Monday, September 27, 2010

Route Taxi Driver, didn't you say we were going to Halfway Tree?

Check out this melded American/Jamaican Flag. We went to the "Jamaica American Friendship Association Concert" hosted by JAFA & the US Embassy. The Whose Who of JA was certainly there. I myself, wearing a rained out black sundress carrying double backpacks after babysitting all weekend for the Genzer Girls and never went home, looked awkward. I had just come from an awesome meeting of the "National Organization of Deported Migrants" (NODM) meeting, where Dr. Headley's efforts have mainly been focused. The point of this group is to collectively push for the economic, social and political empowerment of deportees. They have elected officials from their own population and have built a board representing germane organizations such as, The Red Cross, The Jamaica Foundation, and The Ministry of National Security. Membership ranges in age, both genders are present, colonial capital varied, current fiscal statuses are variegated, yet "still living" was the mantra amongst the group. They have been recently conducting workshops relating to human deportation processes, skills networking, securing proper identification and mapping the resources available to current, incoming and future migrants. I was introduced to the group as someone who is on their side, one yelled out and said "CIA!" I told them that was flattering, but "No" I'm just a student.
Dr. Headley, they call him Prof, told them I was not affiliated with any law enforcement agency, and that they should be happy that a US State Department grant has gone to studying their cause. Someone then shouted, "WHAT LIKE HOMELAND SECURITY!" This may take some trust building, but I'm cool with that. I was taught in basic anthropology courses that being a participant observer is not always a welcomed position. Particularly for a group of people who has felt slighted by government, I believe there skepticism goes without say. Our next meeting is in October and Prof challenged them to have 300 deportees present. I am looking forward to seeing the results; I will also attempt to get a quick survey together for that date, the data opportunity has officially presented itself. After making many connections, getting a ton of numbers and valuable information I joined my roommates for the third annual "Music Throughout the Ages".

So rainy season sucks for a few reasons. 
1) The drainage system/old aqueducts here are inadequate.
2) People decide to stay in because of the rain.
3) Transportation is seriously hindered due to flooded streets and the flocks of people who leave work early on account of the rain. 
This leads to a few problems for someone such as myself:
-Since I am car-less I am forced to deal with the mobbed street. One minute One minute from the taxi dispatcher means anything but one minute.
-Also the taxi phone services get mashed up so I pressed redial 14 times before I could get a taxi for 12:15pm. Since it was pouring I opted against walking down to Devon House for the route, besides I'd be late. But of course I was late anyways.  My awesome driver Marble called me and told me he would "Soon Come" I asked him to define "Soon" he said, "Soon, like don't go outside and get all wet", I was outside already. We talked about my pet snake back at home for 25 minutes. He was fascinated with Roscoe Lee Brown.
- My International Econ Prof never showed to class, so I went for nothing. I decided to overt mental disaster and decided to tackle UWI's library.
- I don't own and umbrella, go figure. Sandal birks, cargos, and a backpack are immediately soaked upon walking across campus. Whatever I am over it, your either sweaty or soaked by rain.
- No backpacks allowed in the library. Cool; check my bag, walk inside, forgot the call number for my book in my bag, accidentally stumbled into the econ section and found the most recent available text on International Econ, 4th edition 2001.  9 years is a long time for economic theory to evolve. By the way, our syllabus says see the 10th edition, shoot 6 too early. I take it out anyways.
- I hate being behind in class, it messes me up, I won't sleep till I know every in and out of the Heckscher-Ohlin theory. I really need a strong econ background for grad school so desperate times call for the 4th edition and Wikipedia.
-So the line to retrieve my bag at this point is 100 people long. 10 minutes later me and my swampy Jansport agree that all dignity in staying dry has eluded us therefore the hike to the route taxi cannot make things any worse.

Route Taxi Process 
So 80J for a taxi home is the best price by far, but you squeeze into a Taxi with at least 3 if not 4 in the back and your either sweaty or soaking wet. But you always get to hear great reggae or dance-hall music. They drive like maniacs and they know every road in Kingston. But they always take these shortcuts if traffic sucks, like it does when it's raining, so then I have no idea where I am and most likely will miss my chance to jump out at a red light close to home. 
Example: Today's trip to Halfway Tree.
" Afway Tree - Afway Tree!"
- cool I think my stop first taxi here! First bit of good luck all day, I get in.
- Ring, phone call for Taxi Driver, "Me Soon Come", he replies 
- QUICK Right, great, I'm lost now, but I know I'm close. I'm sure he will make a left and head my way.
Driver: "We a gwaan south! If ya gwaan nort, ya gwaan get going naw, uzzimi."
- Shit, going Right, no red light in site, I'll wait for the next light. 2 miles later, a red light and a 15 minute walk home versus the usual 5. The above is the result. Enjoy your cute public transportation systems and your efficient street drainage.  

By the way FREE BUJU! Look it up!! 


  1. Wow that commute sounded rough Ashley, but how was the concert?

    And yes, them really need to free Buju! Entrapment not legal!

  2. That dude has made some pretty cool tunes. I've seen him live a couple times. He's also kind of a homophobic jerk...