“Yes Miss.” “No Sir.” or A Terrifying Story Politely Told

“So what happened in your neighborhood this weekend?”

“I saw a robbery, Miss.”

“You what?”

“I saw a robbery, Miss. A man with a big knife held it up to the throat of a white woman who lives with a man on my street Miss. He made her gave him all her money and her cell phone Miss.”

“Then what did she do?”

“She cried and screamed Miss.”

“Did you know the man with the knife?”

“Yes, Miss.” 

“And what will happen to the man?”

“Maybe the police will catch him, Miss. But my Mommy says if the police talk to me I should say I didn’t see anything, Miss.”


“Because then the man with the knife might do something bad to me, Miss.”

That’s a story I heard from one of the students I tutor in Runaway Bay.  It gives you an idea of what kind of neighborhood the child lives in.  I could tell you other similar stories I’ve heard. 

One of the things we’ve had to get used to here in Jamaica is how our students have been taught vintage British manners.

” I like your necklace Miss.”

 Every single sentence they speak to me ends with Miss or in Dave’s case Sir. 

Dave teaching kids in Jamaica about right angles

“Is that a right angle you are making with your hands Sir?”

” Why are you making such a funny face Sir?” 

Some days when many of the children want my attention at the same time I hear, “Please Miss. Excuse me Miss. I need you Miss. Listen Miss.” Or some child will be insistently patting my arm and repeating, “Miss.” “Miss.”  “Miss.”

Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming but I know  a week from now when I leave Jamaica I’ll  miss hearing Miss.

Other posts about our students……

A Day in the Life of the Runaway Bay Resource Centre

The Remarkable Story of the Runaway Bay Resource Centre

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Filed under Culture, Education, Jamaica, Travel

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