We will soon be heading into the second series of the NBA Playoffs! For the East, Suga calls that the Cavs will win the Eastern Conference finals, even without Kevin Love. The Warriors should have a spot in the Western Conference finals vs the Defending Champs, the Spurs, but it will be a really tough road for the Spurs if they get there.
AfC Chairman, Col. Stacey Thompson (R) and Project Coordinator, Brandon McFarlane (L) pay a courtesy visit to Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Mr. Robert Ready (C) after securing support from the Canadian DFATD earlier in April ’15.
The aim of the Non-profit Organization, Abacus for Communities (AfC), is to work with communities in collaboration with national, regional and international governments and organizations to promote the development of safe, prosperous, stable and developing communities.
Their current focus is on helping to build the level of Preparedness of Communities to Disasters, however all aspects of Community Development is part of Abacus’s long-term vision.
AfC offers Services in Disaster Preparedness, Institutional Strengthening and Community Capacity Building as well as Disaster Response, all tailor-made for the particular country considering the specific needs of the target audience.The Services offered in the previously mentioned areas are listed below:
1. Disaster Preparedness
– Training workshops; Simulation exercises; Consultancies, Planning and Projects
2. Institutional Strengthening and Community Capacity Building
– Conferences and Training; Community Projects
3. Disaster Response
Coordination; Assessment; Response Projects
So how is Jamaica being assisted by AfC? AfC has secured support in the form of CA$81000 from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development (DFATD) for the ‘Community Emergency Communications for Disaster and Climate Change Adaptation in Jamaica’ project.
This project called, ‘EARS’ (Emergency Affiliated Radio Service) will train and equip 360 persons in 10 of the most vulnerable communities throughout Jamaica with radio communication equipment for immediate response to disaster in order to minimize loss of life and damage to infrastructure and environment.
There are many non-profit organizations that exist, helping to develop communities but this particular non-profit organization has obviously thought outside the box. This is so, as if disaster strikes at any given time, all the work done to lift these communities often goes down the drain and rebuilding of infrastructure has to start from ground zero, not to mention repairing and redeveloping the mindset of the people in the community after such a disaster. As Jamaicans often say, ‘Prevention betta dan cure.’
Kudos to AfC for assisting communities from a totally different angle, recognizing the importance and necessity for preparedness and offering resources for such, making efforts to protect lives and infrastructure. Thus, developing our communities household by household and the quality of life of the people in it.
Like their Facebook page, ‘Abacus for Communities’ and see the link for the website for what Afc is doing in a country or community near you.
Last Tuesday I tried Vegetarian from another account I have been following on Instagram, Hungry Eyes. Hungry Eyes has been open since last November and has been featured on Smile Jamaica before, so has had a little exposure. I was told on the phone by owner and chef, Natalia Welsh that they are located in Papine and do deliveries between 12:30 and 1:30pm. I ordered a Salad bowl that came with a Sweet potato soup, costing $800JMD for 12:30pm delivery ($300JMD delivery charge). The other option for the day was Tomato Black Bean Curry and Potato Hash.
The Salad bowl was advertised as having a smoky BBQ 3-Bean salad, Garlic kale, Potato salad, Couscous and Corn salsa. A fusion of Jamaican and Mexican style lunch! Wow, who would not want to order that? However, being a meat lover with a high metabolism, I still took precaution when ordering and was assured it would be filling, more so with the soup.
Delivery was early, packaging was air-tight and quite presentable. Upon opening, I was instantly impressed by the presentation, mainly the use of colour. Especially since it is hard to make food look good in a lunch box.
The Corn salsa was spicy and to a lesser extent, so was the BBQ 3-Bean salsa that had a sauce with a lovely flavour. The Potato Salad and Couscous were tasty neutralizers to quell all that spiciness. A sweet vinaigrette was also provided.
Greens like Kale and Arugula have a naturally, slight peppery taste so one has to be careful with combinations chosen for them in salads. My only complaint was about the Garlic kale. The taste of Garlic on it was too strong for me and lingered in my mouth allllll day, after brushing my teeth, chewing gum, you name it. No bueno. That didn’t matter much though, because all other flavours as described were on point and the lunch was able to carry me through the rest of the day. It was filling as promised. The soup?! The soup was small but sufficient. It had a thick consistency similar to a cornmeal porridge and it was delicious. All natural, fresh, healthy goodness to tighten your pants. So even if you are not a vegetarian, Suga fully endorses Hungry Eyes!
