Sunday, January 31, 2016
Jamaica is filled with historic landmarks and memorials but one of the most meaningful Jamaican sites that I've visited is the final resting place of Nanny of the Maroons. She was an 18th century freedom fighter and brilliant military strategist who fought for independence from the British High up in the Blue Mountains of Portland, Nanny Town was established as a settlement for Nanny and maroons, or Africans who escaped and fought against slavery Dating from when a truce was signed with the British in 1739, Nanny Town has remained an independent community that retains the language and customs of their Ghanaian ancestors. The current leader of Nanny Town, Colonel Wallace Sterling guided my group to the enclosed park that houses Bump Grave. I'll explore more about Nanny Town and its history in another post. The Jamaican government erected a monument to recognize Nanny's resting place and it overlooks the dense mountains of Portland, symbolizing the freedom and strength of Nanny and her people.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Enveloped in 11 acres of lush gardens and courtyards, in the heart of Kingston, Devon House represents Jamaica's proud heritage. Constructed in 1891 by Jamaica's first black millionaire, George Stiebel, the Georgian-Jamaican architecture reflects both British and Caribbean influences. Stiebel made his fortune from Venezuela gold mines and many of the accessories of his luxurious Victorian era life still fill the mansion, including Italian chandeliers oil paintings and carved mahogany beds.
Devon House was declared a National Heritage Site in 1990 and strolling the halls supply a fascinating glimpse into a rarefied life during Jamaica's colonial times. Although the landmark is one of Kingston's most popular destinations, many visit just for the famous Devon House I-Scream, which is considered the best on the island. There are actually lots of restaurants, cafes and boutiques on the property, which I'll cover in another post but my favorite part of Devon House was the "Miss Lou" poem recited by the guide. Louise Bennett was a famous Jamaican poet and folklorist who championed the use of the local patois dialect. Her use of local phrases and terms peppered with standardized English brought Jamaican culture to life and hearing her words in Devon House made it even more memorable.
Saturday, January 16, 2016
It's the heart of winter in Chicago. Snow and ice covers the ground. The "Hawk" is out everyday, blasting a frosty wind down the streets. A gray, gloomy cast covers the sky. I see all of this but I'm not really here to feel it. Mentally, I'm in St. Lucia, sitting on the sands of Malabar Beach in Castries, listening to the waves rush back and forth to the shore. The sun gently sets, creating a rosy glow in the sky. It's a soothing scene that beats cozying up with Netflix. Join me if you like.