Archive for the ‘Stage 7: Passing Through the Gates’ Category

Ever since I’ve been coming to CCCD the dogs that live on campus have been very special to our team. The trio of mutts, now CCCD ‘guard’ dogs love it when teams come because they seem to know that they will get both more food and more attention since they are basically on their own when there isn’t a team on campus. They sleep on the porch outside of the team rooms and greet the team members as soon as they awake and make their way to breakfast.

There have always been team members that seem to love the dogs more than other team members. It is certainly true that the CCCD children and staff just tolerate them…after all most dogs in Jamaica basically just roam the streets and if they are lucky enough to find a place to live permanently, live outdoors and are definitely not treated like pets as dogs are in the US.

There is one woman who has taken a special liking to the CCCD dogs and has even set up a “dog account” so that they can go to the vet, get flea and tick dipped regularly, and have real dog food to eat. Her name is Vicki and I had the opportunity to meet her today. Until this morning she was only the phantom ‘dog fairy’ and since my daughter-in-law, Becky, loves the dogs as much as Vicki does, it was wonderful to finally meet this woman we have heard so much about.

It was obvious that Jake loved her as he followed her everywhere and rolled on his back to get tummy rubs when we sat down on the grass together. Edgar is older and had not yet had his bath but he was next to get Vicki’s royal treatment.

Pep-Pep is a small black dog that was always trying to keep up with Jake and Edgar, being much older and much smaller.  Several years ago he was a street dog but when he found a small hole under the CCCD block cement wall, he crawled under and made CCCD his home. Well, several months ago, old age caught up with Pep-pep and he died. The Daniels’ children, the missionary children on campus, buried him and even found a stone and piece of coral to mark his grave. This was very sweet since Pep-Pep was such an important part of the CCCD family. Good-bye Pep-pep. You will be missed.

(for Becky)

Vicki                                                                                                                                                                                         Jake

Edgar                                                                                                                                                                     Pep-Pep: Rest in Peace


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Rose Hall Great House, Jamaica is one of the most famous structures in Jamaica. It is located approximately 9.25 miles east of Montego Bay and was built in the 1770s by George Ash. At the time the Great House was begun in 1750, it was one of more than 700 great plantation houses which controlled the slaves working the sugar plantations around Montego Bay.

The Rose Hall Great House was named after the wife of George Ash, Rosa. Ash died in 1752 before finishing the structure. Rosa married three more times, the final marriage to John Palmer, the Custos of St. James Parish… the Parish where the Great House is located.

Palmer completed the Great House in the style of a Georgian Mansion. The house has a plastered upper story and a stone lower level. Its position set high on a hill overlooking the coast makes Rose Hall Great House a commanding presence literally as well as figuratively. In 1770, the cost to build Rose Hall Great House, Jamaica was set at 30,000 pounds. It included such amenities as a mahogany staircase.

Upon the death of John and Rosa Palmer, the house passed to James Palmer, grandnephew of John Palmer who brought his bride Ann Palmer to the mansion. To this point, tales about the Great House are not substantiated by documentation. There was a Rosa Palmer who died at the age of 72 and was a model of Christian virtue. According to research, Ann Palmer married to James (or possibly John) Palmer and was also a model wife.

However, the legends of the The White Witch of Rose Hall, featured in the story by H.G. de Lisser (in his 1928 novel), have taken on a life of their own. The legendary Annie Palmer was a black magician trained in voodoo arts who murdered three husbands… and was reputed to have been strangled in her own bed by a voodoo priest from a neighboring plantation.

Her murder was in retaliation for the murder of the priest’s granddaughter slave’s husband-to-be who was killed by Annie when she tired of him in her bed. This occurred at the beginning of the slave uprisings, which stretch from 1831-1838.
There is no question that the Rose Hall Great House, Jamaica was heavily damaged during the 1831 rebellion by the slaves, although it is one of only 15 of the great houses which remained.

After passing through the hands of three owners, Rose Hall Great House was acquired by American millionaire John Rollins, who spent vast sums of money to restore the property to its former beauty in the 1960s. It boasts silk wallpapers, European antiques, chandeliers, mahogany floors, paneling and wooden ceilings.

My parents and I had the opportunity to tour the Great House on Tuesday and it was an extraordinary tour. The tour guide was knowledgeable and friendly and had a quick sense of humor. She ended her tour with a song which she sang, written by Johnny Cash about Annie and the Great House. Jamaica is rich in history!

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Yesterday and today I had the opportunity to show my parents some of the places most dear to me in Montego Bay and Granville including Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf, the Meeting Place, the ‘hip strip’, Doctor’s Cave Beach Resort, and the Montego Bay straw market.

After enjoying chapel with the CCCD students and staff and greeting the Sam Sharpe College students this morning we had a chance to barter with the shop keepers in the straw market and browse the stores on the hip strip. It was right about lunch time when we were ready to go back to my condo so we stopped at ‘Food 4 Less’ and picked up beef and cheese patties for lunch. Patties are to Jamaica what hamburgers are to America and they are definitely growing on me. So we picked up a few along with some ice cream and cookies and set out for ‘home’. At the bottom of my staircase was the older Jamaican woman who sits there every day with her huge basket of fruits and vegetables so we choose some bananas and tangerines and lunch was complete.

The patties certainly hit the spot and my mom especially seemed to like them…but as I said, they are an acquired taste. If you ever have a chance, take the opportunity to enjoy a Jamaican pattie, especially a Juici Pattie (they’re the best!).

