Saturday, March 26, 2011

Little Bay, Luciano, Love, Light

My buddy Monk is heavy into Music and Charity one which is The NEET Foundation  on Friday he invited us to attend  a drop off of  benefits and  supplies to the Little Bay All age and Infant School of Little Bay, Westmoreland.

About NEET

The Negril Education Environment Trust (NEET) is a non-profit organization based at Travellers Beach Resort in Negril, Jamaica. In 2003 the organization was founded to address the country’s need for educational support and resources. Since its inception, NEET mission and vision have grown. Today, NEET is committed to strengthening the social fabric of Jamaica through programs that expand educational access for children and adults, partnerships that address our public and environmental health, and events and activities that celebrate Jamaica’s rich heritage.
NEET achieves its mission through the provision of three programs, Island-wide Book & Computer Distribution, Computer Literacy, and the Medical Mission.

Buy A Brick Campaign
The buy a brick campaign began a few years ago as part of “Soul Rebellion”. An event in which spring breakers interact with the community as part of a cultural exchange. During this time spring breakers purchased bricks that went towards building a library and toilets at St. Pauls Primary School. N.E.E.T now intends to continue building libraries throughout each school year for schools experiencing similar conditions as St. Pauls. The buy a brick program assisted in building a canteen for Ferris Primary School. We intend to make this a year round campaign.

Computer Literacy Program
N.E.E.T’s very popular computer literacy program seeks to develop the computer skills of adults and children.
N.E.E.T’s Adult Computer Literacy Program (ACLP) seeks to develop the computer skills of individuals who are out of school and wish to develop their skills in this area. In partnership with Peace Corps/Jamaica and the Theodora Project, ACLP has worked with many local residents of Westmoreland to increase their proficiency with using Microsoft Office programs. Such skill sets continue to be sought after in the business community. By providing computer literacy trainings to local residents. In those who have achieved computer training include police, teachers, and members of society who are at risk. Each graduate receives a computer to take home installed with the bible, national anthem, and the national pledge. N.E..E.T’s commitment will yield a more competitive workforce for the Jamaican public.

Medical Mission
The Caribbean Medical Mission is an intricate part of our organization that comes to Jamaica once a year to give free medical checkups and medicine. In 2008, at the opening of St. Pauls Library, the mission gave free medical attention and medicine to parents, children, and teachers.

Island-wide Book & Computer Distribution Program
 Led by the motto “a book in every child’s hand and a computer in every classroom”, the Book Distribution Program sets out to achieve just that. In the last 5 years, the organization has been able to donate over 2,000,000 books to various schools. Additionally, NEET received hundreds of computers from offshore contributors that were distributed to schools across the island. N.E.E.T.’s Book & Computer Distribution Program made it possible to build a library at St.Paul’s Primary.
Our next project is to build a library for little London primary school in which all are invited to participate by contributing to the “Buy A Brick Campaign”

Kids-n-Keyboards Project
What is being called a revolutionary way of teaching kids to “touch type” has now been introduced to the first school in Jamaica, Grange Hill High School. The school was presented with 20 color coded keyboards and lesson plans on how to implement the program. The program, founded by Tina Perry has been implemented into New York City school systems and for the first time Jamaica. The program forces students to learn how to type without looking at the keyboard. Twelve schools have been chosen to start out with. Once these schools are successful in implementing the program N.E.E.T intends to open the program to other schools in Jamaica that qualify.

Other Achievements:
  • Close to 500 schools in Jamaica have benefited from N.E.E.T Donations
  • 2 Awards have been received on behalf of N.E.E.T
  • Over 2 Million books over the past 5 years have been distributed to schools around Jamaica
  • Materials such as pens and pencils are continuously being donated
  • Our goal is to saturate the island with books and computers reaching out to the schools and children most in need
  • The theme for 2006 was “each one teach one”
  • The theme for 2007 was “swap your guns for computers
  • The theme for 2008 is “together we can make a difference”
  • Kudos to the NEET Foundation and Monk
The children and guests not only got thier donations, a treat was also in store for us. A lyrical treat as well as a message from Jamaica's acclaimed Messenger Luciano. Luciano is one of my favorite Artists one  that I have seen at least 6 times in the past 3 years, alwas under the stars at such places as Tony Rebel's Rebel Salute, MXIII in Negril, Root's Bamboo, Negril Escapes twice,  but yesterday when I walked into the likkle school in this small haven in Jamaica and saw this  Mighty Man with his old fashion guitar singing with and to the children, a deep emtion came over me and all I could do was say Blessed Lord, thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a Beautiful experience. Angels walk the Earth and people do give back a part of themelves back to thier Roots. The Messenger did just that and after  a few tunes and then a few speeches he closed the event with a prayer to the Children and Adults. A prayer that asks that the Adults teach the Children how important they are to the now and to the future, and to the Children to remember how special they all are. It was Love, It was Light, It was Luciano a man of  great honor.

