Hello from the patio of a beautiful villa that I have the privilege of sharing with some pretty fantastic people! It’s day three on our journey here, and this blog will serve as a journal, photo album, mode of communication, or anything in between.
I’m big on quotes. I have a note saved on my cell phone full of notes I have come across throughout the years and do not want to forget. One of the first things I noticed upon arriving to Jamaica is that everyone here has a way with words. Seriously, it’s no wonder Bob Marley quotes can be found on t-shirts, tattoos, posters, and almost anything else. These people know their stuff. Every time I heard a quote I liked, I would think “Oh! I’ll use that to start off my blog!” But I’ve finally settled on one. I wrote it down last night during a class discussion on globalization.
“I am a lens”
This quote may not be relevant for the entire duration of the trip, but right now it could not be more appropriate. Our eyes are like camera lenses that capture an entirely different culture, environment, group of people, and way of life. Zoomed out, it looks like a clear blue ocean, with mountains full of plants and trees nearby. Zoomed in a little closer, it is an average day in Jamaica. I have recently learned that this consists of the people working: selling goods or produce, teaching, farming, or fishing. However, the aspect of conversation and socialization does not get lost in the day. The people of Jamaica engage in jubilant conversations that range from business and world news to jokes and pop culture. When this metaphorical lens is zoomed in all the way, our life at the villa comes into view.
I am still not over the fact that we live in paradise. The rooms are spacious and airy, and the ocean breeze is constant. That could be because the ocean is a stone’s throw away, literally. The only thing separating the villa from the ocean is a beautiful back yard complete with places to sit and suspended “beds,” all protected by the shade of a giant tree. My favorite part of the front yard is the fact that it is full of fruit trees. I have taken a liking to eating the fresh fruit, and I can imagine I will become somewhat a mango snob after this trip.
We will start to develop a routine soon, and will begin working at the sites we have been assigned. For the past few days we have simply visited all of the different sites to get a feel for what it would be like working there. More than just our eyes went into work when we went to Morant Bay, which is where RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Agency) and the Women’s Centre are located. Basically, we went into sensory overload. We heard reggae music as the background to popular American songs, we smelled and tasted all of the local foods, including the famous “patties.” Patties are the typical fast-food here in Jamaica. It is kind of like a calzone: meat and cheese in a crusty shell. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed my beef and cheese one! We shook the hands of all of the citizens who were excited to welcome the “whiteys” to town. At first I was a little thrown off by being called Whitey, but I have since learned that it is a term of endearment. I can appreciate the way that Jamaicans aren’t afraid to tell it how it is. They are consistently intrigued by my red, curly hair, and ask why in the world I would put an earring in my nose.
Needless to say my not-so-metaphorical lens was busy as well. I will have so many pictures by the end of this trip. Although my eyes are great lenses right now, I already know that I want a more reliable lens to capture as much of this adventure as I can. I am excited to be able to document my experiences through this blog, and hope that I can come close to sharing this amazing culture, country, and experience.