I mentioned in my last post that I was a country girl from the Parish of St Thomas in Jamaica, and I posted some beautiful pictures of where I grew up. The reality is, it’s not all “sunshine and roses” for everyone in my Parish. For lots of people living in St Thomas and other parts of the country, poverty is real. However, because there is poverty doesn’t mean there isn’t beauty and contentment and hopes and dreams in the homes of people of lesser means. Being poor simply means you have to work harder, try harder, and fight harder to succeed; all while you might be eating less, sleeping less and earning less. But hard work builds good character, and a good education and ambition can take you a long way. Now I’m not being naive, I do understand that some people unfortunately, were dealt a “hard blow” and some just never get the right opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty, but there are lots who do. My husband grew up with humble beginnings in a small town of St Thomas called Trinity Ville.
Trinity Ville is a small town about 19 miles east of Kingston in the cool hills of St. Thomas. It’s a small town with one main road running through it that has been badly worn over the years from frequent hurricanes and neglect. While there are homes with concrete structures and indoor plumbing, there are still houses built of wood with zinc roofs and outdoor toilets. There are some structures of houses built over a hundred years that are still standing. There is one post office in the district, and everyone still has to go there to retrieve their mail. In Trinity Ville no GPS is needed, everyone knows everyone. If you need directions to find someone, just ask anybody and you’ll get directions like ” jus go round di corner and it’s di red house right there behind di big mango tree” or “jus mek a left den a right and it’s right there on di lef.” That’s Jamaica patois for you!
Now, imagine living in a place that’s sunny, warm and fruitful with a beautiful river running right through your backyard. My husband has recounted numerous stories of spending endless days by the river with his friends and diving off huge rocks into the deep ends of the water. They would “run boats” by the river side, a Jamaica patois or colloquial term which means prepare or cook food. Of course, later all pots and pans and whatever they used to cook, were washed right there in the river. It’s also a natural part of life for some of the people of Trinity Ville to bathe and wash their clothes right there and spread them to dry on a rock or a makeshift clothesline.
I always say this but only because I believe it, education is the key. It’s what I have been taught and what I try to teach my boys, even though they try to tell me that’s old school thinking. Kids these days would say entrepreneurship is the key, but that’s the story for another blog. I still firmly believe that with a good education as your foundation and the right mindset you can accomplish almost anything and that is why our children are the key to the future. My friend, who also lived in Trinity Ville when we were kids, came along with me on this trip to Jamaica. She understands the importance of supporting our children, especially those in need of financial assistance. She has “adopted” the primary school in Trinity Ville and has been supporting them financially for many years. On this trip she visited for 2 days and provided them with lunch, goodie bags and ice cream. She lectured them about being committed to their futures and played a little game of Red-Light Green-Light.
So how do the people of Trinity Ville make money? Unfortunately, most are unemployed but there are many who have regular jobs as teachers, lawyers, principals, clerks or whatever. Farming and raising animals such as cows, goats, chickens and pigs is also a part of the livelihood of some of the people of Trinity Ville. It is not uncommon to see strays of goats and cows roaming the streets and leaving little reminders behind. Sometimes on a breezy day when the wind wafts over the pig pens you might also get some other not so friendly reminders that “hey, we still live her too.”
Lots of farming is done further up in the hills, where farmers grow lemons, bananas, sugar cane, yams and many other produce including the good ole sinsemilla!
Our children are the future, and our ancestors are the past. A visit to Trinity Ville is never complete without a trip to the cemetery. It is customary for some loved ones to be buried in the backyards where they used to live. Some are buried in the church cemetery that is quickly running out of space if it already hasn’t done so. My husband’s relatives are scattered between both. We never make a trip without stopping in to say hello and what’s up to Aunt Bloss and the rest of the family. Of course, even though my husband isn’t with me on this trip, this time was no exception.
I love and respect all parts of my little Parish of St Thomas. My people are beautiful and strong, and I hope you enjoyed this visit to Trinity Ville. Four days down in Jamaica, with 15 more to go!
Next, I’m hoping to get to the Blue Mountains, until then take care and see you later, Sincerely Jan!
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