Thank you Monk for the invite, to NEET for all that you do, to Miss Sonia for continuing to Inspire all that you meet, to the Principal Mrs Clayton and vice Principle Ms Miller Vacciana of the Little Bay All Age and Infact School, for thier hospitality and to Luciano, the Messenger for your message as always of Love, Light and Respect. I Love you mi Brethren.

The School in Likkle Bay

 Songs from The Messenger

 The Message
 Praise Jah
 The Gifting

Imagine a  Man taking the time out of his busy schedule to give back and spend time with the Children. . A great Man. The Messenger

Blessed Love Luciano

Monday, March 14, 2011

Applying For Permanent Residency in Jamaica


I am speaking from my own experiences not from second hand information. And since this subject comes up a lot I have decided to share my OWN process and cost information for anyone thinking of applying, so that there can be FACTS and not Speculation on this subject.

NO HIV test, just a medical check up from a doctor in Jamaica, no blood or urine was drawn.

The only Criminal record came from my home city/state. No fingerprints from anywhere were ever taken.

There were three interviews done in Kingston but there was also one interview done in my home, and my neighbors were also interviewed. Ironically it was the ones hanging out on the block and not the ones who are gainfully employed. The initial interview was done in Kingston because no two people could give the same information, so after speaking with an Immigration Officer in Kingston it was decided that I should go to Kingston with the few papers from the checklist that I already had and to see what else I might need to get the process started.

Went to Kingston 3 times (1) to get the process started and pick up a letter to take to Immigration in the states to obtain a multi entry visa,upon arrival back in Jamaica even though I had it, at airport I was still only given 3 month stamp. (2) to take back additional papers that I had to pick up from my home, plus the police report. (3) to obtain my approval and get my stamp.

$100 transportation to Kingston
30,000JMD cost of application for Permanent Residency
$131.00 cost in Miami for Multi entry visa
$30.00 cost for expediting multi entry visa
2000JMD visa
10,000 JMD extension which was needed to remain while application was being processed.
$100 transportation  to Kingston
3rd Kingston trip was no cost because I waited until Approval to return.
$300 cost for hotel in Miami 2 nites
$150. additional paid for stopover in Miami
$50. RT transportation and taxi's in Miami

When you arrive with the multi entry you are given 6 mos to a year stamp to remain in country while your papers are being processed. If your time expires before approval/disapproval you are with an additional 10,000JMD given an extension.

Process started in March approved in December. It is valid until the passport expires. At that time you must renew it, but you don't have to go back through the complete process, just bring your new Passport and get your new stamp.

Cost app: $1312.00 US may have been a few other incidental costs not factored in.

Perhaps a working permit needs certain other clearances but a Permanent Resident permit does not have to go through the bells and whistles. I believe it MIGHT be easier for retirees to get approval because they figure you will not become a burden on Jamaica since you have an income and will not try to seek nor need employment.

Permanent Residence Checklist:

A Valid Passport
B Evidence of Financial Status and means of support
C Copy of Birth Certificate
D Marital Status Marriage certificate, particulars of spouse
E Medical Certificate Certificate of good Health
F Police Certificate from the state from which you are migrating
G Two Passport size Photos
H Reasons for seeking Permanent Residence in Jamaica
I Letters from two reputable references or acquaintances.

All of above must be originals NO COPIES.

Check your local listings for a Jamaican Consulate near you.

For me it was just a process, like any other when you are applying for permission to do something, nothing more, nothing less.

Those who own property should have an easier process than mine.

Hope this helps anyone interested.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Survival World Culture Music Festival

A Historical Event 45 Years in the making.


A once in a Lifetime Event, not since 1966 have these Elders been together.

