Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter in the islands

This past weekend was the longest stretch of time I spent in my community. Starting with Good Friday all businesses were closed for the holiday. Friday: it was a slow morning. I tried to sleep in as long as possible knowing the day ahead had no set plans.But my body clock has set itself to wake up after just about 9 hours of sleep and therefore I was wide awake at 7am. The sound of my host brothers running around and playing didn’t help either. I had my morning cocoa tea and my host mother cooked me a plate of plantains, an egg and Sukies bread (the most popular bakery on the island). By the afternoon both myself and my host brother were getting bored. As he was investigating my belongings he found some latex gloves (from a clean up project) and started using them as balloons and water balloons. It was an entertaining hour watching him crack up over the inflated gloves. Later we walked up the road to a friend’s house and met them in time for a cricket game. We reached the field set just above the sea on a small flat piece of land. It is perfectly nestled between a variety of hills and ledges. Waiting below was a large group of men ranging from 8 – 25 years old. The cricket games take place every Saturday and Sunday, but being a holiday weekend games were going to happen for the next five days. I learned much about the game as I sat and watched. Quite often the ball made its way up the side of the hill leading to a boy running straight up the side to fetch it… they are in great shape. The boys were animated and competitive just as a pick up game of baseball would be in the U.S. I am noticing many similarities here and back home, we’re not so different.
On my walk to the game I met a traveler from Austrailia. She was an interesting women taking 6 weeks to travel the islands of the Caribbean. When I met her she was taking pictures of the children by the road and mentioned how beautiful they are. She sounded like she had traveled many many parts of the world. She walked to the field with me and shot questions at me about my experience so far and the things I will be doing. It was nice not being the stranger in the village for once. I, at the time was the familiar face and she was foreigner. After her photos of the cricket game she made her way back to her hotel.
Saturday was quite like most, but Sunday morning was bustling with people making their way up the hill to church. There was even a bus driving people since its such a popular church day. (I, however, walked the way). The service was beautiful and following I mingled with church – goers feeling a better sense of involvement with in the community. After everyone bought their cakes and ice pops we found a rides home. The afternoon is popular for “cooking a pot”. It is basically a stew where provisions such as dasheen and plantain are thrown in a pot with fish or chicken and spices. It boils for about and hour before eaten. I was invited to experience this with a friend and it was delicious. And after that everyone limed and enjoyed the day.
Easter Monday is a national holiday here. Seeing as though Easter falls on the weekend a day is taken off the Monday following the holiday. Easter Monday is a the most popular day for cooking out and going to the beach. I went with a group of friends (yea I have friends now!) to a local beach / river. We made another pot of food. I helped to peel the fig (which are green bananas), while some guys gathered wood and palms for a fire. We chilled for awhile and swam in the river. The weather was not very good so each time it rained we all stood under a tarp we’d brought along. It was a day full of adventure.
The weekend was nice. I feel I am making many more connections as time goes by. And being in the village for 5 days straight helped me to spend time with new friends, get invited to events and adjust to the concept of simply doing nothing for hours on end. Training ends today with final interviews … I am anxious to move into my apartment and continue making a life here.

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