Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Jamaica! And Happy Birthday Mama!
I don't know exactly why it's taking me so long to write about my Jamaica trip. It's difficult to talk about something that was everything.
It was beautiful, tropical, mountainous, beachy, surprising, familiar, loving, scary, sad, grateful, giving, taking, spiritual, and as refreshing as the baths I took in the river each morning. I saw more dark, beautiful people than I've ever seen, more skinny dogs, higher blood pressure and diabetes, more skin fungi, more ancient blue-eyed men and women look me in the eyes with pure gratuity for just taking there blood pressure and asking them, "so why are you here today, what's bothering you Maa?"
They call the women all "Maa", and I caught on to it quickly. Calling them Maa made me feel like we were all related. I felt so close to the older Jamaicans. Maybe it also had to do with when we first got to the infirmary we were told to talk to the people, to touch them, to hold there hands, which I did. At first I was kind of scared to be this close, I didn't know if these people would shy away from my strange touch , but then when I would walk by they would hold out their old, withered hands and smile when I asked how they were. That feeling became much more familiar and comfortable.
This was also the most upsetting part of the trip for me. The infirmary in Jamaica is where the old and the poor, the physically and mentally challenged folks are left by relatives to die. Some of the men and women were completely gone mentally, but then some of them were leading conversations with us about the war in Iraq and were completely aware of the world, probably more so than I will ever be. This part of the trip was intense, to say the least. I will never forget it, nor will I forget the smallest, sweetest, juiciest mango that I picked up off the ground at the infirmary- the best I have ever tasted.
I must continue with Jamaica later. Somehow it is now 1 in the morning and yet I have hardly begun. I'm going to have to get somebody (Mom, Hank?) to show me how to upload pictures because the way I know how really sucks and I just know there is an easier way to do it. So more to come.
Today was my Mama's birthday, (even though all day long I was thinking that it was tomorrow), and I just have to say that I am so very grateful that she was born and made into the mama I know and love so freaking much. She really is the best. Hope you are having the time of your life in Cozumel, Mama! You deserve it all a million times over. (Oh, and for your birthday I cleaned house. I even washed the hallway walls free of its mildew. Of course by the time you are home again it will probably all have grown back and the floors will be dirty again and the rugs full of chicken poop, dirt, and dog hair. But just know it was clean at one point while you were away.)