Bursting the Myths of Fear

Fear; an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Oxford online dictionary

This year has been interesting for me so far. Yes, like everyone else I have my desires and goals that I want to accomplish. But, while those are at the forefront of my mind, I am faced to tackle my fears. In January, I learnt that a close friend of mine died, Mr. Moss-Solomon. I could use a lengthy page to tell you about his accolades, but those were not how I knew him. He was a mentor and a friend to me. Someone who believed in me. Though we met in Jamaica, at the University, where he held the position as Executive in Residence, he continued to stay in touch when I returned home in Canada. We stayed in touch years later, even a little over a month before he died. I didn’t know that our last conversation was going to be our last, otherwise I would have stayed on the phone longer with him- it was his birthday. He died on Jan 04, 2022.

Read More: An elegy to Jimmy Moss-Solomon.

That death has a shock to my new year. Because the thing I began to reflect on was time. No matter how much we have, it’s never enough. Kinda like money, actually. All jokes aside; there are some things in life that we all need to do, we are called to do them because of our unique skill-sets, experiences, and personality; but we keep feeling fearful. My friend used to tell me all the time that I am made to do more than I am currently doing (though he wasn’t that politically correct when he told me so). That was the rolling joke for us- he was a man that was as direct as they come. And he hated the way Canadians were always so politically correct all the time. There is a Jamaican song that not so eloquently expresses this point in patios, “..who don’t like it not….(I won’t end the lyric). Since I am Canadian-raised, I am forced to remain politically correct.

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When we allow it, fear will stop us dead in our tracks and prevent us from moving ahead. Yes, because the feeling is utterly unpleasant. It’s a moving out of our comfort zones to places we have never been before. It makes us pause, gauge our surroundings, and make a decision about taking a step forward or backward. In my last article, I shared how I stood on the ski hill for almost 10-15 minutes looking down. How would I get to the bottom without falling? Did I really want to do this? These are all legitimate questions that the brain must conceptualize. But, the final decision is always up to us. The questions that we should begin to use to rebut are: Will this hurt me or make me better? Even if it hurts, won’t I learn from my failure?

Read more: Ready, set, pause.

It’s natural that our brains aim and program is to protect us by any means necessary. Have you ever walked on a lake before? I went out walking on the lake yesterday. I did it while being afraid. My brain automatically started to process the possibility that I could fall because the ice could crumble under my feet. That even though all those other people and their dogs were out there walking, I was going to be the one to fall. I slowly started to walk. The truth was, it was hard to tell where the land ended and where the lake began because the ice was also covered with snow, everywhere. My brain reprogrammed itself because it realized things were not as it thought. Even though it was my first time, this was perfectly safe. The next time I go out there, I will gladly go walking on the lake. I was extra vigilant at first, but now that I see that there was nothing to fear, I intend to do it again. Everything that is out of our comfort zones become an imminent danger, and is to be feared…until we do it.

Overcoming fear requires that I step out of my comfort zone to do new things.
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Basically, if I was to follow my brain every time I would never do anything new.

My encouragement to you before we begin yet another month is to DO IT! Do it in the midst of feeling afraid. Ask yourself these other rebuttal questions: Will this actually hurt me? And even if it does hurt, will I learn whatever my failure has to teach me?

“…Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Never Alone

Loneliness is the painful experience when you look around and there is no one that you know. For me, it was the moment when I was sitting in the airplane, after being escorted to my seat in a rush by the flight attendant. I was thirteen. That was the moment I realized what my dream costed me. 

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For a long time I wanted to travel on an airplane, to come to Canada. I dreamt about it for so long, but I didn’t know it would happen. And I couldn’t imagine how I would feel. That I would have to be peeled from the grips of my mother’s love, and pulled through the airport to be seated next to this woman with red lip stick with Jamaican accent. My eyes fixated on the tiny window across her lap, staring one last time, wishing for one last glimpse of my mother. The dark-skinned woman pulled down the window cap and I looked at her red mouth saying something but I could not hear her. My bawling drowned her out and my thoughts and my dreams turned to fear. 