I was so impressed, I had to have a little talk with Natalia and got to learn more about her and Hungry Eyes. Quite a smart and eloquent young lady who has been a Vegetarian since 2007.
The name, ‘Hungry eyes’ came naturally to her as a result of being guided by colour when choosing ingredients of nutritional value, also as a way of displaying her creativity and artistic side. Thus arriving at the conclusion that eyes see and in turn get hungry, ‘eyes see eat too’ -> Hungry eyes!
Natalia did not study in the field of the Culinary Arts in school. She has a BA in International Relations and Spain from ?Mount Holyoke College. She in fact spent half a year in Spain. It was the experience of tasting cuisines from Spain and other countries in Europe that ignited her interest in the Culinary industry. As she travelled across different countries, she developed a desire and passion to recreate the variety of flavours tasted.
Natalia is also about to embark on a Nutrition Course soon. Where and for how long? In order to?The course runs for 3 months here in Kingston through the Jamaica Island Nutrition Network. She is pursuing the course because she believes that what and how we eat affect our well-being and in turn eating healthy daily helps us to maintain good health. She also says it will keep us connected to earth by knowing where and how our food is grown and what types of food our body naturally favours depending on the country we are in. She will soon be equipped and confident in guiding others toward a life of health and longevity through food!
So what’s in store for Hungry Eyes? Natalia is committed to being patient with the evolution of what has begun, but would love to grow a sustainable business in Human and Capital potential, including its environmental impact. So one goal is to have a Catering Institute where young people, especially in under-served communities, can gain exposure to skills and knowledge they can use primarily to improve their well-being. Natalia feels being able to share what she is learning about food and about operating a business on a broader scale, is her investment in helping to break a cycle of poverty. She also wants Hungry Eyes to participate in food/culture/music festivals to bring a Caribbean fusion of flavours to people who are curious but haven’t been able to travel to or around the region.
It was refreshing to talk to Natalia and you could hear how passionate she is about what she does. Hungry Eyes caters for events as well. They deliver lunch on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, encouraging pre-orders.
Follow their Instagram page, Hungry Eyes ‘EYESEATTOO’ and check their website, eyeseattoo.wordpress.com. Persons can sign up to get weekly menus from email@example.com. Order the night before or by 9am on the morning of. They have many other items on their menu to tease your eyes with hunger.
What are we paying to see at the moment? Hardly anything. This situation has been brewing in the open since local television decided to buy the rights for The Voice to see our local artist, Tessanne Chin’s season. Coverage was choppy and delayed. Then went the USA series, Suits followed by Empire. What was alarming was that in the case of the new hot series, Empire, they expected viewers to wait an entire WEEK to see the 2-hour season 1 finale. Unacceptable. The only reason they did not try the same thing with Scandal, is because they are so far behind in the season they are currently showing. The same thing has also been happening with football fans for years, not being able to see some games live or getting crappy commentary. This pushes persons to watch shows or sports online and defeats the whole purpose of local television showing desired content and thus boosting its viewership. Also remember that the west channels such as ABC west etc. with a later feed (3 hours after) are no longer available from FLOW. So if we do not make it home in time, we cannot watch the show later in the night.
Now here comes Digicel Sportsmax acquiring the rights to show the NBA. Which group of so called ‘Sports fans’ sat around a table and made the decision to show SOME of the NBA playoffs this year? Who gave them the right to choose what games we can see, or how do they choose what games should be shown?! How can that be logical in any way, shape or form? If they could not afford to show ALL of the games, then they should not show any at all. Simple! And how could the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica approve this madness? Where is the balance of interest for us, the consumers? How could a contract be signed for only Digicel Sportsmax to show the NBA 2015 Playoffs even though they stated they are only showing 18 NBA Playoff games, the Conference finals and the Finals? 18 games are not even 5% of the games before the Conference finals, not even knowing which series will go to a Game 7. So any other channel that we are currently paying for, and that is showing the game is blocked?
