Humble Beginnings

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!

Red wooden house with functioning outdoor toilet

Remnant of old house built over a 100 years ago

Trinity Ville Main Road that runs through the middle of the district

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.

One of the few big rocks and deep ends
No diving for me, but I did a back flip or two 🤣
Man washing his clothes in the river and spreading them on a stone to dry

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.

Trinity Ville Primary
Washing hands for lunch, my friend in the background

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.

Grave sites of 4 of my husband’s relatives, 2 were much younger than he was at the time of their deaths

Anglican Church, almost in ruins and no longer usable. Believe me it was quite a beauty in its day

Paying my respect to the family

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!

My friend and I

Next, I’m hoping to get to the Blue Mountains, until then take care and see you later, Sincerely Jan!

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34 thoughts on “Humble Beginnings

  1. I am proud of my humble beginnings. It made me stronger and prepared me for LIFE. I will always strive to help others. “To whom much is given , much is required” Luke 12:48

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  2. Remembering where we started life, helps us achieve our goals, as we can look back and see the mountains we have already climbed, inspiring us to climb the one we are on. Lovely post. Great pictures. Education is important, especially for being an entrepreneur.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful, simply beautiful! Passed through Trinityvillein December, first time in a decade. Actually went up to the Blue Mountains (Epping Farm). There is a joy in experiencing people and places like this.

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  4. Janice I’m proud of your humble beginnings and definitely can relate to your story and the beautiful pictures you post. Those pictures reminded me so much of the beautiful parish I grew up, the rivers, washing clothes at the river side. When I sit back and look back at my life and think how much I have accomplish in my life for a person who grew up in Portland a little place called Cascade close to New Castle in the Blue Mountains peak. I’m proud of my dad and mom who worked so hard to give me and siblings a better life. My dad and my mom were my heroes in life and I give God thanks for them. May both souls continues to rest peacefully in heaven. I love you story and your journey my friend.

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  5. Simple living is good living – technology is great and we all can’t live without them, but this right here is good living. Nice clean country air, scenery and food – the river water looks so soothing and cool!

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  6. Humble beginnings always breeds Excellence. Thank you for this fascinating post. Education is indeed the key however in the times we live in, we have a lot of graduates who are unemployed because they were never taught skills development. I also agree with your boys. Entrepreneurship is key nowadays

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    1. I know, guess we were kinda lucky to be born at a time before all these distractions. As for the humble life, everyone should experience it even once. That way they’ll be more appreciative of life all all they have.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for the inside look at life in Jamaica! What I love best about blogging is the chance to see the world from other people’s eyes….it shows just how much we have in common, and also how unique each of our lives are.

    Liked by 2 people

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