Jamaica: The land of my birth!

When I hear her name my heart instantly skips a beat. My heart  skips a beat because it is the sweetest name I’ve ever heard, it has a very common tune that only my heart  understands. I cry when she cries and rejoice when she does. The land of wood and water they say, but I like to think there is more beneath the surface. Jamaica is simply an island  with rich  history, love , strong culture and a uniqueness making this beautiful island the queen of many hearts. Her motto is “ Out of Many One people” ; her children come from many different ancestries making Jamaicans one of the most diverse people in the world.  The the last four letters in  “ Jamaican” spells I- C-A-N , I guess this explains why we are such confident beings.  The world would be a better place if we all chose to adopt the principle of believing we can achieve anything. She is the lover of all , she loves unconditionally and forgives easily. She breeds only leaders with the potential for greatness. She is the greatest mother, with history as rich as the coffee she produces, nature sites as  beautiful as the sound of her name, uniqueness such that her children stand out wherever they may go. Her love is as wide as the ocean but you’ll probably swim in the tears she cries.  We all have a responsibility as Jamaicans to protect her , love her and keep the rhythm of her soul alive. As our emancipation anniversary draw nears my mind never fails to remind me why I am proud to be a Jamaican .

Jamaican Coat of Arms

You see, Jamaica has  some of the best unacclaimed prestige sites in the world. Once home to several wealthy, famous celebrities such as Ian Fleming, Noel Coward and Errol Flynn.  Our beautiful sites have been featured in several movies , with so much history behind them  that we often seem to forget. Hills and mountains that tell the tales of  our national heroes that have trod and fought endlessly for the freedom of our beautiful land; freedom for me and you. Many plantations which are now historic sites tell the stories of slavery , love and freedom.  Dated  from as late as the 18th century “Lover Leap” in Jamaica tells the story of , Mizzy and Tunkey(two slave lovers) who leaped from the  a cliff to avoid being separated by their slave masters.

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Lovers Leap located in SouthField, St.Elizabeth Jamaica

Also, historic church building represent great revivals which took place in the country. Strong evangelism and African rituals were used to spread the message of Christianity throughout the island.Our creole language( Patois) is much more than “ broken English’ comprised of African and English dialects.   It is a language of rebellion influenced by slave codes and modern day religions such as Rastafarianism. Slaves used this language to communicate on the plantations when slave masters strongly enforced  the use of standard English  in attempt to strip our ancestors of their cultural identity. They rebelled,and  hence Patois was formed. This speaks to the strong individuality of our Jamaicans. The Rastafarian religion prides itself on staying true to roots and the use patois language is an acknowledgement of the struggles and oppression which our ancestors suffered through.Image

Example of the Patois language

Being Jamaican is a way of life; you’ll have to experience it to know what it truly means. One is instilled with rich traditions and morals taking you through all walks  of life. From respecting your elders to helping to lead your older siblings from an early age. It is a  popular tradition to have beef soup on Saturdays  and attend church on Sundays, and  dinner is usually rice and peas and chicken . Food brings people together in Jamaica and my household was popular for feeding several members of my community and I am thankful for my grandmother for showing me this way of life. We learn from early that living for ourselves is vain and we must live for others to truly live; we are all one people, one family living in one country.  I would never forget the stories of “Anancy the spider” and how much fun we would have sharing these stories before bedtime or even the time we had no electricity and my “granny”would resort to a cast iron heated by coal to iron my clothes because she would never allow me to leave the house as If I slept underneath a  coconut tree .  “You must always ‘mawning’ to everyone and remember smile chile” she’d always say to me. I embrace my Jamaican heritage because it highlights that no matter how advanced our world becomes I will always be able to resort to the fundamentals of my culture built on rich morals and traditions .

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Vintage Cast Iron.

As I write my heart can’t help but be filled. As I’ve gotten older, my love for my country has only deepened . I realize I represent a unique identity of people. I represent a nation of leaders and believers .Jamaicans all have a greater vision for themselves , not only for themselves but anyone they meet . I think  somehow this was instilled by our ancestors, they had to vision to be freed from oppression, we have had many great leaders in our history. Particularly, Marcus Garvey who was able to create massive movements aiming at creating economic independence among our people .

Marcus Garvey

Presently, this spirit still  lives in every Jamaican ; the spirit of unity , strength, and determination and  it is evident in our athletes and every true Jamaican you may meet. We speak life into those around us and this one of the reasons why Jamaica is a true melting pot .Jamaica has the most beautiful  sunrise and an evening kiss ; it is impossible to not be mesmerized by her beauty.

Rise up ! Emancipate your minds!

According to John C. Maxwell, to change the direction of any organization we must first change the leadership. Too often we concern ourselves with the fruits of problems failing to address the roots. Every Jamaican can attest to changes seen when the leadership of an organization undergoes transformation. Notably, National Commercial Bank having reported record growth in profitability since the acquisition by Michael Lee-Chin in 2002 accompanied by the change of leadership and management. Furthermore, Hardware and Lumber reported a three hundred and twenty-five percent increase in profitability with new CEO Andrea Coy at its helm in the time frame of a year. After all, there must be some truth to John Maxwell’s statement. The question posed, if we changed the leadership of our minds, how different could our lives be?
The manner in which leadership is effectuated will always determine the efficiency and potential impact within any organization or society.  Leaders are not born, they are simply made. The truth of the matter is everyone has the potential to be a great leader, some might be born with leadership qualities and others may not. Regardless of genetic disposition, without self-discipline that potential decreases. Self-discipline is important because if we cannot lead ourselves the attempts to lead others will prove futile.
Time after time we have seen Jamaican politicians attempting to lead people with false promises and hopes causing followers to demoralize their own standards at the profit of the leaders who pride themselves on instant gratification. When politicians do not meet their promises the citizens accept handouts demoralizing their own standards thus creating a culture in which people expect donations instead of working to procure what they require. Following leaders who lack integrity we voluntarily invite them to have dominion over our minds. I urge my fellow citizens raise their standards, become leaders of their minds and emulating people that can empower them.I acknowledge the Jamaica Gleaner and PSOJ for creating a platform to empower our youths through the 50 under 50 awards. Initiatives such give our youths not only hope but the burning desire to achieve the same or even greater success. Mastery of self is the most important skill in attainting any success. As a nation, learning to sow our seeds before we reap the fruit is vital. If our leaders are not setting this example, the power lies within us become our own leaders.