Category Archives: Jamaica Life

One Saturday in the Blue Mountains/ Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matthew 6:28-29)

Wishing you a fresh, uninhibited Saturday from Island Vignettes, Jamaica.

I took this photo during a Saturday hike into the Jamaica Blue Mountains.

Daisy in Cinchona Gardens, Blue Mountains - Jamaica
Daisy in Cinchona Gardens, Blue Mountains – Jamaica


Read More…

  1. Memories of Jamaica Blue Mountains:
  2. Forest Trek 2012:
  3. Finding Perspective:


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Celebrating Mandela: 67 minutes for children in Jamaica

Nelson Mandela fought for social justice for 67 years. On 18th July each year the world commemorates the struggle and values of the former South African President through volunteerism and community service.  Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that everyone has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact.

This year I chose to participate in “YOGA FOR CHANGE: Lift up not lock up our children”: an event held through collaboration with Jamaicans for Justice with the Lift Up NOT Lock Up Campaign, the Jamaica Yoga Association (JAYA) and Universal Empress (Nadine McNeil) in association with the South African High Commission. 

Yoga for Social Change
Yoga for Social Change
67 candles to be lit for our children

I joined the JFJ, JAYA and Universal Empress yesterday for 67 minutes of yoga in tribute to Nelson Mandela’s fight for social justice and Jamaica’s fight for the upliftment of her children.

For 60 minutes I stretched and thought that my discomfort paled in comparison to what some of our children in adult lock ups endure. For 7 minutes I meditated to the sounds of birds in Hope Gardens and thought that many of our children are burdened by circumstances that makes the concept of play seem irrelevant. I placed my monetary donation in a jar and expect it to be handed over to a children’s home in Jamaica. The full effect of a candlelight vigil was diminished by the late setting summer sun, but this only highlighted my awareness of the fact that many children will wait for a very long time before they are empowered to let their lights shine.

In Jamaica, there have been numerous reports of children being held in adult lock ups and reports of those being held in state care receiving less than adequate attention for their overall rehabilitation and care. According to Jamaicans for Justice, a citizen’s rights action organisation advocating for good governance:-

“The stories of abuse and neglect of children in both children’s homes and detention centres are too common. We are distressed that the children who are in the greatest need of care and support are getting the least of it,” – according to a recently launched petition by the group.

The JFJ called for -among other things – the removal of children from the Fort Augusta Adult Correctional Centre and police lock-ups and the removal of the designation “Uncontrollable Child” from the legislation as a reason to lock up a child.

Additionally, the group has called for a revision of the Child Care and Protection Act and the Corrections Act, and the creation of smaller rehabilitative centres for children – not juvenile jails.

On the other hand Minister of Youth and Culture, Lisa Hanna has strongly opposed statements by the JFJ, pointing out that some 148 children have been removed from police jails between January last year and May this year.

Lift up NOT lock up our children

Here is one video posted by the JFJ that speaks to the situation for some children. While there are some elements I personally disagree with in the way in which JFJ’s message is packaged, the message itself is not to be discounted. I make a call to you to check the reports and judge for yourself.

“Lift up not lock up our children”

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CVSS Summer Games to take place in Kingston this weekend



Having fun at the CVSS Summer Games 2012 Copyrighted Image of CVSS Jamaica
Having fun at the CVSS Summer Games 2012
Copyrighted Image of CVSS Jamaica

Kingston, (July 11, 2013) — The 2013 CVSS Summer Games schedule has been publicly released and it includes a 100 meter run at 11:00am, open to all guests, sponsors, athletes and exhibitors.

The Games take place on Saturday, July 13, at Mona Bowl, UWI campus.

The opening ceremonies, which will be hosted by Minister with Responsibility for Sport, Natalie Neita-Headley, will take place at 10:00 am, and will be followed by the cheerleading competition.

According to CVSS CEO, Mrs Winsome Wilkins, the CVSS Summer Games are designed to give young people from at-risk communities an opportunity to compete in a spirit of fellowship with other athletes from across the island, to enjoy organized summer activities free of charge, and to build confidence and self-assurance through a programme of training leading up to the Games.

