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 Bitter and Sweet

Now that I’ve been here for close to two months, Jamaica is slowly revealing its flaws to me. It wasn’t long that I accepted that some days I’ll have to bathe with cold water; but I did not anticipate having to bathe from a basin. This was not in the travel books. I not only had to bathe from the container of water, I also cooked and washed dishes from the kettle. Who knew that one could use so little water to do so much?

Jamaica, I felt was a little insensitive to me this week. I had to accept the realization that Jamaica does things differently; not like what I was used to. I have been chasing the digicel representative (the phone company here) who is never at their workstation when I visit. It’s either close in the middle of the day or they are out to lunch. I walk away puffing everytime. Finally, early this week I caught them and for the most part received great customer service; they did not have sim cards in stock, but promised some would arrive by the end of the day. Since other pressing matters came up, I postponed my return until the following day; which left me playing cat and mouse again. The next day, I reiterated my concerns to a another rep. She can only do pay-as-you-go, and not a monthly plan at this location. I rested my elbows on the counter and rubbed my fingers on my forehead. I pulled out my new NCB debit card, deciding that I would take the pay-as-you-go plan.

“We don’t take cards” she said.

At that point, invisible steam was blowing out of my ears.

“I’m leaving now” I said. And I stormed out. I walked towards a bench overlooking green grass and open space underneath a tree; and sat down. It was a minor problem, but overwhelming because Jamaica could not grant me my very small request- usage of my own phone. The Jamaican sun dried up my tears and I accepted that not all my requests will be granted and although I had been patient for the past month, more of it is required.

In spite the minor unkindness I felt this week, Jamaica surprised me over the weekend. I had a chance to walk along the beach in moonlight; and sat at my favorite ice cream garden, Devon House. I was hoping for more of these romantic events, but I guess I can’t always get everything I want. Still, I love you Jamaica.