They say first love is the deepest and how true those words ring! After spending the last 6 weeks talking with my fellow Jamaicans living in NYC, NJ and CT, I am even deeper in love. Like many, although born and grown in Jamaica I have been living in the USA for many years …17 almost 18 years to be exact…..or 17 winters, as I often answer when people ask how long I have been here.
Like many I make my annual pilgrimage back each year for my fix of sunshine, ackee and saltfish, warm sea baths and family. There is no place like Jamaica. I do not live in an area with a high concentration of Jamaicans but recently I accepted a project to help market Gore Homes, beautiful and affordable housing schemes, to Jamaicans living in the NY area. I had no idea what a great time I would have. I have taken hundreds of calls on the 1-800# that the company established and instead of one deggy, deggy visit home this year each conversation has planted me firmly in the land of my birth, bussin a laugh with each reminder of what makes a Jamaican such an interesting and wonderful person!
Where else in the world will someone tell you my name is David that is spelled D as in Donkey, or call to buy a house and then try to sweet talk you into giving them your cell phone number? As soon as my yardie status was established, each conversation would continue like dear friends re-united, warm and full of respect. A serious exchange of reasons why with all there is in the USA there is still such a yearning to be home and to own a piece of the rock. Pride in a people known for their beautiful smiles, their music that moves the world and their food that can rival the best. A picturesque island whose heart beats to a truly unique drum.
The Jamaican nature known for its hustling, hard work and hopefulness was alive and well and withstanding the harshest of winters. My Jamaican brothers and sisters had not adapted to their new world they had brought their island world they so love with them and retained their true identity. It was touching to have every conversation end with nuff blessings and thanks. You cannot wash the Jamaican out of a Jamaican. The real Jamaican story the One Love story, how much more there will be to love when we bring some of that love back to the rock!