As National Heroes Day approaches in Jamaica, the theme for this year’s celebrations “A Great Heritage…A Great Legacy” got me thinking. Not many of us Jamaicans really know why we celebrate our National Heroes each year. Not many Jamaicans can relate to the struggle of the times the heroes lived in and can appreciate the feat they accomplished in their own ways.
Earlier this year I had the privilege of hiking to the Blue Mountain peak in Jamaica. This was my second time hiking to the top but my first time hiking it in daylight. Climbing 7,402 ft to the peak is no easy feat but this time I had been exercising leading up to the that hike date so that the task would not be insurmountable.
It took several hours to get to the peak and on more occasions than one I felt like the peak could not be reached and I would never stop hiking. In those moments I thought of my National Heroes, two in particular and what it must have been like for them to have done something similar to this. Nanny of the Maroons and Paul Bogle hiked and walked for miles and days but that is not something often spoken about.
Nanny of the Maroons is known as the Warrior Queen who outsmarted British soldiers and fought to maintain her people’s freedom. Paul Bogle is known as the peasant farmer who after not getting an audience with the then Governor, Edward Eyre, started a rebellion that led to more favourable conditions for Jamaicans of that time.
Yes, they both did what we said they did but on this particular day in May of 2017 I put myself in both their shoes. Paul Bogle saw the injustices being met out to his fellow brothers and sisters and wanted to do something to help especially since (albeit marginally) he was in a position to help. Imagine the food shortage and drought that was being faced. I imagined walking in the hot sun (and oh, how the sun can be hot) 45 miles (a little over 72 km) from Stony Gut to Spanish Town. I imagined being thirsty and hungry and not having enough food to fully satisfy me. I imagined sweating and starting to smell a bit. I imagined how the stone would be jabbing and hurting the soles of my feet with each step I took. I only imagined that last part thinking Paul’s shoe was his ‘Sunday best’ and that he wouldn’t walk the soles out on such a long journey. He definitely did not have hiking boots or sneakers like I did. I want you to feel that and then imagine how it would feel to arrive in Spanish Town after all that walking, only to be told that the Governor has no time for you, you peasant. Listen to me. How Bogle kept his cool to not start a rebellion right there and then is worthy of commendation.
I imagined hiking through the dangerous terrain of the Blue Mountains, no trail to follow, with babies, children, elderly people and those who were sick or injured. I imagined being the one that everyone looked to for guidance and assurance that “it’s not too far now” when it would take weeks to get to our destination. I imagine having to carry a child in my arms as I climbed. I imagined having to lift a person up who couldn’t manoeuvre the terrain well. I imagined hearing the constant complaints of tiredness, thirst and hunger. I imagined hearing the cries of the babies who were just frustrated with the constant movement. I imagined having to stop or slow the pace to facilitate someone who had fallen and badly injured themselves on the path I led them. I imagined it raining and my only shelter being the leaves of trees. How did she not give up? How did Nanny not throw in the towel and say it was all too much for her to deal with? I can only guess that after all that she endured with the Maroons as they moved cross-country gave her even more determination for it to not all be for naught.
At the top, the feeling of it all being worth it; the feeling of it now coming to an end, welled up in my chest. I took a moment and looked around and saluted Nanny and Paul Bogle for digging past the voice that says we can’t do it or that it is too much for us to handle. I saluted them because:
I can now relate to what it was like to have done one thing they did in their lives and appreciate it was not easy and no small feat.
They embodied spirits living in us today, justifying our strength as a people – as a Black race.
It doesn’t have to be National Heroes Day for me to pay respects to my heroes.
What our Heroes did was to ACT. They acted get the change they wanted to see instead of just talking about it. That is why they are our Heroes.
If you are Jamaican having trouble relating to our National Heroes or understanding why they are recognised as heroes, try walking in their shoes. Take some time to do something they did and strip away the luxuries we enjoy today.
Which Hero do you most relate to and why? tell me in the comments below.
I have previously said, in a post somewhere on my blog, that I am not a fan of fish. I don’t like the smell, look and taste of it. I have also said that I love food and that I love trying new foods. With that being said, great food excites me! It really does (all food, for me, can be an aphrodisiac).
