Monday, December 13, 2004

"the laud is my shepherd," osmond watson

"The Laud is My Shepherd," Osmond Watson
Originally uploaded by Edu-Tourist.

This is one of the fascinating works of art on display at the National Gallery of Jamaica.

national gallery of jamaica

According to this recent article in the Jamaica Observer, The National Gallery of Jamaica is taking steps to improve its outreach to 'ordinary' Jamaicans. It is a priceless resource, too often overlooked by tourists. It will be interesting to track changes in their programming. When we visited it was still in renovations. They had a very nice bookstore, and were also nice enough to allow us to take photographs. Wisely, they view these photographs as some of their best modes of publicity. More information and directions.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

2005 Gerald L. Davis Memorial Lectures

From the Philadelphia Folklore Project - An afternoon gathering on Folklore and self-knowledge

how stories tell us who we are. . . .

“I am not confused about who I am. I am not defined by the accident of my gender or my size or my exceedingly good looks. I am defined by any choices I may have made. . . But where I have gotten to is sacrosanct,” wrote the late great African American folklorist, writer and filmmaker Gerald L. Davis. Davis found in African American folklore emotionally powerful and aesthetically satisfying tools for the necessary work of self-naming and self-knowing.

Philadelphia Folklore Project and ODUNDE inaugurate
The first Gerald L. Davis Memorial Lectures, in honor of ODUNDE’s 30th anniversary and Art Sanctuary's Celebration of Black Writing.

Featuring scholars and storytellers:
Dr. John Roberts (folklorist, author of From Trickster to Badman)
Dr. Kathryn Morgan (folklorist, author of Children of Strangers)
Linda Goss (storyteller, author of Talk That Talk)
Thelma Shelton Robinson (South Philly born and raised “poetic storyteller")

Saturday, February 19th 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., 2005
Church of the Advocate, 18th and Diamond Streets

Admission: $5 or a good story about why you don’t have it! (Three special prizes)
More information available -

For everyone who’s ever listened to or loved a story, told a lie, or whispered a prayer. Come hear what two of today’s most insightful folklorists and two of the region’s most thoughtful storytellers have to say about how stories tell us who we really are, how they help us to know ourselves and others, how they place us in time and space. Pioneers in their own right, these scholars and artists of the spoken word will share stories and talk about how stories carry cultural and individual self-knowledge. Reading, telling , Q & A and discussion. Followed by a reception. Introduction by Lois Fernandez.

Copyright 2000 - 2003, Philadelphia Folklore Project
Comments & questions:

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Philly Caribbean Link Up!!!

From: CULTUre040@AOL.COM
To: SOCA-L@LISTSERV.TEMPLE.EDU (Student Organization for Caribbean Awareness)

U're invited to take a peek @ aka for the Philadelphia Caribbean Community; it's still a work in progress, best viewed with broadband.

Your thougths please?

Big up to s.o.c.a massive; done know Roger Culture from TU original s.o.c.a massive.


Sunday, October 24, 2004

NYTimes: "In Africa, Free Schools Feed a Different Hunger"

Students throughout the Third World must be able to pay fees in order to attend primary school. In Kenya, the annual fee is $16, the equivalent of what an American family of three might pay for a meal together at McDonalds. Studies by the World Bank have shown that such fees are enough to keep many poor families from sending their children to school. political candidates in democratizing African countries been successful in generating popular support by promising to make school free to all. But as foreign correspondent for the New York Times Celia W. Drugger documents, 'free school' is anything but 'free and easy' for Kenyan teachers.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Lloyd Wilks on Hayfield and Bowden Pen

From: "JOCAD" <>
Re: Hurricane Ivan's Impacts in Portland and St. Thomas
To: "Mike Dorn" <>

Hi Mike,

I am sorry but I have to confirm your initial impressions concerning Hayfield. Yes it was hit very hard with an awful lot of collateral damage particularly to crops and infrastructure. The trail has been affected very badly by uprooted trees and broken limbs throughout. The natural habitat for many of natures flora and fauna has changed and the significance of this is already visible. The natural environment has changed.

The fact is it will require a lot of work to clear and restore the trail. There is extensive damage throughout the community of Hayfield, with considerable loss and damage to homes and community infrastructure. Work in the community is going to require a lot of human and capital resources.

Bowden Pen reflects a similar story except that the damage to homes and community infrastructure is less extensive. The trail however and the road to Bowden Pen from Millbank was blocked but with good community support and collaboration between the Farmers Association and the wider community much of the way has been cleared to the Cabins. On the way there it was evident that the wind was far more potent and the evidence was literally strewn across the road/track.

The roof of the cabins were also damaged while the washrooms and toilet totally destroyed. There are several fallen trees and other vegetation which have been affected but these can be replanted.

The road beyond this point remains a stern challenge with huge trees and boulders blocking the way. Work is ongoing based primarily on community efforts and it is expected to continue in this vein. The trail can and will be restored but will require considerable effort which regrettably, will not be funded by Government sources. There remains great enthusiasm amongst the people and a sense of pride in what they see as being their community and livelihood. I am confident that efforts will be sustained to restore things as best they can. Thankfully further assessments are being done as we speak on the trails but the initial impression is that it can be restored albeit with considerable inputs of human labour and some capital resources.

The partnership which exists between the Bowden Pen Farmers association and yourselves will be once again tested and there is every hope amongst the people that we shall prevail.

Everyone send their love Mike to you and the team and are all looking forward to seeing you in December. If you cannot come, anyway! Our systems have been down for some time now but thankfully Ivan sort of inspired the powers that be to act differently. Now I get my email messages! Thanks a lot Mike and I hope you and your family are fine. Nuff respect and plenty love mon. See you soon.