The Honourable Natalie Neita-Headley, who will officially open the Games, noted that “the government appreciates the real and potential impact of these CVSS Summer Games as they offer opportunities to both able-bodied and intellectually and physically challenged young athletes.”

The closing ceremonies will feature final team awards presented by Canadian High Commissioner, His Excellency, Robert Ready. The CVSS will unveil the new slogan for the 2014 Games, and the winners of the first-ever slogan naming contest will be awarded Sony Nucleo Tablets, courtesy of the LIME Foundation.

More than 20 sponsors threw their support behind the Games, with the Usain Bolt Foundation becoming the latest sponsor. Mrs Wilkins said that the outpouring of support for the Games – including in-kind and cash donations -is a testament to a renewed spirit of partnership and philanthropy she is seeing across the island. “The spirit of volunteerism, of giving, and giving back, is alive and well in Jamaica.”

Having fun at the CVSS Summer Games 2012 Copyrighted Image of the CVSS Jamaica
Having fun at the CVSS Summer Games 2012
Copyrighted Image of the CVSS Jamaica

Five exhibitors will also attend the Games providing information services to the attendees. The Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Project (funded by GoJ/EU/UNEP) is a major sponsor as well as an exhibitor, bringing awareness and information to young people about the impacts of climate change and how to make a difference.

The CVSS, which is one of Jamaica’s oldest non-profit umbrella organisations, has been running the Games for several years, through their Youth Sector agencies. The Games are open to member agencies and other non-profits who provide much-needed social services to youth across the island.

For more information contact:

Mrs. Sharon Edwards
922-9424-7/534-2234 mobile

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The Victim Support Unit of Jamaica: Healing & Justice for All Victims of Crime

The Victim Support Unit of Jamaica does not have an established web presence and as such it is sometimes difficult to contact them. Please see below for a relevant flyer on the services provided as well as contact information for each Parish office across the island. I hope this is useful.

The Victim Support Unit of JamaicaThe Victim Support Unit of Jamaica 2

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” — Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Many of us are preparing for and dreading the arrival of Monday. I hope to help ease the transition. Green is a colour associated with renewal, self-control and harmony. This rich colour can help alleviate depression and anxiety while relaxing us mentally and physically. In tonight’s post, I offer you a glimpse of my encounters with this special colour. I wish you a green week!

While you enjoy the ride, I’ll pop off to mix myself up a batch of corn muffins! Maybe I’ll pop something green on top:)

A relaxing afternoon at Doctor’s Cave Beach, St. James
Tangerines mocking me from the tree. Taken at River’s Edge, St. Mary.
This proud Jamaican displays his merchandise. Taken at Cross Roads, Kingston
Sunday afternoon in the Blue Mountains. Can you see the houses dotting the hillside? Look again!
Can you guess where I met these vintage set of wheels? You get one guess!
After all our travels, lets have sips and light conversation in my friend’s garden. She won’t mind!

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The Ghostly Mystery Revealed: Rose Hall Great House, Montego Bay

It was fun hearing from all of you as you tried to guess the site in my photo! Well its now time to reveal the mysterious destination! Drum roll please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay, Jamaica!

Rose Hall before its reconstruction

This Great House is probably one of the most popular in Jamaica and is located a few kilometres east of Montego Bay. It is a beautiful Georgian manse complete with stone base and a stunning view of the coast. The grounds are well-kept, peaceful and quite hilly in some spots. Occasionally you many glimpse a staff member pass by, dressed in the Jamaican traditional garb. Perhaps intentionally, this sight tends to feel like an immediate throwback to the days when slaves and servants scurried about their daily duties. If you look hard enough, you’ll spot a green-eyed cat peering at you from the shrubbery!

The beautiful drive up to Rose Hall Great House

Thus the legend of Rose Hall Great House goes… (extract from


The story states that the White Witch was Annie Palmer, who was born in England to an English mother and Irish father. She spent most of her life, however, in Haiti. After her parents died of yellow fever she was adopted by her nanny who regularly practiced voodoo and taught her witchcraft. She later moved to Jamaica, where she was married to John Palmer in 1820. She reportedly stood 4’8″.

