Tag Archives: jamaica

The Issue of Poverty Pt. II

15 Sep

Just returned from a 6-week stay in Jamaica… and as per usual the vibe and sentiment is the same.

I’m not going to complain about why there’s poverty or what government’s aren’t doing on this piece, because really and truly I’m tired of bitching about the same problems that are never solved. This blog is about APPRECIATION.

I have Giver’s Fatigue.  This is when you give, and give,.. and give and give and give from the heart… almost to the detriment of your own health and well-being. When your heart has been drained, your body, your emotions.. AND your pocketbook has also been diminished. And you are left completely depleted. People like me don’t think before they give. We give because we can, and because we feel empathetic to their situation. But it has occurred to me, time and time again, that while I’m giving and feeling all this empathy.. the people receiving aren’t necessarily feeling grateful or responsible for their behaviour that follows.

In Jamaica, and possibly other developing countries… there’s a sense of entitlement to presents and money when expats and family return. This movement is going to END. Not only do they expect the gifts, but they ask for gifts which are sometimes items I wouldn’t even buy for myself. Where do they think we pick up the money from? The money tree I guess. And when you give them presents,.. no expression of THANK YOU. None. They take it… use it… destroy it or finish it… and just keep wanting more. And NEVER in this process do they ever say, “Here Miss Staffeen… I picked this mango for you…” (because they’d never actually buy something) or “Here Mrs. Thompson, I got you a little something…” Nope. Nada.

I’m not saying to expats not to give, but like Ms. Honorine said… “Give when it’s convenient and logical for you to give…” I’m going one step further. Give only when it’s APPRECIATED. I don’t expect anything in return, except I do expect appreciation. Knowing that I didn’t just stumble upon this present, I actually went out and bought the thing with money that I have.

Sad, but I’m not giving anymore in that situation. I will be adjusting how it’s done. I’m done giving because my heart is heavy and I’m “soft,” as they say. I’ve been sucked dry from the expectation that life is difficult. Yes life is difficult everywhere. I have to start thinking about myself and build up my empire to support my family. I need to take care of myself. And I also realize when you give rewards for bad or undesirable behaviour, the behaviour doesn’t stop and it sends the wrong message. So the message will be altered as of now. Shift in the paradigm. It’s going to go the other way.

True, in theory, “Nobody has ever become poor by giving,” you may not become financially bankrupt, but you might become emotionally bankrupt. And that to me is worse than losing money.

time flies

The Issue of Poverty(AGAIN) PT. I

8 Jun

Been sitting on this one for the past week, been digesting it. Debating whether or not to sound off on it. But there is a burning desire to.

Many of us in the community talking about global poverty, like it’s some issue to tackle on some high level. And while it costs big dollars to mobilize change, it’s really not rocket science. And while it does serve some governments to keep their people poor and uneducated, let’s abandon that notion and just deal with the bottom line… It’s not difficult to understand. The Poor exist and we need to fix it somehow.

Learned that over the past year, (and probably longer), there has been a homeless person living in my backyard in Jamaica. At first, I thought it was just someone “stealing” from me, but then learned that no, a person had been living there at night. Showering, using our water and taking refuge. Got a hefty bill of $30K JMD. Which is like $350CDN. Not much in the grand scheme of things. But enough to make me further comprehend how bad the situation has become in Jamaica. There are people who need a place to live. To shower. To eat. To sleep. To do bodily functions in private.

Those with millions and billions are trying to decide how best to spend their money on solving poverty on a global scale but honestly, in the time it takes to talk about it, there are people who need help right now on the local scale who are suffering and in need right now.

I understand that governments are corrupt, I understand that organizations are corrupt, I understand that some people are corrupt. I understand all of that. I am not attacking those trying to solve the issue, I suppose my anger is towards the Jamaican government AGAIN, for letting it get this bad.

I suppose it’s one more thing to add on my TO DO list…

I have more thoughts on this…
To Be Continued…

Jamaica: Small Shifts, Small Planes

24 Sep

What more can I say about Jamaica…

I have just returned from a 6 week stay in Spanish Town, Jamaica (end of July to beginning of September). Not much has changed, and by the same token, a lot has gotten worse. It absolutely kills me to see my second home in the state that it’s in. Sad and angry. The same sentiment as last year… And when I speak to native Jamaicans, some don’t feel the same way I do, because they’re so used to the madness and insanity, they don’t know anything else – and they wouldn’t even know how to go about improving it. However, Ex-pats who have lived abroad who return home to retire, share my views and don’t know how it got to that state. Other Jamaicans, share my views – and just give up hope. Which is usually the case.

If the Jamaican Government, doesn’t make some significant policy changes, the problem will just continue to escalate and the suffering will continue. I think it’s past the point of fixing. Already it’s getting to the point where there is systematic legalized child sex-abuse, legalized violence against women, and the general violence is out of control. Their policies are absolutely ridiculous, with a lack of regard for humanitarian needs, a general misconstrued idea of priority (putting tablets ahead of food and education), and furthermore…a general lack of education among the people, to know what they’ve been conditioned to believe untruths. The propaganda the Government feeds them is out of this world. I often wonder if people are able to think for themselves…

And for myself trying to understand the situation, I can only comment on what I see. I do not live there full-time, so I cannot even attempt to make suggestions, based on flawed policies. So I find myself locked in a vicious cycle. Trying to help even on a local and personal level, becomes more and more difficult, because everyone still needs to adhere to a higher system that they’ve been dragged into. So when I suggest a different method, which might work in a modern and mechanized “Canadian” world, doesn’t work there, because the system does not work. Even when I suggest something as simple as, “read more,” it is a problem. The Jamaican system is broken. But it works broken. And trying to fix the broken wheel, will not make the entire ‘bike’ run any smoother, so to speak.

If you want to get a picture of how the country really is, go to Hellshire Beach and talk to Vernon, my Dreadlock friend. He will tell you everything you need to know, and then some. Talking to the people who are on the pulse is the best way to get a sense of the undercurrent of a country. Every story has a similar thread: inflation, no work, higher prices for education, fees for everything, long waits for everything, theft, violence, .. it’s the same story over, and over, and over again.

I always visit during their Independence Day, August 6th, and every year I just shake my head. What did they gain independence for? To be an impoverished, non-improving state? I don’t know what will become of Jamaica. All I can do is pray that a positive wave interjects soon, and at least attempts to shift the pendulum the other way.

I wanted to encourage a shift in thought on a small level, and have a greater effect on more people, but any change would need longer than 6weeks. I need to go for 6 months and see what I can achieve. And I just don’t have that time right now. I might have achieved a shift on a very small plane, and I’m really happy about that… but any large shift in the paradigm will have to come over a longer people of time I suspect. I’m still thinking on it…

Regardless of the political and/or my humanitarian efforts… I still had a blast. The sun, air, great food, great people… make enduring the chaos all worth it. It’s paradise, despite the insanity one has to live through. Of course if you’re on a resort(unlike me), it’s a much different vibe, but I like my set-up. It works for me. I would go just for the food!

And as always… onto the next trip! Punta Cana, you best get ready for Ms.Stef. 😉
shopping sky 4 Hellshire 3