Saturday, September 25, 2004

News from Linnette Wilks via Brenda Cushner-George of Ancestral Memories. Our little corner of Shangri-La, the Ambassabeth Cottages at Bowden Pen, sustained serious damage from Hurricane Ivan. The Bowden Pen farmers are making efforts to clear the principal trails, but more funds will be necessary to complete the work and the rebuild the damaged cottages. Posted by Hello

Friday, September 24, 2004

concern over our friends in Hayfield

After our return trip over the Cunha Cunha Pass, we were welcomed back to the Maroon village of Hayfield by Sylvan Sutherland (a.k.a. "Shaggy") and his family. It was a Sunday afternoon and residents were enjoying the fine mountain air. Along the road I stopped to have a conversation to Shaggy's grandfather. With the arrival to Jamaica of Hurricane Ivan a week and a half ago, family's residence was destroyed, and Shaggy's grandparents had to take refuge with Shaggy's sister near Retreat, along the coast. Posted by Hello

placing the blame: hurricanes and global warming

Caribbean editors and bloggers are seeking to place partial responsibility for the rash of hurricanes this month on the United States. Does this constitute a collective displacement of blame onto another country? Or is it a case of appealing for international solidarity at a time of great trauma and loss? I'll let you decide, but as with many of these climate-related debates, the jury is clearly still out. For the British Left's perspective, see reportage in the Manchester Guardian. For an American Free Market approach, see the blog called Tech Central Station. Of course the cloudy state of scientific discourse on this issue won't deter editorial writers for the Jamaica Gleaner or a blogger from Trinidad from offering their two cents.

Turn to the Edu-Tourism blog for further coverage of this raging debate.

death toll in haiti surpasses two thousand

It has been a difficult hurricane season in the Caribbean. Americans take notice of Hurricane Jean as it approaches Florida and the East Coast. Yet any student of development will quickly recognize that Jeanne's fury is felt more intensely in countries like Haiti and Jamaica, where infrastructure and building codes are not up the par, and houses cling to steep mountain slopes. You may want to check out the New York Times for the most recent events in Gonaïves.

news of hayfield and bowden pen

Sylveen Sutherland called me last night, and I returned his call today. His family has lost their residences to Hurricane Ivan. Shaggy also lost his farm. The grandparents are living with his sister near Retreat, the same place he was staying when he visited us at the Whispering Bamboo Cove Resort. Given the crowding at his sister’s, I assume he is what we might call ‘marginally housed’ right now. Approximately ¼ of the houses in Hayfield were lost in the storm, and they are yet to receive any assistance from the government or from Bath. Through their own efforts they were able to clear the many large trees that blocked the Bath – Hayfield Road. The Cunha Cunha Pass trail is still very rough – many downed trees need to be removed. Shaggy has been down to Bowden Pen - apparently damage was sustained at the Ambassabeth Cottages but they should be ready for visitors by December if not sooner.

I also just now got off the phone with 3D Projects, where I spoke with Valerie. She lives in Airy Castle – they experienced damage, but not as much as Hayfield. She is still without power and water.

A group of 2004 Edu-Tourism alumni hopes to meet on Sunday, October 3, to discuss fundraising activities at the residence of Nelson and Novella Keith in Germantown.


Monday, September 13, 2004

jamaican hurricane ivan relief fund

[from the SOCA listserv] Hey everyone, I hope all is well. As we all should know by now, Hurricane Ivan has created great havoc in the Caribbean and experts have predicted that it will do the same devastation in other areas. As a request authorized by the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, DC via Dr. Alston B. Meade, Honorary Consul to Philadelphia, the Jamaican government is asking for your financial support to assist the Hurricane relief efforts in Jamaica. Please send checks or money order to Consulate of Jamaica, P.O.

Box 24174, Phila. PA 19139 and should make payable to: Jamaican Hurricane Ivan Relief Fund 2004.

Also, please be reminded that Professor Gordon Shirley, Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States will be in town on Thursday, September 16, 2004 at the Bryn Mawr Ave. New Testament Church of God, located at 2227 Bryn Mawr Ave. (in the Wynnefield section of Phila.) and you invited to come join him in a "Community Meet & Greet". The Ambassador will discuss Jamaican hurricane Ivan victims, damage The Hurricane caused and the relief efforts. Doors open at 6:30pm and event starts at 7pm. For more information, please email me at

Judi Martin

Novella's news from Jamaica

Hello everyone,
thanks to those who have been thinking and sending good thoughts about Jamaica as it's been going through this. We've just heard from Dave, Nelson's brother, who says he and family members are fine and (in his characteristic fashion) "it wasn't that bad." He was able to speak on the cell phone with the man who takes care of our new "Center for Global Understanding" in St.Thomas, who told him that there was only fairly minimal damage -- so we hope that's also true for all our new and old friends in the Parish. Of course, those who suffer most usually are the many who don't live in well-built houses -- but that's all the news we have for now.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

ivan sideswipes jamaica overnight

It appears that Ivan thankfully took a turn to follow the southern coast of Jamaica last night, delivering punches of intense wind and rain to St. Thomas and Kingston, but avoiding the devastation that would have occurred if the hurricane's eye had made landfill. Some newspaper reports have speculated that Jamaica's high mountains are partially responsible for the change in Ivan's course. Check out an updated storm track.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

jamaica prepares for hurricane ivan

BARRING an 11th hour shift in its direction, Hurricane Ivan, having already wreaked havoc in the southern Caribbean, was on course to hit Jamaica with a thumping blow by tomorrow and forecasters warned that its impact could be more ferocious than Gilbert 16 years ago." Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends in St. Thomas.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Penn State student group active in Jamaica, Engineers Without Frontiers