Trelawny Stadium in Falmouth, Jamaica West Indies
April 20 -April 27, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Zimbali Retreats, Westmoreland Jamaica



Check it out

  Zimbali Mountain Retreat NEGRIL

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to leave all of life behind, wander into a tropical paradise, and venture into a life completely off-grid? At Zimbali Farms we fused of modern technology with the ancient natural way of life, and made this dream reality. Come and stay in complete comfort while you reconnect with Mother Nature and yourself. The sun is your power and the rain is your water at this 100% off-grid retreat. Here at Zimbali Farms, we offer top class service and feature a gourmet ‘Ital’ vegetarian menu. Almost all of the fruit and foods you will eat are grown right here, upon the 7 ½ acre organic farm. (Other menus are available upon request). This retreats primary focus is your health, both physical and spiritual, in the ancient and natural traditions of Rastafari.
As you enter the Farms “Great House”, you must pass through the “tree of life”, a door made from the ‘Y” of a large guango tree; you are struck by the comfort of the stylish interior, a mild surprise compared with the stained glass, rustic exterior. A library of books lines the living room walls. The rear walls slide open to reveal an outdoor living room, completely open to the silence of the mountain valley. Time has no meaning here.
The gourmet kitchen with its cedar countertops and dining island are open to both the indoor and outdoor living rooms; the feeling of space and openness calms the mind. For your privacy, the 2 bedrooms and full bath are located downstairs. The master bedroom has its own back porch surrounded by the beauty of nature. Your skin has never felt as soft as when you bathe entirely from rain water, heated by the sun.
In the morning you awaken to the faint smell of smoke, as the wood fire heats the water for your coffee; almost all of the cooking takes place in the outdoor kitchen on a wood fire. The smokiness adds a special flavor to everything it cooks. Sit on the back porch and drink fresh juice as the sun breaks through the morning valley mist. By day you swim in the rivers and springs, get massaged by a waterfall, and get a real clay mud facial in the place Bob Marley used to swim. You can walk the farm and help pick dinner, drink from the coconuts and chew on the sugar cane, or hike into the hills and visit a real Rasta farm. Sit and reason with them while lunch is cooked “inna’ da bush”. The evening finds you in the outdoor dining area, the smoke gently rising through the fire torch light. As you sit and talk into the night, your mind is free of walls and new thoughts freely flow. 
The homes of Zimbali Retreats are inspired by nature on a canvas created by god. Regardless of whether you stay at our Mountain or Seaside Retreats; one can’t help but be humbled by the peace and bounty that surrounds you. This perspective brings inspiration to anyone. We welcome you back to simplicity long forgotten.

Zimbali Mountain Retreat

Main Villa (Serenity)

•2 Bedrooms (sleeps 4-6 people)
•1 Bathroom 
Solar hot water
•Spacious indoor/outdoor living room overlooking mountain valley
•Large library of books- Novels, classics and meditative
•Indoor & Outdoor Dining area
•Cable television
•Computer & Stereo

Cottage (Green Door) 

•Well-appointed studio w/ Bathroom & Kitchenette
•Comfortable front veranda
•Solar hot water
Cable television

Zimbali Seaside Retreat

Main Villa (The Legend)

•2 Bedrooms (sleeps 4-6 people)
•1 Bathroom 
•Solar hot water
•Large spacious front veranda overlooking the sea
•Cable television
•Sea Kayaks
Cottage (Kaya) 

•Well-appointed studio w/ Bathroom & Kitchenette
•Comfortable front veranda overlooking the bay
•Solar hot water

* Top class service with personal chef and service assistant
* Vegetarian, Seafood or Traditional Jamaican Cuisine
* Organic food grown almost exclusively by Zimbali Farms
* Transport from Negril to your Retreat
* Guided tours provided
* Cable television
* 100% solar power


