Category Archives: Motivation

Special Photo Challenge: Inspiration

Just about seven months ago I started this journey of blogging. Since then I’ve written about a surprising range of topics – from Children’s rights to recipes from the Caribbean kitchen – and everything in between!

Here are a few scenes out of my life. These are the moments that motivated me to start this blogging journey. I treasure time spent with the elders, their wisdom and knowledge. I also treasure nature – the vibrancy and freshness keeps me centred and humbled. The two made me into an avid story-teller. Thanks to each of you for continuing to be a part of my journey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Spending time with this elder from Rwanda


Being inspired by the special moments in my life


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Make a Difference today: Universal Children’s Day

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children” Nelson Mandela

This sweet young girl wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

Today is Universal Children’s Day – a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and goals of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Did you know that children have certain rights assigned to them? Also did you know that as a caregiver you have certain responsibilities toward our young ones? I encourage you to read more about this here – now!

This gentleman, resplendent in starched garb and dignified with age shuffles across the road in Downtown Kingston as he does his part to protect the children.

Children are such beautiful beings, trusting, innocent and deserving of our love and protection. Sadly many adults who have responsibility to protect them are exactly the ones who strip them of their innocence.


 “child abuse or maltreatment constitutes all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.” (WHO Consultation on Child Abuse Prevention, 1999)

The innocence of childhood

WHO estimates that 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence during 2002. In Jamaica, statistics show that more than 12,000 cases of child abuse have been reported since 2007.

You can make a difference! Click here to find out how!

Let us work together to protect the leaders of tomorrow. Start with those children in your home, on your street, in your local community and never ever underestimate your ability to make a difference!

Join me in the quest to make a difference and spread the word of Universal Children’s Day today!

These children play jumprope in the yard of the Trenchtown Reading Centre

Check out this video that was done sometime ago and recognized by UNICEF as an inspiring piece.

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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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Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

Today is a day of renewal for me. Today is the day I allow my mind and body to drift deliciously from slumber to wakefulness. I allow my ears to appreciate the symphony of birdsong outside the window panes. Today there is no urgency in my step. I have captured time and made it my slave. For today only. A fresh cup of tea is fully savoured.

It is Saturday. Today I get to unwind and push sad statistics and stories to the furthest recesses of my mind. Working in Development can take an emotional toll on the mind and body. All the more reason to appreciate an opportunity for renewal.

Early morning in Hope Gardens, Jamaica

The Place

The place is Hope Gardens, Jamaica. Started as an experimental garden in 1881, transformed into a lush, manicured oasis complete with all manner of exotic plants, Hope Gardens has been through times of neglect and care. I was fortunate to capture this moment at approximately 6:30am.

I was lost in a dream made up of soft, green carpet and blue cotton candy sky. Floral closets and palm fronds cast long shadows across the grass in the morning light and a slight breeze skipped playfully through the foliage.

I inhale. Then I exhale. For now, that is enough.

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Life gave me lemons…and I sold them!

A struggle for life

Reflections from working with the poor & disadvantaged…

Some days life serves me lemons. They say that I should make lemonade. How do I do that? I can’t afford the sugar and my taps don’t have water. How I hate lemons.

Some days life serves me blows. Life wears itself like a noose adorning my neck. They say I should persevere. How do I do that? I still can’t afford to buy the pair of scissors to cut that noose. How I hate that noose.

Other days life serves me hope. Just a teaspoonful. They don’t say much, for now I am a threat. It seems I might be emerging from that hole…finally…

These days life serves me vision. It overflows my cup. They say absolutely nothing for they are busy. Busy taking away the means to attain the vision. I see lemons on the horizon…again…

One day life served me perspective. A moment of illumination. I no longer hear what they say. It is of no consequence.

I sold the lemons and used the money to buy a pair of scissors. I used the scissors to cut the noose. I used the noose to tie the hope to my new perspective. I used the perspective and realized that while I was being pressed and squeezed, I had emerged onto the other side and am in full bloom.

The noose got their tongues now.

[© Copyrighted material – O. Barrett/Island Vignettes 2012]

I survived the struggle

Vignette Monthly Peek: Youth, crime & white sand beaches…

Youth, crime and white sand beaches. These three have been on my mind lately. During my one week hiatus from the blogging world, I’ve hunted out some refreshing stories for you. This took me from the gullies of East Kingston to a southern Caribbean island known for its carnival and cuisine. Two islands that have created waves in CARICOM of late – from growing trade disputes to internal labour strikes and dissolution of Parliament amidst the confusion of high-class pontificating gone ghetto. Let’s not be distracted however; although a particularly bad episode for the Jamaican parliamentarians, it is in no way unique to the Caribbean region.

The youth of Trinbago are up to a lot of positive things and we’ll be exploring some of it together. As to what else you can look forward to, I have three words – Caveman, Marley and Dons. Stay tuned!

Until then, lots of love from the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago! Here’s two pigeons in Woodford Square saying hello!


Happy Father’s Day daddy

The origins of Father’s Day makes for interesting reading – if you like history at all. It was proposed long after Mother’s Day was being celebrated. The history includes tragedy, death, controversy and allegations of commercial exploitation. Yet, just about 100 years later, here I am saying “Thank You” to a father who has gone above and beyond in raising his two children. In my very humble opinion my dad would make an excellent author. He is an unending reservoir of wisdom, humour and has a knack for relating historic events in a way that immediately captures your imagination. His has been a life of sacrifice to ensure we had everything we needed, even at great personal cost to himself. He was able to not only be my father but also my best friend. So today like millions everywhere, I just want to say “Thank you” to my daddy for every single moment spent with me, every smile he placed on my face, every tear of frustration I cried when disciplined (which wasn’t too often) every arguement we had and every hug we shared (despite my efforts to avoid them after turning 13!). We love you daddy. From J&O.