Culture

Three Strange Jamaican Fears

Three Strange Jamaican Fears
Written by Delano George Bell

What Really Scares Jamaicans?  Are the stereotypes of Jamaicans being afraid of dogs and the rain true? There are many things that scare Jamaicans, but ever these three strange fears are probably at the top of the list.

Duppies (Jamaican name for Ghosts)
Educated & non-educated Jamaicans alike go to great lengths to protect their surroundings from duppies. I just never understood why some people sprinkle the blood of a white chicken in the corners of the new room to protect their home from “duppies”. Some are even strong armed into doing this as they fear relatives and/friend will not visit there homes. There are stories of duppies causing people to get palsy, disfigurement, and suffocating. Duppy boxing (for you know in Jamaica box means a slap in the face) people is a regular thing and often used as an excuse for calling in sick to work or explaining marks on one’s face.

Rain
To normal people all over the world rain represents water from the sky. It represents life. But for my people it is like acid falling from the sky. Observe a Jamaican during a rainstorm or sprinkle and you will truly see where Jamaica got the name “the sprint factory”. I have seen people hurdle over cars and running faster than light to get to a dry area. If you are holding and event pray it does not rain because “my people” will not show up even if the event is indoors. “A who yuh tink yuh is, de Queen”?

Yes, my people will look at you like you’re crazy if you expect them to leave their house and chance getting even one drop of rain on them to attend your function.

The most ironic thing about the fear of the rain is “my people’s” fascination with bathing. Mi neva noh a people who luv bathe suh. No wonder there is a water shortage on an island that is surrounded by water and has sufficient rainfall almost every year. “Wi jus luv bathe”. We bathe at least 2 times a day if you are an adult and 3 times if you are a child. Some places in Europe are known to not rent their apartments to “my people” because we cost them too much in utilities. Rumor has it England has even deported some of “my people” after putting water restrictions in Brixton. Florida, which has a drought 2 years ago, can probably attribute this to having the 2nd highest Jamaican population outside of Jamaica. Our Jamaican motto is “cleanliness is Godliness” and we live it daily even if it is a river bath.

Dogs
You come up on a sign at the front of a yard. “BEWARD OF VERY BAD DOG”. You go in the yard and all you see is a scrawny mongrel barking at the top of its lungs. Be scared…Be very scared…If you are my people. Okay I know this will sound like a stereotype but every Jamaican I know fears dogs that are not their own.

“Miss B jus hole yuh bad dawg, mi nah go chobble yuh”

A little dog minding his own business can stop a hardened Jamaican criminal in his tracks. Yes my people fear dogs like a mouse fears a cat. Funny thing is that there are dogs everywhere in Jamaica.

About the author

Delano George Bell