Friday, June 24, 2005

Philosophical ramblings...the story continues

'I guess we all have stories to tell and Asafa is doing his bit. In short, we all can tell the story of Jamaica and ourselves ... if we have the will!'
- Janneth Mornan Green

Of course, even over here in Germany, away from the native earth which I have trod for over two decades, I could not help joining in the excitement of Asafa's outstanding, record-breaking performance. It tells the story of a people who are definitely world-class. I celebrated by spreading the news with a broad smile. My Jamaican flag had been pinned to the wall in my apartment weeks before the world-changing run.

For a very long time now I have been concerned with stories. I normally pride myself on being from an age where story books without pictures can turn out to be even more exciting that those in which someone helps out (or probably limits) your imagination. Now I watch television to give my brain a rest from all the work I do.

There is this old man who I pass most mornings and evenings as I go to and from the Institute. He is always sitting there looking around but always says hello when I pass. It seems as if he is a bit senile, but I am sure he has a story to tell, and an interesting one too. But since my German is not at that level yet, I cannot hear his story.

In academia there is a common trend for researchers to theorise about people's culture, trying to fit it into their own frameworks without trying to understand it from the native (there is that troublesome word) perspective. Ask the people! You might be surprised at how much they know/or don't know and how they view the thing.

I see my story as inextricably wrapped up with the story of my country. My story can't be going all that well if my country's isn't. There is a need for more of the positive stories to be written to swamp and counteract the sea of negatives which is threatening to engulf us. The question for everyone at this time must be "what is my story and how does it fit into the bigger picture?"

Philosophising over, I have had a very busy week (that is a cliche now). Plus I am getting ready to fly to Boston (U.S.A.) to attend a linguistics summer school. The work never ends.

The story will no doubt continue there....

PS: I am now understanding the value of Advent Fellowship, Youth Class, Shamrock, etc. - you are all missed!

More time
De Walk-bout Jamaican Bwoy

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Travelling is a bitch!!

Not two weeks ago, I went across the country to Freiburg to do a presentation on the language situation in Jamaica. I had to take the train which cost me something in the region of 140 euro. If the cost wasn't bad enough, someone got sick on the first leg of the journey and the train was delayed for about fifteen minutes so that the medical team could come for her. This of course threw off my schedule since I only had four minutes to connect to the next train. I ended up having to wait about half an hour or more for the next one.

When I got on and we started to move the conductor came around checking tickets and when I presented mine, he said something to me in German. "Ich spreche kein Deutsch", (I speak no German) I tried to say in my best best German which is worse I guess than hog a nyam coco to the native German ears.

Thank God there was a woman who was sitting right in front of me who offered to help; she spoke English. They carried on their conversation and she explained that I had taken the express train and had to pay extra - whole a 30 odd euro (even though the train's delay caused me to miss my connection). I unwillingly forked out the money. Minutes after the conductor returned and gave me back my money. Then I knew I was not in Jamaica. He said the station people could have informed him that there was a delay. He even went further to tell me what train to take in Frankfurt, etc.

Coming back two days later was no less eventful, since I went in and took my seat and had people staring at me. I found out eventually that seats had been reserved and I was supposed to look for an unreserved one. But, no, this lickle walk-bout bwoy neva git up. all I do was to close me yeye every time de train stop and pray dat nobody wudn come for the seat. Prayer does work!!

But then the whole experience made me think about the scores of people who leave Jamaica everyday, tek plane and don't have the slightest clue about travelling. But they seem to get by. It is a case of "Consider the birds of the air, they neither sow nor spin, yet our heavenly Father takes care of them' In fact, when I was coming over to Germany there were two females who were obviously coming over for the first time. They latched on to me. One of them I assume could not read and write at all since I had helped her at the immigration section to fill out her departure form (every last detail).

The three of us walked into the plane together. When I reached my seat and turned back round there was the other one complaining that she could not find her seat. I took her ticket and showed her that her seat number was 25K at which point Miss Mum tell me "No, the K is for kilogram". Gentle persuasion finally won her over in the end.

So why do I worry about travelling? Massa God will continue to tek care of what me don't know bout.

By the way, those of you are used to my usually comical "first-time-I-tried-to-find-the-SDA-church-I-got-lost story" will be glad to know that that was not the case yesterday. I found the street okay. It was just a problem of deciding whether the church was at the east end or the west end of the street. It amounted to over half an hour of walking.

More time!!
De Walk-bout Jamaican Bwoy