Saturday, 23 February 2008

The story of May Pen

I've been travelling a fair bit around the Island for the last month for work. Most towns I visit, the devastation from hurricanes are visible, I don't even need to ask someone about what had happened I just automatically know from the appearance of the devastation.

Two weeks ago when I visited May Pen, I discovered an intriguing story. May Pen is of a moderate sized town about two hours north west of Kingston. This story centrals on May Pen School for the Deaf which was the purpose of my visit to the town. Last October, a hurricane came around, everyone scattered, the school had survived the impact but the May Pen town was badly hit. The school consisted of three buildings, one of the building had it's electricity cut off by the hurricane. After the hurricane had gone, some people from the May Pen community took it upon themselves to break inside the unpowered building forcing the security guard to resign out of safety concerns. They looted the building, took away resources meant for educating Deaf children.

There's reportedly some people still hiding in the building, the Principal refuses to send anyone inside. They are too scared, the building is now off limits to teachers and students. To solve the problem of providing a classroom for students, the principal moved them into the first and second buildings and thus, students are learning in an inadequate and overcrowded environment.

With some Deaf Teacher Assistants at May Pen

As seeing that May Pen is a school owned by Jamaica Association for the Deaf, they are currently trying to solve the situation and the first step is getting the electricity back. The costs run well into the JA$24 million which no one seems to have.

The hurricane season is from May to November, Jamaica often gets hit around October. It is now almost March, five months to the last devastating hurricane and the school still has not been fixed. I can imagine the Jamaicans getting tired of having to re do and fix damages caused by hurricanes year after year. I wonder what this year's season will bring?

Thursday, 7 February 2008

New Menu for KFC?

On my first night in Kingston with a host family, I was served chicken feet stew with rice and beans for dinner. Before you guys start thinking that I actually ate that, there's NO WAY that I would have attempted! Maybe KFCs here in Jamaica serve this on their menu? I will need to find out! But for the meanwhile, ENJOY!

Debbie xx
P.S. The Jamaicans have now upgraded to pig's feet, which possible global chain restaurant would you think that has pig's feet on their menu?

Deaf Ears but Not Stupid

I found the school motto of Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf (CCCD) Mandeville to be very funny!

"Deaf Ears but Hearing Hearts"

I reckon having Deaf Ears and Deaf Hearts are good enough, it'd demonstrate that we are proud to be Deaf.

I've made up my own motto:

"Deaf Ears but Not Stupid"

If you happen to have transpired some tongue in the cheek motto you'd like to share, leave a comment!!

Debbie xx

Friday, 1 February 2008

So so behind

I am so behind with updating my blog, the last travel entry was when we had arrived at Madrid. I'll write up a VERY short summary of where we went after that.

We stayed in Madrid for one week and then moved onto Barcelona where we saw many amazing sights, I can officially say that Barcelona is one of my favourite places to visit. I most especially enjoyed visitng La Sagradia Familia, I spent an hour outside just staring, trying to absorp the building in but there were so many details. I remember thinking on that day, how was I able to remember every art detail of that building? Was that Gaudi's purpose, to make people forget the exact details of La Sagrada? We visited more of Gaudi's work, La Pedrera and Park Guell. We also explored a museum on Picasso's artworks. Ben and I sneaked a day to visit the Dali Theatre and Museum in Figueres, about two hours north of Madrid. Dali's artwork is pretty amazing!

After a week in Barcelona, we went to Girona for the day before catching our flight back to London. Once I returned to London, it was back to try and set up a new life and finding a proper job. Sarah and Bugge left for Australia via Hong Kong where they texted me that they had bought a new laptop. A month later, Melissa left for Hong Kong, she sent me an email saying that she also got a new laptop!! What is it with HK and laptops?! Melissa continued her travels to Cambodia and Thailand before heading for Melbourne.

I spent most of my time in London bludging around and trying to find a job, but was not very successful. One weekend I decided to travel to Edinburgh with Sheepy, a friend from Australia. We had a blast walking the royal mile, spending time with Paula and Simon and I ended up having a drinking competition with Deaf Scotsmen which was not a good idea! Their idea of a good drink evolves around whisky and more whiskies. The next day Sheepy and I caught a train back to London and I was so sick.

In the duration of my stay in London, I worked various jobs but they were all 'under the table' work, I once coached the deaf netball team, worked as a babysitter, walked around from 8am till 3pm posting blasted leaflets at 1,000 houses in Leyton, spent a night's skit as a nightclub promoter for the 'Salvador and Amanda' nightclub in Leicester Square. Then I finally got more promising work as a property inventory clerk for a real estate company which I enjoyed. I also did some volunteering work for Deafplus at Deptford.