John Palmer was the owner of Rose Hall Plantation, east of Montego Bay. Annie’s husband (and two subsequent husbands as well) died suspiciously, and it is speculated that Annie herself brought about their demise.

Fancy a drink with a ghostly companion? Then go below-stairs to Annie’s eerie pub!

Annie became known as a mistress of voodoo, using it to terrorize the plantation, and taking male slaves into her bed at night and often murdering them; supposedly because she was bored of them. The legend has her being murdered in her bed during the slave uprisings of the 1830s by one of her slave lovers named Takoo, who also practiced voodoo and became one of Annie’s lovers. Annie was said to be killed by Takoo because she was in love with the husband of Takoo’s granddaughter. When Annie found she could not have him, she conjured a voodoo curse on Takoo’s granddaughter who died a week later. When Takoo found this out, he killed Annie. Takoo ran into the forest to hide after murdering Annie, but was quickly caught by an overseer (another of Annie’s lovers) and killed.

It is said that a family who owned the property after the Palmers had a housekeeper who was “pushed” by Annie off of Annie’s favourite balcony, subsequently breaking her neck and dying.


So what exactly makes me think of Jamaican society today? This beautiful country can be such a study in opposites at times! It is a curiously intertwined maze that keeps you guessing and never gets boring. For one Jamaica is a Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional Monarchy in which Queen Elizabeth

A few sips might help you deal with the fear! 🙂

II is the reigning monarch, represented by the Governor General. Although there have been many calls lately for Jamaica to become a Republic, I have to wonder.

I wonder because it is amazing to see at times how old British attitudes flavor daily life. In a country whose population is more than 90% African descent, classism seems to rear its head. The divide between uptown and downtown is clear from lifestyle to accent. A strong Rastafarian movement which denounces and defies “Babylon system” exists alongside a Jamaica in which there is clear deference for all things Caucasian at times. Although we have moved past the days of slavery, it seems we have in this society found other ways to create entrapment. Makes me think of Bob Marley’s call to Emancipate ourselves from mental slavery…

Anyway if you do get a chance, I highly recommend you read this book for the story! Enjoy *mwwwaahahahahahaha*  (My attempt at scary laugh :))

The Book “The White Witch of RoseHall”
Rose Hall Great House today

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Travel & Lifestyle: Working “staycation” at Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa

Recently, I had the opportunity to combine work and pleasure while staying at the beautiful Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort and Spa in Ocho Rios Jamaica. Two and a half days of workshops on Strategic plans, Grant writing, Intercultural exchanges and Team building were pleasantly interspersed by good food,  great camaraderie and phenomenal views from my 4th floor room.

View from my window

I loved it from the moment I stepped in. Eager service from bus to reception area, massive columns and archways, Latin music, ice-cold refreshing towels and free 2 minute massages available in the lobby. We were quickly whisked into our workshop area, so I was temporarily forced to contain the itch to explore.

My Sapphire Ocean view room was complete with private balcony, lush four-poster bed and stocked mini bar which I could use at no extra fee.

Four poster bed for ultimate comfort
Beautifully tiled bathroom

Food was available almost 24 hours and ranged from elegant reserved affairs to casual swim-bys. On our first night we enjoyed teppanyaki style, chop-chop entertainment at the Jade Samurai. The second night was completed out on the pier under the starlight, serenaded by live music. For a few moments I felt like I was dining aboard the Titanic!

Having dinner Teppanyaki style!
A delectable morsel for desert

The hot tub by the Piano Bar had its fill of us on Thursday night and Team building activities kept us busily scampering around the property for much of Friday afternoon. Friday night I waltzed, salsa-ed and laughed the night away at the Disco – the Bling! Saturday morning, aided by the pouring rain, a few of us contributed our top class worst karaoke performances, thus ending our stay with a bang, fizzle and pop!

I saved the best part for last – the beach. Come on, hop on in with a good book. Bliss awaits you…

After a long day of workshops, it’s time for a comfortable snooze on the beach!

Well what else can I say, except – “Ah boi, dis a de Island life!” 😀


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