Commentary Jamaica Magazine

What Jamaicans over Yard don’t know about dis Jamaican?

Some Jamaicans over yard may feel like Jamaicans in the United State is a sell out, foreigner, betray their country, no longer a yardie, forgot about their country and believe

We have a lot of dunzie (money). But what some Jamaicans over yard don’t know about the few Jamaicans like myself is that we have undergone, faced many battle, still facing, the plight, struggle of living in America, because of lack of funds and poverty. I am not saying there aren’t any rich, uppity yardie here in the states; I know there are many that I may never meet. But I am saying there are few Jamaicans like myself that truly want to make a difference but lack the resources to do.

I always wanted to give back to my homeland, to the poor and needy, especially to Trench Town, an area where no one rarely speak about, dare to go, discuss and touch because of its violence and political influence. Although I wasn’t born in Trench Town I heard many things about the area that weren’t positive. But it was Bob Marley lyrics “Trench Town Rock…I’ll never turn my back…never let the children cry,” that was so influential in my thinking and motivating which allow me to feel deeper on helping the youths and elderly in Trench Town. I thought about the youths, what they must be going through and feeling on a day to day basis. I wanted to make a difference, a great impact on their lives, give back and prove many wrong who view Trench Town as hopeless, a dangerous place and doom. I wanted to show many a yard and abroad, here in America, that Trench Town can turn around, if the people of Trench Town feel ‘trust and sincerity’ is in the mist, I am sure less violence would occur. But what I wanted, dream of never seem to come to light or through.

My children and I became a statistic, homeless, in the United States of America. My sense of pride, dignity was strip, taken away and I felt low, ashamed and embarrass as a woman, parent and a Jamaican. I sat amongst many homeless people I never dreamt I would be among and I ached within. While I sat, scoping my surroundings, observing the young, middle age, and elderly I saw and felt the true meaning of life. I observe women, men and children crying for hunger, facial _expression of shame, anger, hurt, confusion, hopelessness and humiliation. I looked around the shelter for some form of humanly connection or the feeling of “I am here for you, with you, we will make it and want to live. But I saw distant, frustration and exhaustion being call as a number instead as one given title, name. I could not smile nor cry. I saw my daughters looking towards me for hope and my young son feeling confuse of his surroundings, staring at me with hungry eyes as he clutch my arms. I wanted to give up but they needed me. I refuse to see them suffer. I decided to empower myself by praying daily. I began to walk many days to find employment and a home. I was turned away many times for jobs, a place to live until I spoke out about my condition by writing letters to the Mayor for assistance. I was able to get employment and a home. I could not think about yard, the dreams I had and what people thought of me. I only thought about survival and my children getting a safe place to rest. It was not humans who gave me hope but the Creator. Although I am no longer in the shelter system, I am still face with ‘storms’ that keep me bending on my knees daily. My dreams, goals still has not shift for my people in Jamaica who are faced with health issues, domestic violence and unemployment. My dreams have become broader where I am no longer focus on Jamaica only but globally. I may not have the funds to give back but I have spiritual wisdom, my testimony to share to a nation that is hungry to hear the journey, progress and comeback I have made. I am no longer holding pity-party with myself, do not see my experience anymore as negatively, a downfall as others express indirectly and directly to me. I see my journey as strength, a success story and I am proud of myself to conquer the impossible that many saw my children and I as hopeless. I owe it all to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What have I learned from this spiritual journey? I learned respect, obedience and gratitude. I am learning also to be tolerant of others. I now have the spirit of gratitude and I won’t forget the deed our heavenly father has done in my life. So what some Jamaicans don’t know about dis Jamaican is that I hold you dear, near, love, want to assist and never forgot about you back a yard!

About the author

MaxineFoster