It is hard to believe that a week has already gone by since I arrived in Yallahs, Jamaica. My time has been spent lounging around and getting acclimated with the climate and ferocious mosquitos. While soaking up the sun, I've also had time to read my new camera's manual, so I will be snapping away with a Nikon D300S instead of my beloved D40. During the past week I've mostly traveled east in St. Thomas, stopping in places like Morant Bay, Bath and Ceader Valley. I tried to pull up a map on google, but only a few cities, towns, bushes (?) are noted. Kingston is the only place referred to as a town in Jamaica, so it is always hard for me to come up with an appropriate name for a small community. Anyway, I explored St. Thomas Parish at a leisurely pace and this week.
On Wednesday I sat in one spot for about five hours playing around with my camera and reading the manual. I took about 230 pictures from the same bench! A lot of them are the same because I was experimenting with different settings and options, but it was cool to see the collection of photos; it was truly a learning experience. Later that night, I accompanied Laura and the students from Temple University that are studying abroad here in Jamaica to a beach side bar. They originally planned on going to a bar in Morant Bay, but apparently Jamaicans don't party hard on Wednesdays, because it was closed. Our driver took us to another place further east in a small bush called Prospect. The bar was right beside the water and the property was quite large. There were pool tables, hammocks, several seating areas and a small dock that led to a roof-less gazebo. Wednesday was a clear night, so the stars were beautiful, the sky and sea kept me occupied most of the time. It was a nice evening out, but I was kicking myself when I had to wake up a few hours later for a trip to a ginger farm.
I had the chance to accompany Mr. Taylor, a RADA extension officer, to a ginger farm in Ceader Valley. RADA stands for Rural Agricultural Development Authority, the federal agency assists and educates farmers about a variety of issues. The farmers in Ceader Valley were learning what ruins a good ginger crop and what preventative measures they can take to try and combat the damage. While the farmers listened closely, I watched attentively and tried to come away with a few shots for the book I am making. The book is going to focus on Jamaicans and all the trades they do daily and think nothing of. In the U.S. there are endless gadgets and machines to make our lives easier and therefore Americans end up using their own strength and skills less and less. I want to focus primarily on Jamaican's hands and everything they accomplish and make by themselves.
The following shot is of a Jamaican ginger farmer and is probably my favorite of the bunch. Following that is a shot of the valley I had to slip my way down in order to meet up with the famers. The others are photos I snapped while hanging with the group. The colorful night shots were taken at the bar and the clothesline was strung up outside someone's home in Ceader Valley. The last photo was taken while I was messing around with my camera, but it is also one of my favorite. The bench in the photo is the one I was sitting on for a few hours and it is where I eat and watch T.V. with my Jamaican family.