Read More: The Land I Love

Fear that I may never see my mother and brothers again. Fear that this pain that I was experiencing for the first time would last forever. I was faced with feelings of loneliness for the first time in my life and I was scared. I was stuck between my first love; of country, of family, and of home, and my dreaming of living in another country. I was stuck in uncertainty. Up until that moment, my life had never been uncertain. 

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It was my mother who woke me up every morning and helped prepare me for school. It was my mother I had slept with at nights that comforted me and shielded me from the pain of the outside world. It was my mother who made sure I had lunch money, uniforms, and even a good school to attend. I knew everything wasn’t perfect, but surrounded by the protection of my mother’s love, I never had anything to fear. Not until now when I couldn’t see her. The part that scared me most was I didn’t know when I was going to see her again.  

The strange thing I learnt in that day was how feelings totally change. I wasn’t thinking of my mother as much. I was looking to a future with my father. As I walked side by side, I believed I was protected again from the world. I was safe. I was too young to know that this was my season of growth. Not mature enough yet to see that I was developing strength, resilience, and my own identity. I would find a new home here. 

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This pandemic has given me time to pause and reflect on my long journey through all the seasons of my own life. That’s why tonight, as I look out at the midnight sky in the comfort of my own home, the countless stars flickering makes me cry. All along, all these years, God had been walking in tandem with me, watching over me, carrying me through the most difficult parts of my life. Guiding me through my transformation, letting my roots grow deeper, mixing the colourful experiences with the ugly. All of it, for Him, for His glory, for me to know that I was never alone.

What is your favourite fruit?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Everyone has a favourite fruit. Mine is Mango. Naturally, I am a girl of the Caribbean and the tropical fruits are always my favourite. While on a vacation in Jamaica I purchased a bag of the juiciest East Indian Mangos from a roadside vendor. They were all yellow, very ripe and big! I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into one of them. When I returned to the Airbnb I was staying, I sunk my teeth into the mango and felt the juice running down my fingers. The taste was heavenly. It wasn’t until the next day when I was eating my third that I saw holes in the Mango, and the worms also having a feast of their own. I was horrified, sick even! I got rid of the half eaten mango, and checked out the rest of the uneaten ones. I saw holes in all them. I was too frightened to try another, so I also got rid of the entire bag, and started worrying, how much worms did I devour? I had a bad fruit and it was disgusting.

what is your favourite fruit?
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Fruits of the Spirit

On a spiritual note, when fruits are good they do not have worms. The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These good fruits don’t come naturally no matter how much of a “good person” you think you are. No, these fruits are ONLY produced when they are connected to the vine. And not just any vine, the true vine. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful (John 15: 1-2).

As Christians, we are expected to bear good fruits, both in season and out of season. I never understood that bible verse until now. Mangos don’t grow year round, not even in Jamaica. When it’s mango season, the fruit is in abundance everywhere, and they are juicy and delicious. Not like the mangos you get year round at the Canadian grocery stores. On the contrary, the spiritual fruits bear all year, in every terrain and temperature of our lives. In other words, the fruits don’t bear just when lives’ challenges/difficulties are at their minimum.

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The Fig Tree

Do you remember when Jesus was walking with his disciples and he tried to look for a fig to eat because he was hungry? The fig tree was in the right season and still it did not have one fruit on it. Jesus took a drastic approach to the fact that the tree was barren. He cursed it. And the next day the tree shrivelled (Mark 11:12–20). This is a spiritual analogy to all of us. There are times, we are so focussed on going to church, reading our bible, memorizing and quoting scriptures, but when the time comes for someone to eat from us, we have nothing to offer. That is, we can’t show love, we are not gentle, we are not kind. And so , the ones who came expecting something from us only receive the bitter fruit or worse, are eating “worms”.