This past weekend, I was disconnected from the internet and all forms of social media and visited some family members out of town. One such relative was an older brother of mine that I grew up with. This would have been the first time in years that we would be under the same roof for an extended period of time. *let’s breakfor necessary detailshere*
This brother is the brother that has always tried to get me to eat the things he eats and I somehow always give them a taste and end up liking them. It is either we have very similar tastes in food or he just knows what I would like to taste in food.
*now we can resume* So being a good big brother, he got up Sunday morning and started making breakfast. My typical breakfast would contain ‘breakfasty’ foods like eggs, bread, sausages, and other delights. My brother got up and made the breakfast he was feeling for since he doesn’t “really eat meat anymore.” He proceeded to steam some fishes!
I’d have everything here except the baked beans.
This looks like me
Now don’t get me wrong. I was not completely surprised because I saw the large fishes and I could smell them as well. I just thought they were for dinner, which I would not have been around for. Fish is not really breakfast food, especially not steamed fish.
Anyway, the plate came before me and I was a little taken aback. Here was this big, whole fish – head-on and swimming in sauce, looking at me. Grotesque! I decided that because I didn’t want to go to the kitchen and make breakfast myself, or go without breakfast, I would give it a try (after all, he did thinly slice ockras into it).
IT WAS DELICIOUS! Granted my mind was acting all kinds of ways for me to feel bad but my stomach was fine. IT TASTED GREAT! And now I am just feeling for more fish. This is so unlike me. Or maybe I was missing out on something for years.
*PS there are only 3 times I have tried fish and loved it and this brother was involved in two of those times (roasted and steamed fish).
Are there any foods you’ve tried that surprised you by how good they are? Share them with me.
Its July (‘Finally!’ I can hear some people say) and more than half of 2017 is in the bag.
I took a moment and looked at the things I had hoped to accomplish by this time and some of them I have yet to and others seem that they will not be accomplished. A part of me feels, or I should say felt, a little disappointed that after trying my hand at setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals I may not achieve them all.
Just this morning, my advice to a friend was that she needed to examine a particular situation as if she was not directly involved in it, to give it a fair judgement. That’s what I needed to do (take your own advice nuh sista!). As it turns out, being rue to self, I had set AMBITIOUS goals (I apparently changed the meaning of A in SMART Goals). The goals I had set for the time-frame I had set them for were quite ambitious in that any once could have told me that they were either too heavy or just too much for me to take on alone especially in the time I had set out to do so.
I am not disappointed in setting goals beyond what I can readily attain. I am, however, disappointed in the fact that somethings will have to be rescheduled. I believe they are all of equal importance and choosing which to delay is hard. It is a good thing I find solace in knowing that my journey is not the same as the next person’s I can’t compare my life to theirs. My life has to be compared with itself over a period of time. Without a doubt I can see growth and progress. So while half the year is behind me I am not behind in meeting goals and REALISTIC goals and targets
If you are reading this and you too have realised that some goals o targets for this year will not be met, don’t begin to beat yourself up about it. Step out of the situation and think about how you can shuffle it to move forward. Remember there is no blueprint for this thing. We are all trying to figure it out too.
There is no wrong or right way to pace your life.
What are some of your goals or targets for this year?
Today is June 20, 2017. What happened on this day 10 years ago, is lost to me. I don’t know OK? I have to think to remember what underwear I put on this morning. Generally speaking, in June 2007 I was in my last year of high school. I had probably just wrapped up my Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations and was preparing for graduation. (Coincidentally, 10 years later my high school, the St. Hilda’s Diocesan High School, is finally extending to have a sixth form.)
I remember a few things that were concerning me the most at that time.
Oh my God! I failed my Caribbean History examination and will have to resit it.
I DON’T fail! I just don’t. Like anyone else out there I don’t like the feeling of failing or losing. This was the first time (only twice so far) that I felt that I had not only let myself down but others as well and caused embarrassment and a blow to my reputation. After the exam I went home, got into bed and cried all night (again, this only happened one more time after this).