Thursday, July 15, 2004
University Park, Pa. -- Penn State engineering students, as members of Engineers Without Frontiers (EWF), continue to travel and successfully engage in design/build and research projects in developing communities -- this time, in the poorest areas of El Salvador and Jamaica. more on this story

Sunday, August 15, 2004

hurricane matters

hello all ,,,

For those of you are wondering how Jamaica was impacted by Hurricane
Charley, see

Friday, July 23, 2004

aug 11 brown bag talk: edu-tourism and developmental disabilities in jamaica

Dr. Germaine Edwards, Mary Jane Lovett and I will be presenting an Institute on Disabilities brown bag lunch on Wednesday, August 11 (12 noon to 1:15 pm). LOCATION: 303 Ritter Hall. The topic will be the initiatives of the Philadelphia-based NGO Edu-Tourism in rural Jamaica, focusing on our involvement with 3D Projects (Community Based Rehabilitation Services for Persons with Disabilities) in Morant Bay. We invite you to bring your lunch and participate in the discussion.

For basic information on Edu-Tourism, visit



Thursday, July 22, 2004

geographic research in the news

My colleague Susan Mains (Ph.D. University of Kentucky, 2000) has received a prestigious fellowship from the Association of American Geographers to research the Jamaican diaspora.  Enjoy these Jamaica Observer and Caribbean Net News profiles of the globe-trotting geographer!  If you are luckly, you may get to meet her on one of our future trips. 

Sunday, July 11, 2004

hotelier appointed st. thomas' first female custos

Marcia Bennett, owner of the Whispering Bamboo Cove Resort, was sworn in yesterday as Custos, or "Justice of the Peace" for the parish of St. Thomas. Coverage of the ceremony was provided by Novia McDonald-Whyte for the Jamaica Observer. We enjoyed our stay at Ms. Bennett's resort last month. Whispering Bamboo is located along the coastal highway east of Morant Bay in the community of Retreat.

Monday, July 05, 2004

expanding computer and internet access

Both of Jamaica's major newspapers today discuss initiatives to expand computer and internet access across the island. The Jamaica Observer discusses the government's plan to tax the major telecoms Cable & Wireless and Digcel to help subsidize the expense of expanding broadband access. The Jamaica Gleaner shows how American philanthropic activity is creating the necessary facilities and curriculum for computer training in Westmoreland.

closing the digital divide in st. thomas

Edu-Tourism has made a commitment to help close the digital divide in rural Jamaica by working to set up computers in basic schools across the parish of St. Thomas. During my visits to several schools, it became apparent that the provision of computers needs to be coordinated with the provision of computer training. All too often there is mismatch between curriculum content and resources. As one example, I met a community rehabilitation worker at the 3D Projects office in Morant Bay who had taken an entire computer class about two years ago. She showed up at the computer/internet training I offered with the detailed set of notes she took at the earlier class. The instructor apparently went into the 'black box' by diagramming the internal components of the computer, and then led the students through a step by step tutorial on word processing. But a principal frustration of students in this class was their inability to link to the internet.

In my own training this wasn't an issue. The 3D Projects office had a perfectly functional IBM-clone computer, and they had a second phone line that they were using for their fax machine. Looking around the computer, however, I found that it had only been used to type of the monthly reports that were required by the 3D Projects main office in Spanish Town, St. Catherine. It was not being used to keep track to their clients, or to store resources that might be used for professional development. Connecting to the internet has recently become much easier because of the widespread availability of prepaid Internet cards (NetKyaad, a service of InfoChannel). With these cards, Jamaicans can control the amount of money that they pay for internet access, paying only for the time that they use. NetKyaad is available at many shops in Morant Bay as well as the Post Office, and can be bought in three denominations: $100, $200 and $500 Jamaican, and priced at ONLY $1.00 J (the equivalent of 1.5 American cents) per minute. This is an affordable and attractive option for those accessing the Internet for the first time.

We covered many issues during my two-day training (June 28 & 29). Two of the women I worked with had accessed the Internet before, and had some pointed questions about how to conduct searches. I showed them how to undertake a Google search and interpret the results. Other participants in the training approached the mouse and keyboard with evident reluctance. They said that they may have learned typing in school, but had not applied these skills since. Sandra Richards, the director of the office, volunteered that she wanted to establish a series of computer training sessions for herself and her colleagues, and I suggested that the Morant Bay Public Library would be a good place to hold these. The library director has informed Edu-Tourism that the lab can be reserved at a reduced rate for computer classes.

Over the course of my own training I introduced a number of web sites. The most interesting one for them was the main 3D Projects pages. The website itself was very easy to navigate and included a good deal of information on their initiatives in St. Catherine and on the North Coast of Jamaica. The women particularly enjoyed looking at the pictures - they would attempt to identify the CRW (Community Rehabilitation Worker) as well as the family members shown. The women also pointed out to me that the main office's website was out of date, reflecting old projects and initiative, and failing to mention any of the branches. From my own discussions with the 3D staff, I learned that the St. Thomas branch as reason to celebrate this summer - this is their sixteenth anniversary! We discussed the possibility of creating a website for the 3D Projects office in St. Thomas, and investigated a number of different websites where it would be possible to purchase .jm domain.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

