Saturday, December 27, 2008


Originally uploaded by Edu-Tourist
As the annual Christmas pilgrimage draws to a close, we thought we might share with our (admittedly few) Edu-Tourism blog readers some glimpes 'from the road. Enjoy, and feel free to share your comments, or better yet your Christmas stories. Mike

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Originally uploaded by Edu-Tourist
Well, all good things must come to an end. This photo documents the last minutes at Carleva Bay for this year's group of Temple University students. 12 in all, they had a great time exploring and working with our partners on projects of their own design. Many of these projects will be continued on future trips.

The great thing about photoexpeditions is that you not only get to look at your own photos years later, but you also get to share multiple interpretations of the same site. So it was the the Morant Point Lighthouse Trip - such an evident success that we are definely going to have to plan a followup for the return trip to Jamaica. After viewing my photographs (many taken on rainy days), several members of the Kingston, Jamaica Flickr Meetup Group have expressed their desire to hike the Cunha Cunha and/or Corn Puss Gap trails. As far as I know, the Cunha Cunha Trail is the only one open to the public, and this is only due to the carefuly management of the Bowden Pen Farmers, on behalf of eco-tourists, the national park and their fellow community residents. Corn Puss Gap, renowned amongst birders, would need a similar investment of effort in order to be cleared. Perhaps we have put the hurricane years in our past, and we can work together to publicize and reopen this national treasure. MD

Friday, July 04, 2008

Photo featured with NPR story

Edu-Tourist strikes again! Readers of this blog will recognize that I have been enjoying the opportunity to teach two summer abroad courses in Jamaica for the past five weeks, organizing a field excursion with members of the Kingston Flickr Meetup (see below) and enjoying the hospitality of Ms. Beverley Smith of the St. Thomas Emancipation and Cultural Association, and Ms. Linette Wilks of the Bowden Pen Farmers Association (reviews forthcoming).

Meanwhile, other photos taken in Philadelphia have been getting the attention of the National Parks Conservation Association and National Public Radio. On July 1, NPR ran a story on the National Park System that featured a photograph, I took two years ago of the exterior of the Tadeusz Kosciuszko National Memorial, located at 2nd and Pine in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. I thought it was a great capture at the time, and it is really fulfulling to find that others agree! The story of this national memorial is just fascinating to me, and was pleased to see how Robert Smith captured it in audio and text for NPR, even though the story apparently generated some critical listener feedback.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Calm afternoon at Rocky Point, Jamaica

Rocky Point, Jamaica
Originally uploaded by islandgirlemt
As our driver Mike Marshall reminded us, there are two Rocky Points, one on St. Thomas and the other in Clarendon. Rocky Point in St. Thomas is a sleepy fishing village that affords an opportunity the replentish and relax after a grueling drive on mud track out to the Morant Point Lighthouse. We found this visit to be very educational as well. Mrs. Beverly Smith of the St. Thomas Emancipation and Cultural Association (STEPA) is looking into developing grant funding to provide guided tours of the Great Morass. As luck would have it, my wife Carla and I were able to meet up with her and her husband during our short visit to Rocky Point. They had just returned from a trip with the fishermen in one of the motorboats up into the morass. The discovered that it eventually got so narrow that they would have to return with an even narrower boat. Sounds like an ambitious project, establishing tours of the Great Morass for the adventure tourist in all of us. Look for updates as we learn more about these plans

Bath hot springs, Jamaica

Bath hot springs, Jamaica
Originally uploaded by MeraM
Mrs Smith described to us now this business had gotten its start.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bellevue Great House, S. Anne

Bellvue Coffee Plantation
Originally uploaded by griffjon
I hope to be able to visit this coffee plantation on an upcoming trip to Jamaica.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Implications of the informal economy in Oracabessa, St Mary

Young men in Jamaica are raised with the expectation that they will leave school at a young age and hustle in order to support their families. Opportunities for support vary according to the region one lives in. When visiting the National Gallery of Jamaica, I ran across what appeared to be an informal car wash less than a block away. Driving around the city, one also frequently sees clusters of sidewalk venders roasting over charcoal in oil drums cut in half and raised on legs. As photoblogger Claude Fletcher notes, even the nation's forest reserves aren't safe from the growing demand for charcoal.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunrise over the salt pond

We have been bringing groups of students to St. Thomas for five years now. For the first two groups, accommodations were arranged at a hotel in Morant Bay. For the past four years, however, the students have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the rural landscape around Yallahs. The villa purchased by Novella and Nelson Keith in 2005, now known as Carleva Bay, is located in a neighborhood known as Pondside because it is curls around the end of a large salt pond. Every summer I find it difficult to say goodbye to Jamaica and to return to the United States and mornings like these are part of the reason why.

Certainly there is important work to be done at Temple University promoting the Disability Studies and Urban Education Programs. But our work in Jamaica is also valuable and reenergizing. The history of the Midatlantic is linked in so many ways to the Caribbean, through trade and through self-definition. Jamaica retains historic ties to Africa that are merely rhetorical for many of our Philadelphia residents. I have enjoyed getting to know the diverse society supported by the island. But I also recognize that in order to gain an even broader appreciation for the story, I will also need to make a trip to Africa. Or Haiti?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Returning to the Morant Point Lighthouse

The Jamaica Flickr Meetup Group is joining with Edu-Tourism, Inc. this week to sponsor an excursion to the Morant Point Lighthouse in St. Thomas. It will be a full day, starting at 7:00 am in Kingston, featuring a drive across a mud track to the easternmost point in Jamaica, and finishing up with hospitality at Carleva Bay. You can check out the photographs taken during the trip on this flickr discussion board.

Registration with the Jamaica Flickr Meetup Group may be required to view these photographs. What more incentive do you need to join us?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

PM Bruce Goldring on BBC's "HARDTalk"

If the Jamaica Gleaner are Jamaica Observer are fair indicators, Jamaicans are standing by their prime minister while awaiting the international backlash. What will come next? How can people with alternative sexual orientation possibly count on protection by rule of law after the homophobic sentiments expressed by Jamaica's new prime minister Bruce Goldring in his BBC interview with Stephen Sackur, aired Tuesday, May 20, 2008? How he can he bring the murder rate under control while tacitly condoning the discrimination of such a sizeable segment of the population? BBC has posted the Goldring interview on in three installments on Youtube, but this topic is treated in the third - check out the comments for common Jamaican sentiments.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Blue Mountains Kumina

This video of a Kumina group was shot by faculty of the University of Indiana at Ambassabeth Cottages, high in the Blue Mountains.

To learn more about the history, geography and culture of this region, I recommend the following books. Start planning your own visit and learn from the farmers of Bowden Pen, St. Thomas.

  • Bev Carey (1997) The Maroon Story: The authentic and original history of the Maroons in the history of Jamaica, 1490-1880 (Gordon Town: Agouti P, Maroon Publishing House).
  • Kenneth M Bilby (2005) True-Born Maroons (University of Florida Press). Jamaica Gleaner review.