Archive for the ‘Stage 8: Recognizing Guides and Guardian Spirits’ Category

The 25 passenger buses at CCCD are an important part of the ministry since they are used to transport teams to and from the airport, excursions to the beach, church, and Ocho Rios and are also used to pick up food and other supplies. Each campus has at least one van for passengers and often a van for hauling building materials and several of the missionaries and campus managers also have their own vans.

This is true at CCCD, Montego Bay as they have a 25+-passenger campus van, a van to transport luggage and building materials, Ms. Russell has her own personal 25+-passenger van and the Daniel’s family has two family vans. Well Monday night an unexpected and freak accident occurred on the Montego Bay campus. Often the vans are parked near the cafeteria at the end of the day before they are parked under the parking garages for the night. After dinner on Monday one of the Daniels’ personal vans was parked behind Ms. Russell’s personal van. When Jodi started her van it jumped into gear, lurched forward and rammed into Ms. Russell’s van, sending it rolling, no, running down the hill toward the classroom building and the dorm. On it’s way down, the slant of the landscape caused the van to take an abrupt right turn, away from the buildings, and toward the wall at the end of the hill. Even though both brakes were on in the van when it began it’s journey, there was no stopping it on its’ journey except the pile of bricks piled up in front of the wall.

So Ms. Russell is without a van, but as usual, is thanking God that no one was hurt either in the Daniels’ van or on campus since both a team and a school full of children were on campus. She continually impresses me with her ability to look at the positive side of any difficult situation- how I wish I could be more like her in that regard! The van is smashed up but Ms. Russell’s positive outlook on life and the Lord’s blessing in her life are intact. Praise the Lord!  The Lord is our shield and our defender, our protector and the rock of our salvation.  Who can we fear if God is on our side!  Even runaway vans!


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A Jamaican patois blessing

Nah loose heart mi brudda. Di Lord nah finish a use you fi di pickney dem (and Bella). Praying fi yu!

An Irish Blessing: My wish for you

I wish you not a path devoid of clouds, nor a life on a bed of roses,
Not that you might never need regret,
nor that you should never feel pain.
No, that is not my wish for you.
My wish for you is:
That you might be brave in times of trial,
when others lay crosses upon your shoulders.
When mountains must be climbed and chasms are to be crossed,
When hope can scarce shine through.
That every gift God gave you might grow with you
and let you give your gift of joy to all who care for you.
That you may always have a friend who is worth that name,
whom you can trust and who helps you in times of sadness,
Who will defy the storms of daily life at your side.
One more wish I have for you:
That in every hour of joy and pain you may feel God close to you.
This is my wish for you and for all who care for you.
This is my hope for you now and forever.

Especially for Mandee and Jamie!

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On Monday Americans celebrated President’s Day with a day off of school, closed banks and no postal service. Of course, here in Jamaican Monday was just like any other day but it caused me to notice who Jamaican children celebrate as their national heroes. At one school there were paintings of Jamaican heroes on the outside of their building. In another school a lesson on money led me to look at the faces on the $50J, $100J, $500J and $1000J that I had in my wallet. And in still another school children were singing a song celebrating one of their countries heroes. So who are these men and women that have shaped the past and future of Jamaica?

Let’s start with Nanny of the Maroons. Nanny was born around 1686 in Ghana, Western Africa, into the Ashanti tribe, and was brought to Jamaica as a slave. It is believed that some of her family members were involved in intertribal conflict and her village was captured. Nanny and several relatives were sold as slaves and sent to Jamaica. Upon arrival in Jamaica, Nanny was likely sold to a plantation in. Such plantations grew sugarcane as the main crop, and the slaves toiled under extremely harsh conditions.

As a child, other slave leaders and maroons influenced Nanny. She and her brothers ran away from their plantation and hid in the Blue Mountains area of northern Saint Thomas Parish. While in hiding, they split up to organize more Maroon communities across Jamaica. Nanny and her brothers became folk heroes.

By 1720, Nanny and Quao, her brother, had settled and controlled an area in the Blue Mountains. It was given the name Nanny Town, and consisted of the 500 acres of land granted to the runaway slaves. Nanny was very adept at organizing plans to free slaves. For over 30 years, Nanny freed more than 800 slaves, and helped them to resettle in the Maroon community.

