Since getting to my site I have not really left it, aside from a trip to the beach or Ochi. I have spent exactly one night out and that was the 4th of July. Last week was my first work out of site. It was amazing and exhausting. We were asked to work the JOAM (Jamaica Organic Agriculture Movement) kid’s booth at Denbigh. Denbigh is in Maypen Clarendon. Denbigh is supposed to be the biggest agricultural show in the Caribbean! It is like a state fair. Anyone who won the county fair end up competing in the state fair. Here is where anyone and everyone showcase everything from innovative agricultural techniques, value added products, crafts and good eats!
Many of us stayed at the Custus’s home during our stay. The Custus is the person in each parish in charge of the Queens land on island. This one had an amazing home with a pool, AC and a bottomless bar. Oh and cheese for days and days and days! So not only did we spend long days in the heat, we came home and spent long nights partying and playing in the pool. So as you might guess, I am exhausted! I have spent the last 3 days pretty much recuperating. Our booth was loaded with kids on Saturday and Sunday. I have never face painted in my life, until now! I painted so much it was insane. I also started with basics and worked my way all the way up to a mickey mouse face, that sort of looked like Mickey Mouse! At one point a young man wanted a snake, I did a fantastic snake! He slipped his number into my hand while I was painting. Later he came back and started to talk to me and I shut him down quickly! You have to shut them down quick or it just drags on! I informed him that my son was older than him and it was weird and I am pretty certain illegal for me to pursue! Even if it was not illegal it was still weird and awkward! It seems that many Jamaican males, of all ages, will ask any foreign woman of any age to marry them or at the very least hook up with them. Size and age do not matter, it is a strange and weird cultural thing. Even in Liberia I had less issues derailing men.
It was great fun meeting back up with other volunteers and working together. I loved the day before we arrived when several of us met up at Ian’s home to make posters and organize what we were going to do. We had a great evening and a great dinner and wonderful breakfast. In fact Bill became Breakfast Bob every morning we were together. I managed to pick up a mortar and pestle, a new pair of slippers, two meditation pillows and a hand carved crocodile! I feel I scored very well. I did not pay full price for any of these items. I also found out about a farm group that I need to go check out in my parish. This group has been recognized World Wide for their food security and disaster preparedness program. I am looking forward to checking this out!
When I got home I was forced to deal with a little bit of drama with some friends. I am so glad that it happened. Things are much better and we can all remain friends. I am grateful the ladies came to an agreement and I can live with the decisions made. On Wednesdays I typically spend the mornings in the community center. Yesterday the SDC (social development committee) had scheduled a training there. I ended up sitting in on this, and found it to be greatly beneficial. They were training people in the community to help gather information for a community profile, something I desperately need for some of my reports. I was excited to hear that there would be real numbers to use and community mapping would be done. I asked if I could have access to the information as it comes available, and was told yes. I offered to assist, but I will not be doing any of the work since local young persons will be getting paid for this project and I feel it would be taking potential income from them if I volunteer to help.
There are those moments when it feels like I am wasting my time, then there are those times when things just sort of fall into place! This week has been a great week and I exhausted but looking forward to a new project! Be on the look out for a new project details coming soon!