5 Things I Learned in Jamaica
I recently returned from a trip to Jamaica. It was quite the magical experience. Although I only spent a week I experienced much of what Jamaica has to offer. This goes beyond the physical experiences and is more evident when we speak of spiritual knowledge. Those who have been following this blog know I am a big fan of paradigm shifts. Having a shift in perspective and continued growth due to that shift is paramount to creating paradise. Below are five things I learned in Jamaica and the impact it had.
1. Poverty – The common mentality is that money is the root of all evil. This comes from a miss quote from the bible, which originally said. “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Which takes on a completely different meaning. However, we will focus on the more common “money is the root of evil” quote that we are all familiar with. Spending time in Jamaica taught me that money is not in fact the root of all evil, poverty is. When 50 cent went to Africa he experienced a paradigm shift. This shift caused him to say “I grew up broke, but I didn’t grow up hungry.” He then went on to say that he wanted to feed a billion people in Africa. Something similar happened to me. After seeing the huge disparity in income, it really opened my eyes. When there is true poverty there is hunger. When people are hungry to the point where they don’t know where their next meal is coming they enter survival mode. Once in this survival mode they must acquire food by any means necessary, often this leads to a life of crime. I realized that my idea of broke is far from the real definition of broke.
2. Hustle – On the other hand this deep hunger pushes one to their limit causing them to expand their creativity. It is not uncommon to see someone on the side of the streets hustling for their money. This ranges from vending organic fruits and vegetables on the street to giving horse rides on the beach. The hustler’s mentality has gained a lot of media attention in western society and has become glorified as the chosen method of becoming a millionaire. The hustler mentality is anything but pretty. First off one becomes a true hustler out of necessity not out of choice. A true hustler is always hustling. They are always looking for a way to make a dollar and are willing to skim off the top from their friends, family, and even children. Morals go right out the window when one is hungry to the point of starvation. I learned that I am ambitious and determined but I am most certainly not a true hustler. Neither are most people who make that claim. In western society we all have some line that we won’t cross and we all have a safety net.
3. Corruption – When dealing with any country there is bound to be corruption. Although corruption is a hot topic in our society, ultimately there are a slew of rules and regulations that the government must follow. Although it isn’t perfect the money does get to where it’s supposed to go for the most part. In Canada there is a well-established school system, great health care, and the roads are for the most part well built and maintained. In Jamaica it is common knowledge that there is widespread corruption in the system. This includes but is not limited to prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption, and public institutions not funneling the money appropriately. In western society the chances of being asked for a bribe by a police officer is relatively low. However, those chances sky rocket when in Jamaica. There are many people who are more afraid of the police then they are of the gunmen. I learned greed is the sin that is prevalent in every type of society. However, it is just accepted as a way of life in a third world country.
4. Voice – One interesting aspect of Jamaica is that the people are much more vocal. Not only are people exceedingly polite when things are going well, they are exceptionally rude when things go wrong. There is no fake politeness that is prevalent in western culture. Jamaican’s are known for being forthright and aggressive but people fail to acknowledge how well-mannered most really are. In any case it is very refreshing to know exactly where you stand with someone.
5. Love + Happiness – Despite the corruption and poverty that is prevalent in the country people are generally very happy. There is something to be said when it comes to finding happiness with the simple things. It solidifies my belief that money isn’t the way to create your own paradise. Many people live good wholesome lives and find joy in having deep and meaningful conversations. Additionally, people seem to be more willing to show love to strangers. If you look good someone will undoubtedly pay you a compliment. If you dress well someone will tell you. The scowls of hate are few and far between. I learned that I need to be more giving of my love and blessings. When you give someone a compliment you are most likely making their day. It is something that I wish more people had the courage to do in person, instead of on social media.
Overall my experience was a great one. I had good laughs, made new friends, and above all learned a lot about life. Having another paradigm shift at this stage of my growth was an unexpected gift. I hope anyone reading this will feel the urge to travel to Jamaica. But above all I hope they realize that the challenges one faces in a first world country are lightyears away from the challenges one faces in a third world country.