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Yea, man… no problem… February 27, 2008

Posted by G in random stuff.
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One of the first things that I learned in Jamaica is that in Jamaica it’s no problem… they have none… but sometimes they have situations and sometimes they include guns…

In the weeks leading up to my trip many people asked me what I was going to do and what I was most excited about.  Undoubtedly the answer was going to Jamaica and learning about the culture there.  I’ve always wanted to go to Jamaica… ever since those high school days.  The culture has always interested me.  I could not believe it when one of the excursions that I could choose from included going to a plantation, walking a mile into a village and then going into a school… and then having a typical Jamaican lunch back at the plantation was definitely an added bonus. 

We left the port and began traveling down a 2 lane heavily traveled road.  We learned pretty quickly that 18-wheelers could care less if you have the right of way and pull out in front of you.  Then within 5 minutes of leaving the port the traffic had slowed and a van decided it was time to pass us…  now remember I said that the road was heavily traveled… that means the cars were bumper to bumper in the opposite direction also… the other van ended up hitting us and taking the drivers side mirror off our bus, so our 45 minute trekk into the hills was put on hold for a time.  Everyone had gotten out of the other van and there was this cool lookin’ Rastafarian guy that I so wanted to take a picture of.  One of the nice guys… we’ll call him red shirt… started marking the spot of our tires using a rock as chalk.  Dumb van driver starts yelling at red shirt because he is helping us since we need to leave.  At this time I asked a woman with us, Karen, if she would open her window so I could take a picture of cool Rasta man.  Just then tour guide lady said “He pulled out his piece, he has a gun!”… Karen turned around “What?”… “Ummm, forget it…”  Luckily it was red shirt that pulled out his gun and dumb bus driver promptly shut his mouth and we were able to proceed.  That was my first lesson in Jamaican culture.

The roads in Jamaica are quite twisting and turning and there are LOTS of beautiful hills.  The countryside is gorgeous.  The fields are amazing… and when you see the trusty Sunkist stamp on your orange… it used to mean that it was grown in the US… but not any more.  When someone purchased land in Jamaica they can then build whatever they like.  Often families will start building a home and finish off just a small section to live in and then continue to build as they have more money to do so.  So often the houses look like they are either falling apart or unfinished… pretty much almost everything looks under construction.

When we arrived at the plantation after a LONG, FAST stomach twisting ride… I stepped out to a beautiful plot of land with the most gorgeous mountain views.  We had a nice breakfast and then a walk around the property checking out different herbs and plants.  I saw a cacao tree and the pods and beans looked and smelled nothing like chocolate.  From there we walked a mile into the village.  Along the walk we were taught about the different plants that grew along the sides of the road and the different medicinal uses that the people used them for.  The “Life Plant” is thought to cure any flu, cold or stomach bug.  There is another leaf that when tied to the forehead cures migraines and head aches.  Coconut water (the stage before milk) is said to lower blood pressure in 7 days.  We also walked by a bar in town where I smelled the familiar scent of my high school days… that was another herb that I’ve heard has many medicinal purposes… 🙂 

The children at the school reminded me of the kids in Namibia… so desiring a high five and a hello.  They sang a couple songs for us and it was so cool to see the smiles on their faces.  The school was started by a German missionary couple.  We also went through an area that was settled long ago by Germans… this area reminded me of Rehoboth because they also have 3 people groups. 

From there we went to a pineapple plantation where we were given some fresh pineapple, some sugar cane and some rum… this was not your typical rum… it was 100% moonshine.  We were told with one shot your eyes are open, with two shots you come to know Jesus and with three shots you meet Jesus.  We were just given a small amount and when I took the drink it literally evaporated in my mouth.  It was the weirdest thing.

So, this was one of my favorite adventures on my trip… it was so fun for me to learn about the culture there.  To learn how the people have come to rely on the plants that God has created on their land to cure illnesses and disease, since there is no option for them to have a doctor’s care.  People in Jamaica average $52US a week and with such a high tourism rate all I could think of was how the place reminded me of Namibia and how are we impacting their society…

maybe tomorrow I will add some pics to this post…

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