“Against the Odds” is also about confronting challenges, to me. I remember a community meeting in East Kingston, with the non-governmental organization Youth Opportunities Unlimited and the Rockfort Development Council (RDC), a group of citizens and local business people seeking to make their community a better place. This is a difficult part of town, where gang violence often plagues the area and people work hard to make ends meet. The rain poured down throughout the meeting, as if to try and wash it all away. But in Jamaica, we often say that rain means “blessings.” The Mission statement tells us the RDC aims to build “a prosperous and united Rockfort.”
A few weeks later, we were in Trench Town Reading Centre on First Street with a group of joyful children who knew that it was, indeed a special occasion – the Centre’s 20th anniversary (in 2013). Against the odds, we were celebrating in fine style, with creative Jamaicans who had come to share with the children: dub poet and entrepreneur Randy McLaren (who brought the house down), percussionist and poet M’Bala (who had the children playing along), and two terrific women writers, Gwyneth Harold Davidson and Tanya Batson-Savage (who helped the children sit and listen); and with the supportive people at Scotiabank.
Even when the odds are stacked against you, you can come together and make it work.