18 February 2015

Genealogy payments

My dad is a very early riser so by the time I woke up at 7:15 he was showered, dressed, and ready to conquer the world.  I, on the other hand, snuggled deeper into the bed and listened to the news weather report about the snow storm predicted to hit northeastern U.S.A.  From what I could tell the storm moved further north than previously thought and would be a clear miss for Atlanta.  That made me feel much more comfortable that our flight wouldn't be cancelled.  After laying down for another 20 minutes I got up got dressed and go online to make sure AlphaPoppa and the kids were doing OK without me home.  They whatsapp'ed me that everything was AOK and were on their way out for a helicopter flight.  
We lounged around for another 45 minutes or so, neither of us were in the mood for breakfast and just decided to wait for the Registrar's General Office to open at 9.  We spoke to Pauline for a while as she got her hair twisted and shortly before 9am Mikey was ready to take us to make our payment at the office.  Come to find out.  Chris and Mikey are the hotel owners brothers, we didn't meet him but it was nice knowing that heir whole family worked together to help my family.  

We arrived at the Registrar's General Office within ten minutes.  The office was next to cousin Cynthia's church that we met her at the previous day on Humber Street.   The line was short and we were directed to speak with the manager Mr Redwood in his office.  While handling our case and taking a few phone calls simultaneously he took down my grandparents information, full name, birth place and date.  I let him know if my conversations and correspondence with Mario and Ms Williams in the Spanish Town office. "Yes, Mario!" He said with a smile,"he is a good boy.  He will find this information for you!" After verifying that the Montego Bay district could take our international money orders, he sent us to the cashier to pay.  
That line was a little longer and since we had already been in the office for over 40 minutes my dad went out to let Mikey know where we were and that we would be out as soon as possible.  
The cashier was extremely precise in calculating out research time.  For each grandparent I made a payment of $60, that would give us a total of 4 hours research on each grand parent at a $15 rate.  However according to the cashier the rate had changed in my favor and wild give me 4 1/2 hours research per grandparent.  Although I was excited to hear that news by this time it was almost 10:45 and I was hoping to still send off postcards and buy some Jamaican spice bun before checking in at the airport.  The cashier was sweet and moved along as quickly as possible despite her slow computer system.  I've pretty figured out 2 things I. My global travels. #1. Women all over the world are waiting in line to use the bathroom and #2.  Government agencies are slow in every, single country.  If you are resolved to be patient when dealing with these two givens life may not be so aggravating.  
As promised she got me out of her office as quickly as she could.  
Since I didn't have much time I had to choose before sending the postcard and but if the spice bun.  

Mikey said the post office was close by so that won the contest.  The Bob Marley stamps were SOOO fly, my favorite stamps that I've seen thus far.  They were $100JD each ($1USD) and totally worth it! I quickly stamped my post cards and dropped them in the airmail slot for delivery.  
That took less than 10 minutes and before 11:20 we were at the airport.  Once we checked in I felt more comfortable and slowed down a pace a few notches.  After inquiring an airport employee informed me that spice bun was for sale at the island grill souvenir and cafe shop.  I was super excited to be able to get the spice bun for a dear friend and bought 3, 2 for her and 1 for me!  Security etc, was seamless and the Montego Bay airport was like a resort party area inside.  Although I didn't get the "touristy" experience of Jamaica from what I could see it looked like plenty of fun and I could definitely see its allure. 

This trip has given me a new travel revelation.  In my eyes my personal growth as a human being is very much attached to my recently wanderlust.  Each time I travel another branch of enlightenment stretches out from me, I grow and like to think I become a little bit wiser.  As those branches extend and reach toward the light I also need to make sure my roots are still well grounded and being nourished. My roots in this case are represented by my ancestral homes.  From my birth moving back in time these roots pass through New York City and dig deeper through Jamaica and the Virgin Islands (both US and British) and finally have their deepest most powerful anchor somewhere in Africa.  I must nourish these roots as a travel the world.  I hope the results from our genealogy answer all of our questions about our Jamaican ancestors, I will also take the DNA test to pinpoint, exactly were my african ancestors were stolen from and where my European ancestors immigrated from.  So far putting the pieces of the past together has been thrilling, I look forward to completing the puzzle and sharing it with the rest of the family and with other who would like to hear our story.  I will make sure my children and all the youth of our family know this history, they will know the names and hopefully the stories of those who came before them.  It is not in my control how they receive this information but I will make sure it is available to them when they are ready.  All praises and love to the ancestors for even making this possible, this is better than a dream and is progressively getting better!

