Jamaican Life

Jamaica—land rich in diversity and culture. Jamaica—island of amazing water everywhere. Jamaica—island of breathtaking beauty and heartbreaking poverty.

Jamaica, like life, like so many places, is a place of paradox. Lush tropical forests, waterfalls, plants and flowers everywhere, surrounded by the ever-wondrous Caribbean. So many of the people here are beyond beautiful—full of joy, rhythm, and a passion for life. And at the same time, here, the legacy of slavery lives on even as people work to make their own destiny. The gap between those who “have” and those who “have not” is huge. Many people live in shacks made from scraps of wood and metal even as tourists come and spend hundreds of dollars a night to stay in hotels and resorts in places like Negril and Montego Bay, and land is sold to wealthy foreigners who come build huge houses on them only to visit Jamaica as their holiday home.

Near to where I am are large acres of land and jungle being farmed on the rogue by locals. They tell me the land is owned by a wealthy American woman who never even comes to visit anymore. They say for now, they farm the land until someone someday comes to kick them out. And at the same time, all around, people eat more and more packaged food, which creates tons of trash, which is then burned as a common practice. The island of Jamaica only recycles plastic. Everything else goes into the waste stream to be exported off island to I don’t even know where. I am praying they are not just shipping it out to sea and then dumping it, but considering how sad our human behavior is sometimes, I would not be surprised if that is what I were to find out.

With the awareness I have, I can’t help but walk around every day making lists of what I want to help change in Jamaica. There is more than a lifetime of work for me here. I begin by working with the homeless shelter in Portland Parish, helping them fundraise, craft letters to governmental agencies, as well as just spending time with the clients of the shelter, sharing love, caring, and support. So, as I embark on making this amazing place my new home, I am present to both my privilege and my commitment to doing what I can to help this gorgeous island and its beautifully amazing people.

Love,

julia

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Published in: on March 16, 2010 at 1:56 am  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hello Julia,

    What is happening in Jamaica is typical of what happens to most places which go by the title “Island Paradise” – So much imbalance is created by the tourist dollar that the locals which are not in the market, loose out. But more than that – the natural balance of that paradise is lost, with the need to develop the land to support the foreign influx. I’ve seen whole ecosystems collapse. And then, what was once a paradise – turns into a wasteland.

    I hope that never happens in Jamaica. Here’s wishing you all the best in your new endevour, Julia!

    Yours,
    Mathew Titus

  2. i send you blessings, prayers and love as you walk through this new journey of your life, with grace, consciuosness, compassion, joy and love 🙂

  3. jamaica how nice best wishes on your next chapter. i too hope they don’t just dump it especially metals in salt water eek. there is some profit to recycling but u need a buyer. pity u can’t turn them into art projects and composte. good thoughts to you. finally above 50 in ny, lol .

  4. Thank you for all you have done to save the trees in Ca. I enjoy reading your blog from time to time and I wanted to share with you a very dear beauty. http://elementsdayspace.blogspot.com/
    http://www.savetheangeloak.org/
    Healthy Regards,
    Amanda

  5. This is why I feel so much love and admiration for you as I do. You are so sensible and heart centered at the same time. Very beautiful.

  6. Good onya girl. Thought you might like this.

  7. TRU DAT TO THE UMPTENEENTH DEGREE.This work iz Soo F!@#g Vital….and just so ya know I’m homeless and longin for sharin soul nurishin loving communion ,also…

  8. happy thoughts on st. pats 2u recently watching family guy and wondered if they based the jolly farms teacher after u 😉 will hulu work there i’m addicted …

  9. Jamaica exists in the same unfortunate condition if inequity that plaques humanity. In order to have, people tend to feel that other must have not. It is truly sad. Of course, the idea that the wealthy are persecuted by those with less is by no means unheard of, and ultimately this thinking only serves to further the gap between the aristocracy and the wanting.

    I send you my blessing, as I send my blessing to those around the world who suffer needlessly. I hope that one day we can all actually learn to love each other and stop this nonsense from continuing. If each foreign owner of substantial property was to even just help build basic living structures for the poor can you imagine how different the situation could quickly become?

  10. The Caribbean islands are unique in so many ways and in some ways not so different from many other post-colonial, tropical countries. I was born and raised here to mixed parentage and have lived here most of my life and I still never cease to be amazed by the beauty of the landscape and the freely giving hearts of the people vs the harshness of religous fundamentalism (esp homophobia) and the ever growing socio-economic inequity. It’s a crazy place but it’s the world in a microcosm – the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ seem so much more immediate and intense in every way. I remember once visiting a museum display on islands and biodiversity and they talked about islands being some of the most biodiverse places on earth but with lots of small groups of very different beings, no big herds or swarms or packs – just lots of odd characters – like lemurs 🙂 doing their thing in their little pockets and I found that really quite true of the way we are on a human level too which was funny and encouraging and perspective granting in a way. So welcome to the petri dish little butterfly, it’s such a joy to have your energy in this part of the world!


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