Now it seems Digicel Sportsmax opened a can of worms because they have stated on Facebook that, ‘the blocking of channels showing the NBA has been done because the cable operator does not have the rights to that channel for broadcast in the Caribbean.’ Also that, ‘it has nothing to do with Sportsmax.’ Of course it does, because if it was not for Sportsmax putting this contract forward to the NBA and drawing attention to us, (although we should run things legally but who cares) the NBA would not have looked into our cable providers, i.e. FLOW and realise they have not been showing NBA on channels like NBA TV and ABC legally in the first place; hence blocking them now. Then FLOW has its customer service agents lying to the public saying that channels such as TNT US are blocked because only Digicel Sportsmax has the legal right to show the NBA games. Fortunately for us, the NBA authorized that ESPN and SPACE (Who knows what or where is SPACE) cannot be blocked in this region. However, unfortunately for us, not all NBA Playoff games will be shown on ESPN but on many other channels that are blocked such as TNT US, NBA TV etc.
Also, how many years is this stupid contract for? We have gone from All Access to almost zero access. Where are the answers? Where is the communication from FLOW and how are they going to fix this moving forward? Will they only make an effort if they see a dip in subscribers or are we to accept that they are not going to fix this, purchase NBA League Pass and stream to our big screens or set up an American cable system such as DSS? All this contraption, instead of simply turning on the television?! There goes supporting Brand Jamaica because I know for sure many persons will not be supporting this inconsiderate act.
By the way, not showing the games was just scratching the surface. I will not even begin to go into the quality of feed and commentary. Isn’t this counter intuitive to growing the sport as well?!
So where do we go from here? How many more shows and programmes will be taken? And WHEN will our bills or charges be reduced by FLOW? Robbery. That is what this is. Robbery of our money, joy, bar time and sanity in our living rooms.
Yardticket.com was launched in December 2011. It is an effective way to purchase Event tickets in Jamaica. Persons can also get exclusive Giveaways and Early Bird specials from some of Yard Ticket’s event partners.
Events span a range of categories such as Corporate Events, Parties, Premium All Inclusives, Festivals and Theatre. So everyone can benefit according to their preference in recreational or networking activities.
Tickets are on sale now for Father Ho Lung’s KING DAVID. Look out for Rebel Salute Early Bird tickets soon. Tickets for Zen Tropicale in the summer and Nirvana in Christmas, Absinthe, Twisted Spiritz, Beach Bums and more are usually available on Yardticket.com. Yardticket.com is currently negotiating the sale of tickets for other Theatre productions, Sporting events and Parties. So look forward to even more options in the near future!
Yardticket.com pleases both the buyer and the seller, as the website is not only a medium to sell tickets, but to advertise as well. Each promoter gains immediate access to funds thus aiding in successful planning and execution of their event. The cost of printing tickets will be significantly reduced and of course, their funds will be more secure as a result of reducing the back and forth of ticket agents or ambassadors with funds.
So with all these advantages, is the website secure? Is there a chance that credit cards will be compromised? Do not worry. In their 3 years of operation, there has been no detection of hacking or fraud to date. Yard Ticket uses the NCB Credit Card platform, keeping account information safe and all transactions take place in 128-bit encryption supported by Geo Trust and Credit Card protection by 3-D secure. Say what? It will take hackers quite a bit of time to get by 128 encryptions and it should be detected at some point along the way. Therefore Yard Ticket ensures you are completely protected from abuse and it is just as safe as shopping on Amazon or Ebay.
So forget about wasting time and gas in traffic to buy pre-sold tickets or inconveniencing yourself by leaving the house earlier in a grand rush to catch the gate where available tickets are not guaranteed. ‘Search. Click. Buy’ with Yardticket.com!
Carnival is over but the body is quite ungrateful. Fitness by theory is reversible. Do not quit exercising all together and forego healthy nutrition. For those who got their carnival bodies (CBs) on point in time, maintenance is important. For those who were almost there, summer is just around the corner so keep at it. I am sure everyone relaxed last week, satisfying cravings and the gyms have been EMPTY.
Here are some tips for CB Maintenance:
– You do not have to exercise 5 or 6 times for the week now
– Exercise 3 or 4 times a week
– Eat 5 or 6 meals per day depending on hours (Include a snack two/three times; a snack is considered as a meal)
* Remember that a fruit is considered as a snack but avoid mangoes & watermelons as they have a high sugar content
– Eat a healthy Breakfast everyday
E.g. Oatmeal cereal, a Protein shake, a Boiled egg and slice of whole wheat toast
– Eat a healthy Lunch at least 5 or 6 days of the week
E.g. Steamed Fish and steamed vegetables, a Turkey sub-sandwich with whole grain/wheat bread, Baked Chicken with a finger of boiled banana and two pieces of yam with steamed vegetables etc.
