“Just tell the story like you told it to me. I had goose bumps when you told me,” said my writing friend, Susan, when I lamented that I wanted to write about my recent trip to Jamaica, but loathed that the story looming inside my head felt like I’d be turning my summer vacation into a book report.
My daughters, Leni, 15 and Darla, 13 accompanied me on the trip, a gracious invitation from my friend, Diana Fox, an Anthropology Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Diana, whose work focuses on the Caribbean, has been visiting and forging relationships with people and communities in both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago for over twenty years, and has developed student fieldwork trips to both islands.
This summer, she and Assistant Professor of English, Allyson Ferrante, took thirteen students to Jamaica, stopping in Kingston, the Blue Mountains, the village of Bluefields, and Negril, in service of studying cultural heritage tourism efforts created by local Jamaican individuals and community groups, as opposed to the majority of tourism that is controlled by European, U.S. and other entities outside of the island. Darla, Leni and I joined the group a week and a half into their tour, visiting Bluefields and Negril. [Read more…]