Christmas — the season of loneliness for some

Christmas — the season of loneliness for some

Sunday, December 29, 2019

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Christmas is known as the season for family and fun. However, three non-Jamaican medical students at The University of the West Indies shared in an interview with the Jamaica Observer's intern Denae Barrett last Wednesday how they felt being away from home during this festive season.

Each student shared their past and present Christmas experiences and expressed their thoughts about living on campus. Here are their stories:

Kiran Gopal, 21, India:

“I never celebrated Christmas when I was in India. The first time I did was in 2016 when I lived in St Lucia. I got really close to a Trinidadian family that lived upstairs and they would always invite me to special occasions. When it was Christmas we had dinner and ate cake and stuff like that. In St Lucia people would go to different family members' homes to talk and eat food. It was a really good experience.

“I've been in Jamaica for three months now and it's very nice here. On Christmas Eve my room-mates and I cooked and had a little feast. I wanted to go out this Christmas but my friends told me to be careful if I do.”

Kiran then expressed his concern for his safety while on the university's campus, due to countless robberies which occurred since September.

Paulbert Sammy, 27, St Lucia:

“Back home in St Lucia, when I was younger I would spend Christmas with my family going from house to house. I would go to my friends' and neighbours' houses to eat food and drink their wine and when I'm well fed, I go home. But these days people have become a little selfish I think, so I just stay home and eat my own food.

“If I was home I would have a list of chores to complete. Even though I'm not in St Lucia, I can tell you exactly what my parents are doing right now. My dad and uncle would be killing pigs and would later make Indian dishes like dhal curry and dhalpuri roti.

“I've travelled a bit and so I can appreciate a place for what it is, and Jamaica reminds me of home, especially in the country areas. Jamaica is nice except for one little thing... the security issues. I mean no place is safe but bwoy, Jamaica ain't playing!”

Akil Kingselin, 22, India:

“In India, Christmas was more like a reunion. My family would get together and go to church in the early morning, and later we would cook together, eat lunch and enjoy conversation. In the nights there would be a cake-cutting by the Christmas tree or sometimes we'd just go to the beach. Now that I'm in Jamaica I'm trying to experience Christmas similarly. I plan to continue the tradition of drinking wine and baking cake.

“This Christmas I attended a service at the University chapel and then attended a Christmas lunch on my hall. I plan to spend the rest of the Christmas hanging out with friends and cooking together.

“My first Christmas away from my family was really bad but this one is my fourth, so I've got used to it. But friends are still family, so it's just a different experience. Jamaica has been good so far but the campus has major safety issues.”

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