Answering a Reader's Question
I got the following emailed question from a reader of my blog, and thought it quite typical of the kind of emails I get:
Love reading your blogs and feel somewhat inspired to follow my dreams of returning home. However, my husband is more fearful of the constant news of crime and hard life affecting our people. Still, I am driven to find every information to convince him that we should take the chance and return to a life where people actually talk to each other. We live in a beautiful neighborhood where people very rarely speak to each other and I am sooo... tired of it all.
So please could you give my husband a real insight about living there and how the crime is affecting those who have to cope with it on a daily basis(I have read your earlier reports). I think he is just afraid that the chances of being killed is multiplied, although we live in South Florida where violence is now on the increase.
I, on the other hand is willing to chance a few bullets for a better quality of life( bullets flying and all). It may sound crazy to some but you can't imagine the feeling that your spirit is dying in such a lovely looking environment. Many Jamaicans back home are really anxious to come here and I do understand the financial need. However, some may think I am bit strange when I say that sometimes people who care about each other, and have a sense of community are the lucky ones. You don't know what you have until you look back in years to come and realize that no amount of money, career, big house ect. can replace the feeling of belonging to a country, of being recognized on the street and feeling that YES...this is home.
I thought her question was more interesting than my answer:
In short, I would say:
-- most of the crime is not random, but gang related, and involves retaliation, revenge and turf. Murders are down 31% in Kingston over last year.
-- if you can make it in the USA as a Black person/foreigner, you can make it here in Jamaica (assuming you are Black...) You are not the same person that left -- you are skilled, capable, flexible and you know what it means to work hard and keep high standards
-- you still cannot work as hard here as you do in the US (the Sundays won't let you) and will have much more of a life
-- your skills are probably in demand here
Having said that, you should prepare yourselves as much as you can for the differences you will find.
And you will probably be surprised at how much in Jamaica we are 'in each others lives," which is what I think you are missing. I agree with you... the Benz SUV parked in front of the 5 B/R house in Plantation is nice, but...
Being able to make a big difference by being home is nicer... in my opinion.