Beach bums

Before Chris dropped us off we gave him his $100 plus $40 tip for the hard sincere help he offered us in finding out family.  We also gave Pauline $10 thank you tip for connecting us with Chris.  We came home hit the beach across the street for a couple of hours.  The beach was filled with sunday locals chilling with family, friends, and lovers.  The water was refreshingly cool occasionally touching on warm.  

Pauline made sure the hot water was on so we took hit showered and lounged around for a while.  We walked down the strip and bought souvenirs and ice cream. After 2 hour we were back at the hotel so my dad could take a nap.

The wifi here at the hotel is pretty terrible and I get my best connection on the porch.  Our hotel neighbor was also outside and struck up a convo with us.  
Earl lives in Maryland bug has plenty of family here in Jamaica.  He visits and least once a year to see them and to keep up with property here.  He was a very interesting man having 28 counties? Including Yemen, Cuba, Ethiopia, and a plethora of Asia, European, and South American countries.  He's currently on the terrorist watch list for visit Oman and was arrested for two days in Cuba years ago for being accused of not paying his bar tab.  I knew the universe would make sure I crossed paths with another crazy explorer with great travel stories.  It was a fantastic 2+ hours of conversation. 

After a while my dad woke up from his nap and we were ready to eat dinner again.  We decided on the same pelican restaurant,  I had codfish fritters for an appetizer and jerk Chicken as a main dish,  my dad chose curry goat and white rice.  Dinner quickly filled us and we needed a way to work off the food.  We ended up in the nearby park that was once again filled,  there was also a birthday party for a young child there, equipt with jumpy houses and a DJ it made the park even more charming than it had been the night before.  

After getting a drink at the bar near our hotel my dad was ready to hit the sack again and I was eager to update you on a day of miracles and beach bumming.

Video compilation of our many days at Doctor's Cove Beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Time never passed

Each night before I fall asleep I choose a meditation for the night.  A typical meditation can focus on love and light, happiness and gratitude, health and compassion, the list goes on I'm sure you get the gist.  Last night while falling asleep I decided on a meditation of love and connection, my first step was to invite the energies of my deceased Jamaican grand parents and spirit guides to make the next day one of love and connections.  Perhaps I'm crazy and the gifts of today were mere coincidence, perhaps I'm not and that this was all intentional and deliberate.  In September 2014 I had a psychic tell me that I must stop writing off the divine order in my life as coincidence and that I must recognize them as what they are and call them by name.  So with that being said, last nights meditation and today's miracles set the stage for a very emotional day.  

This morning I woke up at 7am and took an ice cold shower.  My dad was already up.  He's an early riser and the prospects of finding family today was beyond exciting.  It was still early and we decided to grab a full breakfast at the nearby pelican restaurant.  

For breakfast daddy had ackee and salt fish and I had an egg sandwich.  Breakfast was delicious and so was the fast free wifi.  I swear free wifi is like oxygen to a traveller like me.  After breakfast we still had a half hour to kill, we strolled through the park, watched the ocean dance with the morning sunshine, and took pictures that would never capture its full beauty.  

Video.  Morning and Night on the hip strip

As we walked up the hotel walkway our driver was directly in front of us. Both arriving exactly at 9am as scheduled.  Chris was ready to be helpful and knew Hopewell well.  My father lived on two large farm, friendship and bamboo.  His uncle Fred (mas Fred) owned bamboo farm alone.  Friendship was the family farm shared by my grandmother (Ann) and her other siblings, Alexander, Sam, Edmund, Alice, Lou, and Isabel.  All of them had the surname Jackson.  No one knows anything about their parents just that this group of siblings were white or had such a small amount of african blood that it went unrecognized.  This side of the family was also very prejudice against dark skin black Jamaicans, which caused my grandmother problems once she met, fell in love with and married a poor illiterate dark- skinned Jamaican man from Spanish Town, my grandfather Samuel Hines.  