The Apostle Paul is telling us what fruits we ought to be bearing, if these fruits are not visible we should check to see how well we are in fact connected to the true vine. The fruits of the spirit doesn’t come from our flesh it is internally connected to the Holy Spirit.

My Favourite Fruit is Love

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Finally, Paul says the fruits of the spirit doesn’t have a law. While there is a law against the acts of the flesh, when it comes to the fruits of the spirit, there needs to be no law. In other words, we can show as much love to our neighbours and we need not worry that there is a consequence. We can exhibit a 1000 acts of kindness each day, and no one will ever come to enforce a limit. So, while we have to be fearful when we are busy committing acts of the flesh, we do not need to worry about containing ourselves (or limiting ourselves) when we are sharing the fruits of the spirit with others.

Therefore, seek to be connected to the true vine and it will be evident when others are noticing how much good fruits you are bearing. People will come to you to eat of your fruits because your fruits will bear all year, both in season and out of season, in endless supply. Remember John 15:4, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

When it rains…it pours in Jamaica

Photo by GLYSON Thomas from Pexels

“What is going on?” I wondered while finding shelter and looking up at the Sangicor bank, thinking someone must be out of their minds. “Were they watering flowers up there?” Donald quickly stepped into the building next door, the IBM building where he works, and I followed. I was trying not to get wet by the person who was emptying buckets of water from the tower. As I look out the glass door, I saw that umbrellas were going up, and while others run for shelter. In fact, the big drops of water were actually coming from the sky and it was sending people scattering.

I watched as the wind blew the palm trees in an attempt to uproot them. “From no rain to lots of rain, lovely weather” a woman walking into the elevator said aloud. The puddles were now forming. Then, it seemed, someone turned off the faucet. The rain slowed down, and so did the pace of walking. The puddles are the only remnants that the rain was falling. Clouds parted and the sun was out again, at its zenith.

I leave the building to get lunch at the Juici beef restaurant. When it was my turn, I ordered a patty with coco bread and a soda. I take a seat alone by the window. The rain was pouring again. There is no floodwater drain so the water flows on to the sidewalk. I would not be able to cross the street without getting my feet wet. Traffic was building up. Police sirens ring but there is no space to get the vehicle through. Here in the restaurant, the calmness and the slowness of conversations is the complete opposite of the mayhem outside.

“She almost fell because she is barefooted” A woman behind me commented. I look outside the window to see a woman holding her flip flops in her hand while trying to keep her balance. The rain still falling with the same velocity as before and the water build-up on the sidewalk is increasing. The Jamaican flag across the street hangs limp  on its pole now. Another woman slips and a security officer catches her. More umbrellas come out. A customer and I share a joke as we watch a man trying to measure the distance of the flowing water between him and the sidewalk. He took a leap but missed the sidewalk. His feet now soaked in spite his efforts. Others chose to walk directly into the water. Now, more people are carrying their shoes and slippers in hand while walking barefooted on the sidewalk. The rain slows and I watch the water on the sidewalk disappear.

“Excuse me” a restaurant worker said as she mops the floors. I lift my feet for her to mop underneath, and watch her return the table to its original position. I see the water on the sidewalk dries, almost instantaneously. The sun comes up as bright as before and the dark clouds pass. Another server knocks on my table. Instinctively I lift my belongings so she could wipe the table. I look out the window and see the wind causing the Jamaican flag to sway proudly, and I take this opportunity to walk out into the Jamaican sunshine.

Boston Beach, Portland

By: Rochelle Knight | Adventures from Elle https://adventuresfromelle.com/2019/06/15/boston-beach/

I’m convinced that Portland has Jamaica’s best beaches! Boston Beach was a long drive from Kingston but that was quickly forgotten by time I arrived. Although it was my first time visiting this beach, I was always aware it existed because just next to it is the Boston Jerk Centre, home to Jamaica’s most famous jerk chicken and pork, a place of which I’ve always heard but never visited.

