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If you were following the news recently, you probably would have heard about a report in the UK's Sun newspaper (sometime last month) that listed Jamaica as one of 20 safest places in the world from an apocalyptic or catastrophic global pandemic (link below).
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In a nutshell, nations were rated by scientists based on 25 distinct features, but some of the key ones included physical location, natural resources and what they call, political harmony.
In total, everything that would creates a safe refuge but also resources that could help rebuild humanity.
Oh, and by the way, Jamaica is just one of five (5) countries in the Caribbean region listed. The others are Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Cuba.
So in light of the Covid-19 coronavirus, not only did I start to think how blessed we are as a country, but also developed a deeper and richer appreciation of what my fore-parents endurance, surviving in Jamaica during and after slavery.
And what do I mean by that?
Well, I was born in a rural community in the hills of Westmoreland. For many years, in fact, until I was in high school, there was no electricity and no proper road structure, and even today, there is still no running water. That's the stuff that the rest of the world would consider, basic amenities right?
But guess what?
We (Maroons, and later emancipated slaves and indentured laborers) not only survived for over 300 years, we lived healthy and sustainable lives, despite what many would consider 'lack'.
How so? How was that even possible to be living in 'confinement' away from development and industry?
Let me share with you some of what I observed as a kid that made that possible.
First, we are blessed naturally with the perfect climate, you can read more about the climate of Jamaica here, that was essential for almost everything else...
No TV, Cable Nor Internet, but we had an abundance of kids' games.
These included ...
Oh, and I should tell you that my great grand parents lived close to 100 years!
Of course, that setting taught me much about the simple social graces, like respecting the elderly, saying please and thanks, and quite importantly too, respect for the environment; It was built-in!
And I can go on and on, but can you see why we survived without any need for imports, major foreign exchange, international influence, and not even a '9 to 5'?
Yes, we were living basic, sustainable lifestyles and, certainly for me, didn't even realize it!
And while I singled out my own community, it is not the only one, there are several rural communities in Jamaica that shared similarities, the very same history and the very same stories.
So my message to all Jamaicans, let's get back to our roots, reflect on how our fore parents lived and certainly take a leaf from their book.
And I am certainly not advocating that we go back to the past, but simply adopt some of those principles that allowed us to survive for centuries back then, which includes self-sufficiency and utilization of our skills as well as our natural resources.
History tells us that we did it already (we didn't even need the scientist to remind us) and we can do it again (during and after Covid-19).
Let's do it! One love!
P.S. Don't keep this to yourself, our children needs to know, please share with someone now.
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