Tag Archives: Pen

Once upon a time – no, hour – in Trench Town Jamaica

Trench Town: The birthplace of rock steady & reggae music, home of the legendary Bob Marley. Original name – Trench Pen after owner Daniel Power Trench – an Irish immigrant. Originally 400 acres of land used for rearing livestock. Trench Town is an inner city community in the West Kingston area, located just a short distance from the infamous Tivoli Gardens.

Bob’s life was perhaps more than just sitting in Culture Yard and honing his art. He walked the streets outside those walls. He stood by the street corners, he “reasoned” with friends from the tenement yards. So this post is a little less about Bob the Legend and a lot more about Bob the man with a plan and a van – living in Trench Town, the community. This is a tribute to the tolerant and friendly persons of Trenchtown. I now present to you: one hour in the life of Trench Town – the things Bob saw – and will never see.

The sight of goats roaming the streets is a regular sight, so they must be included in this tribute to the community.

The Tenement yard next door to Bob’s famous Culture Yard

A very pleasant friend. He shared a few things about Bob’s life with me.

Mobile chicken and corn soup vendor

He was kind enough to sell one of the little girls soup on credit

This youngster shows us how corn should be eaten

This little girl occupies her time with her craft. She wants to be a doctor.

Motivational words on the wall of the Trench Town Reading Centre. A very inspirational message for the inner city youth.

These youngsters enjoy some time reading. It is great to see that the boys are also spending some time reading.

 The children took this photo. I think they did a great job.

The children play jumprope in the yard. I tried but apparently I lost my skills.

Yes she can change the world. Her dream is to become a doctor.

Of course I must acknowledge the man who brought us all to Trench Town, Bob Marley.

I promise that I will dedicate a post to Culture Yard and Bob’s memory soon. Thank you to the community of Trench Town for allowing us to come in by our hundreds each year to honour the memory of one of their sons. I have an early morning appointment so I really must run!

Educating the Inner City

The approach to education in the Caribbean has often time been “one size fits all”. There has been growing awareness however of the importance of understanding individual styles of learning and incorporating this knowledge into the education process. A recent visit to the Ideal Enhancement Centre on Shortwood Road, Kingston 8 proved a refreshing experience. The Centre was started in 2008 by Principal Cynthia Grenyion as part of a Masters Research project and serves the Grants Pen, Shortwood and HalfWay Tree area. From my brief visit there, I can say that the Centre places the individual at the centre of the learning process and champions the importance of the home – school partnership. The walls are covered with creative charts and posters designed to engage and capture the imagination.There’s an exciting menu of events planned for the next few months so feel free to call for more information.

Every Mickle mek a Muckle

Today I am going to test your powers of creativity to see whether by the end of this post you can connect the dots between a seemingly disconnected series of events. The proverb “Every mickle mek a muckle” interpreted in a financial context means that few pennies can add up. In this case, the “mickle” refers to random vignettes and the “muckle” to the resulting painting of this day in the history of my life.

Society is bawling out. To some it must seem that what they thought was the light at the end of the tunnel (after the last general election) was merely a firefly lighting an inch of the miles of darkness ahead. A beef patty that cost me JMD 90 before, now costs me JMD 105.

I listened to the news recently with a sense of dread, disgust and puzzlement. Two stories, featured on different dates – one of the possible murder of a fellow Trinidadian countrywoman and the other – the story of a mother who held down her girl child so she could be raped by a man. To more additions to the growing list of horrors gracing the airwaves in the past months. The last few weekends found me presenting and facilitating two groups of persons, spreading awareness on the rights of the child and child abuse. This took a lot of energy out of me, it’s hard not to get a bit emotional about the issue of child sexual abuse. Will my efforts make a difference?

Three weeks ago I hit the airwaves (Double Standards – Newstalk 93fm) with a fellow colleague to give an outsiders’ perspective on events in Jamaica – leading up to Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary.  One question  asked – whether we thought one person can make a difference. “Yes”, I replied. Why did I say this? Here’s why…

One week prior to the interview, I contributed to a parenting workshop at the Ideal Enhancement Centre on Shortwood Road.  Many of the parents hailed from inner city communities, Grants Pen & Shortwood areas. It was meaningful to see them get useful tips from each other and to witness their realization that the challenges were common ones. In a few short hours, individuals from diverse households were empowered to do something differently in parenting their child. If even one parent gets it right, the reward will be felt into another generation. Inspiring isn’t it? So, in conclusion – “Yes” – one person can make a difference. Interestingly, in the group of about 25 persons, maybe 6 were men – 1 being the photographer.

During the interview, we were also asked for our thoughts on dancehall music, but I digress, let’s consider that fodder for a post all its own!

On a positive note, mangoes are in season. They are everywhere. My tree and front garden is overwhelmed by mangoes. If I can figure out to how to preserve them all, I’ll make a mint. With the changes in taxation, I am not looking forward to June’s grocery bill. Not to mention I plan to start living in semi-darkness to save on electricity costs that are creeping upward. So over the next few weeks I may start studying the visual physiology of bats to see what I can learn.

Anyway it could be worse, so thank God it’s the Caribbean I’m living in. Lots of sun, sea, reggae and soca to soothe the living pains away. Of course if all else fails then I’ll have to check out the ATM of the Caribbean – Trinidad & Tobago!