Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jamaica, from finish to start

Not too many hours before heading back to NYC. I am sitting on a swinging porch chair in the cool Jamaican night air eating animal crackers, with Waynie smoking a spliff nearby. Everyone is browner than they were when they woke up this morning. We debated at the beach over how long it'd take before I got Akua's complexion. I said one more week; they guessed a month. I lost my prayer bead bracelet at Hellshire Beach while skinny dipping under the stars. What I prayed for came true as I floated next to a man who makes me forget that I was head over heels in love many times before. But never in Jamaica...

The men pushed our van out of white parking lot beach sand, while the women stepped off to the side. Tyrone with backpack on his back and Stephanie with her camera strap over a shoulder, under an armpit.

I prayed a lot. A few times because a drop I was walking along seemed too steep for comfort and my shoes had little grip. A few times because I'd scratched the skin off from the torture of mosquito itching and the shit still itched thereafter. Every time I ate a meal. And one time when I wanted him to kiss me. I guess that bracelet had carried more than its usual or suggested uses.

There's a popular song here. In the lyrics (may even be the song's title) it says: "Take love one day at a time." If I'd have known it is so easy to fall in love with the Patois and the mangoes and the air and the breadfruit and the mountains and Rasta babies and the slowing down of life... so moments feel like the eternity that they are... If you'd have asked me how much love I'd feel on this day one month ago, whatever I would have said would have been off. This is why I know that the most important moments are each that we acknowledge and are grateful for.

There were 3 Rasta babies who came from very far to participate in the camp. They are the most beautiful boys you'd ever lay your eyes on. And some day I'll have some that look like them. But right now, I get to witness how 2 little girls brought up by an entire community grow up over the course of a week-long summer camp. I get to witness my friends show their youth through spades all-nighters and races.

There are so many things that will represent this trip for me: Reggae music - period. Mosquito bites. Mangoes. "Peace Moors." Hikes. Brown skin, touched by sunshine. Sun rays & moon beams.

I want to chew each remaining moment slowly, savor the Jamaican air on my tongue and love on my fingertips. I want to close my eyes and listen to the crickets. Open them and see the beautiful and satisfied faces of the 2010 Lil Raggamuffin Summer Camp Counselors.

Read more about The Lil Raggamuffin Summer Camp by clicking here.

Stay tuned for more remnants of JA.

Photo of Sallomé courtesy of Dahkil Hausif.
Photo of Zia and Jada Inam courtesy of Stephanie O'Connor.