Artist Feature – Moira Morgan

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Acclaimed Author and Philanthropist Moira Morgan takes a brief pause from her ongoing hard work in Jamaica to launch her incredible book From Garrison to Garden Vol 1 with us here at Come Swap and Shop!

We will be having a few readings from Moira Morgan, and a Q&A session, where she will break down different parts of the book and elaborate on her experiences as a foster mother, contributor and nurturer of many of Jamiaca’s most vulnerable people in St Andrew South.

You will be able to buy the book on the night – and you will also be able to donate to The Griffin Trust Jamaica as well.

A really valuable book and poignant read.

From Garrison to Garden – Vol 1 -Boots on the Ground

by Moira Morgan

This book brings you untold stories from Jamaica’s inner city ‘garrison’ communities, stories of real people, real events unfolding as the writer shares her lived experiences with empathy, wit and honesty, exposing an underbelly of Jamaica that is often denied or ignored. The first of three volumes, the books begins with a quick, simple political history of Jamaica to give context to those unfamiliar with the ‘garrison’, moving on to what brought the writer to Jamaica and what kept her there so long. Some of the stories are very funny, others, not so, but they are the reality of the lived experience of twenty years, over three decades, hands on, boots on the ground….

Excerpt from Chapter: Teacher – Page 79

“Damon was nineteen or twenty years old, eyes as cold as steel, a temper that was quick and could be fatal, definitely not a man to cross. Clad as usual in slippers, mesh merino and cut-off jeans with one leg rolled up, he watched me with the baby-class. I saw him slide in beside Kimo (four years old), who was singing the alphabet. Damon joined in the singing and I saw him smile for the first time in the two years I had known him, a real, genuine smile. I sent the little ones into the playground to await lunch and called Damon over into the office.

“Damon, you know I am really swamped. I can’t be in the classroom with the babies and on the road getting food and stuff for the children, you could help me out?”

“Miss Myra, yuh dun know seh mi cyaan read” (“Miss Myra, you already know that I can’t read”)

“But you don’t need to, just sing them their ABC, 123, play two games and kick two balls with them, it would really help me out.”

The following morning Damon turned up, on time, in his usual attire. I didn’t mention this, just his presence was enough for me and his willingness to do me a favour. At the end of the day he brought us both a cold Red Stripe (local beer) and sat with me in the office, a smile on his face like you rarely see from anyone, it lit up the whole room, sipping on his beer, he looked at me and said,

“Mi know wha mi a go do tomorrow, dem nice, tanks y’hear”, got up and left. (“I know what I’m going to do tomorrow, they are nice, thanks, you hear?”)

Wednesday, Damon arrived punctually, but this time, dressed in black church pants, polished black church shoes, white merino under a pressed shirt and a smile. I was a little surprised, to say the least, I smiled back.

“Is wha Miss Myra?” (“What you looking at Miss Myra?”)

“I’m just loving the look.”

“So wha’ppen, yuh nuh seh mi a teacher?” (“So what’s wrong, didn’t you say I am a teacher?”)

“Well, yes”

“So, mi nuh fi look like a one?” (“So, shouldn’t I look like one?”)

“I am impressed”.

At the end of Camp, when he received his Certificate of Appreciation and a framed picture of him and his class, he hugged me up tight.

“Miss Myra, yuh dun know. Seriously tho’ yuh see when di pickney dem look pon mi, hands up an a please sir, please sir, is different, dem don’t scared, dem love mi an respec mi, Jah know seh is different!!”. (“Miss Myra, you know how it goes. Seriously though, when the children look up at me, hands up, please sir, please sir, it feels different, they’re not scared of me, they love me and respect me, God knows it feels different!!”)

Not for the first, nor the last time, I had to rush to the bathroom before the tears could gush.”

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