Paul Bogle was a Jamaican Baptist deacon and is a National Hero of Jamaica. He was a leader of the 1865 Morant Bay Emancipation Movement, which fought for the freedom of the people from slavery during British rule. He led the Morant Bay rebellion. He was captured and hanged on October 24,1865 in the Morant Bay Court House and executed by the United Kingdom. He is depicted on the heads side of the Jamaican 10 cent coin and two dollar bill. The Paul Bogle High School in the parish of his birth is named after him.

Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL)

Prior to the twentieth century, leaders such as Prince Hall, Martin Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden, and Henry Highland Garnet advocated the involvement of the African diaspora in African affairs. Garvey was unique in advancing a Pan-African philosophy that inspired global mass movement and economic empowerment focusing on Africa known as Garveyism. Promoted by the UNIA as a movement of African Redemption, Garveyism would eventually inspire others, ranging from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement (which proclaims Garvey as a prophet). The intent of the movement was for those of African ancestry to “redeem” Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave it. His essential ideas about Africa were stated in an editorial in the Negro World titled “African Fundamentalism” where he wrote:
“Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… let us hold together under all climes and in every country.”

Sir Alexander Bustamante was a Jamaican politician and labor leader. Though initially a supporter, he came to be an opponent of the Federation of the West Indies and agitated for Jamaica to become an independent state. It was Bustamante’s decision that the JLP (Jamaican Labor Party) would not contest a by-election to the federal parliament that resulted in his rival and cousin, Premier Norman Manley, calling the referendum in 1961 that led to Jamaica’s withdrawal and the break-up of the Federation.

Jamaica was granted independence in 1962 and Bustamante served as the independent country’s first Prime Minister until 1967. However, in 1965 he withdrew from active participation in public life, and real power was held by his deputy, Donald Sangster (who Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay is named after).

In 1969, Bustamante was proclaimed a ‘National Hero of Jamaica’, along with Norman Manley, the black liberationist, Marcus Garvey and two leaders of the 1865 Morant Bay rebellion, Paul Bogle and George William Gordon.  Bustamante died in 1977 and was buried in the National Heroes Park in Kingston.

And of course there is Sam Sharpe, already mentioned in a past blog and the hero that Sam Sharpe College is named after. All of these people are true Jamaican heroes and have led Jamaica to becoming the free and independent nation that it is today, run by Jamaicans rather than the original English and Spanish plantation owners that controlled it for so many years.

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“What comfort true mentors and guardians bring to the hero who discovers that on this otherwise solitary path they are not alone!’ (from The Hero’s Journey by Linda Chisholm)  Three special women from Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College have stood ready and willing to guide me through the maze that is Sam Sharpe. From week to week classes may meet in different rooms, even different buildings and different times. Without their help I would never be in the right classroom at the right time!

Having three special education colleagues like Sharon, Keitha and Denise has been more than a blessing, they are truly a gift. My openness with them and they, in turn with me, has been a source of both support and encouragement. They always have the time to answer any question I may have and are more than willing to share their classrooms and students with me. Perhaps they realize that I am coming in as a learner and am open to experiencing anything and everything I can and am also willing to share any knowledge I may have with them.

Mrs. Sharon Anderson-Morgan

Mrs. Keitha Osborne

Mrs. Denise Bramwell

My job is to pay attention, soak up as many experiences as I can, and contribute in any way that is possible. Because of this openness I have had the opportunity to guest lecture, co-teach, observe student teachers, and teach service-learning classes to year 1, year2 and year 3 special education majors. I also hope to speak to several service organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Club within the next few weeks in an effort to find several service-learning partners for Sam Sharpe. Today I had the chance to observe year 1 elementary education majors working on education charts for their future classrooms and year 2 mild disabilities majors present to the rest of their year 2 classmates the key points on identifying and working with these special students. What rich experiences!

The most amazing thing to me is that the special education program, the terminology used in the classrooms and the way the students are taught to write lesson plans, reflect on those lessons and incorporate standards into their lesson plans is so much like the way we teach our education majors at Trinity. This is a surprise I was NOT expecting, but a very pleasant surprise. Sharon, Keitha, Denise and I are much more alike than we are different…perhaps the world really is flat.

