Stew Peas おばあちゃんのステュー・ピーズ


Denham Town in Kingston 14 デンハムタウン キングストン14

Grandma’s Stew Peas

This is the fourth instalment in our “Food I fondly remember” interview series which is aimed at introducing Japanese to odds defying Jamaican and their Jamaican soul foods which many Japanese have never experienced but are really worth trying.

Vasiana Page has the real heart of a lion. She epitomises “lionheart.” She is a rock. A true gem and a true entrepreneur. As a woman in any society, the decks are heavily stacked against you from birth. As a woman of colour, you have been dealt a crushing blow. As a woman of colour who was born and bred in the inner cities of Kingston, Jamaica, you were surrounded by despair. As woman who had lost her mother way before she had completed school, hope for success was all but stolen from her.

This is the true story of many people the world over. Many of us reading this article may never ever be able to fathom this harsh reality. A harsh reality compounded by one’s gender, socio-economic circumstances and magnified by the hue of one’s complexion. Growing up in the Denham Town community along North Street in West Kingston, Jamaica for Vasiana was a big challenge.

Back in the days Kingston was one of the nicest places to live. Denham Town in Kingston 14, is the birthplace of Jamaican musical legend Gregory Isaacs and many of today’s prominent leaders in all spheres of influence in the Jamaican landscape. The culture back then was like a village. Everyone cared for each other. All kids were cared for by the adults around them despite their own financial limitations. Then over time, this utopian society came crashing down round about the mid-1970s.

This was the result of political polarisation brought about by ideological differences due to differences between the two leading political parties of Jamaica. Needless to say, this resulted in a mass exodus of many of West Kingston’s then residents. Many of whom were home owners of West Kingston. The exodus also involved many of the major business interests in West Kingston. As a result lawlessness became the order of the day. Unfortunately for Vasiana, her family was one of the many which were left behind. It was too late for them to move out. They were trapped.

Having lost her mother at a tender age and with her father’s absence, Vasiana was raised by her maternal grandparents. Both of whom loved her dearly. Her grandmother provided for her and ensured she was never in want of the basic necessities of live. But like many young girls from the inner city – she eventually fell prey to early pregnancy in her teens.

Vasiana was driven however. She had resolved early on in life that she was going to break this spiral and pull herself out of the doldrums in which she had been dealt such a heavy hand. For her however, this only helped to strengthen her resolve to being the best mother her son could ever have. Unlike many people caught in a similar predicament, she saw her son as a blessing – a gift from God.

As a young single teenage mother, Vasiana had to forego further academic ambitions. She had to get a job to feed both herself, her son and her grandmother – whose health was starting to fail her. Coupled with this, she also had to provide for her two younger brothers – as the eldest child. She had now taken on the full role as the family’s matriarch. As tough as this was for a very young 17 year old matriarch – she knew that she had to do everything humanly possible to ensure her brothers were not in want of anything. She had to keep them out of the clutches of taking the wrong path in life. She had to keep them in school. Vasiana had to ensure they did not get caught up in crime.


このインタビューシリーズは、日本人の多くが経験したことのないジャマイカのソウルフードを紹介することを目的とした、”Food I fondly remember “の第4弾です。



昔、キングストンは最も住みやすい場所の一つでした。デンハム・タウンはジャマイカの音楽界の伝説的存在であるグレゴリー・アイザックス(Gregory Isaacs)の生誕地であり、今日のジャマイカのあるべき姿に影響を与えた多くの著名なリーダーたちの生誕地でもあります。当時のデンハム・タウンの雰囲気は村のようなものでした。誰もがお互いを思い遣っていました。すべての子供たちは自分たちの親の経済的な困窮にもかかわらず、周りの大人たちに世話をされていました。そして時が経つにつれ、このユートピア的な社会は1970年代半ばに崩壊しました。





ジャマイカではヴァシアナが妊娠した当時も今もバースコントロール(避妊や人工妊娠中絶など)はタブーとされています。その結果、望まない妊娠をしてしまう若い女性が数少なくありません。ヴァシアナが住んでいたようなコミュニティでは中絶したという噂がたつと一瞬で広まり「歩く墓(walking cemetery)」と呼ばれコミュニティから疎外されます。


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