We have much to learn from the Jamaican people, a simple people that are gracious and driven by love. Bob Marley’s “One Love” is still alive and kicking today, in fact the Jamaican people believe we are all part woman and man and that is a complete love.
Many of the luxuries we take for granted such as cars, cell phones, the internet, etc. are not commonly used by many people in Jamaica. We asked outr raft captain as we sailed down the beautiful Martha Brae River about putting a video of him on youtube. He claimed that he lived in a village that had no internet so he would not be able to see it. This did not phase him at all as a loss but merely an inconvenience. J.K. also told us he was dependant on others for rides to work, often standing at the roadside in the hope that he would be fortunate enough to find someone to drive him to the Martha Brae River.
The good jobs are reserved for the Jamaicans whose ancestors have always held jobs at the resorts. Most of the children attend schools in uniforms from the age of three and the fortunate ones that are the chosen ones are groomed to work in the resorts. These select people speak impeccable english and no accent is detectable however when they speak to each other they have a lingo that is apparentlly a form of slang that they used during the days of slavery. It is interesting to listen to them talk to each other and then come to your table and greet you with a friendly “hello” or ask you if you would like water with you dinner and speak perfect english.
Now, one might possibly be wondering what the other Jamaican do fo employment? Some make clothing and souveniors for gift stores or like our Raft Captain who makes pots out of mango’s, while other sell hot nuts or beverages in between the lanes of traffic. Many are independent business owners who own buses or cab services that cater to the tourists primarily. We saw many people making beaded items as well.
Jamaica supplies many items to the resorts and to the general population. Sugar cane is what many of us might think of at first and maybe coffee but the next few items may surprise you – milk, cheese,bottled water, carbonated beverages, rum cakes, goat meat, chickens and the obvious one :marijuana” which is also know as Bob Marley..
Take a trip to their Hip Strip in downtown Montego Bay to witness some serious poverty. These people live off the land and sell their wares to survive. If you want to shop in a high pressure situation take a walk down the strip and you will be asked to buy many things possibly even cornered in a little area and wrangled into buying a beaded necklace at an extremely high price. These people are incredibly charming in their approach yet one feels a little tense in their presence. We found being honest was best, my not liking something seemed to deter a few we met. One character named Bob, many named Bob in this area, perhaps like John back home.was trying to get us to go on a guided tour with him and even asked us our names and room number at the resort.
Stay tuned for part 2.
(c) April 2012 A. Penn – to include all photos contained in this blog. To only be used by written permission of owner.