Tuesday, 7 June 2016

How Jamaica Changed Me

I came to Jamaica in 2005 to study at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus and although I was no way old, I was also not young when compared to the many teens who jumped right out of high school into university. I realised then that St.Vincent was different, maybe owing to the fact that we do not have a University offering full degrees on the island. Many of us worked at least a year or 2 or even more before attending university and most do not attend university at all especially after finding a job. Even more so, university then appeared to be for the affluent and so you may never hear stories like that of our Jamaican counterpart of not having food to eat or sleeping at the library or de-registration from not paying school fees or many of the other challenges that some Jamaican students faced at university. However, it was not because we were rich, but more so because we had to sort out ourselves properly before deciding to travel to another man's country in pursue of a degree. Hence, most of us had loans and others might have obtained a scholarship.

I was certainly extremely happy to have friends that pushed me to take the step to get the degree and though I took a loan, which I am still paying, I was glad that the government provided a system for economically disadvantaged students like myself to obtain such a loan. I am even more contented with the changes I have seen in my life on account of me travelling to Jamaica; changes that I believe would not have occurred if I had remained in St.Vincent given my background. I became an adult in Jamaica.

So how has it changed you? you might asked. Well, I became more aware, highly driven and goals oriented. This is not to say my fellow Vincentians are not like this, but I spoke about my background earlier and it has to do with what I was seeing in my space, my home and my community. A lot of persons were laid back and have accepted where their existing position in live. Some were artist within themselves and  never sold a painting, good at masonry and carpentry, but never became a contractor, excellent cooks, but never owned a restaurant, love farming, but may never owned a farm. Our school system pushed people towards a class position whether first, second or third, but never towards a career. I remembered even in school, I wanted to do business subjects but I was TOLD I would be doing the sciences because I am one of the better students at it. Activities such as debate clubs, music, public speaking, art etc were not highly integrated in the school curriculum or developed as part of the school system

I came to Jamaica where some of my friends got their PhD by age 25 and I was now understanding that there are B.A., B.Sc, B.Ed and such things as masters. I listened to people who would attend any workshop that is available to them so that they can gain a skill. I listened and saw persons start their businesses at these young and tender age. I listened to them clearly articulate, when I was still struggling with subject and verb agreement. I have visited downtown Kingston many times, but for the first time I learnt the true meaning of hustling. It was not just sitting on a street corner calling yourself a hustler especially if you are involved in drugs.  I saw men walking up and down with bags in hand on shoulders and/or heads selling bag juice or banana chips, women walking the streets of Kingston selling clothes, people including children selling panties and shoes and as soon as you glimpse the shoes, it on your foot because they want they are trying to convince you to purchase it. People did not just sit at a corner and hope that you pass by their booth. No, they were up and down the town. The country never shuts down. Just visit Halfway Tree on any late evening and you will notice that when stores are closed, then people are on the streets selling. I admired and marveled at it all and clearly understood hustling.

I marveled more so at the young students and graduates I met at the university. Here I was, at my relatively old age, shying away from leadership positions and any thing will make me stand before a crowd and speak. I was not shy, but I lacked confidence. I looked at my fellow students and I was inspired to be more than. They ran for Hall Chairs, took up other committee positions on the halls, took on class rep positions, joined this and that clubs on the campus and it changed my entire perspective on life.

I  now pushed myself and take advantage of all opportunities that come to me. I took up blogging so that I can inspire but also to push me to write more and correct my language when I see the mistakes even after several weeks. I became entrepreneurial minded and I began to push others. I focus on building strong, positive networks because I realised the people in your space matters greatly.  I looked at all the things the world needs and I asked myself, how can I be an agent of change and I positioned myself to do such. My mind is now always ticking with ideas. Indeed, Jamaica has changed me in a way that I welcomed.

Friday, 1 April 2016

When a Woman beats a Man: Domestic Abuse and Societal Response

It was only a few months ago, a video popped on Facebook of a woman in the Seaview community, Kingston Jamaica, beating a man who was not even retaliating. I looked at the video as she burst bottles in his head and as one broke, she took up another while holding him at the collar.

What was disturbing?

People stood there for most parts enjoying a show.

Some were videotaping, more so as entertainment rather than evidence.

Yesterday, again there was a similar video on Facebook. 

This time in my homeland, St.Vincent, in the community of Calder. A big, tall 'strapping' woman collared an old, short, grayed man and slapped him till his face began to bleed. He sat on the ground while pleading with persons looking on or passing by for help and what the woman did while he is there screaming? She lift up her heavy, bleached out foot and kicked him.

I listened to the laughter in the background and my blood boiled in vexation. 

How would this have been different if the men was beating on these women?
How many persons would have rushed into help?
Is the reaction of police/law enforcers different when it is the man that is getting beating?

Let me tell you how people would have reacted it was a woman getting the licks. Many would have rushed to her rescue. Instead of laughing in the background, you would hear people cursing the man and someone would have called the police. The police would have locked that man up and even if they only see the video, I believe they would have investigated.

Why not when it is the opposite way around?

I wondered, do persons have to report crime before charges are pressed? Suppose these persons fear for their lives and so are afraid to report it? Can these videos that have gone viral on social media act as evidence?

I have witnessed firsthand the abuse of woman by man and it changed my life forever. I vowed I would never be hit by no man. I felt my mother had taken enough  for us both. I warned every guy I have ever dated. I begged them please, for the sake of my life and theirs, they walk a way because I will not take a hit from no man. So you understand even more why these situations make me mad

My disturbance is not only about men beating woman, I am also very pissed by the opposite. These women prey on men who either cannot help themselves or who they know would not retaliate. And yes, at times,  I asked myself, where is your manhood? Retaliate and hit her hard! It upsets me that much and I should not think like that, but when I see women beating men, the picture that comes to mind is when someone throw water on an abused street dog (especially mongrel dogs) or hit them, how they run screaming with their tails between their legs. so this gets me extremely mad and I wondered where are there families?

