My apologies… For reasons unknown the right hand side of my blog disappeared yesterday evening – it went for a walk and reappeared in the wrong place. If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page you will find it hiding down there!
And if you click on any of my posts prior to yesterday, the right panel will come up.
Strange and puzzling… But just to let you know that I am working on it and hope to have it fixed very soon.
Thanks for your patience!
It’s hard to differentiate between the seasons here in the tropics, of course. But now there is a little freshness in the air. After a few showers that eased our crippling drought, the garden seems to be breathing again. The clouds are high and light; the sky is a gentler blue. And mangoes are ripening…
Our moringa trees are tall and spindly but oh, so delicate. And full of powerful goodness. I just took these photos.
Drink a cup of moringa tea, today!
Women farmers trained in moringa soap and cream making (ghanabusinessnews.com)
Tree foods keeping children well fed (bbc.co.uk)
Moringa A Powerful Antioxidant (blackseedbuffet.wordpress.com)
http://petchary.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/our-magical-moringa-trees/ Our magical moringa trees: petchary.wordpress.com
http://petchary.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/a-miracle-with-leaves/ A miracle with leaves: petchary.wordpress.com
My dear and faithful readers:
There always seems to be so much to write about from a whole, eventful week on our little island. Amazing, really. So, on the advice of a good friend, supporter and fellow writer, I have decided to split my weekly review into two shorter, more digestible pieces. I am aiming to put out one report on Wednesdays and the second on Sundays, as usual.
Let’s see how this works!
Once again, many thanks for your patience and thanks for reading (and for your interesting comments!)
I leave you with some photographs from the Alternative Energy Expo currently running at Kingston’s Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. If you are in town, it is well worth a visit and chock-full of information on energy-saving devices, solar and wind power, etc. And don’t forget, the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica’s Earth Day event will take place at Hope Zoo in Kingston this Friday, April 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission free.
We thought the International Day of Forests was the perfect excuse to share a few beautiful photos of these biodiverse wonders.
In honor of Internationsl Women's Day, I present to you a sampler of humble-yet-noble women that I've met along the way! Enjoy! Z
They might not have had a formal education, and their yearly income might equal what some spend on clothing alone, but these women have large hearts and amazing work ethics. Take time this week to note those who chose to stay in the background.
Just a quick note to thank all of you dear readers and supporters for your votes and support during the Jamaica Blog Awards!
Petchary’s Blog won in the Best Jamaica-focused Blog category, and I feel honored.
Warmest congratulations, too, to all the nominees and winners! I will post a list of the names and links in due course, when they are available… So that you can expand your reading and enjoyr more Jamaican blogs!
Thank you again. I particularly appreciated all the comments on the Blog Awards website.
And now, I promise not to bother you all again for the rest of the year!
Everyday Courage: Please vote for this post in UNICEF Jamaica’s #HashCon Blogger Advocacy Challenge!
I wrote this article on November 29, 2012. It is an entry in UNICEF Jamaica’s #HashCon Blogger Advocacy Challenge.
PLEASE VOTE for my entry at http://jamaicablogawards.org/jm/everyday-courage-by-petcharys-blog/, This is the same website where you can also vote for my blog in its entirety in four categories: Best Lifestyle Blog, Best News/Current Affairs Blog, Best Jamaica -Focused Blog, and Best Writing in a Blog.
You can vote EVERY DAY. The competition closes on January 14, as do the Blog Awards votes.
I would greatly appreciate your support, You might also enjoy reading a post I wrote just before Christmas about an event where I met up with Keisha again and had the opportunity to hug her and her little girl. Keisha seemed focused, calm and happy. Her daughter was running around and having fun, like little girls do!
Here is the Christmas article: http://petchary.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/love-and-peace/
Thank you, again, for your support – and please stay tuned! Much more to follow!
Last month, around the time of National Heroes Day in Jamaica, I was turning the concept of “heroes” around in my head. I had some conversations with a few young Jamaicans in the social media. Two things occurred to me: firstly, that Jamaica seems to be badly in need of heroes. And secondly, that a hero is not someone who has simply done well in his/her field of influence. Winning elections, or selling millions of records, is praiseworthy; but not heroic.
I also do believe, in an old-fashioned way, that a hero must have the following qualities: strength, resilience, vision, determination, courage, seeking always to do better in his/her life. This spills over into the lives of others. He/she inspires others. And that inspiration may come from someone who, at some point, seemed weak, helpless, a victim of fate. The most unlikely hero or SHEro.
So where do we find our 21st century (s)heroes, here in Jamaica? Why, they are all around us, living among us.
Keisha* never saw herself as a SHEro. She still doesn’t. But I think she is.
Keisha loved the father of her youngest child; but he did not disclose his HIV status to her. After she was diagnosed in 2009, she was shocked, depressed, stressed - and very angry. She felt betrayed, and also broken-hearted; she loved her son’s father. The hurt was unbearable. Her hopes of a stable home life and a happy and loving relationship broke into small pieces, like shards of glass. “I neglected myself,” says Keisha. Why should she care? A young woman in her twenties has powerful dreams of the future. But her own future had disappeared – she could not imagine it. Depression, by the way, is twice as common among people living with HIV as it is in the general public.
