Living in Jamaica – the “Autumn” semester.
people . places . thoughts . prayer
My intention throughout this year abroad in Jamaica was to share an update each month to let everyone back home know what I’ve been up to. Needless to say time and other commitments got in the way of this. I don’t believe in new years resolutions, mostly because I never stick to them, but if I did mine would be to blog more frequently (lol).
The first four months in Jamaica have been so good and I’m very happy that I am back to finish my studies for the year.
I think most of my friends are actually from Trinidad rather than Jamaica. To be fair, they have some of the best accents and banter on campus. I catch myself saying ‘oh goooosh’ with a Trinidadian intonation and thinking about all the amazing food: Palau rice, doubles, chrix dipped in all manner of sauces. I have yet to try most of this food, but my friends talk about so much I’m sure it must taste a little like heaven. I’m looking forward to visiting Trinidad and Tobago in the summer – it is sure to be an experience!
There was only a small group of international students on campus (non-Caribbean students), so we got to know each other pretty well last term. Unfortunately the majority only had the option for staying at Jamaica for one semester, so we had to say goodbye a few weeks ago, but I’m confident that we’ll meet again somewhere in the Americas or Europe….
It was fun to share such a once in a life time experience with these guys. One evening we all shared our thoughts as we prepared to come to Jamaica and the different reactions we got from friends and family when we decided to come. If anything, its been such an experience to challenge the stereotypes we ourselves had, and those that others gave us about Jamaica. Through all the challenges that Jamaica faces, there is a true streak of defiance and the ability to create something new and creative from the past. I’m looking forward to exploring more of this in the next year.
For a class about Caribbean Cultures I had the chance to visit a Rastafari camp called Nyabinghi in Montego Bay. We went from the 2nd-3rd of November for the annual Celebration of Halie Selassie’s coronation, (the King of Ethiopia from 1930-1974). I’m thankful for the opportunity to engage with this community and shrug off some of the misconceptions I previously had of them.
Duanevale, Trelawny is the place where my granddad grew up and left some time in the 1950s for England. The contrast between these places could not be more striking. My Aunt still lives there so I got the chance to stay with her for a few days before Christmas. The last time we saw each other was 10 years ago, so meeting again, in the place Granddad grew up was very special.
It’s hard to condense four months into a few hundred words so the above pictures and text are just a little snapshot of life in Jamaica. It shows what have been some of the highlights of my time here, there are so many other important people I’ve met, and things that play part of my day-to-day life. Meeting Aunty Carrol (the director of Agape in Jamaica) for bible studies, cooking meals with TeHilla, visiting my cousins every other weekend in Kingston. Of course I’ve also being studying – a lot, but I somehow manage to obsessively watch the Gilmore Girls too.
Since first drafting this post I’ve been back in England for a few weeks, adjusted to the cold weather and now I’m back in the sun for the second semester. Hopefully I’ll be a little bit better at keeping you updated this time round….
If you’re the praying type here are a few things I’d like prayer for. Continued strength in my relationship with God in the next year. That my knowledge of God would continue to grow, deepen and be challenged as I encounter new perspectives and ideas in Jamaica.
Alongside this, I would love to settle into the church more, so prayer for that too would be great.
Happy New Year everyone!