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.


Anna said...

It looks like you had a wonderful time on your cruise. I'm officially jealous! One of these days I really want to go on a cruise.

Going on a cruise with a bunch of people you already have something in common with, I bet you made some life-long friends.

I stopped by to let you know I have an award for you.

Julie said...

Hi Folks,
I'm from Southern California. I went on a Deaf Freedom Cruise also. It was fun that I enjoyed at Dunn's Rivers Falls with two of my girlfriends from Iowa. I bet you guys had a great time there as well. Take care!:)

Deanna said...

Thank you for the early birthday wishes!

The cruise looked like wonderful fun! Especially the parasailing!

I'm not deaf, but my father was. He was an instructor at the Iowa School for the Deaf for many years and my mother was a house parent, so seeing your blog peaked my interest. I hope to stop in again soon!

Take care!

Anonymous said...

The official language of Jamaica is English so why the surprise that ordinary Jamaicans have a good command of the language. The only other language spoken in Jamaica is Patois (not broken English - that's spoken in the US). While I'm sure the US has its' freedoms Jamaica also has hers - some we Jamaicans would never give away for life in the US.

Karen said...

I guess I was surprised because I thought there would be a dominant Jamaican language. I also didn't realize that people couldn't come and go-- pardon my ignorance-- I have much more to learn.