Boston Jerk Centre is actually a cluster of several rustic stalls offering taste-and-buy meats, meaning you get a sample of the jerk you’re purchasing before paying and if you change your mind and no longer want theirs, no worries. While I’m not 100% convinced that their chicken is the best I’ve ever had, it was certainly fantastic. The pork though? Phew, child! It definitely wins the title of Jamaica’s best jerked pork. Please visit their stalls and take your pick. I wish I remembered the names of the ones I bought from. Sides include festivals, breadfruit, roasted yam, sweet potato and plantains. If you come across a Rasta man trying to sell you cane juice too, bargain with him for a fair price and take a bottle with some cups of ice chips. It was absolutely refreshing and the perfect accompaniment to a sultry Jamaican afternoon. You can learn more about Jamaica’s unique eats here. Anyway, I’m here to talk about the beach so let’s dive into that.

From Kingston, there are two ways to approach Boston Beach. One is via the Junction main road which links rural St. Andrew and St. Mary, and serves as the gateway to Portland. The other goes through Bull Bay, another rural end of St. Andrew, then through St. Thomas and eventually Portland. I took the latter route this trip despite Google Maps listing it as 10 minutes longer, simply because I planned to stop at Reach Falls afterwards. In fact, Reach Falls was the main reason for this trip but I decided to make the extra half hour drive to experience what is reputed as Jamaica’s best jerk. Thus, I hadn’t even researched Boston Beach in the least, except consulting Google Maps to find out how long the drive to the jerk centre was from Reach Falls.

My heart was absolutely full. The drive is long but oh-so-beautiful and filled with lush countryside, cool mountain air, quaint churches and houses, jaw-dropping coastal views and fresh sea breezes. The road surface fluctuates between excellent and freshly paved to pothole-riddled so drive carefully. In fact, the communities through which you’ll drive are farming villages so don’t be too alarmed if you see cows or goats leisurely crossing the roads. Unfamiliar with livestock on main roads, I stopped in the hopes that these cows would get the message but they continued to saunter across unbothered until I made it clear I needed to pass. That’s when they stopped in their tracks, much like a pedestrian who thought better of jaywalking into the path of oncoming traffic. It was actually hilarious and brought back memories of my Gut River trip last year where the several hundred goats we passed were not accustomed to vehicles using the road at all.

Boston is open every day of the week from 9am till 5pm, and admission is JM$200 per adult. They have restrooms, changing rooms, showers, a restaurant and bar, lifeguards and surfing is available. In fact, Boston Beach is one of Jamaica’s best surfing spots and you’re likely to see a few surfers in action like I did. You’re allowed to bring and eat outside food on the beach too, huge plus. Thus, I bought food from the jerk centre which is a minute’s drive away then ate it at the beach instead of buying from their restaurant. Covered seating is available also.

Re surfing: Boards can be rented and instructors are available at a price (didn’t check the cost though, sorry).

The Beach

Truly, I’ve not been this pleasantly surprised by a place in a long time. Mind you, I’m always happy to visit the places I do but I tend to at least have seen them before on social media or a website, so I always know what to expect before I see the place for myself. Boston? I hadn’t the slightest clue and in fact, I was wondering if it would be worth spending money on a beach I didn’t plan to spend long at (err.. only wanted to have lunch at). It ended up becoming the best $200 I’ve spent in a few months!

The waves were perfect! Not gentle but not too rough, not cold but not too warm, crystal clear, not too salty, literally perfect. This is the most refreshed I can recall ever feeling by seawater in my life. The temperature was even too, not fluctuating like at Frenchman’s Cove where one step it’s warm and the next you’re shivering due to the river which ends its course there. In fact, a Jamaican author, blogger and friend of mine, Alexis Chateau, mistook a throwback post I made on Instagram at Frenchman’s Cove last month for this beach and I can see why. Boston Beach looks identical (I know! uncanny), albeit wider, minus the river and much, much cheaper.

