Escape to Last Man Peak

Escape to Last Man Peak

first_imgHow many of you remember Jamaican author Jean D’Costa’s classic book Escape To Last Man Peak? The novel, first published in 1975, was a staple as a literature book in high schools when I was a child. The book tracks the movement of 10 orphans who were forced to leave their orphanage after their caretaker died from a massive pneumonia outbreak that was wiping out huge chunks of the population. Fearing that they would end up in a labour camp, they decided to make the trek to the remote hilly terrain called Last Man Peak, which was at the other end of the island. One member of the group, a shy albino boy named Wuss Wuss, had inherited land and a house there from his grandfather. The book chronicles the set of adventures that they went through to get to Last Man Peak. I had basically forgotten about the book until now. With the coronavirus now raging around the world, that book has, however, come storming back into my consciousness. The world as we know it may never be the same. In Jamaica, schools are being closed. There is a rush on supermarkets for cleaning products, and of much concern to me is that sports events are being cancelled left right and centre. The term ‘out of an abundance of caution’ is being liberally used to explain the reason for putting off these events. Last night, I watched the first One Day International between Australia and New Zealand being played in a stadium without spectators. Explore other options I feel this option should have been more explored in some of the sporting events that we have cancelled. I can’t help thinking that totally locking down some of these sports events is maybe a little premature. Where do we go from here? All these decisions were taken when we had two confirmed positive cases. Subsequently, we have heard of half a dozen more up to the point of writing this. If banks and schools and sports can be closed down on the basis of a few positive cases, can you imagine how much more drastic the measures will be if and when the virus is spreading further, especially if there are deaths involved? It seems odd to me that while we are locking down sports and schools, we have not yet restricted flights from the UK, which is directly related to the first two cases. The Government of Jamaica is already discouraging mass gatherings. Am I going overboard to visualise the days coming in Jamaica when public transportation may be put on hold? Will we have restrictions on how many people can be in a bank or supermarket or restaurant at any one time? Will we be asked to stay home and not turn up for work, especially those who work in large corporations? Staying home without watching live sports will be torture. Again I ask, are we overreacting? I honestly am not sure. Will we have to go ‘cool out’ in the hills until the world gets back to normal. Like Gerald and Pauline and Jimmy and Wuss Wuss and the rest of the orphans in Jean D’Costa’s book, will we have to go seek our own Last Man Peak? Lord help us!last_img

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