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This limited access to internet requires a totally new approach to blogging.  I’m now in a season where pre-blogging is the only way to get it done, and done right.

It’s Sunday evening.  We went down (or “wi did godong”) to Port Antonio yesterday for shopping and internet, however all the known places with internet were closed by the time we arrived. (Our mini-bus taxi got a flat tire approx. 5 miles from the end.)  However, we did find a few items for organizing our room that will hopefully make life a little easier.  Josh got a Jamaica shirt and I was happy to traverse the Portie market without any incident.  In any case, I’m headed back to town in the morning with INTERNET as my main motivation.  I also hope to introduce myself at a couple of places that will be of use as I co facilitate community development group stuff in my area.  Being new to the NGO/non-profit sector, but in no way naïve about the “business of charity,”  I’m finding this new world almost just as I expected—political, almost smarmy, and insanely tedious…but I am an idealist at heart, so hope remains! ☺  My role as “co-facilitator” or “co-planner” in the community is one that will take practice and a ton of patience (which is not my gift).  You can’t just come into a place and make something good happen.  There’s so much invisible work that goes in before any visible action takes place.  I guess that’s why we’re here for two years and not six months. Go figure.

bus from Kingston to Port Antonio

bus from Kingston to Port Antonio

By the way, if anyone has the chance, it would help to know possibilities for wireless internet for a mac laptop in Jamaica.  We’ve looked into Digicel internet cards here (Digicel is the largest telecom company), and apparently they only work with PCs.  We’ve also heard that it’s possible to use an unlocked SIM card for internet, through a compatible cell phone. However, we don’t have the ability to find one online, have the company unlock it, and buy whatever phone would work for it.  We figure that Mac has some perfectly brilliant answer for this problem, but we haven’t the cell phone minutes or internet time to research it.
Called Mom & David for their anniversary (16 years for both sets of parents—way to go team!) and Mom reminded me that I should let you know about our living situation.  We are staying in a modest, but comfortable home with our own bedroom (w/ double bed) and bathroom.  Our host parents are middle-aged, very laid-back (but hard-working!), and our host mother’s 4 year old grandson, called “Juunya” also lives with us.   They allow us to use everything they have, including their sweet washer machine, microwave and instant kettle.  We are pretty lucky that (1) we all get along and (2) our host parents really understand and agree with the ideals of the Peace Corps, and are helping us to integrate and be effective.  Some of our classmates have not been so lucky. 

She has been cooking for us, making sure we get a nice variety of Jamaican cuisine, while also catering to my almost-vegetarianism and Josh’s bouts with gastritis.  I’m not sure if I’m allowed to use their real names or if that’s a safety breach…yeah, better not.  Anyway, my host mother spent a few months in Fort Myers last fall, to care for a friend who was ill.  She’s also spent time in England to care for her mother.  A good percentage of Jamaicans spend time abroad, and some go and live/work for decades before returning.  Sometimes it’s a better opportunity to “go a farin” on a work visa and work and save up for a new house in Jamaica, than it is to stay here and try to do the same.  Besides that, lots of people in their 20s and 30s are going to England, Canada or the U.S. for school, and returning.

health sector cleans up

health sector cleans up

So that’s about it on the homefront.  Our host father has a personal car, which is decently rare here and quite convenient for us.  They are well-connected in the communities and hold offices in the agency we’re assigned to with the PC.  My supervisor lives just down the street, VP of the Bowden Pen Farmers Association and Josh’s supervisor is the leader of his entire town, Colonel of the Windward Maroons (Moore Town Council).  They are all very down-to-earth and they take every opportunity to laugh at themselves as well as us.  We’re just way too easy to laugh at.

I never expected to be so busy with Peace Corps training tasks all the time like I am.  They require us to complete little workbooks, have o/the phone convos with language trainers (in Patwa of course), create & give presentations, and all while we’re here in this new environment, trying to be productive.  I’m not saying it’s wrong or bad of them to make us practice this stuff…but I sure never expected to have to remember what feels like many assignments, all the time.  After graduation, it won’t be so bad.  We’ll only have trimester reports (bleh).  Everything we’re learning, practicing and doing is useful, so I’m glad that training is so…thorough.  Just make of note of this if you’re thinking of joining the Peace Corps.

Okay, let’s hope I get to send you this tomorrow. Peace out.

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5 Responses

  1. So I spent a few minutes trying to answer your question about mobile broadband. There is another company that offers mobile broadband in Jamaica: Oceanic Digital (www.MiPhone.com). Their mobile broadband service is called MiNet.

    I know Verizon’s mobile broadband cards work on Macs, but I’ve never set them up myself. I would think there would be a workaround for the Digicell network access, assuming that the only thing making it “Windows only” is the access software. If you know the number to dial and password, you should be able to access it via the Network pane in System Preferences.

    I used to be able to log into Verizon’s mobile web with my old cell phone connected via USB, but I think Verizon has since blocked that option. Maybe the local cell phone service providers still have a way to do that?

    Let me know if any of those options pan out for you. The next time you have an extended period of time with internet access, maybe I can hop on iChat and we could talk some other ideas through. :) Just give me a heads up if you can somehow of when that will happen.

    Miss you guys!
    Marcus

  2. How about the name….”Di blog godong Jamaica way”? Thanks for the much awaited newsy entries! You two do seem quite busy. Don’t hold your breath for me to help out with your Mac concerns…huh-huh, sometimes I struggle with the basic “copy and paste!”

    Love you guys…hope you can remedy Josh’s stomach upset soon……nowhere is comfortable when you’re fightn’ stomach monsters. Glad you got away for some private time….do it as often as you dare kidos!

    Mom

  3. How about “Jamaican Runnings” (and by runnings I mean “runs”)? Is that too graphic? Probably, but I only speak the truth. I sympathize with Josh’s bowel.
    Thanks for the perma-deferrment to my blog! I added yours and a few others as well but yours is my favorite Sshhh, don’t tell.
    I know what you mean about the NGO’s, but let’s give it our best shot and try not to be driven to madness, ok?
    Take care, keep up the good work, and see you in 2 weeks:-)

  4. Just a little tip about the sim card option. Both Cable & Wireless and Digicel have internet through GPRS cell phone options. Cable and Wireless has (or had?) the more inexpensive plan (1200JA for the chip and 400JA per month – at least when i checked up on it in january) while Digicel has better island coverage (not sure the price). I ended up purchasing a used and unlocked Razor with GPRS capabilities and borrowed an internet chip (bmobile/c&w) for a couple days and to my dismay, i had difficulty logging onto my g-mail account. Thus, i have not actually put in the money to go all the way with it. If you have any more questions feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to help.

  5. I too am having the same problem! I pre-write all my entries , e-mails etc and send them out in my ‘precious internet time’. Tell me more about the DIgiCel internet card!

    About Josh’s ahem: problem, we all symphatize! I drink a lot of peppermint tea, soothing for the tummy and splurge on American staples, so at least I consume foods I’m used to. Hope this helps!

    See you soon!
    Salena

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