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Sam Sharpe College is named after a Jamaica hero and their college song depicts his historical greatness. Sam Sharpe is truly a Jamaican guide or guardian spirit. Sam Sharpe was a slave who hated the oppressive system of slavery and died fighting to end it. Sharpe encouraged his fellow slaves to stand up for their rights and to do so without violence, and to fight only if they were forced to. But on one occasion in 1832, there were some drunken slaves among his followers who set fire to can fields and buildings. This angered the planters who gave orders to ‘shoot and murder people without mercy.’ Sharpe gave himself up and was tried for administering unlawful oaths and convening unlawful night meetings. He was executed in the Montego Bay market on May 23, 1832, along with 500 slaves who participated in the uprising. His work and death however did not go unnoticed. A forceful message was conveyed that the Jamaican slaves would no longer tolerate slavery. In the same month of his death, the British House of Commons adopted a motion aimed at ending slavery not only in Jamaica but also throughout the British Empire. In July 1833, the Abolition Bill was introduced and was passed on august 29th of that year, making provisions for the abolition of slavery on August 1, 1834.

Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College School Song

In the Spirit of our hero stands a city on a hill
Committed to service and excellence instill
Calling the fittest to a noble profession
Imitating our Father, fulfilling His master plan

Sam Sharpe, Sam Sharpe, we give our best to you
You gave us your love, gave us dignity,
So we lift our voices and sing the victory,
Sam Sharpe, Sam Sharpe, we owe our all to you
We will build on your vision, giving hope to our nation
With service, commitment, and excellence our goal.

Educators for life, we will firmly stand the test
To mankind and our country, our promise will not rest
Let’s pave the noble highway for our nation and for all
With God as our Guide, we will answer to the call.

Written by Latoya Reid, Alric Reid and Cecile Walden
Composed & Arranged by Colleen Halliburton

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After I had learned that I had received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College for the spring, 2011 semester I found that the Fulbright Association strongly encourages scholars to purchase cars in the country in which they will be working and then sell them when they leave to help boost the economy. Well my husband, Rick, has driven around the entire island of Jamaica and this is where he drew the line- I would NOT be driving in Jamaica. Ms. Russell, who thinks I can do anything thought that “of course” you can drive in Montego Bay and Granville but Rick thought better. So we hired a driver.

Initially the people I am renting my condo from gave me a driver’s name and I contacted him. He was happy to be my daily driver and we made arrangements for my first pickup. Well, instead of Dwight, I found a Mr. Johnson waiting outside my door. He’s a lovely Jamaican man, missing several front teeth, who it takes a bit of time to understand, but he really cares about my well-being and is always punctual; something a bit unusual for Jamaica.

He arrives early in the morning with a smile, the windows half open because his air conditioning is broken (doesn’t he know what that does to my hair!) and pleasant conversation. I trust him completely and asked him today if he could just be my permanent driver, but it seems that Dwight owns his car, so that is that.

But guardian angels come in the least expected forms. Mr. Johnson, you are certainly a guardian angel.

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I met Mrs. Dorette Russell the third year that I took students to the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf. She had signed on to be the interim principal for 4-5 weeks and is still at CCCD 8 years later. CCCD is so fortunate to have a woman of her strength and faith at the helm and she has become one of my best friends, in fact my Jamaican sista. She is a mom to both the teachers and the children, disciplinarian to those that need to be called out regarding inappropriate behaviors, cheerleader for the school for work teams from the United States, and prayer warrior for anyone who needs her support. She is one of the strongest and smartest women I know and I count it a privilege to call her my friend. There are numerous times over the past 8 years that I have called on Dorette for support, understanding, help and advice…and she has never left me down. She is truly my Jamaican guardian angel.

This past week I have had the privilege of meeting a new friend, Sharon Anderson-Morgan, chair of Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College’s special education program. She has made me felt welcome, answered all of my numerous questions, introduced me to fellow faculty members and made me feel like a part of the Sam Sharpe family. I am confident that as we work together both with each other and the students we will become both colleagues and friends. This week she has certainly been my guide showing me everything I need to know about Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College.

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