Last month, I wrote an open letter to Jamaica out of concern for the people. The country was experiencing a time of turmoil, chaos, corruption and violence. The cause, Christopher Dudus Coke, the famed drug lord who was captured by Jamaican police and turned over to United States officials. As I stated then in my open letter, one man should not and will not tarnish the reputation of an amazing island; the beautiful island of Jamaica.
Jamaica is simply breathtaking! There are not enough words that can be used to describe the island’s beauty. I had the opportunity to visit the parish of Westmoreland a few weeks ago. I would like to take you on a trip with me through my memories. Through my eyes, I would like to welcome you to Jamaica.
The water is cold, refreshing and healing to the body. Most days I opted to bathe in the river/springs rather than indoors in the shower. The fish swam and nipped at my toes, heightening my experience. Like a tourist, I was bathing in the springs in my bathing suit. The cars and vans would drive by honking their horns as they looked on. Also looking on were the other women showering in the springs. While they were topless and in their underwear I was in a bathing suit. I think assessed that I was not use to living in Jamaica’s country.
The river -the parts where people do not bathe- is also used for washing clothing and cars. Many Jamaicans do not own washers and dryers because of the high cost. Bare hands, soap, fabric softner, a clothing line and pins are the only tools needed. Oh, and of course the sun to dry the clothes. The “squishy squishy” sound indicates that the clothing is squeaky clean.
The food is picked directly from the trees and is prepared for the plate or gathered and sold on the streets or in markets.
During the week that I was there I ate very, very well. I might have even gained a few pounds. Curried lobster and rice and peas; ackee and saltfish with fried dumpling, green bananas and breadfruit; escoveitch fish; cow skin soup(don’t knock it until you try it;) manish water(goat head soup;) and jerk chicken (which is cooked on a smoked pimento wood) were some of the meals I ate. Yum! My mouth is watering just at the thought.
Living in Westmoreland requires a lot of exercise and walking, at least in the Cave district where I resided. Cave looks just as it sounds- lots of rocks and hills. I saw very few obese Jamaicans while at Cave because there is so much hard-labor work to do. Not to mention the walking up and down hills and rocky roads in scorching temperatures. No gym is necessary.
My brother and I would walk approximately a mile and a half to Bluefield’s Beach on a narrow road. The roads there would equate to a one way street with non-existent side walks. The roads became more narrow as we traveled further up in the mountains. Cars would overtake one another as they speed down the street even driving on opposite sides of the road, leaving my brother and I to run into the bushes until the cars passed.
What I can’t get used to is all the mosquitos, red ants and bullfrogs. But those insects and reptiles come with the island so maybe I can work around them.
I observed no violence, no chaos, no fear and no turmoil as portrayed world-wide through television sets and internet screens last month. Jamaica seems to be recovering. Don’t just take my word to it; go and see Jamaica for yourself.
Jamaica, No problem!