Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Being Stuck in America

Today a friend of mine shared the following story about a conversation with a fellow Jamaican in Florida: She shared with a friend of hers that she was on the way back home for a short visit, and he pointedly asked her: "Yuh mad! Do you have any idea how many people were killed last month in Jamaica?"

She stammered out a weak reply; "No."

He told her "A hundred and something!" Like many Jamaicans abroad, she responded with shock and told him that "A lie yuh a tell!"

He called Jamaica on the spot, and spoke to someone who confirmed that we did indeed have over a hundred murders. I guess he proved his point. He was factually correct about the number of murders.

However, what is more interesting is that we have some 2 million tourists per year coming here.

In spite of Jamaicans like him.

In an earlier post, I shared the reaction that my wife received when she shared that she was moving back. The most negative reaction came from Jamaicans.

Many Jamaicans in the U.S. are angry that they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They love their country, and miss it terribly. They are angry that they cannot return (for many good reasons.) They are unwilling to assimilate into the mainstream U.S. (which for most means becoming African Americans.)

They are stuck.

They also lose sleep at night wondering what will happen when their children and grand-children lose their Jamaican-ness, and won't be able to tell a mango from a muss-muss. They send their hard-earned money back, hoping that it will make a difference, guilty that they left in the first place, and hurting for those who are living without back home.

Last night on the political debate between Audley Shaw and Omar Davis I heard a good idea for the first time -- an overseas Jamaican investment bond. Perhaps that might be a useful way to contribute?



At 8/15/2007 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So So true. You couldn't have said it better. They don't want to move back but rather import all of their Jamaicaness abroad and yet cringe at the thought of their kids and grankids being called a minority not necessarily African American but Indian, Spanish etc. etc..If you can't assimilate move back not necessarily to JA but there are so many other islands...the US isn't it!!

At 8/19/2007 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck to you if you are moving back. My Aunt did so, and seems to be doing okay. Jamaica is violent (way too much crime - especially murders), but there are people who have lived there for years without any problems (much of my family is still there).

God Bless - please pray that Hurricane Dean doesn't destroy too much.

At 1/10/2008 8:53 AM, Blogger ILUVJA said...

With no intentions of sounding rude or disrespectful of your views - i do wish to ask how do you publish a commentary on the world wide web that insinuates and paints Jamaica as a land of murders. I WILL check the archives of the JCF to verify when in our history did we have over 100 murders in 1 week. To my best recollection the last time that happened was 19never !!!

Dear sir,
You speak of Jamaicans living in the states - wanting to return to Jamaica land I love - missing Jamaica land I love terrible but refuse to do so because of crime rates ......Ok
I assume then that you speak of the Jamaicans that have the OPTION of returning with NO consequeces.
Can you give us the other side of the story too - can you speak of the Jamaicans that have
1. Left their carreers to clean homes and ass
2. Left homes to live in living rooms and basements
3. Left thier children at the stage of babies and have never seen them since
4.Never had the oppurtunity to bury parents or children
5.Never witness graduations marriages baptisms birthdays family REUNIONS
6.PAID $K's for business marriages and have to sell thier souls for the spouse to keep his/her end of the bargin
7. Jamaicans that cry daily to come home to Jamaica land I love but stay (in all the above) hoping to one day get the green light(card)
8.Jamaicans that have NO hope Not a chance in life to return not even in death....
9. Jamaicans with no rights no faces only fingerprints
10. ALL for what - to one day

Jamaica LAND - I LOVE

At 1/10/2008 3:50 PM, Blogger fwade said...

ILuvja -- that's 100 per MONTH, not week (thanks God.)

You make some good points that are almost never discussed by those Jamaicans who have migrated. There are plenty barrel-kids who have had their lives messed up by the ill-advised choices their parents made.

