Wednesday, March 9, 2011

One love pon Collie Smith Drive

My Uncle Mike pointed out I have been slacking on my blog. So I went back and read my last post and realized that my last note I apologized for a similar offense. Thanks Mike!

Catching you up would be impossible. (I said this last time too). Here goes nothing...

My parents came to visit and I was so grateful they were able to make the trip. It was really special to me to show them this new and exciting life of mine. At moments it was difficult to try and even paint the whole picture for them. Most moments here are so memorable because the setting is just right and the company could not be better; every piece fits. Many times the story ends with...maybe you just had to be there. And then as my family and I had a whole week together we made some of those moments for ourselves. From Kingston to Negril and the WHOLE in between we drove both coasts (and my mother held her breath the whole time). They also put up with my vegetarian diet, blackberry, late nights with friends (hence sleeping late) and fairly chaotic lifestyle extremely well. much <3 mom & dad.

I have been teaching fourth grade subjects (science, math, & language arts) at Trench Town Primary where my students are preparing for their first literacy exam. Trench Town primary in 2009 scored the lowest for grade four literacy island wide with 64% failing. Their attendance rate is also 64% on a good day. The days that I trek downtown and walk miles up the infamous Collie Smith Drive are my favorite ones.
Trench town is one of the most notorious shantytowns of Kingston. It was so named because it was built over a ditch that drained the sewage of old Kingston depicted on the left. A few times walking up this road and I feel right at home buying loose cigarettes on the corner, chatting with moms under the beating sun and leaving at the end of the days 36 kids in tow. Some like to walk me to the bus stop; they love "protecting" me in their community. Trench town was also home to Bob Marley and his mother after they left St. Ann for Kingston. Murals for Bob, Peter Tosh, Bunnie and the Wailers line Collie Smith and sometimes its hard to believe I'm here. Some moments feel full circle, this one especially so.

So my kids are anything but easy. They require attention, discipline, patience and hugs. They consume my thoughts in amazing ways and their feisty soulfulness fills my day forcing me to think deeply about the world we share. When we learned about flooding in science class our real life example was "liv'n pon deh gullyside".  Flooding, where many of my student live, occurs after heavy rains. The inadequate gully-ducts for draining the rainwater is more like a garbage dump and the zinc housing set ups always flood. For Jamaica Day I brought Jazz & Anita who the kids obviously adored. I plan to be with Trench town Primary at least through the school year. Enjoy the photos!
Singing on Jamaica Day!

Today they met "Auntie Anita"...she passed their test!

Yuh Nuh EASY!

They make you know their tough.

Monday, January 3, 2011

So is there anything we can't do....

I'll be honest, I completely forgot to blog for roughly a month or two... It has been incredibly hectic here but I hope other social media has been able to piecemeal-like inform you about my travels. If not, lets play catch up.

Schools out, finals are over and I despise the UWI library. But I have enjoyed my time on campus and have met really great people and have made great connections pertaining to my research. Oh yeah... research. That has become a bit more top secret as it has taken a very interesting spin since I last blogged. Updates once I am able, promise.

So when you move some where--you develop a social life. We happen to seriously enjoy ours and we are doing a great job at seeing the whole island. Since before thanksgiving we went to Negril again. River swimming, good vegetarian food (meat free for almost 3 months), and beach!

::be right back quick dominoes game::

As you can see we play a lot of dominoes. Supposedly its an old Chinese game, but its our new favorite past time here. You need four people and there is always four of us, its perfect. Oh and we taught Jamaicans how to play Spades!! Maybe spades will become a new trend.

Christmas was lovely, I spent it with Anita's family! I figured, why not make this excursion as multicultural as possible. Send the lonely Jew on Christmas in Jamaica with the Hindi family! It was a good plan, happy I stuck with it.

New years was super fun. S40 (deh studio 40- our apartment) reunited! With Jazzy back from Negril, Erica home from foreign and Anita's back from country we rung in the New Year with new friends in a new county that we really love calling home.

So lets make a short list maybe with photos so I can attempt to fill you in.
1) My Christmas looked like this...

2) We saw Kartel live, yes be jealous, yes it was awesome and then we danced in the rain. We also wore florescent high top sneakers.


3) I have route-taxied all over this island...Ochie-->Runaway-->Discovery-->Falmouth-->Mobay. I suggest taking public transportation everywhere in the world, its the best way to travel. Besides the fact that you meet the most interesting people ever, like Hugh (my favorite Robot Driver)


5) Yes fellow Jews... I did celebrate Hanukkah with fellow Jew Erica. I made latkes and 'E' lit the menorah every night.... well almost every night including the random 9th night we wanted because we missed the 7th and because we can do whatever we want really...
6) We spent the first day of the new year on a 15 mile hike up to Blue Mountain Peak to watch the sunrise. JAMAICANS: if you have not done it tomorrow. FOREIGNERS: a must do...if you can hack it! Note: Many photos...

6:30am it was all worth it once we got up to the top

Ras did not even break a sweat...

WE MADE IT! 3 Fulbrights ontop a mountain!

The Blue Mountain Range

The group- partially mid-air, partially angry at me for making them jump 7 times for a photo after 7 miles of hiking.

“It is the fairest island eyes have beheld; 
mountainous and the land seems to touch the sky." 
(1494) Christopher Columbus--Jamaica.

More updates and more ridiculous things to come! Bless up! Happy New Year and keep following!