We are in a age where words such as GENDER BALANCE, GENDER EQUALITY, GENDER EMPOWERMENT are echoed by international and local organizations. 

For most parts, these are all about making things right for women and I agree we need this. However, the above videos highlight some issues that we need to deal with even as we talk Gender.

There are some men who needs to be empowered!
Society's perception towards domestic abuse of men needs to be changed!
Some women needs psychological help because they are worse than many men!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

What makes Jamaican Athletes Great?

Usain Bolt
When it comes to sprinting, Jamaica is the best! Usain Bolt, for example holds the world record in 100m and 200m, while Shelly-Ann Fraser is the first Caribbean woman to win a a gold in 100m at the Olympics.

These sprinters have also been awarded Sports Man and Woman of the year in Jamaica several times. Yes they are indeed great, but the truth is they are not alone. I can name several other great athletes in Jamaica. What is even more interesting is that this is the trend set in Jamaica in the world and as one retires, another rise.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

Here is a video of Usain in action when he broke the world record. Memories and heartfelt praises from all of us in the Caribbean

The question to be asked is WHAT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS GREATEST?

I have been living in Jamaica for over 9 years now and what I have observed is:

Sports Culture! Sports Spirit!

When I was living in St. Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG), my homeland, I attended what we call Inter-School Sports. It is equivalent to what is called Champs here in Jamaica, but only by virtue of who is involved- High School Students.

 In SVG, students attended Inter-School Sports to 'lyme' rather than to support their school and as such they preferred not to wear their school uniforms as requested. Even when a price was attached for those not in uniform, students will pay or will try to trick the system by wearing the uniform and then changing over into their 'pretty clothes' in the bathroom once they are in. In addition to that is the limited support from parents, teachers and alumni. I always believe that we were not putting enough emphasis on our sports, but as I said earlier, I have been living abroad for more than 9 years so hopefully perception and attitude towards track and field in SVG have changed.

Champs in Jamaica is completely different. I could not believe the overwhelming support coming from all. It is a national event. 
Do you know the price for a ticket to enter Champs on the weekends?
It ranges from JA$2500 to 3500 which is anywhere from US$20-28 for Grandstand depending on whether you attend on a Friday or a Saturday. Cheaper tickets are available for Bleachers from JA$1000-1500, also dependent on whether it is Friday or Saturday. I am sure you recognized clearly why the week days price is low. WORK!

On a Saturday, however you would not recognized that the price of tickets are that high because of the overwhelming support from students, parents, alumni etc. Many show support by wearing their school colours or ties.

Here is a video showing champs in 2015.



Answer: They start from babies!

On Tuesday of this week, I went to my child's daycare. They were having Sport's Day! It was not the first, but it was first I was attending. I did not attend before because I asked myself, what can these babies do? Truthfully, I felt as if it was a waste of time to take time off from work to go and look at it. Culture! A Jamaica colleague influenced me this year. She said to me you have to go  and she was so excited about last year, I had to see for myself.

I was dumbfounded. I was amazed!

Parking areas were full as parents took time off to support their babies.

There were horns blowing in excitement.

There were laughing competitions for the babies who could not walk, but for those who could have, they had races.

There were coaches to set off the race and persons to say who reached in first, second and third.

My daughter was a cheerleader and had her upcoming races. I was a proud mama!

I am not going to just keep writing. I have lots of pictures and short videos, but just two more things before I add these below.

I saw some 2 years and 3 years old dipping in there heads like someone trained them for the race LOL!!!

And finally, My 2 years old daughter won one of her race and came second for the other and had me shouting, screaming and grinning for the rest of the day.


My daughter in what I was told is her cheer leading uniform. 
Here are some other Cheerleaders representing their houses



My daughter's race. She had won the sprint before and in all the excitement I did not record. Good thing I captured this one. Excuse the screaming.

Red House in Action! The girls at play. Listen to the overwhelming shouts of the parents

The Boys in Action. Red House Again....Yes I am a bit bias lol. We came second overall.

This one is pretty fast. Another boys's race.


Thank you for viewing. Remember to like my page. 

Thursday, 3 March 2016

How to please your man?


I wrote recently on "How to please your wives?" and so it would be very remiss of me if I leave you the gentlemen. After all how husbands have needs to and in building a strong relationship, we must strike a balance. There are some relationships where one party is always giving and the other receiving. Eventually those will die. There are some females who believe that the purpose of the man is to give, give and give again to them and yet, at times, these very same woman and the ones who are selfish and quick to get upset or leave if ever he forgets a birthday or an anniversary. So ladies, if you want to keep your man happy, here are a few pointers. I had to solicit the help of my husband for this so this not purely from a woman's perspective.

  • Respect him- Now this may seem not to be a big deal to many, but it is a huge deal for a man. As ladies, we demand respect, but respect for a man goes even deeper. If a man embarrasses a lady in front of her friends (not good), somehow the lady gets over it quicker and may even react differently than if it is the other way around. Do not speak down to him.I witnessed some women publicly embarrassed their spouse, who in reacting, look like when someone throw water on a dog and it ran away, all wet with his tail between it legs. Other men may lash out in defense though they are not usually like that. A man is a man. Let him feel like one. 