Keisha stumbled through life.“I was like a walking zombie,” she says. And she told no one about her status. She did not even tell her mother, who could not understand the dramatic change in her daughter. “She wanted to send me to Bellevue,” Keisha says with a wry laugh. (Bellevue is Kingston‘s hospital for the mentally ill).
And still Keisha fought on, alone, without telling anyone her status. Then,the clinic she attended after the birth of her son in 2010 referred her to a Kingston-based non-governmental organisation called Eve for Life.
You will find many smiling faces on the pages of Eve for Life’s website. No sob stories. And this was the point in our story where Keisha’s life began to return to love - that little thing that seemed to have gone from her young life. Talking to Keisha, you are struck by a sense that this was the beginning of her spiritual transformation. It started with the need to disclose her status, and her preparing to do so. This was the first step. “They told us what to say, how to respond,” Keisha tells me. “We used role play for this.” With her mother, the revelation came in stages. “First of all, I told her my boyfriend ‘did something bad,’” she said. Her mother responded, “Did he hit you?” No, she said, but it was something very, very bad. In the end, she told her mother everything. She understood. “She has been very supportive up to this day,” says Keisha.
Keisha is not someone who goes to church every Sunday, but she does go. And she knows the power of forgiveness. She has forgiven her boyfriend. She still loves him, but she has let go. “Life does go on,” she says. Forgiving was a very important part of her healing. And it takes great courage to forgive, to release that bitterness.
And so, Keisha’s positive status has not condemned her to a life of despair; in fact, it has opened up possibilities that she never knew existed. Her diagnosis was “not the end of the world”; far from it. Attending an event at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston was an extraordinary experience for her. And so is her ongoing and growing involvement with Eve for Life. She is now a trainee facilitator and peer educator for newly diagnosed HIV-positive mothers. She is giving of herself to other young Jamaican women who are struggling to overcome her challenges. She is helping to lift them up out of that dark despair she herself once felt.
Keisha sees something now evolving from her weakness: it is strength, it is empowerment. “Everything happens for a reason… Down the line you will see a purpose,” she observes quietly. She now believes that her HIV status has turned her life around in the most unexpected way: “It has given me opportunities…The opportunity to help others.”
Now she is training for a diploma in Practical Nursing at the Garmex HEART Academy. She has two more tests this week. It is a challenge, but she is determined to see it through. She will graduate in 2014, and she has already obtained high marks in her core subject as well as in Language and Communications. The only tricky one is Mathematics, but she is confident she will pass that too. While she is studying, her mother looks after her children.
Keisha believes – she knows – she will be a better mother. She looks forward to her children growing up. She wants them to be anything they want to be – a doctor, a lawyer. She has hope, she has plans for them. A good education, university. “I will guide them,” she says. She will talk to them in a way that her mother never spoke to her – about relationships, about sex, about love, about life. She will hide nothing from them. She hopes to be a grandmother, one day. She giggles.
How does Keisha see her own future? “It gets better and better each day,” she says. She and her peer group at Eve for Life have their “ups and downs,” like any family. And they are family to her. They encourage and motivate each other, and help each other solve “everyday life problems.”
Because that is what it is all about. Heroism is not just about the limelight, the dramatic gesture, the applause, the awards. Our Jamaican SHEroes are here, with us. They are HIV positive; they get up and they carry on, every day.
And they are looking to the future, and to creating a stronger, more resilient, AIDS-free generation.
The future looks bright.
* not her real name
This blog post is dedicated to little Hope Divine. She is four years old, she is feisty, she has loving adoptive parents, she is going to school.
- One More Thing… Please, if you wish, vote for Petchary in the Jamaica Blog Awards. Thank you!! (petchary.wordpress.com)
- An Exchange of Wisdom, Even (petchary.wordpress.com)
- UNICEF JA launches #HashCon2012: An Advocacy Challenge for Jamaican Bloggers (caribbeanhealth.org)
- Violence Against Women, Part 2: Gently Unplugging the Patriarchy (petchary.wordpress.com)
- First Sunday of 2013: January 6, 2013 (petchary.wordpress.com)
- Top 10 LGBT achievements in 2012 in Jamaica (76crimes.com)
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s my annual report, with my most popular blog posts – rather surprising results, and some of those posts go back a little ways.
Dear readers: What would YOU like to see me write about in 2013? Feedback is more than welcome… Do let me know, and do browse some of my older blog posts too. I intend to step up the “African Postman” series to at least once per week, too. Tomorrow, I will dig back in the archives a little way, and share a few links to posts you might have missed during 2012…
Thank you for following me! Where would I be without you all! Please continue to comment and share with others, and I thank you for your support in 2012!
Here’s an excerpt:
19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 94,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Jamaica's fiftieth anniversary (Jamaica 50) celebration has not been a smooth, gentle glide to the August 6 finish line. In fact, it has been fraught with political niggling, confusing press statements and slick marketing jargon, (with the local media trying to make sense of it all) and apparently rising levels of frustration and irritation on the part of the Jamaican…
Life in Jamaica is often ridiculous, often sad, and often both at the same time.
Take sharks, for example, which have become a favorite topic of local TV news. It started with a TVJ (Television Jamaica) report which gave the Petchary a terrible sinking feeling (no, that wasn't a deliberate pun, but that was how it felt). Some…