About Kate Chappell

"And all I offer here is the distilled poetry of my existence..." Claude McKay, Poet Laureate of Jamaica, 1890-1848 I have been a reporter since 1998, covering mainly business and politics. I have also capitalized on the many skills journalism requires to become an all-around communications specialist. In addition to being a professional curious person and communicator, I have a bad case of the travel bug and can't seem to stay put. Finally, I have put my skills to work as a volunteer in the community wherever I have lived. Now, follow me as I combine these compartments of my life in Kingston, Jamaica, where I will be a voluteer with CUSO-VSO. I am working in Kingston with YOU Jamaica, a non-profiit organization that does mentoring and career counselling with the country's youth. CUSO-VSO is an international agency that places professionals in communities where they work to promote sustainable development.

Wrong way


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Every morning, as I drive my children to school, I witness several major traffic infractions. Mostly, it is the taxi drivers. They cut into traffic, don’t stop when they should, and worst, drive in the oncoming traffic lane. They simply don’t want to wait in the horrendous traffic lines, which is understandable. But at the risk of injury, or worse, death? It is so dangerous. Sometimes, they obey the law if the police are nearby, but as soon as enforcement is absent that day, most of them violate the law. In this picture, a driver is heading south (in the wrong direction) on a major road. This is normal. It is only a matter of time before there is a major accident.

“Cold” weather


For the first time since I landed here almost eight years ago, I was cold this morning. It was 21 degrees Celcius, I believe, and my Jamaican-born and raised children are also complaining of being “cold”. There are also a lot of people wearing hats and jackets. It is a strange feeling…

The Marella Discovery II


Cruise ships regularly visit Jamaica’s north coast, but yesterday, for the first time, a cruise ship docked at the Kingston Harbour. Port Royal to be exact. Most people are ecstatic, saying that this represents development and progress and prosperity. To be sure, it does, but it remains to be seen how this development will affect this historical site. (Apparently, there are still historically significant underwater sites yet to be explored.) It also remains to be seen how the development, along with the thousands of tourists, will affect the nearby community, as well as marine life. The area is already vulnerable and plagued by garbage, so hopefully, the development is adhering to environmental standards. I wonder if the tourists will remain at the site, or if they will venture into Kingston.