Monday, October 02, 2006
Why I Am Proud to be a Jamaican (part 1)
I have been sitting here thinking about my own cultural awareness. Just what does it mean to be a Jamaican living in the United States. I have been here for many years, but it wasn't until lately within the last year have I become more appreciative of my own heritage. Due in part to the wonderful friendship of a man who is very much aware of his own culture and what being Jamaican means to him.
I remember going to Vaz Prep in Kingston as a child, and the wonderful memories I had there. Going to school back then I was known as the "sweetie gal." I was always bringing a bag of candy to school. I had my Bustamante, asham, peppermint sticks, icy mint, grater cakes and other goodies.
Of course selling it gave me my lunch money and money for other things. At that time walking to school was what everyone did. I walked from New Kingston , near the Sheraton Hotel, to Constant Spring Road. Quite a distance. This is of course nothing compared to someone living in the countryside of the island has to travel, but for us Kingstonians it was a distance.
So many happy memories, because these were indeed happy times of my life. When I would go by the Tastee Patty shop after school with my friends. We would buy two patties with some cocoa bread and finish it by the time we got home. Of course we had a bottle of ting or some sky juice to wash it down.
Jamaican people have this silent strength that can be seen etched in the faces of the youngest person to the oldest person. A sense of family. It doesn't matter where you lived, town or country one had to respect the eldest member of the family. Respect was not something asked for, it was expected.
I can't help but feel this great sense of pride when I see Jamaicans being recognized for their contributions to society and making mention of their Jamaican heritage. Former US Secretary of State, General Colin Powell who was born of Jamaican parentage stood in the thrust of America's political arena at a time that history will not soon forget.
Jamaican History books document our very own Marcus Mosiah Garvey, a Jamaica National Hero, as a courageous Jamaican that spread his wings beyond the boundaries of our beautiful island. Since then, so many Jamaicans like General Powell has proved that although Jamaicans are birthed from a tiny island, our dreams have taken us way beyond the scope of the world and across all walks of life. So part one of my dedication is to all the "yardees" that live abroad but will never forget that part of their heart that says, "I MON ON YAH, BUT I NAH BWAAN YAH." Because Jamaica will always be "YARD."