Gordon Swaby

The story of the “Country Bumpkin” so far

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).

Flickr Source: http://tinyurl.com/2c8arn3

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.

Written by Gordon Swaby

Gordon Swaby

Founder and CEO of social learning service EduFocal.com. I’m passionate about technology, the internet and the use of technology in education. I am a recipient of Governor General’s Youth Award, the PSOJ’s 50 Under 50 Award, The commonwealth Youth Award and many others.

Lovingly made on Sunday, November 7th, 2010 at 7:06 pm. Filed under Interesting, Personal, Uncategorized.

  • kemar taylor


  • http://ruthibelle.blogspot.com ruthibelle

    yeah. I know … nothin beats country life, luv. NOTHIN!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/draedarockstar Andrae Remla Palmer

    Good read Gordon. i can’t relate to your experience as a country come a town cause i grew up in the city but city life can be challenging sometimes especially the transportation system really confusing for someone who is not use to it and the kid growing up in an apartment for me that’s a scary thought for me. good read though

  • http://www.jamaipanese.com Jamaipanese

    hope its not too late but welcome to the city. Very refreshing blog post, makes me think back on my own life growing up in the slums of the city.

    Glad things are working out for you now and with your potential I only expect great things!

    • http://gordonswaby.com Gordon Swaby

      Thanks J! I know that must be a whole other experience too. I would love if you could write about it.

  • http://ryanmattis.wordpress.com Ryan Mattus

    You left out the section which entails your excitement about “City girls” RE: the original country bumpkin story on twitter. That was just childs play anyway.

    In some way I do miss country, in others ways, but commentary should not be mistaken for blogs, so ill spare the details :).

    This looks like an epic story in the making since the title has “so far” in it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chrystal-Thomas/646165416 Chrystal Thomas

    I’ve always been conflicted with the question: “Country” or “Town”? Although I do find I lean towards “town” a bit more.. but I liked the article. Interestingly though, you’ve never struck me as a “country bumpkin”. =p

  • http://twitter.com/corvedacosta Corve DaCosta

    lets say I can connect with everything you mentioned seeing I am from “rural/country” st bess – every time I go home I feel bad coming into Kingston and that’s part of the reason I hate going home – returning is hard. Country life is sweet – you live within ur means and you realize how everything is just perfect – without the modern things of “town”.

    btw this journey could be a book….for every “country” person coming to “town” 🙂

  • http://twitter.com/blipsterfarian Blipsterfarian Logic

    Good post. Its good to do a little reflecting. I should do a post on my life as a hardcore suburbanite.

  • http://whoisbillbailey.info/ Billbailey25

    Damn. Just came accross this post and I must say I so feel what your saying. Had the same experience years ago. Especially the yard part. Growing up, while cooking I could go to the backyard and cut off a few fingers off a banana tree, leave the rest on the tree until its needed, there was so much yard space. I’m glad I grew up in the ‘country’, even though I like the urban life.

    • http://gordonswaby.com Gordon Swaby

      Hahah, I’m happy I could bring you down memory lane!

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