From Separate Paths
June 2, 2021
Ms. Michelle LeBlanc: In 1988, I had the opportunity through the University of St. Thomas as a sophomore in college to spend a semester in the mountains of Jamaica at a Jesuit mission called St. Mary’s.
LeBlanc: I did not meet Angie yet, but she lived in that same village––called “Above Rocks.”
Ms. Andretta Hanson: I am from a huge family, I should say. I grew up with my grandfather, my grandmother, my mother, my mother, uncles, aunts, cousins: huge family. So we lived in a little district called Above Rocks. It’s in the parish of St. Catherine. We grew up in a mostly Catholic household.
Hanson: I grew up in a… between poor and middle-class family. That didn’t matter because we grew up as a happy family. The forest is a tropical country, so there were a lot of activities within my daily routine. So I would get up in the mornings, probably do a chore, then I’d go to the rivers to take a bath, come back and be ready for school at about 7 am. So we’d eat breakfast and then dress in our pristine uniforms. I’ve never not worn a uniform to school until I came to BSM. [We would] get our education, then back home, do a chore, get our homework done, play outside––because at that time we didn’t really have access to video games and all this technology. As a matter of fact, for a period of my life when we grew up, we didn’t have any electricity at our home. So we used kerosene oil lamps for light. We would study under those lights. We knew that it existed, but we just didn’t have it in our household. Nor did we have electric stoves, so when we did our cooking, it was always on a wood fire, which was pretty delicious and healthy and fresh, because we’d pick fruits from the trees or dig yams from the yard. And we raised our own chickens: our neighbors had cows and goats and pigs and all that so [we had] different types of meat, but it was all freshly produced.
Hanson: When I see what the kids are doing nowadays––even my own kids––you know, ‘I’m like wow, I wish you were back in my day when you would get to go down to the rivers, you could cook on the riverside, you know just enjoy nature instead of just sitting down in front of a screen.’ It was fun, we played ball games, we made our own toys, we played with the neighbors, we’d go out on field trips and stuff like that. I had a very good, fun childhood.