As a nice perk, there’s a very Instagrammable swing and some adorable puppies call this beach home. This was also the first time I’ve ever seen surfing in real life. You could tell the lone surfer was having the time of his life being centre of attention, but it looked so exciting. With a life-jacket on, maybe someone could’ve convinced me to try.

Wrap Up

Spontaneous is good! It goes against my meticulous nature but these are the moments you cherish just as much as the moments where everything went according to plan. I left a little sliver of my heart at this beach which I rate full stars, ☆☆☆☆☆. Next time I visit though, I must stay overnight. The drive from Kingston while running on E post-exams was exhausting and I really had to leave too quickly. I imagine sunset from this beach would’ve been wonderful.

If you enjoyed reading about this beach, you’ll also enjoy:

If you are a woman travelling to Jamaica solo this is a must read.

by Marylin of GirlfriendTours

Source: If you are a woman travelling to Jamaica solo this is a must read.

Forget what your friends say, what you have read, or what you have heard, pack your bags and experience Jamaica. Ever since that movie (you know the one I mean), came out in the 1990’s, single female travel to Jamaica has come under scrutiny. Far from increasing and encouraging it, this movie well may discourage the shy shrinking violet of the “fairer sex”. Throw away the stigma and pack your bags for one of the most “lady-friendly” spots on our planet.

My friend, Angelia Hairston and I (Marilyn Williams), would like to introduce you to the beautiful Island of Jamaica, WI. Extensive research of the Caribbean Island finds that all roads lead back to Jamaica. Jamaica will offer you more for the money, more excitement, more geographical vistas, more wonderful people, more diverse shopping experiences, and more reasons to return.

My first trip to Jamaica was made with a rather quiet and withdrawn female traveling companion. Jamaica did not work her magic on my friend as she did on me. Two months later I was frantically trying to find someone to return with me. Having no takers, I had to go solo. This would only be the second trip I had taken alone in my life, and not to mention I was going international.

To travel to Jamaica you will need a valid passport, or an original copy of your birth certificate. If you opt for the birth certificate, and you are married or divorced (therefore your name is different than that on the birth certificate), then it is best to carry along a copy of your marriage license/divorce decree. I have never been asked for these documents personally, but another female traveler on the board mentioned a problem in this area.

My rule of thumb for finances in Jamaica is to carry $100.00 for everyday I plan to be on the island. Please don’t panic…. you will by no means spend that per day, but I like to have that cushion just in case. Traveler’s checks will work for you fine in Jamaica and are probably advisable, but I don’t like them personally. I have two friends who travel solo and they bring their ATM cards and very little cash. There are ATM machines in all of your major cities, so they go get cash in little dribbles as needed.

Most hotels and resorts in Jamaica offer in-room safes for a fee. These may give you some peace of mind, but guard your safe key carefully. A lady traveler, who attended Bashment in Negril, was robbed by a gentleman she invited to her room for the evening. I must hasten to mention that he was a fellow tourist and NOT a Jamaican.

This is probably as good a place as any for me to mention that you still must remember everything your mother taught you and apply it in Jamaica as you would at home. All cautions are still on here even though you are on “vacation.”

You will land in bustling Montego Bay and be whisked away to seven miles of perfectly beautiful beach and exciting non-stop nightlife. But Negril is not the only destination in Jamaica. The entire Island is traveler friendly; therefore it is “lady friendly.”

