Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 10 in Kingston Jamaica

The first ten days have gone quickly in a flurry of activity. Arrived late in the evening to warm, humid tropical air. The hotel that was home for the first week was simple, comfortable, with a lovely courtyard garden that provided quiet in this bustling, noisy city.

Thursday morning was spent checking in with the staff at CUSO-VSO and determining first tasks to be accomplished. Accommodation was highest on the list so with the help of others who had already managed the rather daunting task of finding acceptable, accessible, safe accommodation within a rather small allowance Sunday morning saw me paper in hand, Mr Mason at the wheel and Laura exploring with me.
Possibilities were slim with no furnished accommodation presenting itself however an unfurnished one bedroom was left on the list for further review.

Monday was an holiday - Heroes Day. The many heroes celebrated represented the struggle for freedom for slaves, fair employment for labour and independence for Jamaica. We celebrated by bussing out to Port Royal for the Fish Festival. The fish was great...the bus ride interesting as I was participating in a conference call with my Global Implementation Conference colleagues! Not easy to contribute to the call but very good to be connected to friends!

After the holiday back to the task of securing a home which was successfully accomplished with lease signed and keys in hand by Wednesday evening. Thursday was furniture shopping day and Friday move-in day! The weekend has seen all furniture delivered, fridge, stove, washer and dryer hooked up and all but the dryer working! (not quite sure why I need a dryer given the sun and warmth but those who live here say I will!)
This morning felt very much like I am home - laundry, ironing, a little grocery shopping, phone calls and emails!
So I am here and at home!!

In many ways the transition so far has been less challenging than I had anticipated. Kingston is a city in which there are some clear expectations and these do present some challenges. Dress is quite formal which means dresses and jackets mostly for work, it is unusual for professionals to use the public transport system which is something I will have to do given the allowances, walking after dark alone is not to be done so one has to make sure timing is considered before heading out anywhere, there is extreme security for all residential buildings which means 3 keys and a buzzer just to get into my apartment! There is evidence that violence is part of the city but it is not overt and I do not experience the city as threatening in any way. How one manages seems clear so easy to do.

I have had an opportunity to attend an UNESCO conference: UN Child research Conference which was very interesting, particularly as all the research papers were conducted and presented by youth.

I am looking forward to starting work in earnest which will happen after CUSO-VSO Orientation next week.

Photos will follow once I have mastered both camera and blog!

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