* Michelle Thoughts, * Peace Corps

Jamaica 50: Wi likkle but wi tallawah

“We’re little but we’re talented/strong/tough”

from my-island-jamaica.com

This has been an eventful week to be in Jamaica! From the Olympics to the 50th anniversary celebrations to the tropical storm watch, it is a unique and special time.

We got to watch the 100 meter men’s and women’s finals with our host parents. There’s a TV in our living room that has gone unused because the signal hasn’t been good. What we didn’t know was that the antenna on the second-story roof is rigged to a pole that reaches the ground, so although the set up has gotten loose and shifts with the breeze, you can actually go outside and wiggle it back in place (until the next gust of wind). Being that the tropical storm was on its way, there was probably more breeze than normal. This sometimes put us in the predicament of having to either risk watching a race while the picture grew more and more sporadic, or decide to sprint outside to put the antenna back in place and hopefully get back before the race started. Anyway, it was a good time. And our host parents had bought a vuvuzuela in Jamaican colors, which they proudly blew around the house after both the women and men’s victories.

The storm, Tropical Storm Ernesto, was predicted to potentially become a category 1 hurricane, and so Peace Corps issued an alert for all volunteers to stay put. We were a little bummed because we wanted to go to an agricultural festival in another parish over the weekend, but we ended up having a good time at home regardless. Our host dad took us to visit his friends in “India Town” or “Likkle India,” a small settlement of Indian-Jamaican fishermen.

Independence Day Civic Ceremony

This week also held an abundance of ceremonies and festivals in celebration of Jamaica’s 50th year of independence, as well as emancipation. We attended a gospel vigil/concert in town leading up to Emancipation Day in which we stayed up later than we ever have in this country and slept almost the entire day following. We also attended the official parish church service to celebrate Independence and then watched the Civic Ceremony the following day. We attempted to stay in town for the Independence parade but it was somehow delayed three hours, apparently coming all the way from another town. So instead we ended up at the grocery store where we watched a couple heats of the women’s 200m.

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