If a place of extreme beauty, delight, supreme happiness and bliss is the meaning of the word ‘paradise’ then without question, I’m a comfortable resident in such haven. If there is any doubt as to where my dwelling place is then let me hasten to say it’s my island home…the land of wood and water, Jamaica, land we love – land of beauty.Not without it’s fair share of bad news, poor economic performance and deep seated injustices, punctuated by allegations of corruption and misappropriations, this sod which sits 90 miles North of Cuba yet so far away in political views, is a solid beauty. In my mind ‘nuh weh nuh betta dan yaad’. For me its the little things that warm my heart. Some years ago I wrote these thoughts in a book I was reading, there are just as poignant now as they were then.
“As I lay on my back today imbibing the Word, I turned my attention to the rattling sound on my window pane. As I peered through the somewhat hazy see through material, I see the beautiful creation in the form of a bird. In the backdrop is the ubiquitous flower of the West Indies, a pink hibiscus of a hybrid nature. I thought to myself, God is great and all I could utter quietly was thank you Lord”.
Having considered considered myself as a ‘globe-trotter’ I believe I am qualified to say Jamaica is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. The country has stolen my heart because of its beauty both its physical attributes as well as the inner beauty of its inhabitants.
We hear the media reports over and again about the level of crime and violence which is the country’s reality. What is questionable however is the magnitude with which these ‘realities’ exist. These criminal activities are perpetuated by less than .01% of the entire population which stands at about 2.8 million. Nonetheless, it is my desire to see total eradication of criminal activities.
Juxtaposed this existence with the fact that being only .004% of the global population Jamaica’s impact on the world greatly belie this statistical fact. With very limited resources, the land of ‘wood and water’ and now track and field sensation has the reputation of being the sprint capital of the world with the likes of the legendary Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pyrce, Elaine Thompson, and Veronica Campbell Brown.
If someone were to ask me, what I love most about Jamaica my first response would be the resilience of its people. One can only reminisce on Hurricane Gilbert on September 12, 1988. Only 11 years old at the time, the memories still linger as if it happened only yesterday.
This hurricane produced over 72 inches of rain in the mountainous areas of the island, causing severe flash floods. The land of wood and water could not entertain tourists in true Jamaican hospitality for a while, reducing the inflow of the well sought-after foreign currency.
One of the most intense hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic basin, it claimed approximately 45 lives in Jamaica and several others in Mexico, Haiti, Guatemala, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, the United States, Costa Rica and Nicaragua totaling about 318 deaths.
Over time though I have witnessed our people bounce back in their true Jamaican resilient nature giving hope to a situation which could otherwise be quite hopeless. Every one was united in the rebuilding process; the lines between rich and poor; uptown and downtown and lower and upper class appeared non-existent as no one was spared from the terrible effects of this disaster.
Having experienced such total devastation, yet with such almost supernatural ability to rebuild and restructure was nothing short of amazing.
I love Jamaica!
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