Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Local News

July 3, 2009

AT RANDOM: Send me back to Jamaica, mon

John Adams hoping for third Peace Corps stint in the Caribbean island nation

By David May


Jamaica is a special place for John Adams. It is where he has served two tours with the Peace Corps and where he met his current wife.

Now at the retirement age of 67, the Mineral Wells resident is hoping the Peace Corps will send him back a third time.

Why, one asks.

“Why not,” comes Adams’ response. “It’s like a paid vacation, plus you are helping people.”

Since the 1960s, the Peace Corps says nearly 200,000 volunteers have lived and worked in 139 countries, serving and teaching people in developing countries by showing them ways to improve their quality of life. Teaching is what Adams does.

“It’s a way of giving a country expertise without giving them money,” said Adams in describing Peace Corps, which grew out of a challenge by then U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy to University of Michigan students to serve their country and work to better people in other countries.

His two Peace Corps tours of Jamaica came exactly 30 years apart. The first time he went was in 1971. He went back in 2001.

“When I was there in the ‘70s, they were going communist and they all thought we were spies,” said Adams.

But the country has come a long way. Adams says he loves the people and the culture.

“The food is terrific,” said Adams. “A lot of curry, a lot of vegetables, a lot of things you never heard of before.”

Communicating with the countrymen is not difficult, but takes a little getting used. While English is the official language in Jamaica, they speak what is called Jamaican Patois, pronounced patwa, a French name for their English and African creole language that is largely unique to Jamaica.

“Down there, nothing happens on time,” said Adams. “If it rains, nothing happens.”

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