I also did more travelling after Spain, I went to Switzerland for the Zurich European Union of the Deaf Youth General Assembly. My focus was not at the EUDY GA but to see Zurich, it's absolutely a beautiful place but so so expensive! I hired a bike and asked around if I was able to ride around Lake Zurichsee in one day, and most laughed at me, said it'd take at least two days. I calculated from the length of the lake and the speed I'd be able to ride a bike, it'd take me a good 30 hours to ride around the lake without a break. I ended up only riding on one side in the morning and then returning in the afternoon. One day, I walked onto the main street to find an eco friendly festival happening and I got wrapped up in the middle of it. To emphasis how eco friendly Switzerland is, they released green balloons and had demonstrations on how to cut emissions etc. It was fun and naturally, there were plenty of delicious aroma wafting around.

A week after Zurich I flew to Rome to meet Luke and spent a week catching up with him in our beloved Auslan and going loose in the ancient city of Rome! We covered large distances by foot each day and at evening, we'd trudge slowly back to our hostel exhausted and complaining that we had walked too much, but then we'd do it all over again the next day because we were so excited to be in Rome. Luke and I kept a tally of numbers of when we tripped over rough and uneven footpaths, I think my tally was 7 and Luke's at a clumsy 13!

In Rome, on our first day, we made a beeline for the Vatican museum and was gobsmacked at how huge and the precise painting was inside the Sistine Chapel! On my map of the museum, it said that there were a collection of church based library books, it was very easy to persuade Luke that we should visit the library but to our disappointed, the books was lined up in locked shelves in the hallway leading to Sistine Chapel. Where's the fun of looking through mysterious and ancient theological books that might hold sacred secrets. I know! I shouldn't believe too much in The Da Vinci Code! We spent the whole afternoon in Vatican itself and climbed up St. Peter's Basilica and then going underground to visit the Popes tombs. John Paul's (the recent one) tomb was the only one new and shiny compared with the other tombs. In the coming days after visiting Vatican City, Luke and I trawled the whole of Rome, popping in almost every church because in our guide book the church was said to possess some art work of Bernini's or Michelangelo's! We also visited well known squares, my favourite square is where the Pantheon is. We also visited the Colosseum, I tried to imagine Gladiators, to be more specific, Russell Crowe fighting on the stage, but it was difficult because there weren't much of the stadium left. Luke and I also visited the Trevi fountain, and wished that we'll visit Rome again!

At the end of the week, Luke moved onto Florence to continue his Italian escapade, I returned to London. I went back to Scotland again for the weekend, but this time with Melissa C and Marlene. I went down the same path with the girls and discovered some more of Edinburgh that I had missed on the previous visit. It is a beautiful and old old city! Sometime early November, I participated in the Deaf netball tournament in Camden Town, I played with the London Deaf Team and we had a lot of fun, unfortunately we did not win.

I applied for a job in Jamaica to work with Deaf adults and was successful in getting the post. I hastingly left London, the actual story is.... I had waited until Monday to find out the next available flight back to Australia, so I could recover from the cold British weather, eat 'normal' meals, catch up with my family before I moved onto another foreign country. The man at China Eastern Airlines told me that the next available flight was either tonight (in 5 hours time) or on 29th December and I had been hoping to be able to start working in Jamaica in mid December. I had no choice but to opt for the 'tonight' flight. I rushed home, threw in all my meagre possessions in bags and then organised everything at a speed so dizzingly that my last minutes in London was a blur. I made the flight in time and was able to finally relax on the long flight to Shanghai and then changed for Melbourne.

I was only in Melbourne under a week, but it was bliss! It felt so comfortable and natural to be back home. Dad cooked a celebratory barbeque for me, it never had tasted so good! I had to book tickets to Kingston, Jamaica at the last minute, actually, I booked two days before I left Melbourne and arrived in Kingston on 12th December.

And so here I am! In Kingston, Jamaica. I've been here nearly two months now but it has been a very interesting experience! I'll write a post about Jamaica sometime soon!

I swallowed a fly....

Last night when I was walking home, I choked upon swallowing a poor fly. After my choking subsided and attemption to spit the fly out failed miserably, I started to think about the new experiences the fly will encounter in my acidic stomach. I suddenly had a new perspective on life! My previous blog was too dark and the text was too small, I decided to change the format and I hope it will help cheer you up to some level unlike the poor fate of the fly.