Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sunday in Jamaica

At breakfast each day I had been going to a very lonesome place in the buffet -- a place where Jamaican specialties could be found. One day I found bammy. Didn't know what it was until I got home and looked it up on the computer. Bammy is made from cassava; I think this is the first time I've ever had anything made with cassava and I liked it. Another morning I tried salt fish with akee. I knew akee was a Jamaican fruit, and found the salt fish was really salty. When home I did some research and found out salt fish is salted cod, the salt used as a means of preservation.

Our first morning session was about environmental health issues. Really learned a lot and enjoyed everything. This session included more about Zeman's work in a Roma village. I think many were amazed at the poor conditions found there, but since many were getting there first exposure to Roma culture did not realize there are wealthy Roma and also Roma who are very poor.

Then we adjourned to another room to view some videos. We started with a video about Dikembe Mutombo's work in building a hospital in his home city of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mr. Mutombo spoke about this effort. It became his dream to do this because his mother died because she could not leave home to go to a hospital when experiencing a heart attack -- due to a curfew associated with a war. Also this city of nearly 9 million people (do read about Kinshasa above with the link) had only one hospital before. Here in the Twin Cities another hospital was built a few years ago because people in one suburb were complaining they had to drive 20 minutes to get to a hospital. Many American simply don't know how good they have it.

We also saw a short video made a couple weeks ago about transferring some premature babies to the new hospital. Presently 6 -8 babies are in each incubator in the old facility. Others needing it are kept in a nearby box and transferred if their condition deteriorates.

It is hard to believe how tall this man is.

 Above is 7 feet, 2 inches Dikembe with 4 feet, 7 inches Dr. Ruth.They are each standing on the same floor!

At lunch one of the table mates was a family nurse practitioner who is doing research with gay men in Jamaica for his dissertation. The conversation turned to rather graphic details of safe sex and physical safety for gay men in Jamaica where there is indeed a great deal of homophobia and sometimes violence against gay men. Later one of the others observed I was quiet over lunch, saying"After all you are nurse too." I explained it wasn't really Minnesota culture to have such a graphic discussion over lunch!

The conference ended after the luncheon. I returned to my room to change clothes and found the maid had been busy.

I spent the afternoon at the beach. It had been a very long time since I had swum in the ocean. Very peaceful afternoon.

Then I changed clothes and met others for a dinner in the Luna de Mare restaurant. This one is very small and requires reservations. We had a lovely dinner of mahi-mahi. I chose an Italian dessert and my table mates from the East Coast laughed at me. I explained to them that Italian desserts were a bit hard to come by where I live.

We walked out of dinner just in time to see the end of a show session.

I really enjoyed the dance sessions during this evening's performances.

I thought the face of man who is dancing was quite unusual. The thought even went through my mind that he might be from Burma. At the end of the evening's performance we learned he was 85 years old! That is why is face was so weathered and gaunt.

The performers were very good about involving the children in activities. 

Then the dancing moved to limbo. I've only seen this done badly by North Americans at parties.

Here are couple of videos.

Another great day and evening in Jamaica.

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