Sunday, October 24, 2010

Can I big up my own Domino skills?

We often laugh cause here in Jamaica stuff just happens without provocation. It often seems that just being in Jamaica provokes incredible moments, one after another. I find myself laughing at the days because no one is luckier than us right now. Opportunity for learning and exploring Jamaica is presented multiple times a day. For instance, if your an American (like ourselves) and your studying and your out meeting tons of people your name will get passed around and people will contact you about your stay here. Upon our return from Negril I was contacted by another student from the states who was coming to study the criminal justice system and she was put in touch with me through FURI. She was in a jam for housing so we got a couch person. I love having couch people, its like having a new roommate for a few days. It switches up the flow. Basically, Erica rocks. We dig her. She moved in down the road.

The weekend was quickly approaching and in JA we were having a holiday, Heroes Weekend. Celebrating Jamaica's National Heroes who challenged the institution of colonialism and in turn aided in independence, granting political and social freedoms to the people. Paul Bogle, rebellion leader yet peaceful baptist deacon in the 1840's & 50's. George Williams Gordon, aided Britain's compulsion to develop in Jamaica, he was a free land owner and a member of parliament. Nanny of the Maroons, the only female hero was a fearless Asante warrior who constantly outwitted English, yet to them she met her end. She is symbolic of that indomitable desire that will never yield to captivity. Samuel Sharpe preacher, Christmas Rebellion Leader, speaker against slavery he was eventually hung. Sir Alexander Bustamante, initiated some of Jamaica's first peaceful negotiations at the start of parliament, he was knighted and was appointed first Chief Minister. Norman W. Manley, founded the Peoples National Party (PNP), his efforts ultimately afforded universal adult suffrage, also a Chief Minister. Marcus Garvey, a famous worldwide leader who called for improvement for blacks. He spoke out against cultural denigration and economic exploration. He was also DEPORTED. Because I study deportation here, this is important. Culturally connecting deportation to Marcus Garvey spin the deportation stigma? Deportees are criminals, not national heroes? Or...? Ok so there ya go. There has been a push for Bob Marley to join the rankings, but that got put down quickly according to Jody. The link for Bob is a hilarious Rasta guy giving a tour about Bob Marley to tourists...more about tourist's later....

By the way this photo is symbolic of why Bob was known as a peaceful just man. This photo is from the "One Love Peace Concert," where Marley famously joined the hands of two bitter Jamaican political rivals, political rivals Michael Manley (PNP) and Edward Seaga (JLP), onstage.  

In honor of the heroes many things happen island wide, we tried to do a bit of both. At the Bob Marley museum and the Edna Manley School of Performing Arts (where we have been taking dancehall classes) hosted an event thrown by ManifestoJamaica. It just so happens, David, our lovely neighbor is very close with one of the main coordinators so we all went to check out his opening night. Two documentaries were showing; Bouncing Cats, about uniting Uganda youth through hip hop and dance and Community Manifesto where some of the most slighted neighborhoods in Jamaica were shown for their beauty rather than their persistent issues. Due to technical difficulties only the first doc ran and in turn I stumbled upon a community of Jamaican healers! Again, stuff just happens, had I not of been a lighter-less smoker, I would not of met these guys and had the movies played I would not of went outside...coincidence? So I ended up sitting with this Rasta Benny who put 7 crystals (chakras) in my hand, charged them with our energy and we moved them back and forth without touching them. It was bar none this most powerful example of tangible energy I have seen yet. They work at a Reiki center, coincidence?! I think not!! So now I am getting looped into that circle. Super exciting. So cool people, sweet advocacy movement, and a magical night at the Bob museum was seriously satisfying and somewhat unreal. Who would of thought I would be doing energy work and Reiki on Rasta inside of Bob's joint. Hence a great example of how I don't provoke anything, cool shit just happens all the time here!
Our Villas Swimming Pool

Frenchman's Party
So Friday Anita & I packed up to go to Ochie for this huge beachside party, Frenchman's Foreplay, serious profiling. Kam hooked us up with a seriously amazing rate at a Sandals and tickets for Sunday's all day all inclusive party. Basically we got the baddest little villa with our own pool so we swam, tanned, ate way too much, and got a kick out of the tourists. One of them said to me, when in Rome do what the Romans do; when in Jamaica, SMOKE... he was wearing a weed shirt. I hope he know he made my day. But needless to say Sandals was adventure, I'm not sure if I'd stay there again but you could not beat our rate. One of Anita's friends from New York, Radhika, was in Kingston for business so she came in a day early and got to stay with us too. She was able to make it for "Jamaica Thanks Kam! Frenchman was like a fair, Anita texted me since she got their first that she was hunting for funnel cake. The party was a mixture of tourists, Jamaicans who live abroad, or locals. The night was like a mixture of a Jamaican & American wedding. They played the oddest combination of music but we had a blast. We just explored and met random people. The craziest place was the ladies room. They had like touch up makeup artists and full length mirrors. Like I said these parties are not about swimming on the beach, like I wanted to do, they are about high heels and mini swim suits. I asked if I should bring a towel and they said, not if your going to start a trend and be the only swimmer! These beach parties will take some getting used to.

The journey home was on Jamaican time! (Lots of love to our ride home, but man it was late). Anita & Rads took off first since there was only room for two in each car, so me and Jazz stayed behind when they left at noon. We checked out of the Hotel at 1130 and did not end up going home till 9pm. We spent all three meals there and even caught the most serious dinner buffet with hotel staff walking around like Nanny, Marcus Garvey, and Chief! There was also the friend we made who walked around on stilts, I'm not quite sure where he fits in. We also ran into this young famous Jamaican opera singer but he also doubles as the VIP Manager at Sandals. He invited himself to have breakfast with Anita & I. All the sudden this third table set appeared and there he was with his cereal. Things just oddly happen, we are magnets for hilarious stuff. I hope it keeps happening.

So we got home, we buckled down, we worked hard and we rewarded our work week with learning how to play Domino's which is a super Jamaican game. My goal is to play dominoes with some rastas on a corner, its a pretty cool site, and probably only Anita & I playing with them could make it even cooler. Brendan & Damian who we met through David taught us how to play, I ended running the table for the first and only five games. Needless to say they regretted teaching me. Next stop Rasta Corner!

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