Huricane Dean

Well, things are getting back to normal, and normal for me is being new to the city and trying to find your way around. We were without water and electricity for a few days after the hurricane and I’ve lost the wireless Internet I was picking up from someone in the neighborhood. The school had its share of problems with electricity and then later with lightening strikes. That kept me from communicating, too.

But everything is getting better and Gordana and I going off this week-end to Ocho Rios. We haven’t been out of the city except for one afternoon when I first got here and we went to Lime Cay, a small island off of Kingston. The school director and his wife are going with us. Ocho Rios is on the other side of the island about 2 hours away. It and Montego Bay are the famous tourist spots. Kingston isn’t visited much by tourist. It is the capital and the business center, but there is no beach nearby. Still the mountains are lush and beautiful and they surround the city which is on the 6th largest natural harbor in the world. And this is the home of Bob Marley! It really is the cultural center of the island.

Hurricane Dean turned out to be more bark than bite. It hit us about 3 PM Sunday week and we were prepared for our roof to blow off, but it didn’t do anything to the house. Some water blew in. Here in Jamaica, the walls are not made for wind or rain. We have double doors going out to our balcony and on either side of the doors are jalousies that open up to let more air in. It’s a really nice apartment, but it’s just too small. Of course, it’s large enough for guests!

I guess the worse thing about Jamaica is the prices. Everything is very expensive. It’s hard to understand how these very poor people live. But you can tell there are plenty of very wealthy people here, too. And that’s the problem. Jamaicans are very rich or (more likely) very poor. And a simple middle-class teacher has a tough time. I bought the cheapest 4-wheel drive SUV I could find and it cost $250,000! In Jamaican money, of course. That’s about $3,600 US and that’s a lot for a tiny ’94 Suzuki Vitara.

But every one has been friendly and helpful and I have found the students to be, just like at the other two international schools I’ve taught at, very respectful and courteous. It really is a joy to teach now. American public schools were getting less and less enjoyable every year. I’m glad I’m ending my long (37 years so far) teaching career with decent kids who treat you with respect.


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