  • Feed him- Yes feed him! I am quite traditional. Though I have recognized the changes in society as it relates to career women (I myself being a career wife), and the added responsibilities  that might require one to hire a helper, ensure that you still take care of your husbands by ensuring that he is fed, gets the right nutrition and is good health. You may say, that is not my responsibility. You married him because, hopefully, you love and care for him. Part of caring for him includes checking up on him. Have you eaten babes? What you eat today? From time to time, cook a warm breakfast or dinner.

  • Give him Space- My husband and I were at a couple's ministry seminar sometime last year when it was expressed the importance of space for a man. According to the presenter, a wife might noticed their husband seated silently and may ask, "What are you thinking?" and his response is "nothing". We cannot understand that. How can you not be thinking about something? As women, we are always thinking about something. All of us wives were laughing and the men were nodding in agreement with the presenter. For the first time, I realized, as the presenter stated, that men have a 'nothing box' where they will just go at times, and to witness the men nodding and shouting yes in agreement emphasized the validity of what was said. So wives, let us allow our husbands to escape to that "nothing box" from time to time.

  • Stop the nagging- I hear some women nagged and I myself get tired hearing their voice. The bible compares a nagging wife to an endless dripping on a rainy day. In our Caribbean colloquial expression, we may say drizzle rain....the rain just ah drizzle, drizzle like it making up its mind whether to come or not. If you have somewhere to go or trying to get home, but no umbrella, that sometimes upset us. I have heard people said, "rain mek (make) up your mind nah...either you are coming or you are not". The bible further states that it is better for a man to live in a desert or in a corner in the ROOF of a house than to live with a quarrelsome, nagging wife. Now, not all believe in the bible, but you may live with a nagging wife and can attest. It is very disturbing like a mosquito in your ear. Women, need I say more.

  • Be Spontaneous with little, creative gifts- I love massages, God knows, but my husband, even though he does not request it as much as I do, love them too. That is one little gift we can give. Take his big foot (BIG Feet are good) into your hands and give him a foot massage or give him a pedicure or a back massage. 

  • Wives, fix up yourselves. There are many wives who no longer feel they need to look good especially if the man does not complain. In our dating lives, everything was on point. Now we are married and we are letting ourselves go. Hair messed up, clothes tear up, huge 'bingo bag' panties that sometimes have little tear here and there, some big long nighties as if to say 'nothing nah gwarn(is not going to happen) tonight or any other night' and so on. We are quick to use the responsibility of our children as an excuse for everything. Remember when they are grown and gone, it is still you and your husband. I always look at Michelle Obama and her husband. Indeed, they are public figures, but in my heart, I say to myself. she makes her husband looks good and he must be proud to have her as a wife. Now, I know many 'independent' woman out there will say, "do it for yourself and not for any man". True, that is always a good start, but many women couldn't care less about themselves so think about your husbands. Make them look good in public and happy in private.

  • Sex, sex and more sex- I deliberately leave this for last because often times we think this is all our husbands need and it is enough and yet some of us failed to give them enough. Now wives, I am aware that we are not always in the mood, but there are times when need to get into the mood for the benefit of our husbands. They are not like us. As much as we love sex, some of us can go weeks without and it does not bother us. Our husbands are different and we cannot forget that. So if there is a headache, do not use it as an excuse. Instead, use the sex medication. We too should also be responsible for spicing things up. Often times, in our heads, we imagine coming home to rose petals leading to a warm bath or rose-petaled bed with red wine poured into glass. The man may imagine that too, but even if he doesn't, put on that sexy lingerie and let him come home to something different once in a while. Take the initiative also. We can make the advancement too. Do not always wait on him to touch you, kiss you up and get things in motion. Take charge sometimes.

Men, feel free to comment on other things we can do. I am sure the list is not exhausted. It would be nice to hear from you. Ladies, you can also let me know what you have done for your significant other that he appreciates.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Ugly in High School

For a while now, I have been pondering on this topic  and I finally decided to blog on it, not simply because of my own personal experiences, but also my observations as a high school teacher for a few years.

I remember vividly, my very first day attending the St. Joseph's Convent, Kingstown. I was walking through Paul's Lot with my head down, when I heard someone said something to me. I looked up and saw a St. Martins Secondary School guy who was very tall and probably in Form 4 or 5. He was asking name and other questions. I looked at him, cast my eyes in the direction I was going and did not respond once. He talked until he got to the top of the hill and then he said bye. Even then, I said nothing.

Maybe he was disappointed. Maybe he questioned himself. Maybe he thought I was 'fresh', but I was shy, lack self-confidence and had a low self-esteem. In addition to that, and probably exacerbated by those very qualities, I had trust issues. He was a young man and was out for one thing. After all, what could he possibly see in me, a girl with thick, natural hair that for most parts carried two large cane rows, no pierced ear etc.

As I settled in high school with my friends, I realized that there were cliques. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, the have-nots had grouped themselves together, the brown skinned 'beauties' and 'haves' (rich) had also grouped themselves and the villagers, those persons who came from the same community, had grouped themselves together. I looked at the group who were involved in netball, had boyfriends, into dancing or singing etc and in my opinion, they were pretty. The only thing that stood out for me was my brain. I was doing well in school. Outside of that, no one knew me and probably would have never known me. My English was country-like; I spoke dialect which was looked down on because you were speaking 'bad', my dressing was poor, often times I was late for school, I can only afford the minimum with food and my skirt would not stay pleated no matter how hard my mother tried with the wet cloth and the iron that was heated on the stove. I didn't think I was pretty.

