There’s rural Jamaica and then there’s urban Jamaica. Jamaica has 2 cities ( Or is it 3 now? Hello Portmore). Fortunately for me, i was not born in Urban Jamaica. I’m from the “country” as most people have a penchant for calling it.
I am grateful that my parents decided to live and work in rural Jamaica because through that I’ve experienced things city dwellers don’t usually get the opportunity to experience. On the 18th of November i would have completed the teenage leg of my life and though I’m not extremely happy with my accomplishments thus far, i am content and I’m working hard to see my goals through. Now, growing up in the country was a wonderful experience for me ( Christiana, Jamaica), and i never really appreciated it until i moved to Kingston, though that’s a given as you’ll never feel nostalgic about something until you don’t have it anymore. There was barely any crime (apart from the occasional larceny), plenty of yard space ( and i mean acres), and an overabundance of food and a pretty big house to grow up in.
Life in the city is a far cry from what life is like in the country…I’m not sure if I’m the only one who finds it weird for a child to grow up on an apartment complex ( I wonder what that does to them, but i guess it doesn’t bother them because that’s the norm). It’s not often that you find people my age leaving Urban Jamaica and going to rural Jamaica seeking opportunities or for schooling. I remember coming into Kingston with my dad as a youngster for whatever reason; for me everywhere felt like one big maze then ( and in some ways it sort of still does).
There’s absolutely nothing like the “Country come a town” experience, it has helped me to grow and everyday i learn more. If you think about it though, many never have that opportunity. For them, everything happens in the city–you’re born in the city, you grow up in the city, you go to school in the city and for many they end up living and working in the city post school life. Most of which happens while living with their next of kin. Post secondary school life is a different ball game for rural dwellers though; it’s where you leave the comfort of home in the country and move to the city to persue tertiary levels studies. That’s what I’m really happy for. I was forced to grow, think, be responsible and inevitably expedite the process of me becoming a man.
I’ll never forget the first night living on my own…It was now my responsibility to cook ( cooking was second nature to me as i was always in the kitchen with my mother honing my culinary skills), clean, wash, find my way to school and everything else in between. Now imagine a privileged country boy who did not know life without a helper in it moving to Kingston with the responsibility of taking care of himself full-time? ( scary thought). The first day out the door was the worst for me as i had no idea how to find school or how to use the transportation system in Kingston, but thankfully i asked around and figured it out. Now contrast that to a first year student starting University like me that day but has lived in Kingston all his/her life? Only difference for them is the exciting opportunities that university presents.
Fast forward a year later I’m in my second year of University, I’m no longer on foot, I’m more acquainted with the city, I’ve grown both physically and mentally, I’m more mature, I’ve acquired new skills, I’m (still) young, I’m ambitious and I’m ready to take on the world.