Our driver Chris immediately got on the phone to call Jackson's from Hopewell that he knew.  Those friend responded right away informing his that he needed to speak with Ms Mattie who sold newspapers in front of the old gas station in hopewell.  Before we knew it we found the lady who was also at least in her 70s or 80s like my dad.  She remembered the Jackson family at this time of course all dead, but she also knew their children my father's first cousins. Cleveland and Derek. She informed us of both of their passing but also added that their children and grand children still lived in the area.  "Drive straight up the road to friendship, dem stil dere".  We drove up and up the twisting road up the rolling mountains. The higher we climbed the thicker and greener the bush got. It was stunningly beautiful.  Chris asked people along the way for the jackson family.  An older gentleman with a machete in hand recommended that we ask Doris Davis the dental nurse in the area, she knows everybody.  He gave us directions to her house and she later gave us directions to be living Jackson's in the area. "Take the tird left then the next left affta dat". We asked one more man as we hit the first of the dirt roads and the next thing we knew we were knocking on the door of one of the Jacksons. No one was home.  

As we walked away, the neighbors yelled down to us from their rooftop.  They were that neighbors cousins and told us he would be home shortly.  This is when the miracles started becoming apparent.   "Gimme 5 minutes fi cum dung" she yelled down to us.  

Daddy and cousin Susie

Daddy and cousin Jerry

In exactly five she was with us, gorgeous high cheek bones and all.  Now check this she, Susie is my father's uncle Alexander's great grand daughter.  Alexander was father to Cleveland Sr (and Derek, my father's first cousins) All of whom are deceased Susie was Derek's grand- daughter and she also had a sister Diane.  The neighbor was cousin Cleveland Jr's son Jerry.  The jackson family in Jamaica remained close even though a group had previously left for the US (my father's branch of the tree) and another branch was in Canada.  As we started talking the last man we asked directions from came around the corner with Jerry Jackson, Susie's cousin.  He saw Jerry right after we asked for a Jackson as brought him to us.  Susie and my dad began going down the family lineage verifying whom belong to whom, sometimes confusing each other then clarifying once again.  Jerry added info in here and there, but Susie really knew the most.  The Jackson's at one time owner 2400 acres of land in hopewell, the land was sold out little by little leaving approximately 240 aces which my father's cousin Doris eventually sold.  Actually two of those plots were sold to Jerry and Susie.  The same cousins who stood before us.  As they threw out names it was revealed that most of the elders had already passed over, but one was left Cynthia. My dad's first cousin, Mas Sam's daughter.  Susie knew exactly where to find Cynthia, at church with her sister Diane.  She gave us Diane's phone number and told us to head to St John's Methodist church on Humber avenue in Montego Bay. Since it was Sunday they would be there at least another hour.  By now it was only 10:30 am and we had already made contact.

Before leaving the area Chris recommended that we swing by my dad's old elementary school to take a few pictures.  We did just that.  Our new cousin Jerry and his friend also attended this school and called it the best school with proud smiles.

Within 15 minutes we descended down the mountains and swiftly made it to St John's Methodist Church.  

Chris called Diane, told her that an elder family member was visiting from the US looking for his cousin Cynthia and we were given her contact info by Susie. Diane was outside with us within minutes.  We all looked at each other and we all looked like each other.  She asked up to please wait in the church waiting hall while she retrieved Cynthia from inside the church.  After a few minutes Cynthia turned the corner with Diane, 83 years young and strong as ever, just like my father.  
"Cynthia do you remember me, I'm your aunt Ann's son Everett."
"Hines, Everett Hines. Of course I remember"

Everything after that was a blur of hugs, family stories, who's who, and who died when. It was as if time hadnt past.  These too sharp old timers made connections and it was overwhelming.  Chris stepped away to blink back the tears.  Diane and I were in shock, but cousin Cynthia was ready for us, as if she knew we would come someday and was patiently waiting for this moment.  

As I took this picture of them together my phone displayed the time 11:11am.  That's is the known number for spirits, this was no accident.  I humbly thanked the ancestors for their help and this beautiful moment.  We exchanged phone numbers and email addresses, both Diane and I promising to help the elders stay connected through technology and hopefully having them attend our family reunion in June in Atlanta.  Although Cynthia doesn't have info on their grand parents she said she had records of the jackson siblings lineage, and wanted to share them upon our return. 

Our driver Chris

 Love, connections, 11:11 are never coincidences, the ancestors have spoken and I faithfully walk the path they have places before my feet.  I am grateful for the miracles in my life. 

Video of new family http://youtu.be/hoR4MvjcjX0