Source: Blackhairplanet.com

Did other guys approach me? Yes, but I compared them to that of my friends and I thought, how come the ugly ones are the ones who approached me, and the sexy, handsome looking ones approached them. I realized that sense of what was beautiful/handsome was defined by certain features and complexion. Still, even when I was approached by what I regarded as handsome, I thought, they just wanted to use, abuse, misuse and leave. In some ways, it helped because my antenna was always up.

I did not meet bullies in high school, but when I entered college, I remembered passing a guy who referred to me as 'Swan Princess' and I smiled, but one, out of a group of girls standing with him, was seemingly upset by the statement and did not hesitate to question where is the swan princess, while her friends laughed. I did not respond, but it was at that point I knew that bullies, women bullies, do exist and when grouped, can be intimidating. By then, I was a bit more confident, but not enough, not to be affected. After all, this is the same girl who was nicknamed and teased about many things including my blackness and my big eyes. They were in the latest brand, their skirts were short and that was deemed sexy, while my was knee length, some were cheer leaders and they had money; they drive in and out of the college yard, whether in their own cars or their friend's.

I encouraged myself that one day, I will get a job and would be able to buy myself nice things and look just as great or even better. I also took solace in the statement made by some of my friends that these girls were like ripe bananas being passed from hand to hand by a group of boys that called themselves "The conspirators". Whether it was true or not at that point, did not matter to me. I felt boosted and better than they were. They might have been pretty on the outside, but I had inner beauty.

When I began working, I was still a work in progress, but I looked at many of my students and I saw their low self worth. Many did not consider themselves to be beautiful. I realized then that the impact of this can be even more grievous because as soon as affection was shown by the opposite sex, they give in. Some got used as their names got caught up in 'sex'conversations about who sleep with whom, when and where. Even those that I found to be very beautiful did not defined themselves as such and with the abuse they were suffering, they were losing both their inner and outward beauty. I decided to use every opportunity to listen to them, encourage them and show them their worth. Something I still practice today. You are beautiful and will stay beautiful as long as you defined yourself as beautiful.

Throughout my life, I have used my negative situations to push me to be the best I can be. The very blackness and bold eyes that were ridiculed in my childhood, is what many Rastas admire. I am an Empress, an African, a strong Black, Beautiful Woman. Thank you my African brothers.

I look back at many whom I thought were handsome, they have destroyed their lives through alcoholism and drug abuse and have lost that beauty. I looked at the guys whom I thought were not as handsome and they, like myself, have grown. They are successful, well groomed and well built.

I have grown in confidence and worth by speaking to the woman in the mirror. I set my own standards and aimed for them. I am not beautiful like you, I am beautiful like me and what a darn beauty I am!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Women Love Sex Too!

As I continue my series on Healthy, Happy Marriages, I believe the topic 'Women Love Sex Too' is quite appropriate and relevant. On Valentines eve, at my church Couples Huddle, which is a dinner put on each year by our couple's ministry, the importance of sex in a relationship and the reminder that men should remember that the pleasure was also for women was again reiterated. As the place roared in laughter at the very entertaining speech by the guest speaker, who was 69 years old and got married for the first time at age 58, I looked around at the many couples present. I looked at the blushes on some faces, the excitement in others and the wondering look of some who seem to be still wondering whether sex should ever be discussed or even mentioned by church people. For the majority of us however, we welcome that in trying to rekindle that fire, intimacy and sex is part of it and so I want the male spouses to know that we love sex too.

Husbands, we are not only here to give pleasure. We want to receive it too.So do not think sex finishes when you ejaculate. At that time we might just be getting started. DO NOT BE SELFISH! Spend some time caressing whatever will carry us to the point that you have reached. If you do not know where or what to caress, then their lies a huge problem. Figure that out first. Yes, we know, sometimes it might appear as if we will never get there, but try. Do not be like Courtney Walsh, drawing on the words of the Guest Speaker's 72 years old husband, who just want to make one big SIX, does not examine the field and often times get out before we meet the winning score. The latter being my words. Rather, be like Brian Lara. Do I need to explain? Examine the field and place the ball in the area that will give you optimum runs, and prevents you from getting bowled out. Sixes and fours are good, but slowing down for the one and two runs are also good too. At this time, I am remember Jimmy Adams, but we do not want it to be to drawn out without no runs. We also know Lara was known for breaking and setting records and at the end, all fans were happy.

Now the worse thing than not having any sex, is having unsatisfactory sex. 


  • A woman should never just be there waiting for you to finish so they could go to sleep. There are times we really are not in the mood, but if you push us into having sex, at least try to get us in the mood and I KNOW this is possible.

  • Unsatisfactory sex can leave a woman more stressed out than having no sex at all. I have read several articles on the benefits of sex and one that always pop is that sex helps to reduce stress. Now I beg to differ. GOOD sex reduces stress. If at the end, you are ready to turn over and sleep and we are still bottled up with energy and emotions that were on the verge of exploding, but for some reason  never happened, then it can be extremely frustrating and the good rest that good sex often brings will not happen.

WIVES as a point of Order...Sometimes you need to TALK. Do not just settle for giving, but not receiving and carry yourself around haggard and frustrated because of penned up energy that is weighing you down. Sometimes, the husbands just may not know and think all is well and in TALKIMG, assisting them in finding out the areas that gets you going. Lastly, STOP PRETENDING. Some of you pretend too much and fool the men. They cannot learn if we behave like if, while in the act, he is doing an excellent job when in your mind you are not having fun.