last news report from jamaica

We completed our work with the non-profits organizations and the basic schools in Morant Bay and I am now back in Kingston preparing to depart after an eventful fortnight in the country. With the group of Temple University and West Chester University students I've had the opportunity to explore the capital city of Kingston, and the eastern Jamaica parishes of St. Thomas and Portland. Both St. Thomas and Portland are breathtakingly beautiful. Portland is a destination for tourist interested in lush, unspoilt tropical landscapes. St. Thomas is Jamaica's poorest parish, steeped in history of resistance to colonial tyrrany. Moviegoers will be familiar with the Portland coast, since this is where the author Ian Fleming drew his inspiration for the James Bond books. This is by far the wettest part of the island. The upper reaches of the Rio Grande Valley qualify as one of the wettest locations in the world, with 200 inches of rain in an average year. And yes, it rained on us while we were there. We were only able to view a small portion of this parish, and so while there I made plans to return. When I get a chance [after my return], I want to tell you all about the hike we took up from Hatfield in St. Thomas, across the the Cuna Cuna Pass trail [a historic route connecting Maroon communities in the Blue Mountains] and down into Portland's Rio Grande Valley. It was a grueling hike in the heat of the day, and unfortunately on the next day we had to retrace our steps back out to our transportation. Once we get back, the pictures of the Cuna Cuna Pass and the Ambassabeth Cottages will be posted to the Edu-Tourism website. So check in frequently.

Monday, June 28, 2004

and on sunday we rested ...

Hello again - I am glad to have the opportunity to catch up on my postings to the Edu-Tourism Blog. This past weekend - June 26-27 - was quite a joy. Russell and Laureen Keith were my hosts as I enjoyed the simpler pleasures of a hammock strung between two palm trees. Over bottles of Red Stripe, Guiness and Heinekin, we discussed family genealogy and Jamaican politics. Russell has already enjoyed careers as a journalist and a labor relations manager for the Jamaica Shipping Association. But retirement finds the family engaged in the business of raising chickens - evidently the favorite meat of Jamaicans. When not consuming their own distinctive jerk chicken, the locals turn to 'the Kentucky' for a chance of pace.

On the news from, the major story of note is the departure of longtime Jamaica Labour Party leader Edward Seaga. For more on this important development - Seaga had served as leader for the past 20 years - see the reportage of Jamaica's oldest newspaper, the Jamaica Gleaner [After returning from higher education in the States and employment in Toronto, Russell Keith found employment with the Gleaner in Kingston back in the 1970s].

Friday, June 25, 2004

our second week of edu-tourism activities

Sa 6/19. Hike over the Blue Mountains - sleeping at the Ambassabeth Cabins near Millbank. The van and SUV departed early in the morning from the hotel carrying the entire group of hikers, but unfortunately we became separated from one another, meeting at our departure point later than we had planned - around 10:00 am. Our departure point was the village of Hayfield, north of the spa city of Bath and high in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. During the first of many cloudbursts of the day we met our trail guide Sylvene Sutherland aka 'Shaggy.'

Su 6/20. Return hike over the Blue Mountains.

M 6/21. Tours of Kingston and a class at the University of the West Indies.

Tu 6/22. Return to Morant Bay projects.

W 6/23. Tour of Kingston: Museum of Contemporary Art; Bob Marley House; Twelve Tribes; dinner at Sovereign Mall.

Th 6/24. Portland and PARTY

F 6/25. Morning departure for the airport. Flight leaves Kingston at 1:30 pm to take group back to Philadelphia (w/ 3 hour layover in Montego Bay).

Monday, June 21, 2004

impressions of bowden pen and the cunha cunha pass trail

Over the weekend (June 19 - 20), a diverse group of students, faculty and eco-tourists affiliated with Edu-Tourism successfully crossed the Cunha Cunha Pass Trail from Hayfield into the Rio Grande Valley. Our progress was assisted by a native trail guide, Sylvene Sutherland from the farming community of Hayfield, St. Thomas.

Once the arduous crossing was complete, we were greeted with open arms by the farmers of Bowden Pen at their new tourist facility, the Ambassabeth Cottages. We stayed overnight there and were treated to several tasty meals of traditional Jamaican cuisine.

This is a breathtakingly beautiful natural setting high in the Rio Grande Valley, offering a wide variety of eco-tourist options for the adventurous traveler. For those interested in Jamaican traditions and holidays, local residents are very willing to share their knowledge and will help you make contact with other residents of the valley. The trail guides are experienced in leading groups deep into the mountain valleys and onto the ridge tops, but for planning purposes it may be wise to pick up topographical map sheets while in Kingston before driving out. These trails become overgrown so quickly that the trail guides are essential. They cut back the brush and keep hiking groups from getting lost in the lush vegetation.

Jonathan Thomas, a Pennsylvania organic farmer who traveled with us last month, was so impressed by what he saw that he wrote a letter of thanks that was published in the Jamaica Observer.

Future hikers of the Cuna Cuna Pass need to keep the following cautions in mind.

1. Mosquitoes are a constant companion on the trail, so hikers should come prepared with insect repellent.

2. Bring a pair of hiking boots that have already been well broken in. The trail is has been improved to assist hikers, but because of the great amount of rainfall in the region, still involves rough sections. Hiking boots that are fit without rubbing and that have waterproofing will be a tremendous asset for hikers of the trail, no matter what season they choose.

3. Let the local coordinator Lynette Wilks know the size of your group, and how many cabins you will be needing, and stay in contact with her by cell regarding the progress of your hike.

4. Sleeping accommations are provided in cabins that include foam mattresses and large pillows. When traveling with a large groups, bringing along additional tents will help to make sure that everyone is comfortable. The Bowden Pen farmers are currently in the process of opening a new camping ground nearby that will accommodate groups of university or secondary school students.

