In his weekly email, Brandon shared more tidbits about what life is like on Jamaica, and especially in Old Harbour. It's a continuation from last week's email. He was unable to upload any more pictures, so I'm adding a couple more from last week's email. The first is the welcome-to-town sign. Second is the elders talking to some schoolchildren - the children love to talk to the missionaries. The last picture is of a house being built. He writes:
Alrighty, so they're opening the Caicos and Turks really soon! They have permission to start a branch there. And when you go off island (Bahamas, Caymans or Caicos and Turks) its for 6 months.
The police here look like the military, they have fully auto weapons and body armor, I hate to see the military.
Child discipline can be done by anybody down here as long as you're older. Sucks to be the kids. And if you're really bad, your father will beat you as you run down the street and he uses the belt. Loosely! The buckle is what hits you!
We have to have a five day hurricane supply, hopefully I've got that covered right now in case a hurricane does hit!
"Eating" sugar cane is awesome! You don't eat it, you just chew it to get all the juices out and then spit out the cane.
Down here they have weed eaters and lawn mowers, but generally people just use a machete (machetee), which looks more like a short cutlass. But thats how you keep the lawn.
They have whats called red money, which is a 25 or 10 cent piece, which is pretty much worthless. So it's everywhere on the ground. Not many businesses will take red money.
The schools here are pretty strict that have barbed wire atop their 6 ft chain link fences, but they let the children out of the grounds on their recess time. And the kids must wear uniforms.
The roads suck! There are potholes everywhere. Only the most travelled roads are taken care of and maintained. Street vendors are everywhere! They will walk out in the middle of traffic and
everything trying to get you to buy something.
everything trying to get you to buy something.
We have what we call idlers down here. They just sit around and talk all day. No jobs, no true source of income. Just sit, talk, smoke ganja or drink or something and go home and do it again tomorrow.
Then there's the P.A. cars. They are so obnoxious. They're 3-5 megaphones on top of a car and they just blare announcement ads.
I've already had mannish water, which is goat head stew. Basically anything in a goat's head that isn't bone is put in a blender, puree'd and cooked like any other stew. It didn't taste bad, but knowing what it was made me not want to finish it.
The music here is either dance hall or reggae. I have found one house that plays music from the 50's and 60's but that's pretty much pure luck. And when driving, people will crank the music.
Every Sunday night we get dinner from the branch president's wife, needless to say there have been a couple meals when I did not have the main dish and just ate the rice and peas (peas=kidney beans)
There are about as many churches as there are bars down here. A LOT! We're just one among many. There's pretty much a church every half mile in a town.
Two Wednesdays ago I experienced my first transfer. I took the district leader around Old Harbour and had a good time and everything.
The people here are their own mechanics. They fix cars, hot wire things. Rob power from the poles and steal water from the mains. They can do a lot!
Jamaica has a couple of their own soda brands like bigga, and dg. They taste good and all but you'll never find them back home. Elder Harris says that the Pepsi tastes different here because they use sugar from the cane instead of corn syrup. I dunno!
All the buildings down here are pretty much made of cement. Basically so they can last a hurricane. It's pretty neat. They use the cinderblocks and cement and the rebar for everything.
Rastafarians (rastas) can be good or bad. Most of the ones I've met are good. But I did have a bad one that kicked us out of an investigator's yard (it was his niece we were teaching) and he kept shouting "burn whitey" and how our ancestors were slave owners. So not all rastas are cool.
They call propane cookie gas down here. Why I don't know, but that's how you know where to get propane.
Lizards are everywhere, they're really small, no longer than 5 inches but they run amock. We even get some in our house.
People down here sometimes try to incite fights and they will throw rocks (had one wizz right by my head) so we just keep walking and ignore them. They are also superstitious, including thinking that the rain will make you sick if you don't have an umbrella and you can't convince them otherwise.
Water and electricty does go out here sometimes, thankfully our house has a backup tank but no back up generator.
Alex Boye apparently visited here for the 30th anniversary of the church in Jamaica and everyone loves his music except me! He's in motab and has a couple solo albums.
Last thursday we had a tie cutting as President Gingery is leaving at the end of the month. I've gotten sunburned but not as bad as my bald spot. That got really bad one day.
Everyone has a scripture quote somewhere. 90% of the time it's Isaiah 54:17 or Psalms 70. Crazy people. Usually they just put the scripture reference.
Toads are everywhere, so we like to pick them up and just boot em. It's pretty funny.
Sundays at 10:00 is when church starts, but no one is there until like 10 mins after, talk about mormon standard time.
And finally, the other day it rained so hard we were yelling to hear each other in our house. Top that!