Up early and off to Marcus Garvey Technical High School here in Saint Ann’s Bay Jamaica. Obviously I was excited and, once again, unable to get a complete night’s sleep. I kept thinking about one of my early mentors, Dr. Anyim Palmer, founder of the Marcus Garvey School in Los Angeles. As I approached the campus I couldn’t help but hold his memory high as I know he would have been proud of my presenting here in Jamaica.

The school is packed and there isn’t any space that is going unused. The staff and students made me feel more than welcomed. We even had a chance to sit in the principal’s office and, even though he was extremely busy, he made time for us.

I think the thing the moved me the most at the school was the flag raising ceremony. The three students who conducted the flag raising ceremony did it with such dignity and flare well beyond their young years.

Following my presentation at Marcus Garvey Technical School I was rushed over to the Ocho Rios Baptist Church and arrived just in time to do a phone interview. My interviewer was none other than DJ Amber of IRIE FM Radio.. I wanted to call her the “Conscious DJ” after spending a few minutes speaking to her. She definitely has her finger on the pulse of the community.

Listen to the full interview here: [audio:http://BabatheStoryteller.com/audio/IRIE-FM_interview-11-22-2012.mp3]

It was nice being recognized for the work that I’ve put in for the craft of storytelling and my work in communities around the world. As I’m getting older I’m not finding the need for validation any longer like I did in my younger years. The daily, sometimes hourly affirmations from the universe are more than enough.

The festival’s organizer and inspiration, Amina Blackwood-Meeks, is a tireless soul. I don’t even think this woman sleeps! She has two brilliant young women, both named Stephanie by her side who, I believe, could possibly run a small country on their own without any assistance.

If I had to get a little selfish and say what the highlight of my day was then I’d have to say “coconuts.” Yes “coconuts.” I ate almost two coconuts on my own. I’m not proud of how that might make me look but ya’ll got to understand, these Jamaican coconuts were sweet, fresh and filling.

All of a sudden, I’m hungry again. Tomorrow morning we head to Seville Heritage Park, one of Jamaica’s most celebrated cultural heritage sites. Some believe that the land of Seville Heritage Park is the birthplace of modern Jamaica.

I can’t wait! I expect the level of intensity not to subside. This conference has been one non-stop adrenaline rush. I’ll sleep when I get back to the states but, for now, there’s work here to be done in Jamaica. I got stories to tell and people to hug!

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