Additional sources of information that will help if you are preparing to explore Port Antonio and hike in the Blue Mountains: the Rough Guide to Jamaica and Skywritings: Air Jamaica's In-Flight Magazine.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

first news report from jamaica

Dear Friends,

Welcome from sunny Jamaica! We have been here for three days now, and the action is non-stop. It is hard to catch everyone up in a brief message - this one is being written from the computer lab in the Morant Bay Public Library. The operative word for Edu-Tourism is patience. We have been able to fit in so much so far. On the first day we visited Cane River Falls (the location where Bob Marley preferred to wash out his dreadlocks) and the memorial at Stony Gut, the location where Paul Bogle organized a rebellion against corrupt British colonial rule in 1865. That rebellion convulsed much of the parish of St. Thomas, and was put down by British troops at the expense of over 400 lives. Today the site is pretty overgrown, and includes a historical marker to the event.

The past two days we have been doing needs assessments in basic (early childhood) schools around Morant Bay. This has been very time consuming but also fun. We have set up a good number of computers, and will need to come back with educational software on CD - they don't have anything except the basic Microft Windows and Office applications so for.

Another highlight was making contact with a disability organization known as 3D projects. They have a branch office in this rural section of Jamaica, and provide important early intervention training for parents of children with disabilities. They have a great many needs. Like most of
the facilities we deal with, they connot yet access the internet from their computers. And yet there may be a great number of resources that the Institute on Disabilities provides that will be a tremendous boon for the. They occupy the same derelict building as the Women's Center. Both will need to move to new facilities in the short term before they can expand their offerings.

Jamaica is so close and yet so starved of things that we take for granted. We need to think of ways that we can work in coalition with these organizations.

More news after the weekend. We leave tomorrow morning to hike into the Blue Mountains for an evening in the clouds.

Warm regards from the field - your sweaty geographic explorer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

First Week of Edu-Tourism Jamaica 2004 Group Activities

Nelson and Novella Keith, our group leaders, headed down to Jamaica at the beginning of the month of June to make the necessary arrangements. The rest of the group met on Fri 6/11 at Temple University to share last minute information on the upcoming trip. Laptop computers were distributed. These would be utilized by students and eventually given to various key individuals who are working with us in Jamaica.

Tu 6/15. ARRIVING IN ST. THOMAS. Student arrival at Kingston's Norman Manley International Airport before 2:00 p.m. We traveled to St. Thomas in the East by van and SUV, finally arriving in Retreat's Whispering Bamboo Cove Resort, arriving around 3:00 p.m. I traveled in the Land Rover SUV, which afforded the opportunity to meet Philip Keith, nephew to Nelson and Novella Keith the group leaders. Philip was able to spend much of the week with us. Since he knew Jamaican roads and chaotic driving habits, he regularly took the wheel. Kingsley 'Dave' Keith drove the rest of the students in the van. After arriving and getting settles at the hotel, many of us enjoying a chance to take a dip in the Caribbean Sea. I was somewhat surprised to find out how warm the water was - it was also clouded this afternoon with silt and seaweed. In the evening we headed out to eat at Rover's, and enjoyed a lecture by local historian Devon Blake.

W 6/16. TOURING ST. THOMAS. In the morning several of us again enjoyed a dip in the ocean, Jamal Benin took the time to introduce me (Mike Dorn) to the discipline of Shotokan Karate before breakfast. The rest of the day was spent exploring some of the local sites. Turning inland at Bull Bay and heading uphill we found ourselves at Cane River Falls. Noted in my guide book as a favorite location for Bob Marley to wash out his locks, the walk under a bridge and down a well-maintained set of concrete steps deep into the narrow canyon of the Cane River was fittingly dramatic.
The shaded pool of water at the base of the falls was a refreshingly cool reward for our efforts.
With some scrambling I found it possible to perch on a high rock shelf behind the falls. Several of the students also engaged in cliff jumping, although the pool itself was only perhaps six feet deep. Walking back up the steps, I noticed several local youths outlined in profile under one of the arched passages smoking ganga from a water pipe.

From there the van and suv headed back towards Morant Bay, turning inland again as we got closer to the parish capital city, and heading north along the Morant River north to the remote historical site called Stony Gut. This was the site of the community that the famous revolutionary leader Paul Bogle called 'home.' Recognized today as one of Jamaica's National Heroes, Bogle was a deacon in the Baptist Church in Stony Gut who saw his countrymen suffer after their emancipation in 1835, impoverished by an unreconstructed 'Planter's Parliament' that would not respond to requests for land redistribution. Bogle was a fiery orator who travelled the island preaching a gospel of black liberation and harbored a long set of grievances against the English colonial administrators in St. Thomas. After a cross-country march to petition the Governor in Spanish Town resulted in political inaction, on October 11, 1865, Bogle lead a group of his neighbors to engage in protest at the Courthouse in Morant Bay. They went to the Courthouse where a council meeting was going on and armed policemen and soldiers stood guard. A fight broke out and the guards fired. About 20 of Bogle's followers were killed or hurt. The others drove the guards back into the Courthouse and set fire to the building then killed fourteen Whites as they tried to run away. The rebellion continued into the following day as armed groups attacked plantations across the parish of St. Thomas and two additional planters were killed. The importance of the Morant Bay Rebellion, its origins, dimensions and implications have been documented in numerous books, the most complete being Gad J. Heuman's Killing Time (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1994). In retribution, Paul Bogle and parliament member George William Gordon were executed, along with over 400 'co-conspirators.' The village of Stony Gut was destroyed. Another article on the Jamaica National Historic Trust website notes that archaeologists have recently excavated the foundations for the original Baptist chapel, and that there is a proposal to rebuild the chapel as a memorial to the rebellion. During our visit to the site we found closed tourist hut and 'guide' pointed us to the a historical marker. Meanwhile, the 'bush' steadily reclaims the rest of the site.

