Photo Essay: Mi yaad

Magical pathways...
Magical pathways…

When mi did fus look pon mi yaad, it nuh fi mi yaad as yet. When I first arrived at site, my host mom was my “community liason” but she insisted that I should consider hers my home away from home. Lucky for me, it eventually became my actual home and I get to enjoy this lush yard every day.

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Mi yaad is on a fair-sized piece of land, and much of it is covered in gorgeous plants. In Jamaica, Peace Corps Volunteers live with host families. I live in a bedroom that is about 9’x10′ inside of my family’s home. I share the bathroom, the kitchen and the laughs! It’s been a really positive experience, and we’re all still learning from each other.

My host family are big pet lovers. At last count, we have three turtles, two birds, four dogs, a cat and a tank full of fish.

Not all Jamaicans are fond of pets. Lots of people have yard dogs, but few people have relationships with their pets that resemble the ones Americans have. This does seem to be changing; our cat lounges around our house, our dogs are regularly fed (not just food scraps!) and one of my host sisters wants to be a vet when she grows up.

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Finn, one of our younger dogs, is my favorite. He’s a little skittish but he always greets me at the gate with a wagging tail.

Both my host mom Claudia and her husband Maurice are excellent gardeners. I’ve watched them pour significant time into maintaining their plants, and they both know an impressive amount about local flora.

Sometimes I wander around the yard just to admire all of the lovely flowers. There are more varieties inna mi yaad than I can count. Different varieties bloom throughout the year and because of the tropical climate, we have some type of flower at its peak beauty at any given time. Man, I love flowers.

The wildlife, of course, doesn’t stop with our pets. Mi yaad is always home to at least a few dozen lizards, though they don’t make the easiest-to-photograph subjects.

I live in a valley between Cockpit Country hills, meaning that I have to look up for the stunning views. Here are a few little peeks of the neighboring areas. Lots of banana and coconut trees!

Cacti and succulents grow widely on the island. They’re very well adapted to the local climate and very easy on the eyes! Although I am always a little nervous around cacti after the famous cactus incident in Davis (I had to pick more than a few spikes out of my toes), none of the ones I’ve seen here seem like the mean ones back in California. Yes, I did just personify a cactus.

And of course, there are usually lots of people! My host family is well-respected and plays an integral role in the community, so we get quite a few visitors. My host sisters are also out inna wi yaad pretty often. They have daily chores both in and around the house. On the day I decided to galavant about our yard to take these photographs, Ari decided to help out with some raking.

Sometimes it feels cliché to come home to a place that looks so tropical…I guess sometimes I forget that I’m living on a tropical island! I love seeing all of the bright colors, hearing all of the bugs that buzz outside of my window and the sound of the rain falling on the broad leaves.

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It’s almost like my own personal secret garden. I’ve lived here for about nine months now and I notice something new about the place nearly every day.

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The tropical tunnel underneath my window always feels super magical to walk through. I am however surprised that I’ve managed to duck through without picking up any spiders in my hair. So far.

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The green zinc roof that tops our house makes it feel like a part of the earth.

Mi ope sey unu di enjoy mi likkle pictuh dem! Thanks for letting me share my special place in the Caribbean with you.

 

 

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