My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico , Thursday—In Kingston, Jamaica, we visited the U.S. Club which is run by Miss Mullaley. They have a nice building and are doing the most efficient work with a good program of activities covering every day in the week. From there we went to lunch with Mr. and Mrs. John Lord, our American consul and his wife.

We arrived at Kings House yesterday afternoon, where the Governor and Lady Huggins invited us to spend the night. We started out almost immediately to see a very good child welfare center. Here, a woman doctor was busy seeing a crowd of mothers and babies. Quite a bit of excitement was caused by the arrival of one woman who had triplets. Her family already consisted of the large number of seven children. They tell me that there is a tradition here that you can act your way into Heaven by having a large number of children.

At the day nursery where women who go to work leave their children and have them cared for at tuppence a day, we saw a number of tiny ones being fed their respective bottles. Out in the garden, in a screened-in house, a number of other youngsters were being taught in nursery school.

From there we went to the Jamaica Institute, which is an excellent library. They send books to various schools in rotation and have a fine reference library—the beginning of a Smithsonian for the Island of Jamaica, as a young Rhodes Scholar from Rhode Island told me.

Then we drove through some of the poorest quarters in the city to a recreation club for boys called " Boys Town." Boys of every age are kept busy here during their free hours doing athletics out of doors, learning carpentry work or tailoring. This has been going on for only two years, and it seemed to me a very good beginning.

Now Lady Huggins is planning to start a center for girls of the same type. We paid a brief visit to the Tuberculosis Sanitarium, which is a very fine hospital, and then we drove through the beautiful Hope Gardens, arriving at Kings House where the press was awaiting me for an interview at 5:15 p.m.

This left little time to dress before we went down into the gardens to meet a mixed company representing every activity of government, industrial and social life on the island.

The war has hit these islands very hard. There have been shortages of food and great difficulty in obtaining the kind of food to which the islanders are accustomed. Rice and beans is a well established Sunday dish. They even have a folk song about it, and yet rice has been unobtainable and only a very expensive quality is now coming in. The engines to their little trains burn wood because they have practically no coal.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • San Juan (P.R., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, March 10, 1944

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.