Th 6/17. FIRST DAY OF GROUP PROJECTS - Nelson and Novella charged three groups with the responsibility of visiting basic schools (for children ages 4 - 6) and the Women's Clinic in Morant Bay. The schools had recently received donated computers from Edu-Tourism, and we were responsible for gathering information on the teaching staff and leadership of the school, as well as the physical state of the school and their needs, particularly regarding instructional technology.

As the group drove into parking lot for the Women's Clinic (housed in Morant Bay's old post office - photos), I noticed a sign on the corner post for 3D Projects, an Jamaican non-profit organization that provides community-based rehabilitation services, largely for children with disabilities.

Since Philip Keith managed to lock his keys in the SUV, M.J. Lovett, Germaine Edwards and I had the opportunity to introduce ourselves and learn a little bit more about the work of 3D Projects in St. Thomas. The conversion quickly progressed to finding ways that we could help with their work. The branch was receiving less and less material and financial support from the main Spanish Town office. The Community Rehabilitation Workers themselves had little scope for professional development. By the time we had to leave that morning, we had made arrangements to meet again the following week. From there, M.J. Lovett, Germaine Edwards and Mike Dorn traveled to the Duhaney Pen Basic School. While Mike did some computer instruction for the principal, MJ took some pictures of the young students. There were two other groups of students. The group of Jamal Benin, Emma Doyle, Jessica Passucci and Biany Perez spent the morning at the Women's Clinic and then from there walked to Christ Chapel Basic School. Both visits appeared to have gone well. Emma, Jessica and Biany led a discussion with the teens and young adults who had turned to the Center for support when the became pregant and were forced to leave school. These were tough women, and it took a good amount for them to open up to this group of Americans. The visit to Christ Chapel Basic School was interesting as well, because the amount of computer resources there were so much greater than what one found at the other basic schools in the region. The group of Daniel Savage, Jessica Lique and Brendan Hayes visited the school 'in the bush,' Officially, it is called Needham Pen Basic School. They found a very warm welcome there from the children who were so pleased to have visitors.

Fr 6/18. SECOND DAY OF GROUP PROJECTS: needs assessments and computer installations at the basic schools. This day the groups split up again. M.J., Germaine, Jamal and Mike were dropped off at Calvary Mission Basic School. This school was much different than the one that M.J., Germaine and Mike had visited the day before. Calvary was much larger - teacher informed us that they had approx. 300 students on the books. Discipline at a school of such size was much stricter. But when the students took a lunch break and Mike began to take pictures of them, they went wild with excitement. Safety concerns prevented the children from even getting out in the sun for lunch. We were at the school to install two computers in their brand new computer lab. Once the setup was complete, M.J. and Mike guided groups of five students through brief introductions to the keyboard, the mouse, and simple research or creative tasks.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

less than 32 hours until departure ...

and I haven't started to pack yet. Wrapping up work at the office, checking out the weather forcast (low to mid 90s and wet this coming week in Morant Bay). It has been interesting reading in the Jamaica Observer how much impact American presidential politics can have on our island neighbor. Ronald Reagan may have had trouble with his geography (confusing the Caribbean with the Mediterranean) but he found common ground the the Seaga government.

Now George Herbert Bush is planning to celebrate his 80th birthday by jumping out of an airplane again (3rd time) and I am planning my first trip to the Caribbean. Not something I even thought was a possibility while growing up in the Midwest. M

Friday, June 11, 2004

FW: forthcoming Jamaica trip

Dear Ethan - Thanks so much for this excellent contact. I am posting your
recommendations to, to share this with my
colleagues and students. Mike

-----Original Message-----
From: Ethan Zuckerman []
Sent: Friday, June 11, 2004 10:57 AM
Subject: forthcoming Jamaica trip

Mike -
Saw you linking to some of my stuff on Technorati - thanks. Good luck with
the forthcoming Jamaica trip. You may want to take a look at Charlie
Nesson's work in the country
- he's been sponsoring a lot of interesting
work on music in the prisons, and on tech and education. Lots
more on him on Berkman's site:


Ethan Zuckerman |
Research Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society
413-441-3380 |

Thursday, June 10, 2004

FW: SchoolNet Namibia

This initiative may of worth paying attention when we attend to issues of networking basic schools in Jamaica.
-----Original Message-----
From: EthanZ's Weblog []
Posted At: Thursday, June 10, 2004 10:24 AM
Posted To: EthanZ's Weblog
Conversation: SchoolNet Namibia
Subject: SchoolNet Namibia

I'm in Berlin, speaking at Wizards of OS tomorrow, and hanging out with some of my Open Society Institute friends. So far, the conference is a little ideological for my tastes, unreformed capitalist that I am, but the company is pretty good.

I had the great pleasure of having dinner last night with Joris Komen of SchoolNet Namibia, one of my favorite projects on the African continent. Joris and crew have been bringing low-cost harware, Unix software and training into schools throughout Namibia - at present, they've worked with close to 250 schools throughout the country.

The major achievement of SchoolNet, from my perspective, is the substantial concessions they've gotten from the Namibian government. They've gotten the state telco to provision service to schools at extremely low cost, which allows them - with some grant funding - to give funding to schools at no cost. And they've gotten access to the 2.6Ghz frequency, which they're using to provide wireless access to rural schools across the nation, a crucial strategy in a nation as huge and sparsely populated as Namibia.

