Kraas Kolcha Day & Goodbye Hellshire

Things I am grateful for today: Cool mornings, windy days, ice cubes, and coffee.

Yesterday was Kraas Kolcha (cross culture) day at training where we had the opportunity to learn about other regions of the US that trainees in our group are from in a series of presentations and to learn more about Jamaican culture through music, dance, fruit, and delicious sweets.

We were treated to performances by Al Third (reggae) in the morning, and Majah Bless (Dub Poet and Rapper) later in the day. In the afternoon we got sweaty and interactive with a variety of Jamaican dances for mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, and dancehall music – which were taught to us by BEAM dance group. Traditional African dances, Spanish dances, and Indian belly dancing were also taught by some of the wonderfully diverse members in our volunteer group. It was fun to get groovy and silly with everybody after a few weeks of mostly sitting down during our 8 hour training days.

Coconut is one of my favorite foods / drinks and I am in coconut HEAVEN here in Jamaica. Mature coconuts lined with thick coconut meat and young coconuts (called jellies) filled with sweet coconut water and lined with gelatinous young coconut meat (which tastes a lot yummier than it sounds) can be found at most fruit stalls. Coconut is also a dominant theme in many of the sweets and candies I discovered at our kraas kolcha day yesterday. My level of excitement at this availability of coconut is impossible to communicate via blog post. (In the not too distant future, I’m looking forward to sharing info about all the other unique fruits of Jamaica, but since that is a large amount of information I’m holding onto for a fruit specific post.)

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Today I woke up to nice cool morning (~75°F) and enjoyed some iced coffee with fried Jamaican dumplings, steamed callaloo, orange, and papaya for breakfast. Then I hand-washed my laundry and hung it up to dry on the rooftop where I sat for a bit and appreciated the beautiful view of the deep blue Caribbean Sea and the outline of Kingston in the distance where the island curves outward to the sea. A video chat with my family this afternoon also warmed my spirit and rounded out my day. It’s been a beautiful, relaxing, and rejuvenating day to end this portion of training in Hellshire. Tomorrow afternoon we split into our separate environment and education sectors then head off into two separate, rural communities (known as “hubs”) to begin more sector specific training for the next 6 weeks. During hub training I will have less access to the internet, but hopefully I’ll be able to make a few posts during the next phase of this training adventure.

Bles op! ~ Sage

 

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