Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oh, how quickly we forget...

I was thinking about my blog recently and it dawned on me that I might not be painting the fullest picture of Jamaica as I've come to know it with my not-so-consistent posts.  I might have only hinted at this in 1 or 2 previous posts, but I must reiterate the following: Jamaica IS a developing nation.  It's a tough place to live.  It is not for the thin-skinned nor the weak-minded.
Why have I felt the need to remind my readers of this (yes, all 13 of you), you ask?  I've come to realize that I'm much more likely to post something on my blog after a pleasant experience I've had here in Jamaica than I am after a not-so-pleasant experience here.  And, whaduya know?  I haven't posted consistently since August, folks.  Life here ain't easy.  Let me give you a few examples of this and why I constantly find myself annoyed with a whole host of things here, namely the class system that plays a huge role in pretty much every aspect of Jamaican life.
1. Before I even moved to Jamaica I was able to meet my first landlord in Queens, New York while she was visiting family.  At the end of our first meeting she asked me if I was a Rastafarian. WTF!! Who does that anymore?? This is something at which I cannot even get mad.  Shame on me for not being able to foresee the difficulty I'd have with this landlord during my tenancy and long after I vacated her tiny, overpriced flat in a mock Suburb of Kingston just from that one question alone.
Please believe that there are tons of classified ads in Jamaica's newspapers in which renters request 'decent Christian individuals.'  Wheredeydodatat, you ask?  Jamaica, baby.
2. Jamaica is having extreme difficulty making up her mind on her stance on Rastafari.  In Jamaican homes, schools, and businesses the general consensus is, 'Bob Marley all day, every day.'  However, you will find that members of the Rastafari community are generally considered to be of the lower class here.  Color consciousness- excuse me- obsession with skin color continues to pervade Jamaican society.  Meeting a Eurocentric standard of beauty is key, also.  I've noticed, and my Jamaican-born schoolmates agree that retail store employers are more likely to hire applicants who are 'pretty' or 'light.'  The opposite exists where domestic workers, sometimes called helpers or maids, are concerned.  One noticeable commonality among domestic workers in Jamaica (it is very common for the average middle-class family to hire a domestic helper to do house chores throughout the week) is that they are usually middle-aged, darker complected women.  Notice a trend?
3. This place in no way caters to the handicapped or disabled.  OK, I'm whining now, but this has irked me for a while.  I often see persons in wheelchairs, walkers, or the things you place your arms into to help you walk upright because there is a physical rehabilitation center located just off of the University of the West Indies Campus, and man!...these people barely have sidewalks to walk on.  The last thing I'll say on this matter is that the U.W.I. campus has few ramps for persons with disabilities.

That concludes my overdue rant.  I leave you with descriptive photos:
My expression after the people at Courts told me I wasn't eligible for a price plan on a washer because I wasn't a Jamaican.

Negasi disappointed at the fact that the public park gates were locked at 3 p.m on a Friday afternoon.


  1. Sounds like you are developing your love-hate relationship with JA. Lol. I went through the same thing. Its always good to get a out of Kingston when you get a chance. You should try to make it up to Hollywell one weekend if you havent already.

  2. Hey, Justin!

    Thanks for commenting. Always nice to know there's someone out there who's been in the same boat.

    I have not been to Hollywell yet, but will make sure I do.

    Take care.

  3. Those pictures say a lot! Negasi is a natural at communication -- he's got body language down to an art.

    It sounds like Jamaican bureaucracy and elitism has you trippin' like you're in another decade or century even. Unfortunately, those same prejudices occur in the states on a covert scale. I'm sure some would disagree that the states have overt prejudicial practices, as well.

  4. Da, trippin ain't the word sometimes. And, you're right- this type of mentality is not unique to Jamaica.

  5. well nicky from this blog i guess you were not listening when i was talking to you or seeing is believing. my poor grandson looks so .