I have stories abundant about my very beautiful relationship with the island of and the people of Jamaica. I dearly love Jamaica and her culture and each time I leave I long to return! The first time I went I stayed on a resort and met a man by the name of Devon who introduced me to the land and its people and ways of life. You see, Devon is a native who worked on the resort as a grounds man. He invited my husband and myself on a shopping excursion to the Ocho Rios market (which is an amazing experience in itself, but we’ll get to that later)
I didn’t know how much the decision to go that day would change my life! We rode in a minivan crammed with about 12 Jamaicans and us. It was crowded, but we didn’t mind (and I don’t think they did either.) We rode from Runaway Bay to the Ocho Rios market which was very crowded on this day (as it is on many days). People trying to sell the items they have to earn a living. And what beautiful items they are, indeed! They have wood carvings of Bob Marley, and tapestries that bear his face. Sculptures made of bamboo and beautiful paintings rich in culture and colour! You can also have your hair braided and if it is of any length, you will be approached. I did just that and had a wonderful time chatting with a woman and her mother for nearly three hours that day! And while I was having my hair done, my husband and Devon also had a great time talking and learning about one another, as well. We retuned to our room and relished in those great moments of the day for the rest of the evening. At the time it was hard to process, but as the night unfolded, we realized what an amazing day we had had. And…we had experienced it together. Something we feel blessed for!
We have known Devon for three years now and have returned to Jamaica five more times since that day. We have found friends that we love and care about. We have an extended family with Devon, his wife Judith and their four children. We have made many friends in St. Ann’s Bay that he has introduced us to for which we are grateful for as well!
This year I am proud to be organizing a toy drive for the children of St. Ann’s Bay so that they will have a gift to open this holiday season! I am very excited about this and my collection is growing with the help of many good friends here in America. It is my dream to be able to be a part of this community for as long as I am living and breathing! I highly recommend, if you are traveling there, to mingle with the people, get to know the culture. They’re laid back approach to life is warm and inviting and something needed in our American culture of “go go go”! I love you, Jamaica!