Here in the states, we have abundance. We have plenty of foods, we have clothes, shoes, handbags. Our national past-time is shopping. We want, We covet. We buy. We save up our money for tattoos and we never miss out on the newest cell phone upgrade. Our dogs have fancy clothes, our cars are traded in for new cars. Our children participate in structured sports leagues, with fancy uniforms and special gear, and fees just for participating.
Granted, not all of our kids. And we don’t ALL spend our spare time shopping, and there are certainly those struggling to pay for food, but the point is: our society is based on us being in debt, credit card companies and banks getting richer, and us keeping up with our neighbors.
Imagine a simpler place. Imagine a place where the fruits and vegetables grown from rich soils grow abundantly. Imagine a place where you can fish and catch dinner, or pay a couple bucks for fresh caught fish pulled out of the ocean that very morning. Imagine a place where kids aren’t afraid to play or to explore on their own, where every day living gives them the exercise growing kids need, where the sun shines every day, the natural beauty surpasses most northern landscapes bought and paid for thanks to gardeners, and where the foods are so wholesome and real that you just don’t crave snacks- and your sweet tooth is satisfied with delicious fresh, exotic fruits.
In Jamaica, they are richer than in America, yet they have so fewer possessions. There are no big malls. People spend their spare time talking, laughing, visiting. In Jamaica, you hear the roar of the ocean waves hitting the shore, and you don’t hear the roar of cars speeding down the highway. You hear birds, laughter, dogs barking. You hear the sounds of joy. People are happy for those who’ve managed to have more, because those who have more don’t treat those with less like they are less. People are kind to one another. In Jamaica, news travels faster by conversation than by any tv or newspaper. People are engaged with one another in Jamaica. People know one another in Jamaica.
People hang on to things in Jamaica and use them for many years. They don’t replace things until they wear out. In Jamaica, they’re still using the same knives and stew pots that their aunt left them when she passed, or that they’ve had for 40 years. Jamaicans make due with what they have, and they don’t worry about finding the newest greatest re-invention of the same cook pot or a different take on a hammer. They pass life skills on to one another, rather than paying others to do work they can do themselves. Jamaicans are far more self-sufficient, partly because they have to be, partly because they can be.
In Jamaica there is far less material wealth and far more appreciation for what is. Leisure time is relished, because a hard day of work is done. Friends are cherished because they’ve stood by you in work. A ride in to town is offered up by those with cars, and those without cars are appreciative. Visiting another town is a big deal, because responsibilities keep you closer to home. Time away is planned for, and looked forward to. Plants aren’t just pretty, but offer healing and food. A roof overhead isn’t really needed most days, but the refuge from the sun and barrier to the rain is appreciated. Flowers are abundant, yet never overlooked.
In Jamaica, things mean more.