Ahhh... Ackee Christmas in Camrose

by Tamika Williams
(Ahhh...Ras Natango Gallery and Garden, Camrose, Montego Bay, St James)

Ackee Christmas Tree

Ackee Christmas Tree

Camrose is a small community near Montego Bay, approximately 2000 feet above sea level. The community is not conducive to farming because of the terrain but it boasts the most spectacular view in all of Montego Bay, if not Jamaica.

Ahhh...Ras Natango Gallery and Garden has been instrumental in awakening the spirit of togetherness in the community.

As the rest of the world have been dealing with a recession Jamaica's economy was hard hit and most of the youth across the island lost hope, including those in Camrose.

Ahhh...Ras Natango Gallery and Garden, with recent investment from Americans Mark and Frances Tucci, embarked on major renovations which saw all its laid off employees returning to work. The entire Garden was strung and decorated with Christmas lights, and it was decided to spread the renovations to include the Camrose community square.

Several casual labourers were employed and the transformation began in earnest.

With no pine trees available we turned our hands to an Ackee tree growing in the center of the square.

The young men had the task of decorating it, and I stood by and watched the excitement as they decorated the Ackee tree with lights and Christmas ornaments donated by the lovely Kathi Cooke of JPS.

The community gathered around the Ackee Christmas tree at about 6 pm when the lights came on to see the proof of their labours.

None of the men who decorated the tree had ever decorated a Christmas tree before, and what a glorious delight seeing each person speechless at its beauty.

One man, Mr Pinkey, took me aside and quielty asked to have his picture beside the tree because he had never stood this close to a Christmas tree before, and I promised to do so the following evening when he was dressed in his new clothes.

Janet Silvera, senior journalist from the Gleaner is a personal friend of mine so I shared the delight of the community with her, adding that we often take things for granted, and told her about the man, age 22 years, who had never in his life had his picture taken beside a Christmas tree.

She immediately asked if she could do the story, and the following evening she was in our community camera in hand.

The entire community turned out to enjoy the festivities, and one young man said "All me know this is an Ackee Christmas".

Yesterday the Gleaner carried the story on its front page, as the lead story, with a picture of four young men three of whom were having their pictures taken beside a Christmas tree for the first time.

Giving them a copy of the Gleaner was the highlight of this Christmas season.

One stated, when asked if being in the paper was a first for him too, "Mis Tamika. is only when dem shoot we, dat we pitcha come ina de paper".

It was such an emotional moment for me as he looked at me and I felt as if he was saying I had saved his life.

Ahhh...Ras Natango Gallery and Garden takes this opportunity to invite others to come on board and help to provide further motivation for our young people, and maintain the spirit of togetherness as we forge ahead with our community.

In January we will see eight youths from the community being trained as tour guides and security staff.

We are our brothers keepers.
We are all a part of the change.
We all have a part to play.
You in your small corner and I in mine.

Here's to our Ackee Christmas tree and eco-tourism in Camrose.

We are all a part of the positive change.

Comments for Ahhh... Ackee Christmas in Camrose

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Feb 10, 2013
Always on the Go... Stopping Long Enough to Say Hello!!
by: Janice Anderson

Tamika, I hope that you and Ian and "da boyz" are in excellent health and wonderful spirits!

I am so happy to hear about the good work that your family continues to do with respect to promoting art in your community.

Undoubtedly, some may not see the addition of lights as much, but what a wonderful joy it was for your community! It got me thinking about how we (North Americans) take these seemingly simple pleasures for granted because we are used to doing it every year.

I pray that your family will continue to prosper in 2013. I wish your business much success, and most of all, I encourage you to continue to let the light of Jesus shine through all of your efforts - you are truly a beacon on the hill.

I continue to treasure our time together in early April, and I will always be grateful for the way that your family helped to make 2012 a special year for me.

With the warmest compliments.

Jan 08, 2013
Ahhh...Ras! Your Innovation!
by: Yvette Faye

Trust my BBF to be the creative soul behind this thought coming alive, by turning her 'hand mek fashion...'.

You go girl, as I expected nothing less, and I wait with baited breath, and wonder when you're gonna come alive with another innovative venture.

You never cease to amaze me, with that God blessed talent that you possess and use to its full advantage ... so much so that God has to keep extending your quest for knowledge and craftmanship!

Dec 31, 2012
Happy New Year from Ahhh
by: Tamika Williams

Alix Ann I do remember. Thanks and we look forward to a great 2013.

Neisha thanks for commenting. It means a lot as I share all comments with the young men daily.

Annonymous thanks. We are all indeed the change.

Blessings to all for 2013 and beyond.

Dec 30, 2012
Ahhh...! Firsts
by: Alixann Narcisse-Campbell

Just as your family offered me MY FIRST home cooked meal in Montego Bay ... So you have offered many people in this wonderful communiy, many firsts.

I am proud of you and will continue to pray God's bessings on your family and the entire community.

Love and Light for 2013....

Dec 30, 2012
Ahhh...! Happy Holidays
by: Neisha

Hi Mrs Williams, keep up the good work! Wishing you a safe and prosperous New Year! 1 LUV ...

Dec 29, 2012
"...Underneath the ackee tree last night..."
by: Anonymous

Wonderful Tamika ... continue in unity.
U r a part of the solution.
Blessings to u all in the New Year.

Dec 29, 2012
Time for working towards positive change
by: Tamika Williams

Glamour Tours, we all thank you for your comments.
And as a tour partner of Ahhh...Ras Natango G&G we appreciate the promotion you have given and continue to give to us.

Today I read in the paper about some pastors hoping for change.
No disrespect to them and their hoping, but WE ALL MUST take positive action in being a part of the change.

Robert Stephens, thank you for your kind words.
I agree that every thing we do is in the long run for our country. I am a proud Jamaican and I love my community!
So proud of the young men. They deserve so much but we have made a start.

Happy holidays and all the very best to you for 2013.
If I have my way Camrose WILL lead other communities to be proud of and use what they have.

Dec 28, 2012
Ahhh... Ackee Christmas in Camrose
by: Anonymous

Originality and creativity are all part of the experience when you visit this special place in Camrose.

Share with and give back to the community by visiting Ahhh....Ras Natango Gallery and Garden.


Dec 28, 2012
Ahhh...Heart Warming
by: Robert Stephens

Tamika, the work that you, Ras and the rest of your team are doing is invaluable, not just for your community but for the rest of Jamaica and the world.

Keep up the good work and best wishes to you all for a bright and peaceful 2013.

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