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.