our corner, good news for Jazz! Paulette started laughing and told us a hilarious story about hotel employee prostitution rings, since she has worked many years in the hotel industry. She says this practice, still to this day astounds her.
So now I am home sitting on my deck uploading more photos and writing this blog. Jody invites Anita and I too get some Jamaican BBQ this week and of course I said "yes". Grocery shopping tomorrow and also getting a head start on finding grants for FURI, mini-grants most likely. If you know of any send them my way. Or if you feel like researching this too, please be my guest; overseas blog volunteering would be great! Now for dinner tonight, stumped...Oh well at least I have a variety of Reggae music all night <3 Soon Come! _________________________________________________________
* I despise Grammar, and I am also not great at it. Maybe that is why I deride it so much. Sorry had to throw in a fourth one!