Joris observed that educational uses are a great lever for telecommunications reform in African countries. Most arguments about telco reform in Africa end up in battles between incumbent telco providers trying to protect a near-monopoly on service versus new players who attack that monopoly with new tech. Joris suggests changing the debate, by forcing dominant telcos either to prove that they can provide universal service to schools ... or get out of the way and allow new technologies and new companies to do it. A very cool strategy, and a good proof of concept in the successes SchoolNet have achieved so far.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

initiatives aimed at overcoming the global digital divide

Geeking in the Third World by Richard Koman -- Geekcorps volunteers work in third world countries helping companies become technically competent IT businesses. Richard Koman interviews Geekcorps founder Ethan Zuckerman.

Making Room for the Third World in the Second Superpower According to Ethan Zuckerman of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, "the emergence of an Iranian blogger community is an encouraging example of bridge building."

Two years ago, Hossein Derakhshan (better known as "Hoder") posted a Web page with instructions on blogging in Farsi called "How to build a Persian weblog.” NITLE now reports 62,901 Farsi weblogs, making Farsi the third most popular weblog language. As the Iranian blogger community grew, Hoder and others, including Pedram Moallemian of The Eyeranian began blogging in Farsi and English, and encouraging others to do likewise, so that non -Farsi speakers could understand the current political and cultural situation in Iran. Sites like IranFilter now allow English speakers to understand the concerns of an Iranian community that's reaching out to the wider world.

BlogAfrica is one of several projects underway designed to build bridges between bloggers in Africa and the rest of the world. The BlogAfrica site hosts a catalog of blogs written by Africans or Afrophiles and aggregates these blogs into an African blog RSS feed. Working with volunteers working in Africa with Peace Corps or Geekcorps and visitors traveling to Africa, BlogAfrica is running public workshops in Internet cafes and universities to introduce weblogging to a new population. In future trips, BlogAfrica plans to bring prominent webloggers to Africa to teach workshops, encourage local bloggers and share their perceptions of Africa with their blog readers. Early participants in the workshops include Adam Chambas, whose Accra Crisis blog provides a first-person view of the 2004 Ghanaian presidential campaign.

jamaican government urged to spend more on education

Jamaica may be allocating proportionately less of its budget today to education than a century-and-a quarter ago, but the critics are wrong to say that students performed better in the past or that the island had a halcyon period of education during colonial times, according to the education researcher, Professor Errol Miller. See archived article from the Jamaica Observer, Tuesday, May 11, 2004.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

don't know much about history

Thanks to Erin O'Connor, a blogging former English lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, for posting this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education considering some of the regretable effects of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2000. Critical Mass: Don't know much about history Part of the challenge of studying Jamaica up close will be to connect contemporary experience with colonial history. I have found Niall Ferguson's book Empire (2002) useful in gaining a better understanding the webs of trade and consumption that connected farflung outposts of the British empire. You don't have to agree with his Union Jack-waving to find the book an envigorating read.

blogs in education

Find out more about the Blog phenomenon. This page is designed to provide you some resources if you want to get started using blogs for yourself or with your students. Blogs in Education

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

sign language in jamaica

This article from the mid-1980s discusses differences in sign language use between urban Kingston and rural Saint Elizabeth parish in Jamaica.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

a high point of our planned trip

We have many activities planned for our visit, but one of the last will be a hike into the Blue Mountains. This hike follows the historic Maroon trail from the Maroon village of Hayfield on the southern slopes of the Blue Mountains through the Cunha Cunha pass to Bowden Pen on the Rio Grande river on the northern slopes. According to an article, "Historical Maroon trail reopened" in The Jamaica Observer [Monday, July 14, 2003], this will only the second summer since its re-dedication.

A group of faculty and students will be staying overnight June 22 at the Ambassabeth tourist cottages, managed by members of the Bowden Pen Farmers Association. This site was formerly known as Four Feet, the place where the Maroons in the 17th,18th and 19th centuries assembled the animals carrying their goods for sale in the markets of the southern parish of St. Thomas. As the other group comes to meet us on the second day, lunch will be served at the cottages.

Later in July, 2004, Edu-Tourism Vice-chairperson Nicola Shirley will be taking a second group to the Rio Grande Valley [see also map] from the Port Antonio side to learn more about Maroon traditions and agricultural practices. A photoessay by Russell Kaye for National Geographic documents some of the physical and human assets of the valley.

June 15 - 25 Trip Participants

Jamal Benin, 215 877-2382,
Mike Dorn, 215 204-3373,
Emma Doyle,
Germaine Edwards, 215 204-6863,
Lisette Gonzalez, 215 300-6481,
Brendan Hayes, 410 992-1817,
Jessica Lique, 267 241-4014,
Mary Jane Lovett 856 86905369,
Jessica Passucci,
Biany Perez, 215 991-0244,
Daniel Savage,
Nicola Shirley, 215 545-8644 (work)
Harry Steen
Novella Keith, 215 848-5269,
Nelson Keith, 215 848-5269,
David Keith in Jamaica 876 805-8014 (cell)

Occasional Notes on Jamaica's Colonial History [I]

extract from Le Page, R. B., and Andrâee Tabouret-Keller. Acts of Identity: Creole-Based Approaches to Language and Ethnicity. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

