* Michelle Thoughts, * Peace Corps, Videos

Jamaica by Jamaicans

Peace Corps’s Third Goal Office is hosting a video challenge for this year’s Peace Corps Week. Being the wanna-be film-maker that I am (and being partial to the Office of Third Goal who awarded us a free trip to DC last summer!), I had to do something.

Peace Corps has three primary goals for its volunteers, and the third goal focuses on raising awareness about our countries of service among Americans. Hence, the contest to depict what you wish Americans knew about your country in two minutes or less.

My strategy was to let Jamaicans speak for themselves (not too many PC countries can capitalize on their English-speaking counterparts). I’ve collected a lot of great interview footage over the two years, so hopefully I’ll get motivated to share more of that eventually.

Continue reading “Jamaica by Jamaicans”

* Michelle Thoughts, * Peace Corps

My name is Joe, but you can call me Al: About Jamaican Names

I’ve always been fascinated by names. And names are a really fun part of Jamaican culture. Apart from given names, many people also have “yard names” (nick names) that friends and family have always called them (and that sometimes these become so common that no one knows their true first name anymore). Jamaicans also use identifiers or descriptors in the place of names when they’re calling out to people on the street, whether they know the person or not. Below you’ll find examples of the various types of names we’ve heard in Jamaica.

Given Names
Cheyenne, Timera, Annielle, Amoy, Sereina, Henry-nique, Dellesia/Delecia, Asheka, Toni-Ann, Keisha-Ann, Shelly-Ann, Shamara, Shanae, Tasha, Soini, Yolande, Tashina, Soini, Yolande Continue reading “My name is Joe, but you can call me Al: About Jamaican Names”

* Michelle Thoughts, * Peace Corps, Videos

Patwa Quiz: Updated

One of our favorite things about living in Jamaica is the Patwa (or Patois) language. To give you a sample of some of the phrases we hear on a daily basis, we enlisted the help of a coworker’s daughter. She acts out six classic examples of Patwa from the Jamaican school yard. See if you can tell what she’s saying; and if you’re so inclined, post your guesses as a Comment to this post. (Current and returned PCVs don’t count!) We’ll update this post in about a week with a translation of each phrase.


Below you’ll find the translation of our Patwa Quiz: first, the phrase in patwa; then the direct translation in English; and finally the actual meaning, connotation, and uses of each phrase. Continue reading “Patwa Quiz: Updated”

* Michelle Thoughts, * Peace Corps

Three Things Thursday

A Video

We have three things to share with you today… Number One is this great Youtube discovery (above) in which a Jamaican woman gives lessons on speaking Jamaican Patois. It’s a great way to get a flavor for the language we’re going to be learning in Peace Corps, and we love this woman’s energy! We thought you’d enjoy it, too. Continue reading “Three Things Thursday”