One World, Many Stories: Jamaican Food, Schools, & Money
December 14, 2010
I discovered that the national dish of Jamaica is ackee and saltfish. The saltfish is imported, but the ackee grows on trees in Jamaica which, when prepared, resembles scrambled eggs! I also learned that if an ackee is split open before it is ripe, it releases a deadly poisonous gas. All the ackees we had was, happily, ripe enough! Jamaicans also eat a lot of bananas. They fry or boil green bananas. When they are prepared this way, they actually taste a lot like potatoes. Other tropical fruits are plentiful, such as mango, papaya, breadfruit, paw paw, and plantain.
I also believe that they have, as far as I can tell, the best coffee in the world! The coffee I had was harvested in the Blue Mountains.
Students at the Cedar Valley Primary School, located in St. Thomas Parish, asked me what the national dish of the United States was. I was quite stumped by this. In honor of the then-upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we concluded that it should be turkey (though America actually has no official dish).
The schools my group visited were very different than schools in the United States. Students met for an assembly before going to their classrooms. They have a time of devotion, prayer, and singing before they begin their time of learning. In the rural area where I visited, students go to school in shifts. One group of students begins school at 8:30 am, and another group begins in the afternoon. It wasn’t unusual to see children walking home from school at 8:00 pm.
The monetary unit is the Jamaican Dollar. The exchange rate was $1 US = $85 Jamaican during my visit. A meal at Kentucky Fried Chicken could cost $395 Jamaican! As I rode past a gas station, I saw gas prices to be $97.40 per liter, which equated to a little more than $4.00 per gallon in US dollars.
More information coming your way about this great Jamaican experience!
Blue Ridge Branch