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My Jamaican Experience

by Vinnessa Crawford
(Spanish Town, Jamaica)

Jamaica Independence Article/ Story Contest - Entry #16 - My Jamaican Experience

Growing up as a Jamaican in the early 90’s was a much simpler time. I grew up in an extended family with grandma, mommy, aunty, uncle and cousins. Our house was made of board with our bathroom and pit latrine detached from the house. Even though “teet and tongue” did meet sometimes, those were some of my most fun, memorable and cherished years of my life.

We knew we were poor for those of us who understood the circumstances at the time but the adults did their little hustling to ensure the necessities were provided. We never went hungry. It was the “dumpling and butta” for me.

At an early age you learn to be responsible because you had daily chores. I remember having to use the red liquid or gene polish to polish the floor of the pit latrine, then use the coconut brush to shine it along with a piece of cloth to really start seeing your reflection in the floors. Yes, we took pride in keeping it clean and tidy. When it came to sweeping the yard, if we didn’t have any broom that was never a problem. The “broom weed” did an even better job. You were taught to also be independent, so you learn everything at an early age.

The saying “mannas carry yuh tru di worl” is a true statement. I remember the time my mom sent me to get my school shoes fixed. I never knew the shoe maker but she told me his name and directed where to find him. I ended up at the wrong shoe maker who apparently had the same name as the intended one. He actually died so his wife took over the business. Because of how I spoke to the lady and empathized with her, she fixed my shoes for free and commended me for my mannerism. You also could never see two adults talking and place yourself in their presence. You had to move.

I learnt the value of life and making something of myself. I have learnt how to appreciate things and to also be content. It was never about what you didn’t have but what you did with what you had. I could feel the love growing up and more time was spent with family, especially at dinner time. Showing kindness was what people lived for, it was like second nature.

I could go on and on. But those are the things that made me into who I am today. I am proud to have had such rich and humble beginning. A much simpler time indeed.

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Jul 29, 2022
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Great story.
by: Anonymous

Makes me miss those days

Jul 28, 2022
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Love it
by: Anonymous

Real and life of a true Jamaican.

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