Captivated by Jamaica

I have just heard that the company advertising the job I applied for last minute before I went away, have invited me for interview next week. Eek! It has been almost 4 years since I had am interview so am already anxious. Its also a big job and would be a big jump for me. The job is an opportunity for a complete lifestyle change. I am not afraid of change, in fact I embrace it. But there is always a part of you that wonders whether it is change for good. I will leave fate to decide that dilemma.

So, back to the holiday. I am going to re-visit our time in Jamaica. We were only there a few hours but it was enough time to really give us a taste of what a wonderful country Jamaica is full of even more wonderful people. We met a man called Merik who took us to a church so that we could understand the history of the country’s freedom from slavery and the significant role the church played in providing education and accommodation to get Jamaica’s people back on their feet after the tyranny of the slave trade. We then visited a school called St Peters and my daughter very much enjoyed talking and playing with the children. My baby son was being dragged round by the older kids who instantly wanted him to be their baby and they enjoyed playing with our buggy. I rescued him by taking him into the cool rooms of the nursery and chatting to the teachers while he interacted with children more his own size. One of the teachers asked me for a donation to fix the roof, which I gladly gave her. The children we saw were beautiful and very happy. I did have concerns over the security though. The children were playing in the garden in front of the school and the gate to the main road directly outside the school was open. I felt like I had to have eyes in the back of my head to keep a watch out for my children and the others. We were the only young family amongst a group of old Americans (it was a cruise excursion after all) and I did find it a tad disturbing that all these old people (and there were quite a few as another tour bus had arrived outside the school too) were milling around taking pictures of the children like they were some tourist attraction. The truth is they were a tourist attraction and the teachers welcomed us with open arms. A couple of younger children after a while found it all a bit overwhelming and I took one young chap to the teacher as he was crying out for his Mum. Of course the school no doubt get a welcome cash injection for accepting tourists, I suppose it is a necessary evil. But I wouldn’t like buses of tourists coming in to my children’s school every week to take random pictures of them. As parents in Britain you have to fill in a load of forms to permit the school to take pictures of your child, gates are locked and there is a coded entry system to gain access. There were similarities though, the way the classes were organised with draws and learning materials suspended and pinned around walls and ceilings to keep the children engaged. The projects the children were working on were similar. The one key difference was there was only one class for 90 children – and we balk at class sizes of 30.

We also drove past Usain Bolt’s secondary school, which he still uses for training. It is good that despite his fame he has remained in Jamaica to support his country and they recognise that and are immensely proud of his achievements.

We visited an old sugar cane estate and learnt about the history of the sugar trade and what happened once the ruling classes left. It is interesting that Jamaica has retained a similar local Government system to Britain, it is bizarre in such a hot country to hear words such as ‘parishes’ and random names you would normally expect to find only in Devon such as ‘Trelawny’.

Finally we met a lovely lady called Sunshine, who braided my daughter’s hair and put a hair wrap in mind, a work college joked that the Jamaican sunshine was trapped inside the braids. Sunshine gave us her email address and my daughter is really keen to email a picture of her with her uncle  who is of Jamaican origin although he has never been to Jamaica. I hope to return there with him as I definitely want to explore more of this fascinating country.

I am blogging every day to raise money for Unicef – please donate here of you like reading this blog.

Thanks for reading.



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