MBCC MISSION STATEMENT:
The Mystic Bowie Cultural Center is dedicated to enriching the lives of the children of Jamaica. Our Multi-Cultural programs are designed to unlock the potential of the children through Arts, Music, Drama, and Sports. Our mission is to use these as a springboard to help each child improve the skills needed for success in life.
I recently returned from a trip to Jamaica. I have been going to this magnificent island since 1974 and it never ceases to amaze me…the awesome beauty of the land and sea almost can compare with it's wonderful people, especially those who live in the country away from the hustle and bustle of the Jamaican cities. I first met Mystic after attending one of his shows in Fairfield, CT…needless to say I am a huge Reggae fan. Mystic reminded me of those wonderful people I met while touring the Island in '74…the people from the Cockpit mountains. Anyway, he and I struck up a friendship and it continues to this day. This past Summer we met and he told me all about a library he was building in his native lands…a library attached to a school that sits on top of a mountain near the sacred lands of his ancestors. After little persuasion I agreed to visit this project.
When I arrived at Mo-Bay airport I had just come from Miami where I attended the wedding of an old college friend. I mention this because one cannot believe the opposite ends of life's spectrum that I was about to experience. Mystic met me at the airport and we drove the bumpy trip up to the Cockpit mountains where the autonomous region called Accompong lay. This is the ancestral home to the Maroons, a sect of Jamaicans who are descendants of the slaves first brought to the island by the Spanish and subsequently by the British. They were the runaway slaves…they refused to be chained! These are an impoverished people which is quite evident upon arrival and it was quite a shock when 6 hours earlier I was checking out of a luxury hotel which one could only describe as opulent…the juxtaposition was, to say the least, stunning. However, the cover of the book belies the story inside. All the people I met in Accompong are truly rich and beautiful inside…polite, kind, and happy!
After settling in my accommodations Mystic took me up to the library. As I mentioned previously the library is attached to the Accompong school(grades 1 thru 8) so the first sight upon entering the grounds was a mass of kids in their school uniforms running around having recess. As soon as I got out of the car with Mystic there came a rush of bright-eyed, beaming kids. And it wasn't about me…it was about Mystic, the local hero.
What he has done, with minimal outside funding, is amazing. The building is almost ready for occupation and you can feel the anticipation not only from the children but from the adults as well. Local craftsmen and just regular folks are volunteering with the contruction whether its masonry, painting, or providing meals for the workers. It is a community project which has spawned a wondrous spirit around the town. Soon, with more funding, the children and adults will have a place to learn; a library with computers and magazines and books and multimedia. It really will be an exemplary model for schools around the country and Mystic is the man that is making it happen.
He along with town (sic:tribal) leaders decided to improve the lot of their people by concentrating on education. The school is run with discipline…it stresses respect, advancement, love, work, play, and etiquette. They are getting results because from what I could ascertain the kids are all that!
So after 3 days of painting, eating, and friendly socializing I was driven back to Sangster Airport and came back to my life in Norwalk, CT. Re-entry from being away is always hard and this time was no different for me, but I came back invigorated by Mystic's work and I vowed to him that I would help him with his foundation so that his work can continue without interruption. Please call or write to me if you want to hear more details about the trip or if you (or your company) would consider a donation.
Sincerely, Dana Streep