Tuesday, 13 November 2012

On youth work, the Blue Mountains, and avocado

I thought that when I returned to Jamaica, my life would slow down to its relaxed state of being, the pace at which I've lived the last year.  But it appears that a bit of the whirlwind of Toronto came down with me, because I have been busy the last few weeks.  And with already more than three weeks of company  from three groups of people expected before Christmas, it doesn't show any signs of abating.

Some highlights from the past couple of weeks:

First, a professional success!  Nataleah Hunter-Young arrived in Montego Bay and started her Cuso placement working with the Social Development Commission.  Her placement is a result of my work to develop new partnerships outside of Kingston.  She will be working with youth in disadvantaged communities to help them develop leadership and lifestyle skills and access education, training and employment.

So far, she had been enjoying Montego Bay and her placement is off to a good start.  The only problem is that she has not been to the beach yet, but we are planning to remedy that next weekend.

I am feeling good about seeing the fruits of my labour. A second volunteer is scheduled to arrive later this month so soon the Montego Bay contingent will be three volunteers strong.

The signing of the tripartite agreement, between the volunteer, Natalia (on the far right), the partner, SDC, represented by the Parish Manager, Mr. Hayle (on the far left) and Cuso, represented by Tarik Perkins (in the middle).
On a personal level, this weekend Captain Phil and I attended the lovely wedding of our friends Audrey and Aziz, which took place high in the Blue Mountains at a place called Heritage Gardens.  The view was spectacular, the bride and groom were beautifully attired in West African outfits, the guests were an eclectic mix of Africans, Jamaicans and Canadians, and the food was scrumptious.  It was an event to remember!

The drive up was less than 20 km, but it took us 45 minutes because of the switchbacks and the potholes in the roads.

The covered patio where the reception was held.

These "lanterns" were set along the path ans staircases and lit to create a magical glow.

Sunset with a view way, way down to Kingston Harbour
Finally, I may have mentioned on the blog before, but one of my Jamaican goals was to buy an avocado (pear, as they are known locally,) every time I went to town for as long as it was in season. So yesterday, after getting off the bus that brought us back for Kingston, I walked down the back lane where the men and women selling produce off carts or baskets sit, and bought two pear and bananas, tangerines, a green pepper and a papaya.

The green pear, in the back, was enormous and probably weighted at least 2 pounds.  And, that red fruit is actually an avocado as well!  I'd never seen a red pear before - I am going to taste test it tomorrow :)

The green pear made up part of last night's dinner and also was served with breakfast this morning (we ate the papaya too). It had a wonderfully fresh flavour and a velvety smooth texture.

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