No water, Jamaica?

I understand that all relationships pass through the honeymoon phase where things are almost perfect. And I may have overlooked some of your quirks. But now, I’m starting to get annoyed, because I’m being deprived of a basic necessity: water!

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No waterIt has been quite uncomfortable to go without water, having to use water in my kettle to bathe with for days, having to wake up at the break of dawn, when I am “scheduled” to use water for 30 minutes. This is the time I will have to prepare for my day. I am now force to treat water as a scarce resource and use as little of it as possible…when it is lacking. Or better yet, appreciate it when it flows in abundance. I have been checking the taps the moment I step into my apartment, or cautiously turning on the tap, for fear that this time, it may be empty. I am on a water schedule, and making the best use of water when it is available. Out of survival, I store water in containers for moments when it is scarce.

Jamaica I’ll admit it; you have taught me how to be resourceful with water. But still, you force me to be drinking brown water. Is it contaminated?  Fine. But I’m not pleased.

Still, those are the minor flaws I’ll have to accept. You are giving me a different reality of life, and I do appreciate that. In spite of the water problems, I have more to be thankful for. Like the times when you simply offer me gifts of fruits: bananas, mangoes, guineps, pineapples, plantains, breadfruit and sweet sop; or when you feed me with your sweet cuisines. This month, I celebrated your emanicipation and independence with you and enjoyed performances of your people. I learnt more about your history, my history. On a couple occasions, I sang your anthem loud and proud and felt a part of you.

Although I may have to endure the inconvenience of going without water some days, I will forever sing your praises Jamaica and accept you as you are. Flaws and all.

Jamaica, Can’t Stop Loving You

Anger, resentments, frustrations have been mixed with serenity, contentment and happiness. Some days, the mountains are my only solitary reminder that I am still in Jamaica. The heavy courseload, high-pressured environment, and overly competitive students are crowding my purpose for being on this island. Instead of laugh-lines on my face, the stress is producing acne. But, I am thankful that Jamaica has rolled out the red carpet for me this weekend.

Festivals, bammies, plantains, lobster, fried and steamed fish, coconut water, and fish soup; coupled with white sandy beach and aqua coloured water. This has always been my idea of island life, the kind I should have been living over the last three months. But, as they say, nothing before its time. Hellshire beach is the most popular location for Jamaican locals and sure enough it was crowded this weekend- with excitement and fun. I was in and out of the water like a happy dolphin and I had my little neice to share the excitement. We walked on sand, made sand castles, took a few gulps of salty water, watched the waves ebb and flow, observed the clouds float along in the blue sky, and watched the sun go down. It was a family trip, a long deserved one.

In a way, it was magical because my brother and I have not been on this island together for almost two decades; yet here we were, grown-ups, a bigger version of us strolling the beach of our birthplace. Life leaves me in awe everytime. But the moments are to be reminsced and treasured. Jamaica has given me many of those moments.

So I am angry, frustrated and somtimes I feel resentment because Jamaica is slow to roll back all the curtains and all the carpet at once. I am left to just take in one small moment at a time, and yes it leaves me deeply in love and in appreciation with this island. The heat feels like blood flowing in my veins. The heavy rainfall is like the first breath of air, and the mountains; that embrace me each day, are a reminder that this love, the one between Jamaica and me, is true.