– Have light, healthy Dinners
E.g. Chicken soup, Chicken salad, Oatmeal cereal, a Baked Potato with black beans and fat-free cream cheese (Allowed to ‘cheat’ on a weekend day)
– Continue to avoid fast food (Have twice a month at most if unavoidable)
– Continue to avoid sweets and pastries (Allowed to have twice a month, small portions!)
– No binge drinking! (Ok one night allowed in the month)
*Keep it to 1 or 2 glasses of wine. Avoid soda as chasers if drinking spirits, use water or club soda. Ginger ale is not a bad chaser either.
– Keep working on those ABS, Buns and Thighs! (Ensure adequate rest days are included)
***For those who have to keep at it until the point of maintenance, instead of avoiding the above temptations, eliminate them and no ‘cheat’ meals allowed. It’s a sacrifice. Continue to exercise 5/6 days per week and remember that one cheat meal on the weekend can throw those 6 days of hard work and sweat out the window!
Not many persons may know about this tiny restaurant hidden behind the gas station at Mary Brown’s corner on Constant Spring Road, but they certainly have an active Instagram page that I have been following for a little while. I finally got to check it out on my day off last Friday to see how they handled their usual work day flow. I reached a little bit later than I wished, about 2:15pm. It was easy to find because everyone knows that gas station and you cannot miss the sign. Parking is limited but if there is difficulty with access, there is more than enough space to park by the gas station and walk around. I didn’t need to do that though because a spot was available, much to the unnecessary annoyance of a ‘parking assistant’ that was either confused about his nationality or deported from the UK. Why can’t Jamaicans just go to and fro in peace?
Anyhow, I was impressed to walk in and see a fairly full restaurant with adequate, comfortable seating. The logistics for such a small area were on point. A plasma television and music were there for entertainment. There was nobody present to take an order, but a patron quickly pointed out that I should ring the bell and out came someone immediately. Prices were not cheap, but they were not expensive either. I ordered the $580JMD (two piece) Jerked chicken that came with rice and peas and vegetables. There was a $700JMD and odd option too. I also added their fried dumpling that was advertised as one of the best Johnny cakes in town.
I took a seat by the cafe area and my food was out in two minutes. The verdict? Quality rice and peas. No ‘clumpy clumpy’ or uncooked grains like other lunch establishments. A good fried dumpling, not the best. I am still waiting on a Johnny Cake experience like back in the day from a fish shop in Manor Park. A big fat juicy one bigger than a tennis ball in a brown paper bag. Perhaps J & R Grocery & Snacks ‘aka’ ‘The Dumpling Shop’ on 44E Waltham Park Road, nominated and featured at last year’s Table Talk Jamaica Observer Food Awards has come the closest.
Why do they call it a Johnny cake anyway? Of course with Jamaicans the name has probably been altered over the years by Chinese telephone. They were actually called Journey cakes because slaves used to carry them on long trips in saddle bags and baked them along the way.
Back to the meal. The Jerked chicken and sauce were tasty and a bit spicy but not too spicy. Very filling serving as well. When I almost finished, I spotted a server slicing what looked like bread pudding from a far, my weakness. I asked her if that was what it was, she confirmed and I instantly had a slice of yummy bread pudding that they bake fresh. Although other items in their cafe such as the cookies and cakes are brought in, they sometimes do their own banana pudding and chocolate cake, along with the bread pudding.
The server asked if it was my first time visiting and asked me my name. Surely a homey, feeling. They serve Continental breakfast and other items on their menu include BBQ chicken, Oxtail, Fried Chicken, Cow foot, Stew peas and more.
Suga Lifestyle definitely endorses Michael’s Restaurant and Coffee Shop as a decent spot to enjoy some good Jamaican food. Follow their Instagram page, michaelsrestaurantja for specials and daily menus as well as their Facebook page, Michael’s Restaurant and Coffee Shop.
Michael’s does catering and delivering as well. Their delivery charge is $300JMD as long as you are not too far, for instance, Spanish Town.
Michael’s Restaurant & Coffee Shop
Address: 141B Constant Spring Road (Mary Brown’s Corner)