I am not going to downplay the importance of sex in a marriage and therefore we must realize that for us to enjoy our sexual lives, both partners must be enjoying this intimacy.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Spice up your Marriage with Creative Gifts: My Valentines Gift from my Husband

In many relationships, specific occasions such as valentines, birthdays and anniversaries are marked by the gifts given from one spouse to another. The seriousness of this is that at times, if the day is forgotten, it can create conflict between the spouses. I believe that these days, more so birthdays and anniversaries are sacred and should be celebrated. However, my focus today is not so much on the days, but what is given on the day.

Often times, traditional gifts such as flowers, chocolates, perfumes, lingerie. jewelries,  and teddy bears are gifts some spouses receive. These are lovely gifts, but can be very costly. You may say you know the day approaching so put some money aside. That may be true, but one must always remember your household resources. Your husband may not always be able to give you as expensive a gift as Jack give to his wife Jill, but the gift may just as be as nice. Apart from that, I love a creative man.

I am a simple person and while I enjoy an occasional going out, I can have just as much fun renting a movie, popping some corn and having it with Pepsi under a sheet on a couch. This Valentines I smiled my faced off with the gift my husband offered. The decision was made not to spend on any valentines gift, especially since his birthday was in the same month. We had to be creative.

I decided that I am going to capture our history with pictures in a journal we bought at the very beginning of our marriage. Now we bought this journal and decided that whenever we feel like, we will take it up and right something to each other. He has written a poem for me and other love notes and I have written numerous things, but sadly, we often neglect to write. Still I shared my love to him with pics in the journal on valentines day, but it could not compare to his gift. He created tangible, affordable activities on a piece of paper!

His offered me a gift certificate that he used a letter size paper to do. I could not careless about the paper or his artistic skills, because what was on it had me smiling my face off and show that he was thinking about my happiness. So below are some pics I have taken of it and these are what were written, in no particular order. You will notice that he was very considerate of my needs.

  • MASSAGE with no benefits. Valid for 3 uses. Now I loveeeeee massages and my husband has been doing this quite regularly, but with benefits so the no benefits part is important
  • FREE PASS- Decline any sexual advance made. Valid for 3 uses. I do not normally find excuses but this is a good one to have. What do you think?
  • SATISFY ME- Get your own way sexually. Full attention to your details. Valid...No Expiration lol.....Interesting that this has no expiration huh? 
  • LAZY DAY- Pass any chores and put your foot up. Valid for 3 uses. Now we share chores in our home, but here I have an opportunity to decide not to cook, wash or clean. Thank you Lord!!!
  • ALONE TIME- Get your own space to rejuvenate. Valid for 3 uses. If/When you have a child, you will understand how important this is.

To the SWEETEST MAN I know with love.

Dedicated to my husband.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Whey de Chikungunya gone?

Me dey ah Jamaica and ah like ah one swarm ah mosquitoes hit the country. One minute, yo na hear nutten bout Chik-V, the next thing yo know, it pon all the news stations right throughout the Caribbean and even some in America. One news pon the Jamaica TV show d mosquitoes in Portmore big like helicopters. It was so dramatic when in the midst ah the broadcast, you see the reporter ah kill mosquitoes. The worse part is when dem show you a homeowner sweep them up in ah heap. Yes in ah one big heap. Me never see that yet. Most times, mosquitoes buzz ah yo ears and if yo lucky fi catch one, that is when yo ah go see it.

Me ah hear businessmen ah complain how production job because workers ah call in sick since the mosquito drop. Principals, teachers and school pickney out ah school, Pain up from the Chik-V attack. Is like d whole ah Jamaica mash down.

Ministries start to try help d problem. Dem ah fog and ah beg ppl fi implement some strategies like removing tyres and anything that catch up water. Use yo mosquito repellants  dem say, me even haffi send one ah school with me child.

People ah speculate whey dis mosquito come from. And me ah ask meself the same thing? Is this the last days when there will be rumours of wars and pest and diseases etc? Some ppl believe that is ah biological weapon, ah population control that some first world country ah try fi implement. Dem ah test it pon we. What a conspiracy!

Me never want believe, but now me affi wonder, where the chikungunya gone? Did the mosquito evolve into the one them now ah call ZIKA whey ah mek babies born with some sort ah deformity. Ah whey it gone? Did we goverment put een some very effective mosquito eradication programme? Ah whey it gone? Is it that we develop some farm ah immunity? Ah whey it gone? Did d people who dem say mek e biological weapon an release it pon we, send out ah  chemical to kill dem off and now dem ah test ah different one? Ah whey e gone? Somebody tell me how come the Chik-V just drop down pon we dry dry so and dem it left we and send it cousins. Ah whey d chikungunya gone?

Education Revolution or Stagnation? No more come Collin, Come Pam!

Image result for too much homework assignments
This morning, I had a conversation with my brother who was quite concerned about the magnitude of school work his 7 years old was taking home as homework assignments. The concern was more so the fact that my nephew, who is quite intelligent and generally performed in the top 3 of his class, could not read or understand some of the words and language and so would not be able to effectively execute the assignment without assistance from his parent. You may say, nothing is wrong with that, but it raised a number of questions and issues that I have been pondering on and even discussed with some colleagues some time back. One of the major questions stemming from this is what if the parents are unable to assist their child/children?What is they are illiterate?

I cannot understand the objective or vision of those who sat down and wrote the syllabus for primary school children that cannot be finished within the terms allotted which have led to them either doing after school classes or having a GREAT amount of homework assignments. Why so much homework? This is not a St.Vincent thing because I have seen it right here in Jamaica. What exactly is the vision of those within the educational system, the decision makers? What structures did you put in place to support your vision? What I am observing is a structure that supports the middle class and the rich and continues to widen the gap of those who are poor; those who cannot afford to hire a private tutor or to spend on after school lessons or to teach their children to read and write. Some of them cannot even afford to buy books.