The Myths…

  1. All the men aren’t Romeos intent on separating you from your hard earned money. Caution errs on the side of reason when it comes to courtship on ANY vacation. Can you really find your “soul mate” in 5 days???? When leaving your hotel or resort with a friend for any reason let someone at the hotel know whom you are going out with. Try to insure that your bellman or front desk sees your “date” escort you from the property. I know you are a big girl, but you are out of your comfort zone.
  2. Jamaica is NOT full of crime. Very little if any crime against tourist is reported in a given year. The data probably is not nearly as bad as your hometown. Use all the cautions you use at home regarding your person/valuables. Don’t get hypnotized by the cool breeze and beautiful ocean and leave your purse, passport, or $400.00 camera lying around unattended.
  3. Leave your expensive jewelry at home. Why take a chance, and no one there is impressed with things like that. They will be more impressed with your smile and goodwill.
  4. Pack light. No sequined dresses required. Comfortable casual clothes and shoes, wraps and swimsuits, and one nice “club” outfit should get you through your Jamaican adventure.
  5. Make some friends, Jamaican friends, and get out and experience the country. You can get some great references from people on Jamaicans.com or from the Jamaica Visitor’s Bureau.
  6. Hire drivers, you don’t want to try to drive in Jamaica, especially not on your first trip.
  7. Check with your fellow board members for lodging and tour recommendations.
  8. Purchase one of the little waterproof money carriers that you can wear around our neck when swimming/diving etc. I bought mine at a dive shop and it comes in very handy for all the water situations you will find in Jamaica.
  9. Check with fellow board members for the name and number of good local drivers. If you use the ones lined up at the door of your hotel/resort they are likely to overcharge you as they owe a kickback to the hotel.
  10. Ask your fellow boardites for tips on excursions in your destination area. They can help you secure transportation and give you and idea of approximate cost. Plan as many of these before your trip as possible it will make for a more relaxing trip.
  11. Remember to be courteous and respectful in Jamaica. By in large, the treatment you give is the treatment you will receive.
  12. Tipping in Jamaica is 10-15%. Tip where deserved and follow your conscious. Unfortunately, All-inclusive resorts do not allow tipping, and if the employee is caught accepting your tip their job could be in jeopardy. Use caution.

Relax…and let Jamaica enfold you in her loving embrace and suck all of that female stress right out of your body. Nowhere else on earth can do it like Jamaica.

If Angie and I can be of any assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us at www.girlfriendtours.com, or e-mail us at girlfriendtours@aol.com.

Finding Stillness In Jamaica

It’s easy to become fixated with making schedules, but it’s much easier to stay calm and let everything fall into place. When I am still, the things my heart truly desires, come right to me. I hear God’s voice whispering…this is the way. 

This morning I woke up early anticipating my first radio interview. I was going to tell my story to others who live in the Diaspora and are interested in visiting or living in Jamaica, but might have reservations. I stood in front of the desk where my laptop and phone were sitting; near the window, overlooking the busy street of Hope Road. I could easily see above the other low rise buildings from the fourth floor, and if I squinted; far, far in the distance, there was Devon House.

Living in Jamaica, independently, was the mission for this trip. It had already been a week. So far, I had taken the taxis on my own, gone grocery shopping, and visited a number of restaurants with friends. Neither did I plan to have a radio interview this morning, nor did I anticipate staying with a colleague from the Business school. All of it just sort of happened. Happening. After the interview, I had my heart set on going to the beach since it was a Sunday, but the rain was coming down, like shards of glass.

With a few minutes of stillness, I found my equilibrium. This trip is about going with the flow, not setting down definitive plans like I often do. With the rain slowing, I decided, No, not the beach. To Hope Gardens instead. On my own. My colleague dropped me at the gates, despite my insistence that I take the local taxi. I walked down the long path leading to the second entrance to the gardens, and a very lanky fellow staggered in front of me, then slowed his pace. “Are you waiting for me to catch up?” I asked as an opener to a conversation. He laughed, and turned to look down. “Are you going to the garden too?” He wasn’t. He was going to another event occurring at the same venue. We now walked side by side, through the gates, and since neither one of us wished to separate, we took the scenic route around the garden…talking about our lives. Where I was from…What was I doing here… Where I worked.. What my plans are for the next two weeks of my trip…until we found his event, and I saw the entrance to the Zoo. It’s funny how things happen. Always, when you don’t plan on it. These are the situations I tend to find myself in, which makes me feel that I am never truly alone. There is always someone who come along my path.