At 7/18/2008 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was born in America of Jamaican parents but I also feel that there is the other side to Jamaicans living in the U.S. - "living the American Nightmare". My grandmother came to the U.S. from Jamaica leaving her children behind > came to clean homes - promise of an American dream > left a good life in Jamaica > now in her late 80s with early Alzheimers and phasing in and out of memories of wanting to go back or at least regretting not having a home back in Jamaica that she could have returned to...and so instead sits in a horrible NY nursing home with no home/island foods to satisfy her appetite(she starves refusing the canned foods they prepare), etc - nothing but fading memories of what she could have done. How many Jamaicans actually come to the U.S. and obtain college educations and beyond or even save enough to be able to return to their homeland? There is not much in the U.S. for those who feel they need to emigrate from the islands to chase the so called American dream - unless done with success like those who have gotten Masters degrees, business degrees, etc and have create self sustaining businesses to be able to return. Heck there is not much here for the average African-American. I cannot say that I understand what is going on in Jamaica hands-on, but the number of complaints I see from even those who are here from Liberia and other African countries is enough to make me wonder where the better life truly is.

At 7/19/2008 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since i last commented on this blog the murder rate has sadly come to pass. In my 30 yrs living in Jamaica I have never felt fear so real. Homes are self inflicted prisons that we lock ourselves in and hide the keys.
"What the deal dub"
Its useless senseless regardless of highness murders of brothers sisters mothers fathers babies puppies ....too close for comfort.
Its no longer garrison its The Harrisons - its no longer politics - its children antics. Its drugs guns white collar thugs.....destroying Jamaica Land I love.
Cash plus rob us - high tide money washers take poor people to the cleaners the the streets ....six feet deeper than the heat they feel - UPTOWN!!!
Jamaica land i love - dear god where is that white dove with the fig tree....or is the palm tree or the coconut tree or the orange tree or the weed tree......Vic-tree!!Victree - after 18yrs there was VICTREE but still no VICTREE for we.....only for them and those that speak eloquently with words and no heart - tricked the educated into thinking scandal and paper trail bags were light bulbs for change. Jamaica need a change now - dont? But who can do the time who can pay the wages for the crime stoppers and shotters.....
Who can wash away the tears the fears the blood from the rugs the stones that crush the order of one from the ancient tibes of clans men turning to men for fun - yes fun - funny. Whats the deal ...signs of the time.

At 7/21/2008 12:07 PM, Blogger fwade said...

Anonymous w/ a grandmother missing home -- thanks for sharing!

At 4/05/2009 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have been reading your blog for a while now. please do not ever delete it. i dare say you should archive everything. i am not a jamaican; i am a trinidadian. we have had more money and economic growth than you jamaicans could ever dream of. yet our migration rate (murder rate too) is higher than yours now; trinis have been like the roadrunner, running for the embassy as fast as any crisis (real or imagined) occurs. for you to move back is truly patriotic. i am so fucking tired of seeing "trini to d bone" on facebook. they have deh american passport eh.. and dey talking about "barack". dey is come trinidad play carnival, take a few picture of d beach post it on dey facebook gloat about the food and run back away. u sir are truly a good son of the caribbean for returning to help your country. and furthermore so many millions of us caribbean people have gone away and there is no extensive documentation of migration despite the high prevalence. sorry for rambling but keep up the good work.

At 4/18/2009 2:27 PM, Blogger Camille said...

I am a Jamaican living in Trinidad. Strangely enough, I have found that I am of more value in other places than I would be if I stayed in Jamaica. But my goal is to gain the experience I can and then see if I can somehow help my country. But then again, my desire is not just to help Jamaica, but the Caribbean because I am all for Caribbean integration. I agree with the person who said that Jamaica needs a change ... but how can it change if all the qualified persons with goodness in their hearts run away? But I don't judge anyone so those who left for better opportunities - I'm happy for them, and those for worse, I sympathize with them. But if all Jamaicans where to return to the island, the poor island would be over-run, and with limited resources, I don't think that would be the best option for all. So it has to be your own personal conviction at the end of the day and I guess someone needs to start a movement, for Jamaicans abroad to give back if they so desire.

At 7/01/2011 4:10 PM, Blogger Random musings said...

you need to write a book bro, your blog is relevant, funny, truthful and entertaining.

At 7/01/2011 9:23 PM, Blogger fwade said...

a long time me a tink dat...


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