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I fancy myself a citizen of the world. I love to travel, in fact it is in my top five things to do in life, and have been all over Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, and of course, the United States, and will be traveling to Africa for the first time next summer. But my favorite place in the world (other than home) is still Jamaica. I understand that there are many people, and especially tourists, who never experience the REAL Jamaica and that makes me sad because they miss out on so much. The Jamaican people are friendly and kind, the food is amazing, the culture interesting and the beaches, enchanting. What is there not to love?

Living in Jamaica I am also confronted daily with the many of struggles that the typical Jamaican lives with daily. For example, my driver never has more than a quarter of a tank of gas…that’s all he can afford. There are street vendors along the most famous street in Montego Bay trying their best to sell a few trinkets a day so that they can put food on the table for their families. There are roads that I travel daily that would tear the bottom out of most American cars, especially if we drove at our normal speeds. And most Jamaicans much prefer curry goat, mutton (which I ate for the first time last week), bammy, festival and escovich fish to a great T-bone steak or fried shrimp. How can that be??

But I’m so fortunate to be working with three fellow professors who continually keep me informed as to the REAL Jamaica, both the Jamaica I see on the streets and the Jamaica I don’t see that the middle class live daily. It’s fun to see the surprise on people’s faces when I inform them “I am NOT a tourist, I live here.” Sharon Anderson-Morgan, chair of the special education department has been especially helpful and encouraging. She will take time to answer any question I have and she, in turn, appreciates me for my curricular insights and special education experiences. It is a true give and take relationship.

Jamaica is truly giving me a semester in paradise.

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Yesterday when I walked into the fifth grade classroom at Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf one bright little boy said, “You smell America (n),” as I walked to my seat at the back of the classroom to observe the lesson. I guess the surprise showed on my face because he quickly added, “Smell good.”

I turned to Sharon, the lecturer from Sam Sharpe who was accompanying me and asked her if there is in fact a ‘smell’ that Americans have and she assured me that, “Yes, when I have Americans visit my home, there is a specific smell that is there when they leave.”

I remembered back to when Rick, the kids and myself lived in Homewood, across the street from an Indian family. We frequently commented that they had a particular smell them, probably coming from the spices that they use to cook with.

Well I certainly don’t cook with lots of spices and I didn’t think that my grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup were leaving off a particular order

so I deducted that Americans must use more scented products: soap, deodorant, hair spray, and cologne. I then assumed that this young boy must like the scent of Oscar de la renta perfume, which I was wearing yesterday. It was all actually very sweet and another reminder that I am only a visitor to this country, no matter how long I stay. I smell like ‘Oscar’ perfume.

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About JCSD
The majority of public schools in Jamaica do not offer special classes or assistance to deaf children or children with other special needs. Many Jamaican deaf children are born into families that do not have the financial resources to provide their child with a private education or teach them a trade. These social and economic problems lead to a cultural climate in which deaf people are often overlooked and/or treated as outcasts.

Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf (JCSD) actively seeks out deaf children and works with their families to make it possible for them to receive an education in a safe and positive Christian environment. Our desire is to see each student reach his or her full potential.

JCSD is a residential school. Most students live on campus four nights and five days a week, returning to their families on the weekends, for holidays and during the summer. There are some students that return home only when the school is closed during holidays and the summer.

In addition to teaching the students sign language, they get a solid education in Bible, Math, History, Science, and English. JCSD also offers computer training and work experience for older students. The students are encouraged to participate in extra curricular programs, which range from community service to dance and science clubs.

Jamaica Christian School for the Deaf (JCSD) is a ministry of American Ministries to the Deaf (AMD).

Sam Sharpe has three student teachers at JCSD, Udana Vickers, Verlia McLaughn, and Dwight Welds and I had the opportunity to observe all three in action today. This was particularly rewarding since observing student teachers is one of my favorite parts of teaching at Trinity Christian College. Perhaps as satisfying as observing the student teachers was getting to know the sweet children at this small Christian school up in the hills above Montego Bay. I thought the roads to Sam Sharpe in Granville were bad but they are incredible compared to the roads we traveled today!

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Getting into a routine is very important to me so my Sundays now include getting picked up for church at 8:30 by Mr. Johnson, worshipping at The Meeting Place from 9-12 (yes, that’s 3 hours, and some days I wish it would go longer), coming home for a quick lunch, and then it’s off to the beach.

To get to the beach I walk about 500 feet from my condo to the elevator bank at the Montego Bay Club, ride from the top floor where I am located to floor 2, walk about 50 feet to a spiral staircase that takes me down to the hip strip and directly across from Doctor’s Cave Beach Club, Montego Bay’s most famous beach. I can see the beach both from my bedroom and the family room and deck but it’s such an advantage to also be able to be on the beach in about 5 minutes.

Usually I meet the team that is volunteering at CCCD that week at Doctor’s Cave but occasionally I just hang out alone, reading and people watching. The view is gorgeous and the breeze off the Caribbean is a slice of heaven…oh, and the strawberry daiquiris from the Groovy Grouper are awesome. Today was no exception and I was able to finish the book that I was reading on incorporating reading and writing into every subject. It is appropriate both for the work I’m doing at Sam Sharpe as well as at Trinity so it was well worth my time and effort. And as for my time on the beach, well it’s a slice of heaven for me since one of my favorite places to hang is on a white, sandy beach





especially if it’s in the Caribbean!

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