I have travelled many places over the world. Everywhere I go, just the mere mention that I’m Jamaican creates a reaction. In most instances it is pleasant except of course the times I’m passing through Immigrations then I become the target of territorial targeting and the level of interrogation heightens in many cases.Suffice it to say, we are either
loved or revered the world over for one reason or another.
I recall being in an airport in Berlin as part of a European Study Tour contingent arranged by Caribbean Export Agency (CEDA). My fellow Creative Industries colleagues and I were waiting in to move on to Paris. Of course the mix contained Musicians, Videographers, Animators, Fashion Designers, etc from all most of the member states of CARICOM.
As we actively awaited to board our flights, some persons began to engage our group as we stood out as persons on a ‘mission’ I guess. There was a young man from Rome who knew absolutely no English. He borrowed a guitar from my friend from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and began to strum the beat of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”. I began signing along as if forgetting that I was there in the capacity as a Fashion Designer and not as an Artiste.
My amazement and amusement grew when we ended the song; I looked around to the crowd that was gathered in the airport – so many persons had either stopped what they were doing to fix their gaze completely on us or had joined in that soul stirring moment. If a picture is worth a thousand words then the one we captured bellowed words too numerous to mention.
Having said all this, I know many Jamaicans are not appreciative of the wealth of resource they have at their disposal. In fact it appears at times that it only when foreigners validate us then we even consider that what we are blessed with is valued. Jamaica has a treasure chest of talent, natural and human resources that we are yet to take full advantage of. How can we make a paradigm shift, change our mind set and think about solutions for economic growth? I believe this will happen when we recognize that we already have all that is required for our wealth. Let’s change our mind-set. Let’s encourage each other to make a better life for those who will come behind us.