There was so much to see on my trip home. The last time I visited my family in Jamaica was around 15 years ago. The land, as expected, was lush in the countryside and weighted down with asphalt and concrete in the cities. The rich were just a stone’s throw away from the poor. Driving was as I’d remembered it, although forgetting was more than welcomed. Most drove as though speeding on narrow roads was a necessary evil in order to reach their destination.
The ocean stretched into what looked like a flat Earth, with the periodic cruise ship dimming in the distance as it moved further away from the shore. Narrow streets were lined with old houses, some run down, some built with tin roofs, cardboard and metal fence. Most of the poorest structures had no less than three fruit trees that were there longer than the grandmothers sitting on the veranda watching life go by. Every house I passed for the better part of two miles had fruit trees filled to overflowing.
Julie mango, breadfruit, guinep, sweetsop, soursop, ackee, almond, otaheite apple, jackfruit, neesberry trees enriched Jamaican ghettos with life and sustenance. The poor could not be hungry unless brainwashing led them to overpriced supermarkets that would never provide them with the richly nutritious and filling fruits and vegetables that lived inside the borders of their run down fences. The majority of the ghettos of America had no such richness, nothing green and life giving to hold them over when money ran out.
Jamaica has its problems—serious problems. But what I saw and what stood out was how beautiful it was, filled with potential and possibility. More than a decade has come and gone, but I still love Jamaica.