Friday, November 09, 2007
Deaf Freedom Cruise--Jamaica's Deaf Folks
The ship pulled into Ocho Rio, Jamaica on Thursday, November 1st. It was a cloudy day with periods of rain throughout the day. One of the first things we did was to sign up for parasailing through a local company. My two oldest kids were game, but my youngest one decided to watch instead.
The kids took off right from the boat:
Just as my daughter touched down back into the boat, it started to pour. We took shelter near the shore and ran into a group of deaf Jamaicans. They were very friendly and welcoming. Many of them left their place of work to see the "big ship with deaf people." Gloria, the woman in yellow in the photo below, is the president of the Jamaica Deaf Club. She lives in Kingston, over three hours from the port. Kingston is the largest city and the capital of Jamaica.
On the way to the shopping center, we were stopped by a local woman offering to braid hair. As she braided my daughter's hair, she explained that jobs were very hard to find on the island. Many of the locals had never been off of the island. "It is too hard to obtain a visa to leave," she explained.
I was amazed at her beautiful command of English. "What is the official language of Jamaica?" I asked her. She explained that there were three languages spoken there: English, Broken English (which is known as Jamaican Patois and is a creole of English and African language)and another language that I could not understand but that started with a "B". From searching the internet, I think she meant Bongo Talk.
Just listening to her describe her life on the island made me appreciate the freedom that we have to come and go in America.