Tuesday, November 22, 2011

No More "Smalling Up" of Me

"Small up" is a term used in Jamaica when riding the bus. Bus drivers get paid based on the number of people they transport,so they try to pick up as many passengers as possible. The bus "loader" helps the bus driver find passengers and squeeze people into the bus. When the bus appears full to the untrained eye the "loader" scans the bus and finds space where another person might fit. That's when the loader says "small up".  He means, "Move over and make room for someone else".

All that said to explain the name of the poem below.  I saw this poster up at a social service agency and wanted to share the poem. I liked the message that children should be encouraged to express and to be themselves. 
No More "Smalling Up" of Me
No more meekly saying
'yes' when my heart is is 
screaming 'no'
No more taming of my feelings
so my power won't show
No more hiding my exuberance
from disapproving eyes
No more watering down myself
so my spirit won't rise.

No more "smalling up" of me
pretending I'm not here
No more running from the music
and the spotlight's glare
No more living in this prison
barricaded by my fears
No more turning and retreating 
in the face of new frontiers.

Even as I am speaking
I am taking shape and form
harnessing my powers like a 
gathering storm
There's no obstacle so bold
as to dare stand in my way
I am taking back my life
and I am doing it today.
- Jean Wilson 
Kingston Jamaica

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Living in Runaway Bay

Meet my host mom, Macie.  Everyone calls her Nurse. She lives in a residential area of Runaway bay and works as a nurse at the Jamaica Aids Support for Life. The day of this picture, we had our morning coffee and then went out to the side yard to pick some ripe guavas. Yummy, sweet and tart. Macie has been blessed with several fruit trees including june plum(looks like a mango), bread fruit (looks like a melon), cherry, guava, ackee and plantains. The neighbors enjoy the fruits also.  One morning, Macie went outside and to her surprise saw a little boy, way up  in the june plum tree, picking june plums to sell. No climbing for us, we just wait for the fruit to fall.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Swearing In Ceremony - Peace Corps Response, Jamaica

On Friday Nov 4, 2011 I had the privilege of meeting the USA ambassador Pamela Bridgewater for the  official Peace Corps Swearing In Ceremony. It was an intimate ceremony with one other Peace Corps Response Volunteer. We met in Ambassador Bridgewater's office, where she  took a few minutes to thank us for our service, welcome us to Jamaica and ask us if we had any thoughts.  Then we continued with the reading of the official Peace Corps vows. Soon after I was put on a bus, destination Ocho Rios.  I was on my own for the first time since arriving in country.  Awaiting my arrival, in Ocho Rios , was my project partner, Oral Higgins.  What a relief to get out of the capital and to the northern coast of Jamaica. Ya Mon! I hope you are all well. Laura