If you are a teacher, you will understand this other issue depending on the level of the school you are teaching. I have taught for a number of years at the Intermediate High School, Kingstown St.Vincent and one of the major barriers to teaching students Geography was that they could not read. If a student, cannot read then we have a multitude of other problems to deal with. Attempts were made to add some remedial sessions, but it was ineffective for a number of reasons. For one, it is hard for anyone to be doing remedial work while at the same time trying to complete a syllabus. The system was not set up so that the slow students are screened and given a workload suitable for them. It could not be set up like that. Too many students in too small a classroom and we have to be making space for those who are coming in.

It was also clear to me as a teacher, the frustration that the students suffer. Often times, they 'skull/bun' (do not attend) classes and end up in fights and other terrible activities because they lack interest in school. What are the root causes for their lack of interest? I am quite certain that if we investigate further, we will realize that some of these students are fearful that they might be picked on to answer a question and end up looking dumb, uncomfortable to be in a class where they are not learning anything and embarrass at their own lack of knowledge, while others are succeeding.  This is even worse when the teachers and other students call them dumb/ 'dumsey head'. Still, I recognized that there were students who, if you ask them a question associated with the subject area, they may answer and get it right. Put it on an exam, they FAIL! Why? They cannot read!

I asked myself recently, is learning still fun or is it a burden? No more come Collin, Come Pam. Just homework assignments to get the best grades possible. Let them get into the best high school and set their 12 subjects while taking their dance lessons, their swim lessons, sports and of course, they must learn an instrument. Get your 12 distinctions in both business and science subjects so that I can stick my swell nose in the air as I read the newspaper and let my colleagues and friends know that my child is going to be both a doctor and a businessman. Surely, there must be a reason behind parents and teachers encouraging their children to do 12 subjects. Is learning still fun? Are kids having fun? Do they have a social life separate and apart from books? Are they enjoying reading?

I looked at my own life and the life of many influential business men and women, doctors and lawyers and many do not have more than 8 subjects, but it seems like something was wrong with that. Many can look back at their childhood and relate memorial experiences that have shaped them because they had a life outside of books. Many will reminisce on some funny stories that they read growing up and I wonder are these children stories still funny. Still, it seems that there is need to push our children beyond so that they can live their life and ours. Or maybe it goes back to those in the educational system, who wants to make a name for themselves and instead of putting structures in place for where the system is broken, they decided to change it all together and mess it up more than it was before.

I want to end by saying that, at the age of 1, my husband collected our daughter from daycare and was given a booklist to purchase 2 books valued about JA$2000. each. I was shocked, but even more so when she comes home one evening with homework. What!! While some of it involved simply colouring, others involved making a map of Jamaica, getting pictures of national heroes etc. I thought to myself, she is only 1. Now she is 2, I am scared. Where are we going with our education revolution as a Caribbean people?

Sunday, 10 January 2016

How to please your wives?

It is generally felt that  men cannot understand women. It is argued that we are complex, we drop hints instead of just saying what is on our minds and that we have terrible mood swings. All these I believe are quite true because I have met and spoken to women who, even I find hard to understand. I however wish to address the things that men can do to please us.

There are some men out there who are complicated by their own laziness. They do not even try or want to so that even if we plaster what we want on our faces, they will still ignore it because they lack the desire to please. The saddest part of any marriage is when one partner is working very hard for the betterment of their marriage and the other one is just laid back and believe that bringing in the money is enough. Some of the upsetting statements they can make during this time are, 'You should be happy', 'Some women/men well want what you have'. Truly, there are women/men out there who always desire what you have without really taking the time out to examine it. All that glitters is not gold.

So men, if you want to please us and have a happy marriage, here are just a few pointers on the things that makes us happy:

  • Help with the kids- No one can truly understand how burdensome raising children is until you have. It has nothing to do with the love for your kids. In fact, you love them to death, but it is not easy. Raising a child is a two parent job so when all the responsibility falls on only one parent,  that parent may become highly frustrated if they cannot find time for themselves. I only have one child whom I love dearly and after I left work tired, I still have to give her mommy time and I am super grateful to my good husband who helps out tremendously. There are times when she only wants me and I have things to do or I just need a little breather. Do you know where I escape to? The bathroom, and I have to lock the door, but even there, I cannot escape because she will find me and knocked the door while shouting mommy until I open it. Again, I only have one child. Yet, my date life is practical nil because family is not close and money not 'tun up' to allow me to hire a baby sitter in the night when I am already paying for one in the day. So again, men you need to recognize this and help out.
  • Dates and surprises do not end with marriage- It is very hard if, during courting, you use to go out pretty often or often enough to feel satisfy, but then you get married and it cuts down a little, then there and kids and everything ends to the point that sometimes even your anniversary is forgotten. There are some men who becomes so caught up in career and education that they forget they have a wife at home and they seemingly believe that their wife should only find happiness in the lovely home that they have provided with the lovely kids that they have given. They no longer take you out nor do they attempt to plan a little surprise. Instead, they work long hours, come home expecting food and sex and think that all is well. Wake up! Time to spice up the marriage.
  • Help out with the domestic chores. Now some men believe that the wife's role is in the home. Maybe this was so in traditional times, but time has changed. The little pocket money some jobs give as salary cannot pay bills and take care of the home, so it needs pocket money from two persons to run things. In other words, both the husband and wife are working and so when you come home tired, do not assume that your wife has done less work at her job and so can take on another. Pull your weight. If I am cooking, maybe you can help prepared the juice or the vegetables or bathe the kids. Why should a woman finish cooking, share the dinner for you and still have to get the kids ready for bed? In addition to this, you know how hard wrenching it is for a woman to be at work all day return to her home and the husband who was home all day, did not pick up a broom or put on a pot. Now we ladies know that if we have a day off, we are not only cooking, but cleaning and washing on top of that. Sometimes, there is not even any time to sit down and watch a movie, because we just cannot sit in a dirty home, but a man can be home all day and all he needs is a remote, sports channels and some dry food. Another little thing I appreciate about my husband, is if he is home, even if he does not cook, he might have folded the clothes and clean the house and he does cook at times. It is those little things that please us. 
  • Compliment us and say little words of appreciation from time to time- We are not asking you to habitually say I love you so much so that it comes like a ritual, but from time to time say something positive. Sometimes, you may look at a man and he appears to be aging like fine wine, while we are struggling with body images especially after giving birth. Fat might be poking out from places that were once slender and smooth. This by itself might not be such a big deal, but when coupled with not going out, working in a job and at home, having a husband who is hardly home and seem not to appreciate all you do, then that is grievous.
  • Listen and Act- I leave this one for last because I know there are many wives who are very strong willed and super argumentative and do not listen, but we have men who also do not listen. They may act as if you have nothing of worth to say and may even use the fact that you are strong willed as their defense. I always say to people that my husband has the final say, but I also appreciate the fact that the final say at times end with him agreeing with me because he listens to reason. He does not make any decision without including me. We will discuss and at the end, he makes a  reasonable decision. When a man does not listen and his wife has no input in any decision, it is as if you do not have any worth beyond a certain point.
Let me end by saying, there is a difference between contentment and happiness even though they are times used synonymously. I however see contentment as being satisfied and believe that you can be satisfied with your life, maybe because you have wonderful children, a nice home and your bills are paid, but unhappy because you are still lonely within your marriage, you feel as if you are just going through the motions and you think you have missed out or are missing out on the finer things in life. Notwithstanding, there are times when the husband has nothing to do with how a wife may feel and cannot stop them if they want a divorce. However, husbands where you can do more, do it. A simple question that you can ask yourself, as corny as it is, what if the shoes were on the other feet, how would I feel? In other words, put yourself in your wife's shoes. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The Chris Gayle Saga: Identifying the deeper Issues

Hot on the social media sites is the whole of issue on Chris Gayle making what was deemed as 'inappropriate' and 'unprofessional' when he made a pass at the interview by asking her on a date. I viewed several media clips and I  too must agree that there is a time and place for everything and Chris Gayle, that was not the time nor the place. When I first visited Jamaica, I was a bit appalled by the forwardness of the men, overtime I understood that it was a part of their culture. There was no need to get offended by the 'babes' and 'honey' because that is how some Jamaican men speak to ladies, but regardless, these men need to understand ALL are not Jamaican and what appears normal for you, can be deemed quite distasteful and rude by others. Still, what got me is the comments following many of the videos on the social media sites and also some of the statuses, which in some cases, I found appalling. Let me briefly highlight and expand on a few:

1. The differing opinions of the men versus the women- When I reviewed some of the comments made by men versus the women, I was a bit shocked that while some men could have said that Chris, you are wrong. You have to learn the definitions of the when and the where, there were some women out there wondering what Chris Gayle did wrong. They did not see anything wrong with it at all. They missed the point completely. People it is not about whether he chose to ask an attractive reporter out, but when/where he chose to do it.

One woman stated that 'they' (I guess referring to the public) are behaving like if he committed a crime. I am hoping that she does not mean that something like this should not be a 'big deal' and should be swept under the carpet. Clearly, it is a big deal because of the international platform where our Jamaican brother, who is quite aware that there are many negatives things out there about Jamaicans and Jamaican men that we really do not want to add. Surely, Chris Gayle knows that his good looks and international record does not give him a free pass to ask out any woman he feels like, whenever he feels like it and where ever he feels like it. Surely he knows that if someone of his status can do something like this, it is going to look bad on all Jamaican men because that is what people do, they brand a country and its people by the acts of one. Sad, but true and instead of saying, who gives a darm, let us gives a darm when it matters.

Other women commented, some with expletives, about it being a joke and also how much of a hero Chris Gayle would have looked like if he was a 'batty' man. Apparently, if he was a homosexual and make a pass at the reporter, he would have been a hero. To this, I say, when you look at a video and read other people's comments and you are about to write one that will simply highlight your stupidity, shut up. Old people say what is joke fi pickney ah death fi crapo. You run jokes with your friends, your brethren, people that you know can take it and smile... if it is a joke that is. You do not run joke on public television with a stranger. And about the homosexual comment...really!

2. My second point has to do with the whole empowering of women that has been used in statuses relating to the Chris Gayle's behaviour and I agree, women need to be empowered, but I think these days  we are so much focus on the women that we forget our males. As I stated in an earlier blog, " A call for Male Empowerment", we are moving from one extreme to the next. We are forgetting our males. Now, I listened to the response of the reporter to the Chris Gayle's situation and she handled it well and seems very empowered. At the end, she stated she just wanted to move on. Yes, she appears somewhat uncomfortable when Chris Gayle made the statement, maybe more so out of shock and also having to maintain her temperament on public television. Who needs empowerment to me were the women who were agreeing with Chris Gayle's behaviour and found absolutely nothing wrong with it. Conversely, I am calling for some focus on our males. Let when gender is mentioned, we do not just simply think about women even though there is a recognition that we still have a long way to go as it relates to gender balance. Our young males lack proper role models and when they grew up to act in certain ways, we deal with it in a closet as if it has to do simply with the individual, in this case Chris Gayle and what he has said. I do think there are wider societal issues that we are missing. The lack of proper male heads in the home, the high crime rate with men leading, the high male prison population, the ratio of males to females at the tertiary levels, the number of males drop out at the secondary level... It seems to me that our young males need some form of empowerment, role models, mentorship etc Someone needs to teach them how to approach women, timing and how to deliver the few love words, the little courtesies that one should consider rendering and so on.