Leading up to the examination I was online (yahoo messenger…yes. It was hot) chatting with a classmate of mine about unrelated topics. Once at school, the chatting was taken offline and face-to-face. I did not revise or read over the way I normally would have in preparation. I felt unprepared.
When the results came out, I passed Caribbean History with a distinction (the highest score/ grade category). What was I stressing about? I don’t know. And on top of that, I am not an historian today.
I am not graduating or taking any graduation pictures until my broken tooth is fixed.
That was the demand I made to my parents. This must be the first time I am talking about my tooth. I usually don’t even acknowledge it because I’ve been insecure about it for the longest while. I should just accept it because I am stuck with it.
In primary school, I broke my front tooth and got it fixed. A few years later while still in primary school I broke the tooth again AND the tooth beside it. When I went to get it fixed, the pain was too much to bear so I couldn’t go through with the procedure. I went through high school with a broken tooth and the nerve started to decay after a few years.
The long and short of the story is that it could no longer be fixed and had to be replaced. Yes, I have a fake tooth in my mouth. I was so uncomfortable smiling and it affected the way I moved my lips when speaking. That was the most annoying bit. The fact that my speech sounded a little different (only for a short while) was nowhere close to how annoying it was that my lips instinctively tried to cover the tooth when I spoke. I am still a little self-conscious of it especially for pictures but I have learned how to just work with it (it’s all in the angles). This should not have been such a big deal because I found out that it is a lot more common than I thought. Young and old have a tooth like mine and we are all living just fine.
I can’t wait to get out of this place!
Not the school (I loved school). I just wanted to get out of the community and town I lived in. It wasn’t a bad place but it wasn’t my fit. I didn’t feel comfortable and it got worse as time went by. I felt as though I would be stifled there and Kingston would be a better fit for me.
As it turns out, Kingston is a better fit. The friends I am closest with I have either met here or reconnected with here in Kingston. My nomadic spirit is free to move around and the constant bustle is in keeping with my need to always be doing something. BUT low and behold, why must life be so expensive here? Sweet heavens! I don’t even want to think of the alternative. I am happy where I am and that’s that.
If I could go back in time I would have told my younger self to stop stressing. It is all going to work out. Focus on your own lane and do not be distracted by the pace of others. You possess a power in you that you cannot imagine right now but you will see it at work.
That would have been comforting to hear 10 years ago.
What were you worried about 10 years ago that no long matters today?
As I write this, I am sitting around my dining table in my apartment (if it falls under that category of housing) and thinking. Thinking a lot while I munch on food. Things have changed. I have changed. I read two old posts of mine and thought ‘Where is that girl?’. My voice and creativity have changed and are not as pure as they were. I don’t mind change but I do mind when it takes up too much of the space that is reserved for purity and hope. I want to see blogging as extremely fun and satisfying again.
It is not that I have lost that. I started writing not for myself anymore and that is when I started to change. I was writing on demand for anyone that wanted. I was writing for someone to like it. I started writing because it was my escape and it kept me calm. It just so happened that people liked my recorded thoughts. It can still happen that way (even though I missed out on making many hilarious posts because of that change).
Since I have decided that it’s back to posting my thoughts, here is what I am mulling over:
How do you keep calm when everyone around you seems to be moving faster on their escalators than you are on yours?
Truth is, it is hard. It’s a constant reminder that their destination is not yours.
I have remind myself that their circumstance or situation is not the same as mine. I have to reassure myself of those things to keep calm and focused on the goal.
It could also be that they are more prepared for their reward than I am. I can definitely think of one goal that I want but don’t want while I’m not prepared to receive it.
It could also be that they aren’t on their way to goal they had set or to any goal at all. They good very well just be going.
Blinders need to be put on for 2017 because I don’t want anyone’s seeming ‘busyness’ make me lose sight of what I am working towards.
Nap time then back to work. (I have my fingers crossed that the second half of that statement works out).
BTW, have you heard Letoya Luckett’s Back 2 Life song? You should listen and watch the video.