The DRF Annual General Meeting, the second I have attended, went well. It is always good to pause and take stock. In the busy-ness of the day-to-day one may not appreciate the people with whom one works and the achievements that are accomplished. Accounting for the year provides that moment of pause and allows for the appreciation of what has been and what is to come. The DRF AGM was this opportunity. There are, of course, significant challenges ahead but probably no greater than those that have already been faced and overcome and it will be a pleasure to continue on into the new year to assist with these challenges. The meeting ended with lunch and the joking and conversations over lunch reminded me how warmly I have been welcomed by this wonderful and diverse group of people.
The flow of students to the programme has diminished as exams are in full swing. Those that have not been allowed back to sit their exams are experiencing the real-life consequence of the impact of their behaviour and poor decisions, as their marks will reflect their absence and thus be much lower than they had wanted.
The youth peace facilitators are catching up on paper work and have decorated our office which now looks extremely festive!
On Friday night Jamaicans for Justice, the human rights organisation at which I recently received training, launched a documentary "Victims' Voices" funded, in part, by the EU. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/JFJ-documents-Victims--Voices-_8228597It reports the stories of three mothers who have each lost a son to police extrajudicial killing. The stories told of three very different young men but all quite unconnected to criminal activity or gangs. One, a fifteen year old cycling back from the store with banana chips and juice. Another, a young man with cognitive challenges, walking home and the third, a young man tidying his room at his home in West Kingston when police moved in during the declared State of Emergency, but after the incursion, and took him because "he looks like a gunman". The stories are heart-wrenching and the documentary, made by a young woman engaged in completing her Master's at UCLA Berkley and a journalist, Madeleine Bair, carefully chronicles the stories without gratuitous emotion. As a result the video is powerful and thought provoking. The three mothers are tenacious about telling their stories so that the police force here becomes accountable, and the killing is stopped. Madeleine and JFJ are to be congratulated for their courage and commitment. The video will soon be posted on YouTube.
Today I heard the weather forecast (something I rarely pay attention to given the constancy. What fun are weather forecasts when they are always the same and always right?) but today's grabbed my attention with the ominous phrase " a cold front moving in from the east" . With trepidation I listened. I was informed that I should anticipate a three degree Celsius drop in the temperature. I am prepared, I borrowed a quilt for the bed, pulled out my 2 long- sleeved shirts and calculated the temperatures that are going to assault me. Apparently, over the next three days it will be a chilly 23C, except during the afternoon when there will be some relief and temperatures will achieve 26C. Cold weather warnings are a little different here, and this is winter even I can manage!
As the week draws to a close, Haley will reach her good friend in California, Tasha will reach her good friends in Toronto and I will spend the rest of the day making preparations for our Christmas visit to Barbados. Tomorrow I pick Tasha up at Kingston airport (I don't think the cold front will trouble her too much given what she is leaving behind!) and "it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!"