The Zoo was just as I last recall three years ago. The same paradise with bright colours bursting out at me. My eyes soaked up the beauty.pdwm.php

It’s how I feel about Jamaica. Even though I arrived alone, I’m not. I’m surrounded by so many friends to help me enjoy my home. On the first day, I thought I was going to starve. It was my fault. I should have asked George to stop for food, on the way to the airbnb where I was staying. When I arrived and settled in, I thought I would have time to walk outside on my own. I forgot that it was dark by 6pm. There was no way I was going to leave this house, to go out there alone, by myself, to wander…No way. I decided I wouldn’t die from hunger. Thankfully, it wasn’t the case that I would go without food overnight. An honoured friend came to my rescue, and took me out to the jerk chicken street vendor, further down on Hope Road. It was later in the week I realized that the vendor was only a five minute taxi drive away. That’s what I ate for dinner, with coconut water.

King's House edit1Before the sun came out the following day, I was wide awake..whether from hunger, or the fear of it. I was determined to get to know my surroundings. By 6:30, I went out for a walk. I turned on Musgrave Road, then walked across Hope Road. It always scares me to cross the streets in Jamaica. It reminded me of when I was ten years old, and needed someone to hold my hand. I wish someone could still hold my hand as old as I am. The streets are just so damn intimidating. I was glad I was still alive on the other side of the street, where less cars were travelling. I saw the outskirts of the Kings House…where I believe the Prime Minister has his meetings. On my way back home, I decided to call George to take me out to get breakfast, and help me run my errands. It would make my life easier, as costly as it would be.

Sovereign Mall was not open at 9am in the morning, so I requested to go to the University instead. It was a good idea, because I reconnected with the staff, and with friends, plus there was a Digicel store and a bank side by side. It was my first day of independence, and even if I wasn’t certain about each step of the way, I intended to figure it out. Things went smoothly as they often do. The best part was when I visited the grocery store after my trip to the University.  There, I purchased all that I would need for a week, and by 5pm, George took me home, in time for me to start getting dressed for dinner. Truly, it wasn’t a bad first day. My check list of errands were completed: I ate breakfast at Juici Beef, I now had Jamaican currency, a Phone with credit, groceries in my room, and now I was going out with friends for dinner. It was an ordinary day in Jamaica, just the way I wanted it.

 

Jamaica: Overcoming All Odds In The 18th Century

There has never been a dull moment in Jamaica’s history. The amount of transitions the country has undergone over the centuries can be drawn as a series of fluctuations, which inadvertently, creates economic instability. As a World-player, Jamaica’s competitive advantage is that, it truly knows how to thrive, especially when the possibilities are grim. Thus, Investors will simply have to be comfortable with extreme volatility, to do business with Jamaica.

Life in Jamaica had started long before the 18th Century, but let’s begin there. By then, the British took over Jamaica, from the Spanish who had been occupying the island since the late 17th century. Subsequently, the British brought over hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans from Africa to work on the Sugar Plantations. For every plantation, there was a median of approximately 150 Africans, all owned by wealthy Englishmen.Jamaica

When the Spanish left, there were remnants of enslaved Africans who fled to the mountainous interiors of Jamaica. They were known as the Maroons, a term meaning a slave who escaped. So, while there were new enslaved Africans brought over to work on the Sugar plantations, there were these Maroons that were living independently in the same country.

