Jamaican visitor provides awareness

A visitor from Jamaica gave Rimbey residents an opportunity to temporarily step into a different culture

Dian McFarlane from Calgary

Dian McFarlane from Calgary

A visitor from Jamaica gave Rimbey residents an opportunity to temporarily step into a different culture and learn how his community is working hard to improve its economic, social and natural environment.

Wolde Kristos, chairman of the Bluefields Bay Fishermen’s Friendly Society in Jamaica was in Rimbey recently to visit his colleague, Rebekah Seidel, the community development facilitator of her own company, CREO.

Seidel, who began working with Kristos after visiting Bluefields Bay a few years ago, said the visit helped raise awareness.

She is impressed work being done in Bluefields Bay is community led and it’s the people themselves who diligently work towards using resources and talents wisely.

“An added bonus, of course, is that it is right on the ocean and it is very, very beautiful.”

Kristos met with area residents, visited the Ellis Bluebird Farm and spoke at the Rimbey library about his community and his country. He also performed on the drums while visiting.

The amiable visitor wants to spread the word about his community in the hopes of encouraging groups and students to participate in “study abroad” programs that could take place in the area.

Kristos’s engaging smile and barely contained enthusiasm about his beloved Jamaica spoke volumes, but even without those endearing qualities, the young ambassador’s accomplishments speak for themselves.

He has put to use his excellent knowledge of endemic birds in Jamaica with bird watching tours provided by his own company. He has dedicated himself to protecting and promoting the marine and terrestrial environment with particular emphasis at Bluefields on the South Coast.

He has established a fish sanctuary in Bluefields Bay and in 2009 he won the prestigious Jamaica Tourist Board Tourism Service Excellence Award and also received a national award for training excellence.

His vision for the sanctuary includes snorkeling tours, diving and the use of glass-bottomed boats. An underwater sculpture park with a reggae theme including statues of famous faces from Jamaica’s musical heritage is a dream that could become a reality.

Myrna Pearman, site manager at Ellis Bird Farm, said Kristos’s presentation was interesting and informative.

“He was extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic. It was a good fit. He is looking at establishing a bird sanctuary in Jamaica and was quite inspired as to how we set up the bird farm.”

Pearman is looking forward to future correspondence with Kristos and is confident they can share information and ideas.

Visiting Bluefields Bay is a must for anyone who wants to enjoy the Jamaican experience, said Kristos.

“We have amazing sunsets. They are like a dream. Beautiful. And the mountains and the sea kiss. It is so beautiful. Your jaw will just drop and if you are not careful they will have to pump your heart. You will be just breathless from the beauty.”