Belmont Chronicles Tuesday, September 8, 2009 -- by Frank Wood from Belmont Jamaica
Hello my favorite daughters and all the rest of my wonderful family — hope life is good for youall .I really do miss seeing you , however , life is good here in Belmont, so I just might stay on for a while ----- and besides, you all now have a permanent vacation home in Jamaica any time you want to visit -- for a day or a month.
Love u, DAD (saint ja FRANK) and Nevalee - PS - IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO RECEIVE FUTURE BELMONT CHRONICLES - THEN THROW AWAY YOUR COMPUTER
Today in Belmont : temp in shade ranged from 80 - 90 in shade. Lost power for a couple of hours in late afternoon..... Had some fish, rice and peas for dinner - the diet climate and my darling wife Nevalee must be good for me ---- my weight is 130 (all muscle and a bone) and my blood pressure stays around 107 / 63 with a pulse rate of 64 - 73
Nevalee and some friends were playing bingo on the veranda, but had to stop because a blowing rain storm came up. – it rains here now almost every day, sometimes what I would call a heavy rain (2 or 3 inches in a couple of hours in the rain gauge just outside the living room window) but most of the rain storms are short lived. We, in Belmont are fortunate to be having a good supply of rain because there are serious drought conditions just about every where else in Jamaica - the news casters are continually talking about water conservation and the catastrophe that has occurred to the farmers - that will now pass on to the consumers because of resulting high food prices
Yesterday was the first day of school here in jamaica. Although A new school has just been completed here in Belmont,, not many of the Belmont children can attend it this year because the entrance requirements were set so high – so now the local children have an incentive to study harder and hope to gain acceptance in the Belmont Academy next year.The Belmont Academy has a capacity for 350 students with 25 teachers. Nevalee and I have been writing resumes and letters of recommendation for several Belmont citizens applying for staff and maintenance positions at the academy. For now, the Belmont children must travel to schools in Savalamar (savanna on the ocean) a main city about 30 minutes away by high breakneck speed, horn honking bus or taxi.. The fare by bus is 70 jam dollars and 100 by taxi ( the current exch rate is around 87 jam dollars to 1 us dollar) .
Im not sure what the laws are about school attendance, but the children tell us that unless they have b us and lunch money they cant go to school.
The children here in Belmont are very interested in learning to type and use the computer for research , so Nevalee and I have been teaching them some basics – and it didnt take the girls, ages 10 -13, but one or 2 lessons before they found Michael Jackson music sites on their own.
If you think Michael Jackson was and still is popular in the USA, you should hear these kids - he is their big hero, they know all of his songs and sing along with the computer video .
Jamaica is a country of games. Wherever you go, you always see young and old, playing games. From the time you land at bustling Montego Bay you will find the porters playing checkers on homemade boards between flights - to the farthest off road village where a family is playing dominoes, the national game of Jamaica. Dominos are played at a fast and furious pace and the unmistakable sound of the domino slapping the board can be heard from afar. - One thing of interest I have noted here in Belmont, is that the women join in with the young children to play many of the games. A game seems to be an ‘age equalizer’ between young and old -- and there's a lot of back and forth screaming at each other - “you cheat -“you out” “a no fi yu time”(its not your turn) , especially when they're playing jacks. Some of the more popular games are -- Domino's, bingo, Jack's, checkers and20ludi. Nevalee and I also play a lot of Rummy. Here in Belmont, they have a regular bingo shack, where at times the games, bingo and dominos, continue through the night and into the sunrise. In the bingo shack, each player puts up 50 dollars Jamaican (about 55 cents US) for each book (card ) he wants to play in a particular game. The house gets 3 free books to play for each game.
Of course, In addition to the ‘house’ games, there are the field sport games of football, soccer, cricket and netball all being played wherever there is a field to play on; in fact , during a visit to friends living in Whitehouse, we saw a game of cricket being played on a steep hillside, where most of the game time was spent in running after the ball rolling down the hill. The lack of store bought sports equipment is no deterrent to the resourceful Jamaican children - a piece of board, or a stick for a bat and a balled up paper drink container for a ball is all they need for hours of fun