The Maroons were thriving under their own organized structure. Settlements were created. There were intermarriages with native people of Jamaica, and their livelihood came  from subsistence farming and raiding the plantations, looking for food no doubt. The First Maroon War took a toll on the British troops; and as such in 1739, an agreement, between the British and the Maroons, was written. The terms included: (1) The Maroons would remain in their 5 towns (Accompong, Trelawny Town, Moore Town, Scott’s Pass, and Nanny Town),  (2) They had to live under their own ruler and a British Supervisor. (3) They could not harbour runaway slaves, but to catch them instead. (4)  They served to protect the Island from invaders. The leader of one of the settlements, Cudjoe, “felt that the only hope for the future was honorable peace with the enemy, which was just what the British were thinking.”

Jamaica Given the fact that the wealthy Englishmen were living in England, they hired buccaneers or pirate to control the plantations. Obviously, this arrangement did not go so well. It’s similar to having criminals head an organization. Who does that?! Naturally, the results weren’t pretty. In 1760, the Tacky revolt broke out. These uprisings are generally the result of working under difficult conditions, and the enslaved workers were not being treated well. One of the slave overseer on the St. Mary Plantation, Tacky, most-likely a mixed race individual, led a group of enslaved Africans in taking over the Frontier and Trinity plantations while killing their enslavers. This uprising ended poorly because approximately 70 to 80 mounted militia came along with Maroons (bounded by treaty) to suppress the rebellion. Tacky was shot, and his head cut off as deterrence to any who dared the same. The rest of Tacky’s men committed suicide, a better solution than to go back to slavery.

Jamaica

While the First Maroon War resulted in Cudjoe’s Treaty of 1739, the Second Maroon War started because there was a breach of the said treaty. Two Maroons were flogged by a Black Overseer because they stole two pigs. When the grievance was taken to the British by six maroons, they found themselves held prisoners. This led to a five month guerrilla warfare. Both sides were strong; the British outnumbered the Maroons 10-1, but the Maroons knew the mountains and forests well, and used the terrain to their advantage. In the end, the Maroons surrendered because of the stalemate. The British told them they had three days to “beg for apology”. Beg? These brave heroes were going to beg? Well, the Maroons surrendered in there own way, and not my the rules set out by the British. It was not until two months passed, mid-March, before they decided to thrown in the white cloth. Why did they? I would like to think it was because of so many years of fighting, and there leader was now old and not as brave as he one were. When they did, the British chose to remove them from the island immediately because of the risk of more rebellions. The first ship was sailing to Nova, Scotia, Canada, and history had it, the Trelawny Maroons were sent to live there for approximately four years before they were returned to Africa. If not, there would certainly be more rebellions in Jamaica.

RelatedPort Royal

The take-away in this time period is that the Maroons (fellow Jamaicans) demonstrated continuous perseverance, courage, and unity to stand up to the British. Additionally, the uprisings from the enslaved Africans are actually notable victories; and demonstrates the immense  desire to survive, the willingness to risk it all (including life), for the sake of freedom. Jamaica’s history speaks volume about the gene that is still running in every Jamaican’s vein, down to the very soil that can tell the story of the countless men and women it has covered. Obstacles are not obstacles, only another challenge to demonstrate the vivacity of the people. It is why the businesses and the people that come from this country thrive. If you can be successful in that small island, you can be successful anywhere in the world.

The best of both worlds

Shauna Cassell's Journey

I decided to stop at Devon House this past Friday at mid-day,  as I was about to walk by it to take a taxi back to campus. I was travelling with my course text-book and thought, how different it would be to sit and read in a garden. I picked a solitary spot where unoccupied benches were gathered, then took a moment to gaze around. Perfectly manicured trees and grass everywhere just slowed my heartbeat to match the calm rhythm of nature around me. I began to contemplate about how nice it would be to have my very own future backyard look this way.

It’s not easy taking this MBA program, but living on a tropical island balances everything.

The best of both worldsI needed a change in my life and I have found it here in Jamaica. When days are stressful, a look at the breathtaking landscape and the feeling of the blazing sun alone, puts things into…

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