Covers of a brochure and eloquent words could never prepare one for the exquisiteness of the island of Jamaica. Walking on the beautiful north coast beaches, majestic waters lap against the auburn shores. The gentle breeze presses fleeting kisses on your face while dancing with the vibrant wildflowers of the lush green land surroundings. As the time progresses and others arrive to awe at the scenery and to enjoy the golden sand, so grainy yet soft, and crisp seas, so cool yet gentle and calm, you simply stop and stare. Filled with adventure, one could never grow bored of the crisp smell of salt in the air at beaches just an exploration away.
A country dominated by traditions, one could never dream of eating anything without rice and peas on a Sunday afternoon or going abroad without carrying a suitcase load of national favorites like Jamaican patties or jerk sauce for the relatives.
As a product of the rural area, traditions like such as using a barrel to capture rain water when rain falls so as to have water for the plants in the dry season or walking up the road to Mr. Chin’s shop to buy a pound of cornmeal to make porridge for lunch, are a part of my culture. Growing up in a neighborhood where everyone is family is similar to growing up in Jamaica where the motto states “Out of many, one people”.
My country had taught that everyone is equal and deserves respect. I have learned to admire and acknowledge my past as my past is what build my future similar to Jamaica’s acknowledge of its colonial past. The love and support Jamaicans show for ones we claim as our own is extraordinary. During the Olympics, Jamaicans all over the world gathered on social media or at their homes to show support to our athletes. This is the true face of my island.
The opportunity to have been a part of a culture rich with intricate traditions and beautiful flora and fauna has truly impacted my appreciation for life.
Despite its faults,living in Jamaica, I have been exposed to the true cultural identity of the Caribbean and moving to New York has just encouraged me to accept my identity as Afro-Caribbean more and hold it dear to my heart.