Life in Jamaicas’ countryside > A Single Woman Shares
Ever so often, I ask expats that I come in contact with who live in Jamaica to share five positive and five negative things that they would tell another person considering a move to the Island.
This has been my ongoing research since May 2008.
My research thus far has exposed me to mostly individuals who live in Kingston JA, with many of them having moving to the Island with spouses for employment.
The following however was shared with me by a Peace Corp Volunteer, who lives outside of the Kingston area. Most areas outside of Kingston I’ve noticed is referred to as “country”
She has lived on the Island for abit over 18 months.
People arriving from countries such as India, Nigeria or Trinidad, rarely if ever notice or feel the need for personal space, as many are accustomed to individuals standing very closely together in small spaces. Someone arriving from the Holland, Germany, Canada or the US may however view the need for personal space in a very different light.
5 positive things:
1. Working with kids!! My students (I work at a primary school) are my joy, and in a lot of ways children are the same everywhere – if you really want to teach them and love them, they respond with respect and enthusiasm.
2. The fresh fruit and vegetables!! I buy from the same locals so they save what they know I like, so I always get quality produce for cheap.
3. I’m in the Cockpit country, very far inland, and I’m still no more than an hour from a beautiful beach.
4. People from home can visit, and I can visit home if I need to, as plane tickets are cheap.
5. The food is great – from jerk chicken, to rice and peas, to Rastafarian I-tal food…..and very rarely is there food poisoning as Jamaicans cook their chicken so much.
5 negative things:
1. The amount of verbal harassment towards me as a white woman is intense. Then the disgusting, disrespectful, unrepeatable things said to me when I first arrived (before I was more integrated in the community, and realized I had to ignore the comments) made for a lot of bad days.
2. Jamaicans don’t have the same American ideal of “personal space.” I had to get used to people getting so close to me to talk, trying to hold my hand, etc. But it was a compromise, they got used to me sometimes telling them to move away:-)
3. The amount of MSG in snacks and food gave me horrible headaches at first.
4. It’s hard to learn to sleep with the sounds of dogs, donkeys, goats and pigs close by. (I live way in the bush)
5. Men cannot understand why a woman my age does not have kids, or want to have kids with a Jamaican, or want to date a local Jamaican, etc. The harassment from not dating a local is still on-going.