(876)252-3232 or (876)542-1556

A Typical Day in My Life

I like a likkle tea in my cream. I never drink hot coffee or tea in the states but in Jamaica it is a daily morning ritual. Tea, be it bush tea or boxed tea, hot chocolate, or coffee, condensed milk/sweet cream and brown sugar is a must for me, sadly, but delicious. Unfourtunatly I have a sweet tooth, and I never drink any of these without my sweet cream.  
My daily routine after taking care of the hygiene part begins with a hot cup of tea on my veranda, and right now I'm reading my friend Sprat"s  (JW Fraser)  book  Caregiver Or Taker, so each day I go out armed with my tea and book, and relax and chill, conversations with my yard mates as well as the neighbor in the next yard who has a new born niece Miss Jasmine and 3 feisty dogs Cindi the mother, and not a very good one, Tommie who was the first born of a litter of 8 unfortunately he and Likkle Man are the only 2 who survived.
 Now Tommie was always the most aggressive of the group, whenever I heard a rumble of barks from the group he was always the loudest and the first one to take a chance on new things. Likkle man was always the one who when I looked outside my kitchen window would be laying, chilling and relaxing. As I said Tommie stayed in trouble, he was the first to learn to jump over any makeshift fence that was put up  to keep the group safe and out of trouble, he was also the first to begin destroying his owners garden, if it was in his way he knocked it down, so now Tommie is on lock down 24/7, as a result this has stunted his growth and I fear the damage being done to his system, so we make sure that he is the first to get food when we take it out to them. I thought the nature of the beast was not to bite the hand that feeds them, not Tommie when we come to the fence, he gives us a what took you so long bark, like hurry with my food.
Getting back to my morning,  we hang out for a while till time for the yard mates and neighbor  to get ready and leave for work. I make breakfast and lunch for my folks, once they are off to work, it's my time, in honesty most days I come on line first, check emails and respond to face book shouts,make phone calls, write in my blog for a while and then log on to the message boards  to check to see whaagwaan.
Noon, I get my chores done, one which I hate is washing in that damn red bucket by hand, uuuuuuuughh I hate it, hang laundry and then, to the no longer charming sweeping, making beds, dishes and dusting and such. By now its time to get dinner started,  I've taken something out of the freezer and at this point I get the meat seasoned, the vegis cut up and washed and everything prepped and ready for cooking. Some days if I am a little tired of my own cooking I request that my folks do the cooking after they get off work(unfair I know) but their food tastes better than mine still, but I'm getting there.  
Folks home, shower, dinner a short walk, just sort of chilling for the rest of the evening on mi veranda, either back online to the message boards or my blog, little TV, shower, bed.
I have to add, as boring as this might be to others after working all my life, I am still in the mode of being a veranda, couch potato and loving it..
Now the flip side of this is Sundays and days when there is a plan to go on an outing, something I try to do at least twice a month, a trip to Belmont/Blue field Beach, or Black River, Pelican Bar, Roaring River, Lil Ochi or wherever the dart hits, take off and go. Eat, stop, swim/float just chill out time.
I love going up to Blue fields Beach, I like the layout and vibe of it, there are a few cook shops as well as jerk pork and chicken barrels, with snacks and drinks. There is always a group of big men and young playing dominoes who will invite you to a game if you ask nicely. The first time I went up I felt an ease being around these multi generation families and I like to go as often as I can.  This is a very relaxing spot and Sunday is family day, and the beach is usually quite lively. As I said several generations, Grans, parents,young folks and babies, it's great fun just interacting with other folks on their day out. Never take out my camera, because it would be rude and intrusive, though I have seen many photo ops. They remind me so much of my Family during our gatherings together and makes me smile with  bittersweet thoughts flowing through my head. Memories.....
Some weekends we go up to the family yard in the country and that's a whole nother vibe and another set of stuff. Driving is probably the best way because it gives us a chance to see and enjoy so much, but talk about stressful. (see the post on the 12 hour drive ) But I have to get used to it, because driving is power, or learning how to get around in the route taxis and local buses which is a whole nother experience. But a really cheap mode of transportation. Picture this a 12 passenger van traveling with 20/22 people  at break neck speed down a pot holed, pock marked road. Oh, most folks are also carrying bags of groceries or luggage, this makes for a very exciting, crowded, hot, journey. Cost Negril/Kingston  2000 JMD/$25.00 US. Private charter $150/200 one way or round trip.
I always envisioned myself going to the beach daily, back packing around the country, just setting out going wherever as the mood hits. Now this I still want to  do, but the beach is more of a when the mood hits type of thing. Still so much to do, and Lord willing lots of time, so I do what suits me when it hits. From Sea to shining Sea. Negril to St. Elisabeth to Clarendon to Kingston to Port Antonio to St. Mary to Ochi to Trewlawney to St Ann to Mobay to Lucea back to Negril. So much Beauty, History, People, Culture, Music, Food, it will take a lifetime to explore it all. I'm up for it. 


Looking out from my veranda

Just out chilling
Beautiful Flowers See how my Garden grows.

On the road to wherever my heart desires