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In the eyes of an English Woman

A Local Encounter that Changed my Perspective - Spellbound by Street Life

JAMAICA | Thursday, 18 April 2013 | Views [165] | Scholarship Entry

Please their dull grey eyes pleaded with me. Little hands shakily left the safely of their rags and reached out desperate for some sort of recognition from me. Their small faces held on them a map of the world. The dusty cracks around their eyes where the smiles had dried and the small frown lines engraved on to their foreheads told a lifetime of stories. Through the dirt and condensation of the coach window my exhausted eyes were drawn to these small children sat cross-legged on the streets of Jamaica, the horns of cars and the squeal of wheels kicking up dust right next to their fragile forms. They were sat precariously on the lip of a small roundabout on a road almost as busy as Piccadilly Circus. An abundance of flowers surrounded them, deep purples, blues and terracotta colours engulfed their small bodies, the rich hues a vast contrast to the dirt stained grey rags they were currently calling their own. As I sat watching the small group a form emerged from the corner of the green, the man was covered from head to toe in dust kicked up from the road, he ran towards the children and lunged at them. My heart caught in my throat until I realised the children’s faces had lit up in laughter. The man’s thick dry hands grasped at an empty sweet wrapper tickling their tiny noses until they squealed. The children jumped up a jumble of skinny arms and legs flailing as they played and tried to grasp for the sweet wrapper, several pairs of eyes became alive, sparkling, their dry lips cracked as they curled in joy. I was spellbound. Their surprising joy suddenly broke my spell of despair and instantly the streets of Jamaica rushed to life. Flashes of colour hit me from all angles, honking cars were driven by smiling laughing drivers, men on the side of the street buried behind their impressive dreadlocks were hiding white toothy grins and the unmistakable drumstick used for the steel drums. Women were waddling, their tired arms carrying baskets of clothes or produce to sell, bare feet navigating the hot concrete of the broken pavements, all the while smiling and laughing and yelling out to the men.
Jamaica on the surface had not surprised me but once you look again, look deeper you see a snippet of a lifestyle, a culture, one so different from our own we are compelled to explore at once.
As the bus stopped at the next weather beaten sign I heaved my way to the front grabbing my travel beaten rucksack.
“I’ll jump out here please” I grinned confidently.

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2013

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