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Are you going to the same “Real” Jamaica as I do?

Hemet, California
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Are you going to the same “Real” Jamaica as I do?

I often read on this forum about people prefer to be in the “real” Jamaica while on vacation. I am now thinking there must be more than one “real” Jamaica. The real Jamaica that I go to has:

Endlessly walking or pay for a taxi

Kids that are hungry, tired and half naked

Kids home when they should be in school

Small houses (room) with outdoor facilities

The electricity going out around the same time some evenings

Drought that leaves water tanks and drums empty

Unpaved roads

Doing laundry by hand, hanging them on clothesline while hoping you get back for them before it rains.

Animals that won’t shut up at night

To me the “real” Jamaica is home but is a very hard living. It's the same Jamaica that makes me feel fortunate to be living in the US. Is this the “real” Jamaica that is spoken about here?

My "real" Jamaica experience. How is yours?

community.webshots.com/album/559644941UvHHOC…

Pauline

Wisconsin
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1. Re: Are you going to the same “Real” Jamaica as I do?

Yes I would believe it isn't as easy a life growing up in Jamaica. I don't know what is the "real" Jamaica. I see some of it when we go up into the hills. But what we have experienced is not the everyday existance seen in your beautiful photos, Pauline.

Thanks much. What is that pet that your son has??

Maryland
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2. Re: Are you going to the same “Real” Jamaica as I do?

I often wonder.

This is the Jamaica few tourists can even dream or imagine exist. If they could they would be a lot more understanding of the place and the people. Living on such a beautfil island that you can't afford to enjoy. If you try some make you feel as if you have no right to be there.

Thanks for the post and the pictures!

Central Ohio
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for Negril, Port Antonio, Treasure Beach
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3. Re: Are you going to the same “Real” Jamaica as I do?

Very nice pictures, I enjoyed them :)

That is of course the real Jamaica but I'd say New Kingston is also real, and Mandeville, and so on.....Jamaica is not simple is it, lots of variety, lots of different types of people, neighborhoods, situations....

La Mesa, California
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4. Re: Are you going to the same “Real” Jamaica as I do?

LOL

Some people think that Hedonism II is real.

Great post – thank you.

Birmingham/uk
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5. Re: Are you going to the same “Real” Jamaica as I do?

The real Jamaica that I know is some what very personal to me and one I don't discuss on this forum.

But having to do and help out family providing medication that can not be found on the island that could save someone's life or is too expensive to buy including sending money to help out etc etc

That is some of the real Jamaica I see and experience.

There's a lot more and that is the joy of seeing my family when there etc etc.

Indiana
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6. Re: Are you going to the same “Real” Jamaica as I do?

Pauline,

That is my "real" Jamaica as well.

I remember my first real trip to Jamaica as the leader of a construction/medical team including about 25 college students, a nurse and two professors. We arrived at the Kingston airport well after midnight and drove East along the coast outside of Kingston. After an hour or so, we arrived at our hotel, East of Morant Bay in a town called Lysson.

After settling in, we awoke the next morning for the 45 minute drive up into the mountains to a town called Hampton Curt, where we were to do the bulk of our work for our six week stay. Our first daylight views of where we had slept the night before were breathtaking....sweeping plantations of bananas and sugar cane, narrow mountain roads, dense rainforest-like passages, and real poverty.

Walls and roofs of homes were covered in rusted corrugated zinc panels that were held into place by cinder blocks and rocks. Several communities had only one communal source of running water. The village that was our final destination had their first local plumbing system (one inch PVC still above ground) installed only weeks earlier.

The school house that we were to remodel and enlarge housed 70 students age 5-8 in one 18 x 22 foot room. The three bathroom stalls had toilets that were not hooked up to any plumbing and the roof overhead head blown away in a storm a few months earlier and they could not afford to replace it. The kitchen that supplied food to all of the children was 8 x 10, had rotted cabinets and an obviously leaking old natural gas stove. This building had no windows, only one door, and about 35 broken and dilapidated desks for the 70 or so students.

After taking the sights all in, I sat back to reflect. Our group of mostly college kids were there to repair, modernize, and enlarge a school that is used by an entire community of people. We had raised and brought with us more than $25,000 US in cash and countless thousands worth of medical supplies.

What do I remember most about those first 10 minutes at the site that we would work at for the next 6 weeks? Not the poverty, not the condition of the school, no. I remember Isaiah.

Isaiah is a little boy who was 5 years old at the time who ran up to me in his perfectly pressed and immaculately clean khaki school uniform (the girls wore similarly immaculate green dresses) with the most unbelievable smile I have ever seen. He jumped up to me, hugged my waist, and said "welcome to Jamaice". This kid was 5 years old and never left my side (except when he was in school in the makeshift temporary school in the local church) the entire time we were there.

To make a longer story much, much shorter....

After 6 weeks, we had hooked up the toilets, fixed the roof (poured concrete, not zinc), added 8 hurricane-proof windows, bought them a brand new gas stove and new cabinets, hooked up 2 computers with 2 years pre-paid internet access, created a library of more than 250 books, added another 14 x 16 classroom, added a sick bay, added a new front door and cut another door into the back of the school, and repainted inside and out. The school looked amazing. The worst part was not leaving Jamaica, it was leaving Isaiah and all his classmates, but we knew that they had a fantastic new school to enjoy.

While it makes me very proud to have been a part of a group of mostly 19-21 year old American college students who helped SO much, I couldn't help but think how many other communites could use the same (or more) help.

That is my "real" Jamaica.

To this day, looking back on before and after photographs (including the photo of Isaiah on my wall at home), it blows my mind the effect that we were able to have on that community by simply pooling money that we had earned in seemingly trivial summer jobs while going to a private University that cost more than $40,000 per year to attend.

Talk about a life changing experience.

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: Are you going to the same “Real” Jamaica as I do?

All my JA trips have taken me to tourist areas and my "real" Jamaica impressions have been gathered in absorbing what I can outside of the resort gates... however, as my ventures are limited in distance, i'm sure so are my views...

my upcoming trip will take me all over the island and I'll explore many areas well "off the beaten path"...

Home base will be in Kingston... as the extended family is a little stoosh, this "real" Jamaica experience will be full of helpers and drivers and whatnot... a step up (at least in theory) from back home.... quite often when you venture outside the resorts and see the poverty and more-adverse living conditions, you forget that there is a small but thriving middle class in Jamaica who work outside of the tourism industry and do quite well...

Moving away from Kingston, I have no doubt that I will see and immerse myself in an abundance of the world outside the resorts, good, bad or otherwise.... I will soak it all in, capture it in my mind and my heart... I have resolved to relinquish expectations of how things will be and embrace the experience handed to me... I think in the end, these experiences will be as varied as the island itself....

Chelle (rambling as it slowly approaches checking out time... long weekend this weekend, yay!:) )

Bodega, California
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8. Re: Are you going to the same “Real” Jamaica as I do?

MY "Real Jamaica":

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and

…squarespace.com/display/ShowJournal…

Central Ohio
Destination Expert
for Negril, Port Antonio, Treasure Beach
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9. Re: Are you going to the same “Real” Jamaica as I do?

"there is a small but thriving middle class in Jamaica who work outside of the tourism industry and do quite well..."

This was my point also :) No less real but a lot more comfortable, I'm sure.

Birmingham/uk
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10. Re: Are you going to the same “Real” Jamaica as I do?

ohliz,

In response to that quote I have returnee (sp?) a few family members who live in grand houses that I could never afford here.