To find out more about our Maroon tours, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check our page here.
It's in our name, the fact that our tours focus on Jamaican culture. We also love when culture is fun. Above is a pic from a recent visit to a Maroon community in Portland. The energy was high, the drumming was hypnotic, and the vibes were positive, a celebration of life over adversity. And then after our guests cooled down in the river. All in all, an excellent day out.
To find out more about our Maroon tours, email us at email@example.com or check our page here.
Jean Small is who I want to be when I grow up.
In her 70s she completed her doctorate (so that's Dr. Jean Small to you). This is after a lifetime of having been a teacher of French and theatre, having been a playwright, having been an actress. Now in her 80s, she has just published two books, one a collection of poetry and the other of short stories. Today October 29 there was a launch at the Phillip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies. This is what Carolyn Allen had to say about the poetry collection:
"This is a collection of 16 poems—varied in length and style. They are announced as “poems of loss” and indeed the central theme weaving its way through them is the pain we suffer when separated from loved ones, most poignantly by death in the title poem, in “Lament”, “Car Crash” and “If Only Bob Could Sing” We find the recurring image of a hole, a symbol of the emotion,the emptiness one feels. But there is nothing blank or monotone in these poems There is range in approach and subject. The loss depicted also comes from the separation of divorce and desertion, the deep disappointment of the end of a love affair. Big ooman tings. And we feel it because of the fundamental honesty of the emotions expressed."
The poems and stories, through the range of themes and settings, are good reads for those interested in understanding and appreciating Jamaican life. Much of what is depicted about Jamaica in literature and film deals with gangs and criminals. This is not that. These works show people in all walks of life, in varying circumstances. Additionally, given that they're drawn from Jean's own life and encounters, they reflect an honest picture.
To order Revelations, the collection of short stories, click here
For information about purchasing the poetry collection, Send Me No Flowers, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Between May and November in Jamaica we experience most of the rainfall for the year. This year has been a very active one with respect to tropical storms and hurricanes, and while we've thankfully been spared a direct hit, we've gotten quite a bit of rain. This isn't spoiling our fun however, and usually in Kingston when it rains, it's a short sudden burst, and then it's back to blue skies.
We invite you to come explore the outdoors with us in the sunshine, and in the rain.
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The passage of Hurricane Irma has created dislocation and suffering for many Caribbean states. At the time of writing the estimated death toll was 23 with the possibility of rising. The United Kingdom has been criticised for the pace of its response to its territories in the Caribbean. The hurricane has therefore highlighted the fact that while Caribbean countries to a large extent share a common history and culture, the forms of government vary.
The major categories are:
Independent Republic - This includes Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Dominica. Being a republic means that the country's governance exists entirely within its own borders without any oversight from a former colonial power. Typically this means that there is a Prime Minister and a President. Republics are not common in the Caribbean.
Independent Parliamentary Democracy/Commonwealth Realm - This includes Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, among others. In fact most of the former British colonies have this form of government. With this category, the Queen of England, Elizabeth is recognised as the Monarch and she is represented in the island by a Governor General which she chooses based on the advice of the country's Prime Minister. This however is strictly ceremonial and the Queen does not interfere in the affairs of the islands. The Governor General's role is constitutionally dictated and s/he is generally considered a figurehead with powers to swear in Members of Parliament and the Prime Minister; sign into law bills that have been debated and passed by Parliament; dissolve Parliament once elections have been called; and others.
Dependencies - These include British Overseas Territories, and continued French, Dutch, and American colonies. Countries falling in this category include Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Aruba, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, among others. These countries usually have some local government however they have not gained independence or have chosen to remain a colony.
While there are close ties to the former and current colonial powers, Caribbean nations also have forged links with each other. There is a common market known as Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with several associated bodies such as the Caribbean Court of Justice and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Our histories are similar, our concerns are similar, our grit is similar.
Watch how we will rally after this heartbreak, regardless of whether we are independent or not, whether we speak Kreyol, Patois, Creole, French, Dutch, English, or Spanish. Watch how we will rally.
The abeng, an instrument made from animal horn, is part and parcel of Maroon culture. By blowing through it Maroons, runaway slaves who maintained free communities, could communicate with each other, sending messages that were impossible or the untrained ear to decipher. Its sound was said to drive terror into the hearts of the British. Usually the abeng is seen as a symbol of freedom. However, because the Maroons eventually signed peace treaties and would be used by the British to suppress slave and anti-colonial uprisings, their symbolism is complicated. It can be argued therefore that the abeng represents not just resistance and struggle but disunity and co-optation. What would lead to this very challenging set of circumstances? These are questions we get answered when we visit Maroon communities and delve deeper into Jamaican history. History after all is never a simple thing.
To find out more about our Maroon tours, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/whatsapp 1 876 540 8570 / 1 876 374 6370.