There are many things that have been said and can be said about the Chris Gayle's saga. In fact, the situation has made him quite 'famous' and may remained that way in the next few days, but then it will pass as have other things. Let us not forget, in that passing wave, the underlying societal issues that may give rise to this form of behaviour. Let us remember our males.

Monday, 4 January 2016


Talk to Jazzy: DOWNTOWN KINGSTON: THE REAL JAMAICAN EXPERIENCE: I often say to people that you have not really visited Jamaica unless you have gone to down town Kingston and I am sticking to my words. ...

Saturday, 2 January 2016


I often say to people that you have not really visited Jamaica unless you have gone to down town Kingston and I am sticking to my words.

When I first visited Jamaica as a student, there were several places that were mentioned in a bleak, dark way because of the crime rate. Downtown Kingston was one. While some persons just asked that you be cautious and vigilant, others rake fear into you as if it something bad always happened there. So when I visited downtown for the first time, I was quite nervous and anxious. I jumped in fear if someone brushed passed me and I tried earnestly to shop very quickly and get out. Two more visits in the bargaining center of Jamaica finally led to a different conclusion. Downtown Kingston has a culture of its own and to me, it is a true representation of the heart of the Jamaican people.

I visited downtown almost every other Saturday for the last 3 years and I enjoyed every experience. The sales are quite good, although quite recently, possibly due to the increase traffic and comfort of persons in downtown, prices have been on the rise or can be described as quite similar to uptown. Still, there are bargains to be had on the streets and even in the stores. Sellers are prepared to give you a discount and to add a little 'brawta' to products that you may buy whether onions, oranges, potatoes etc. Downtown Kingston is indeed one of my favourite places in Jamaica and it is not because I love drama.  I simply love the atmosphere and the culture of the people. Jamaicans know how to hustle and they are not lazy. The streets of downtown will, on a Saturday, be lined with males, females and children just selling clothes and shoes. They will clap their hands, jumped and shout the prices at you as you pass. The atmosphere is filled with shouts of 'undred dollar, come get yo look good pants, sale out etc etc. Stores compete with each other with music and DJs announcing bargains and I just simply love their spiritedness of the people. Downtown has a culture of its own which I truly appreciate. So when my brother visited me recently, I had to take him to downtown Kingston because to me, it is a true depiction of the Jamaican people and their culture. His response was, 'Now this feels like Jamaica'.

Downtown is where you see the strength and joy of the Jamaican people in the midst of their struggles. It is clear that life is quite hard as persons travel on foot with their clothes or use hand carts to go around the town and sell.

Persons sell just about every and anything and do it with great pleasure. Men selling panties and shoes, some selling bag juice, make-up, soap powder, colgate etc and not in any large amount. Often times, you will meet persons only selling one type of item.

These vendors also have to contend with issues relating to use of space. While they wish to sell their goods where the pedestrian traffic is high in areas such as Beckford Street, and will often spread blue tampoline  and lay their items on top, this is an illegal practice and often times they have to take speed when police approaches to avoid losing their goods.

The best vendors are in downtown. You may enter a store and cannot leave without buying something because the persons are willing to drop the price or are just simply good at convincing you to get an item. Sometimes you are walking the street and can only glimpse the goods quickly to prevent them from drawing you in with "Me nar charge yo fi look" because if you get closer to properly examine their items, they will use their tactics to convince you to buy. Indeed, you are not being charged to look.

You can also get your hair, nails and eyebrows done right in the heart of downtown, right on Princess Street. This is where all the fashionistas are and you will recognize them as soon as you see them. Not simply because you will see the service being rendered, but mainly because of the lighter complexion, colourful, complex hairstyles and long eyeslashes and painted nails of these service providers.

Then there is the language fuelled by their strong Kingstonian accent. When a foreigner visits Jamaica, we are often fascinated with the strong Jamaican accent. I remember when I was in high school on the small island of St.Vincent, we were told that we were going to have a Jamaican Literature teacher. We were all excited as Jamaica has some wonderful short stories that we simply loved, but when we were introduce to the teacher and she addressed us, she quickly saw our disappointment. She explained that she was from uptown Jamaica and the people there had a different accent. It was the first time, I learnt about uptown and downtown, but for certain, I was disappointed. That was not a Jamaican accent! Imagine my excitement when I visited downtown Jamaica and I listen to the stress in the names and the words as the downtown Kingstonians speak to each other. I will listen to the men talk and it intrigues me...Soon Forward, Soon Come, eeeeeee, ah that me ah pree, Yea Mon, likkle more. To many Jamaicans, this is normal and they may even avoid it as they rise to high society. However, to foreigners like myself, this is true 'Jamaicanness'. It marks the uniqueness of the Jamaicans from others simply through language. It is a product for tourism development as while some may not understand what is being said, they are still fascinated by the Jamaican language. It is strange the little things that are at times taken for granted.

An article like this can never really appreciate the beauty of downtown Kingstown, which is also illustrated in the rich cultural heritage seen in the buildings. So to give you a little glimpse, this article is also fill with pictures and  a shortvideo that I took while in downtown this Christmas season.

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