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?