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This Week In FRIDAY

(the upper ledge is where the road was. the path now drops about 10ft vertically.)

Since they’ve been doing work on Friday recently and Alligator Church Bridge and another spot between the two, we’ve been walking across the river and taxi-ing from Cornwall Barracks. So I haven’t walked around the corner to see how construction was going. Yesterday I did. As I took pictures of it, I was met with hollaring and yelling. I thought maybe they were concerned about me standing too close to the edge. No. They weren’t. They (those little men at the bottom) were angry because they thought I was taking a picture of them which of course I would then take to the “Picture Paying Machine” and make money off it. These men, who don’t live here, come up here and work on a project that I assisted in getting going (by making the issue as public as i could with photos and phone calls)… these men come to my community and profile me as some sort of money making white man photographer and yelling things at me and give me the finger and one guy actually tried to throw a rock at me from down there.

I don’t know if you can fathom the anger this stirs in me. Perhaps it’s a personal downfall for me, but ignorance has always inspired the most righteous anger and fury within me. I can’t fully explain it. It’s just one of those things that I have to be careful of.

The project manager guy came up to chew me out (because he knew a lot more about the legalities of photography than I… “You can’t just take pictures of anything! That’s illegal!”). One of our counterparts was walking by and he stood up for me. Jamaicans do this thing where they argue with you and unless you’re louder than them they just keep talking and don’t seem to care what you have to say. So I just sit there and wait and ask if they’d like me to talk or not (this happenes a lot). This guy just walked off.

A few minutes later I walked up to him to try and explain how we’re on the same team and nothing I’m doing here is for my personal gain. After a few minutes he was smiling and we were buds. Insanity. Even later on when I was washing dishes I got so mad thinking about it. This is something about the country/culture/economic class/whatever that I will never jive with. Ever.

God must step in everytime this happens to me because I’m always able to smooth things out with folks, but even when I think about it later I’m like, “Why the hell didn’t I give that person the verbal wakeup call they sooooo deserved??” Well, because it’s not my place to give them that. How many people don’t give me the verbal bashing I deserve on any given occasion? How many times has God held back a much deserved vengeance upon me? So it shouldn’t be out of the question for me to take it easy on an ignorant fool every now and then too.

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5 Responses

  1. Way to go Josh. Violence is the tool of the ignorant. PS how much did you make off the pictures?

    Hey we just got a D3000. Now I just got to work on my skilz. I’ll use you as an inspiration when responding to ignorance and while taking pictures.

  2. You’re a better person than I……..most of the time I’d simply walk away aggravated and fume. The more you encounter ignorance, the more cynical you become…..at least that’s my experience. It’s rampant! Wait until you and Jess return and see it here…blows the mind. And you don’t have to look far for it . God help us all.

  3. sam: let’s just say i made enough to cover my travel expenses to and from the site.

    carol: whats funny is that i typically get upset fast about these things so when i looked back and saw that i really tried to talk it out i was surprised. i guess ideally, the more ignorance you encounter the more patient you’d become. i used to get cynical. big time. i think i’m sort of over that. sort of.

  4. sam that’s awesome about the camera. that’ll be fun. let me know if i can help or answer anything.

  5. Josh and Jess,
    Your photographs and stories continue to inspire me to seek ways to bring peace and community to wherever I travel. A recent eye mission/house building volunteer trip to Nicaragua in November made me realize that other cultures can still possess a sense of kindness and grace even when faced with adversity.
    It saddens me to feel that I wouldn’t return to J in that capacity ever again. So Matt and I plan to continue short volunteer stints to countries who appreciate volunteers, treat them with respect and where violence and angry exchanges are not a way of life.
    Happy to hear that you are well, thriving and keeping on. I check your site every now and then and love your photographs and words of wisdom. Proud to have you representing the US. And yes, there are still lots of ignorant people in the US. Sarah Palin just became a Fox commentator. UGH? Love to you both, Karen and Matt ( ex-89ers)

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