His’ First Week

This is my first journey to Jamaica — my first journey to the Caribbean.

I have experienced some hot weather before, but can’t deny that I was a little shocked getting out of the airport at Montego Bay (four hours from Kingston by bus), noticing that the sun was down and it was still… 30C° and stickily humid. But hey, I’m in Jamaica! The island with its contradictory beauty that I’ve been wanting to experience and visit… but I might develop these impressions and reflections in a less official blog ;)

Once in Kingston, I got a little overwhelmed with advice of not going out alone, not to walk alone or at all after sunset (which is quite early, around 6:30PM), so I had to find creative ways to not draw too much attention (since I don’t look too Jamaican), “hiding” my laptop in plastic supermarket bags, and maintaining an “uninteresting” dresscode.

Tony "Starting Up" in Jamaica

I was happy to meet and to be accompanied by Tony and Uche during my first week, who introduced me to their partners and buddies from Di ISL (Afifa, Georgia), as well as a couple of young entrepreneurs at the office space the foundation uses at Start-Up Jamaica. I feel welcome, a lot of smiling faces, in the workspace as well as at home: a house we share with interns and employees from various (international) backgrounds.

Publicity inside Start-Up Jamaica

My aims for the first week were to sense, to feel, to meet, and to interact. Since I’d have to spend 12 days in the absence of Tony and Christie (who are doing great stuff in Canada/Aruba) after my first week, these meetings have been very valuable to me.

Musical workshop by Auntie Hiske

The two workshops I have attended (one on making paper planes, the other, hosted by auntie Hiske, on composing your own music) got me acquainted with the kids residing in Allman Town, and introduced me to some of the parents. Guided by Uche, I have gone through the pavements of the community, and further downtown, which can be a chaotic and overwhelming place. The heart of Kingston: I am where I want to be. It’s awesome.

Paper planes workshop

The plan during this journey is to write an accessible format for the involved local people that enables monitoring the project over time. My aim is to find generally accepted metrics to test environmental, technological and social impacts that will flow out of the activities the foundation proposes. Next to this research, I’ll be reporting visually some of what happens here, which can be valuable for possible funding (which we try to focus around companies who aim for corporate social responsibility), and to share impressions to the Metabolic community back in Amsterdam as well.

Visiting "Babylon"

Next to these horrible office hours (:P) I am enjoying seeing the Blue Mountains when I wake up, when I run through the roads of Kingston (accompanied by champion Uche), and when we drive around in cabs and buses. I’ll be running, hiking, visiting museums and galleries, visiting beaches in the weekends with the girls of the house, training myself on the guitar and… who knows. Maybe I’ll find a mango tree to adopt :P

Big up! See y’all later.

Pon di road