First Day in Petersfield

Published: March 20th 2010
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Making a plan!Making a plan!Making a plan!

Dr. Kenney gathers the students to make a plan regarding filming once we get out of Montego Bay.
Today was our first full day in Jamaica. We woke up around 10:00 a.m. to partake in the hotel breakfast. I, for some reason, got the traditional breakfast rather than the full-on Jamaican one, but I suppose it's probably because I know we'll be getting real Jamaican food all week at our homestays. I must say, though, the coffee was awesome. Hopefully I'll get some more while I'm here...?

After lunch, some people wandered about, I just chilled, and then we gathered our things, checked out, and hopped on the bus provided for us by the Association of Clubs (or the AOC, the local community organization we're working with). The program provider for the trip is an organization called Amizade, which has a relationship with the AOC locally. The AOC, thus, has planned all of our work/learning opportunities for the week, as well as our homestays, etc. The ride to Petersfield was scenic and mountainous, as well as windy (we had the windows open). I must say, the weather's a nice change from what we left--spring in the South has been slow this year. Anyway, on the way out of Montego Bay, we stopped at a craft market where there was a lot of pressure to buy stuff (I'm neither good at haggling nor at saying "no" to people), but we didn't spend too much time there, and some of our students got the chance to buy some cool souvenirs.

We arrived at Petersfield in the afternoon and ate a delicious dinner provided by the members of the AOC. There was a great spread of Jamaican food, including the "national dish," as they say, called ackee (a kind of fruit) and saltfish (cod, I think). There were also various dishes of chicken, breadfruit (yes, a fruit that tastes like bread), and... a bunch of other dishes I can't remember. They held the meal for us at the AOC center in Petersfield, which is where they hold most of their community meetings, I believe. We ate alongside some of our Jamaican hosts, including the infamous Matthias Brown (who is superman, really, as far as his role in the community is concerned--he formed the AOC 20-30 years ago to work on improving and helping the community, and it's awesome just to hear him talk about his and the AOC's work). After dinner, we played outside with some of the local kids--soccer
My one from-the-bus-shotMy one from-the-bus-shotMy one from-the-bus-shot

Yeah, I'm kind of failing on taking pictures, but I think that's because everyone around me was videotaping the whole time. Oops. But anyway, this is a pic from the bus on the way to Petersfield.
and a Jamaican game called netball, which is kind of like basketball and ultimate frisbee combined. Some of the high school-ish-aged girls taught us some Jamaican dances as well, and I tried my best to follow suit.

After all that fun, it was getting dark, and we got assigned to our homestays and split up (each homestay took 2-3 students/participants, and one of the students (Jessica) and I got assigned to the house of Lloyd and Marjorie Colthirst, two older people with three grown kids (all of whom are living abroad). When we got to the homestay, we all drank tea together, watched cable TV (The Negotiator was on TV, and for some odd reason, we all got sucked in), and ate ginger cookies (spicier than one might originally think).

As for tomorrow's plan, we're going to church in the morning (though this is not a church-sponsored trip, part of the program for the students is to make a documentary about Jamaica/their time in Jamaica/etc., so we kind of collectively decided that it would be interesting to go to a church and see what it's like here) followed by a field trip to Negril (and, supposedly, a big cliff we're supposed to jump off of?). I'll keep you posted.


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