[p. 45] Aspects of settlement history. The settlement history of Jamaica has been told in Jamaica Creole (Le Page 1960). The expeditionary force which sailed under General Venables in 1655 contained, according to his own account, 2,500 men raised from various regiments and from the streets and gaols of England, and 1,200 seamen; also 1,851 horse and foot volunteers from St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat. Thus about one-third of the total force had been raised in the Leewards and Barbados. It is probable that a high proportion of these were men from the West of England or from Ireland, with some Scots: men whose indentures or sentences had run out and who were landless. About 1,000 of the force were lost in the fruitless attack on Hispaniola, the capture of which had been the original object of the expedition; and remainder reached Jamaica. There the Spanish colonists and their Negro slaves fled to the hills, and for the most part the survivors subsequently made their way to Cuba; they left behind them fewer than 40 Spaniards and a few hundred Negroes, most of whom (about 250) were in three isolated Maroon settlements in the interior. Some Portuguese settlers and Portuguese-Jewish merchants may possibly have submitted to the English forces and stayed in the island, but they could not have been very many.

The indigenous Arawak Indians of Jamaica had all been killed or had died some years before the English invasion. Their few legacies to modern Jamaica, transmitted via the Spaniards, are some place-names, a few rock-carvings and a number of middens. We have at present no means of knowing where the Negro slaves who replaced them under the Spanish came from. As has already been noted, the Spanish colonies did not at this time normally import slaves in their own ships, but where supplied by the Portuguese. The Spaniards in their turn left behind them place-names, their small towns such as their capital of Santiago de la Vega (modern Spanish Town), the abandoned north coast harbour of Sevilla la Nueva (St. Ann's Bay), Las Chorreras (Ocho Rios) where the Spanish defender Yssassi was finally defeated; and their hatos or grazing lands and arable farms. What language the Maroon Negroes in the mountains used among themselves we do not know, but it is quite possible that they had some knowledge of Portuguese Creole, and among those very few modern Maroon words which we have identified as having a special provenance, [p. 46] bracho 'pig' seems to be from Portuguese via the Gold Coast. Otherwise one must assume that they spoke their African languages and some form of Spanish. But the small Spanish element in the modern Jamaican vocabulary is most frequently due to migrant workers returned e.g. from Panama or Cuba or the Spanish-speaking areas of Belize or from Costa Rica within the present century.

Within a few weeks of their arrival about half of the British expeditionary force in Jamaica were sick. The high mortality rate from tropical diseases and high excesses was one of the constant factors in the demography of the Caribean until very recently; it affects Blacks and Whites - the excesses effecting the Blacks, however, being mainly those of white behavior towards them.

At the end of 1655, 780 fresh soldiers came out of England. The next year 1,000 settlers and their slaves came from Nevis to plant lands assigned to them at Port Morant, under th guard of Scottish and Irish soldiers. By 1658, according to the Jamaican historian Edward Long, the populatuion was about 4,500 Whites and 1,400 Negroes. In 1660 it was decided to encourage men from all the other Caribbean islands to move to Jamaica to take up land; women were to be sent out from England as planters' wives; King Charles was to contract with the African Company to deliver 100 Negroes. An Act of Parliament of 1661 require the arrest of Gypsies for shipment to Virginia, Jamaica and Barbados, and there is evidence that many were so deported over the next half-century.

Inter-island movement. The movement of men around the various colonies at this period is worth noting, as are many of the other implications of this quotation from a petition to King Charles from the Barbadians in 1667:

[The island contains] not above 760 considerable proprietors and 8,000 effective men, of which two-thirds are of no reputation and little courage, and a very great part Irish, derided by the negroes as white slaves; and indeed except their proprietors, merchants tradesmen, officers, and their dependents, the rest are such as have not reason to discern their abuses, or not courace to leave the island, or are in dept and cannot go; for 12,000 good men at least formerly proprietors are gone off, and tradesmen, wormed out of their small settlements by greedy neighbors, are thus computed: - Between 1643 and 1647, to New England, 1,200; to Trinidado and Tobago, 600; between 1646 and 1658, to Virginia and Surinam, 2,400; between 1650 and 1662, to Guadaloupe, Martinique, Mariegalante, Grenada, Tobago, and Curacao, 1,600; with Col. Venables to Hispaniola and since to Jamaica, 3,300...Of men born on the island few are gone off... (CSP Col. 1661-8, No. 1657)

In Jamaica by 1673, according to Long (1774), the white population was 8,564; the slave population for the same year has been estimated at [p. 47] 9,500. By 1746 there were approximately 10,000 Whites and 112,000 slaves. The low ratio of Whites to slaves was so alarming to the Jamaican House of Assembly that it regularly passed Deficiency Acts, fining those planters who failed to keep a due portion of the white servants so as to meet the extra soldiers as guards against slave rebellions.

extract from Le Page, R. B., and Andrâee Tabouret-Keller. Acts of Identity: Creole-Based Approaches to Language and Ethnicity. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

The most complete (and infamous) account Jamaican historical geography is Long, Edward. The History of Jamaica; or, General Survey of the Antient and Modern State of That Island: With Reflections on Its Situations, Settlements, Inhabitants, Climate, Products, Commerce, Laws, and Government. 3 vols. New ed. London: F. Cass, 1970 [originally published in 1774].

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Edu-Tourism Jamaica Links Page

The first weekend orientation session took place May 14 - 15. We got to know one another, discussed the philosophy of service learning, and learned a good deal about the history of Jamaica. On the afternoon of May 15, all of the participants engaged in research via the internet and found a number of web sites w/ background information for the trip. These sites have been collected and are available - simply click on the link above. NOTE: These links are updated on a regular basis, but the presence of a link on this page should not be taken as an indication of 'approval' by Edu-Tourism. These links are provided for informational purposes only.