On Saturday, March 10, I was privileged to be invited to the United Way Volunteer & Media Appreciation Day. It hosted by Noranda Jamaican Bauxite Partners near Discover Bay, St. Ann's. The 7 am departure and the 2 1/2 hour bus ride each way - thankfully I brought my Kindle! - was long, but scenic. I have been on this route a number of times, even driven it myself, but this is the first time that I have gone through "Fern Gully" - exquisitely beautiful. The Fern Gully route has been closed for some many months for road works and recently reopened: I will definitely rent a car and go again just to take pictures - narrow, twisty road, tropical rain forest, fern canopy.
Of course, the trip began with the requisite group hallelujahs, praise the Lords, and invocation. All events and meetings begin thus. I still find this most curious. It is a nation that wears Christianity on its sleeve, yet has one of the highest murder rates per capita in the world. And there are many immigrants, generational, in Jamaica. What about those who are of other faiths such as Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist or those who are agnostic?
I have been to many events like this in Canada - indeed, planned and hosted many - so it was nice to see it "Jamaican style".
It was a long day, not returning to Kingston under well after dark. But worth it.
Volunteers waiting to participate in the campaign review and recommendations for 2012.
This chap was, very quickly!, peeling young coconuts so that we could all have fresh coconut water. Delicious. But I can't believe he still has all his fingers!
My colleagues and friends: Verna, Sharon, and Terry.
Taniesha posing with the driver of this enormous ore truck.
Every event in Jamaica has music, loud and continuous. Here it takes one DJ and three helpers on cell phones to produce the required sound.
There was a free rum tasting bar - not like at Canada volunteer events! Terry, Angie, ??, and Damien. It was a busy place :-)
Dominoes in Jamaica is a very serious game, with many carrying their own domino cases on their hips just in case a game breaks out. Several did after lunch!
"Lovin Deer" entertained us with song after the awards in the afternoon. Wonderful voice, matched by his character and repetoire. Jamaica music at its best.
Mr. King is as serious about his dominoes as he is about the accounting department at work - he is the manager.
The grounds of the community centre at Noranda.