In 1997 I was very excited. Wole Soyinka, the great Nigerian playwright was coming to Jamaica and "The Beatification of Area Boy" was to be staged. I got a ticket and I went to Ward Theatre to see the play. It was a grand theatre, and even though I had what I now realise was a terrible seat (far away and high up), I was happy. I felt I was participating in something great in the best possible location. The Ward Theatre unfortunately since then has significantly deteriorated but this year the long talked about plan to refurbish the theatre was revived and actual work begun. This is a good thing for the city of Kingston as this building has been around for many important moments, both theatrical and non theatrical, in our history.
Certainly in terms of local theatre, the Ward has been an important location, and for decades hosted the annual Pantomime productions featuring the likes of Louise Bennett and Randolph Williams. Many travelling productions took place at Ward Theatre and Paul Robeson performed at the theatre in 1948. Our two major political parties were founded at the Ward Theatre. The theatre was also a place where Marcus Garvey spoke and staged productions. And on. What a pity the building has fallen so low but again how wonderful that there seems to be a commitment on the part of the parish council to revive it.
Even in its current condition it's an arresting building and tours which give more detail of the history can be scheduled. This theatre for many reasons, but primarily because it's been silent witness to Kingston's transformation, is on our list of recommended places to visit when you're in the city.
At 1:51, 2:47 in the YouTube video below is footage of the Ward Theatre (look behind the graceful dancers).
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For the record let me state up front that I'm vegetarian. I have however eaten a great deal of meat in my life, and a huge part of that has been curry goat. I've had good goat and I've had bad goat, but until I started this tour company it never struck me that visitors found goat "exotic". Most of our guests are interested in experiencing Jamaican culture so they will jump right in. Others have to be coaxed. Others refuse. The ones who refuse are missing out. Well prepared curry goat is delicious, and it is definitely something, if you're a meat eater, to try while on the island.
Here are Google search results for "curry goat Jamaica review".
On our food tour curry goat is one of the menu options, and though you do not have to have it, it has not once gotten a bad reception. If you think about it, many people eat lamb and sheep and think nothing of it. Both goats and sheep are small ruminants and stem from the same sub family Caprinae, although they are different species of animals. Although they are differences in behaviour, both animals are similar enough that people often get them mixed up. Goat also is one of the most consumed meats globally.
Give curry goat a try on your trip to Jamaica.
To find out more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1 876 540 8570 (whatsapp).
Our tours are not very beach-y but there are a few choice water locations that we visit. Of course Reach Falls is on the list. In comparison with other sites it's small and low key, which we like. There are a number of ways to access the falls but the safest bet is to go through the park operated by the Jamaican government which offers a guided experience, well tended gardens, and facilities such as toilets and changing rooms. It's a beautiful location, mostly quiet on week days, and we recommend a visit.
To explore taking part in our Portland Day Trip, email us at email@example.com or call 1 876 540 8570 (whatsapp).
It has recently been announced that Starbucks will be entering the Jamaican market in collaboration with Sandals, opening branches in Montego Bay and Kingston. They have also announced that they will be using Jamaican coffee. I am very hopeful that the investment will bring jobs and impact positively on the economy of my island. It is likely though that I will continue to patronise my local coffee shop. It's small and it can get quite crowded (I'm a big fan of personal space and buffer zones) but the coffee is good (they have a variety of hot and cold sophisticated coffee drinks but I always order a regular hot Blue Mountain coffee) and I know for a fact that the coffee is grown in Jamaica. In fact I know exactly where the farm is located. If you've never visited a coffee farm, I highly recommend it.
A coffee farm isn't the most natural environment that you can find but when you're in the mountains and the air is fresh and cool, the birds are darting about, and the coffee aroma is rising from your cup, you're happy. Listen, if you're coming to Jamaica it makes sense that you would check out one of the things Jamaica is most known for. On the tour you find out why the coffee is so good and why is it so expensive. As a bonus you get to purchase high quality coffee at a price much cheaper than you would outside of the island. If you're not a coffee lover, the tour still provides many benefits as you learn about some of our agricultural practices, a little about our economy, and, did I already mention the beauty of the mountains? Breathtaking.
I am hopeful that the Starbucks project will yield positive benefits for Jamaica. Certainly, we at Jamaica Cultural Enterprises will be rooting for solutions and projects that best support our local growers. A visit to a Blue Mountain coffee farm is a great way for you to see first hand what the fuss is about with Jamaican coffee, experience the beauty of the mountains, and learn about the impact of coffee on the lives of Jamaicans.
Another underrated Jamaican musical great is Peter Tosh. In the past few years however he has begun to get some of the recognition he deserves with a posthumous award of Order of Merit from the Jamaican government and the creation of a museum dedicated to him. Located in New Kingston, the Peter Tosh Museum is open to anyone seeking to understand more of what made this man a legend, to comprehend what fueled his ideas, to gain a better understanding of his music, and to see unique artifacts that belonged to the singer. It's small but well designed space and with a great guide the past comes alive. We recommend a visit.
Let us help you organise your trip to the Peter Tosh Museum. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 1 876 540 8570 (whatsapp).
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