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, September 19, 2007

Response to "Stuck in America"

This letter was published in the Gleaner ins response to the letter "Stuck in America."

(Click on the headline to be taken to the original page.)

LETTER OF THE DAY - A Jamaica success story about living in America
published: Thursday | September 13, 2007

The Editor, Sir:

You have printed the 'Diary of a Jamaican-born US Citizen' which contends that '1 out of the 7' Jamaican migrants is having it rough succeeding in America. How about hearing from one of the three that has succeeded. Frankly, I think there are more than three out of 10 of us who have succeeded.

In my opinion the ones who have not succeeded are those who when they lived in Jamaica considered themselves the 'haves'. They had the helpers, the big house, the cars and went to the posh schools. Most likely, they left Jamaica out of fear. America has a way of humbling you and those who refuse to, find out the hard way.

In 1988 I migrated at age 34. I had nothing but a few dollars. Less than 10 years later I purchased my own house and completed a master's degree. I did not get further than a junior secondary school in Jamaica. I was not fortunate enough to get a Common Entrance placement. Today, I own my own business (a counselling agency) with government contracts and I am completing a doctoral degree.

Assistance from wonderful people

All of this was done without the assistance of family (blood family that is). God placed some wonderful Americans and transplanted Jamaicans in my path. I was not a snob when I lived in Jamaica and will never become one. I am grateful every day for the many blessings that have come my way with the hard work I have put in.

Having an air of entitlement was never who I am, but that has been the problem for some of those who find it hard to adjust. America is not Jamaica and you cannot bring the same mindset and attitude you had there to this country. I have seen those who have made it and I have seen those who would have been better off staying in Jamaica.

More discrimination in Jamaica

I have heard the horror stories of others who complained about the injustice and discrimination they have faced. I cannot say I have never faced any, but I have always used such occasions as a challenge - when life throws you a lemon, make lemonade. To be honest, I faced more discrimination (not because I was black, but because I was poor) when I lived in Jamaica thanI ever have in the U.S. The Biblical saying "A prophet is not without honour save in his own country" is applicable here.

It is amazing. Now that I have maximised my potential in life, those who did not see me as worth associating with in Jamaica, now want to talk with me. I am sorry to hear that 'Stuck in America' is having a hard time, but I suggest she examines herself to see how she could make things better for herself.


At 9/20/2007 12:47 PM, Blogger Lady Roots said...

That letter was on-target. My husband and I laugh frequently about this same thing. We know both "haves" and "have-nots" who migrated to America. Only now, we laugh from our verandah here in St. Elizabeth, while remembering our years together in America. His plan was to spend twenty years there, then return home. It actually took 34 years. We moved to St. Elizabeth in 1997.

The "haves" who ran away from Jamaica in fear, often made the mistake of taking their egos with them when they went. It was hard for them to go from being "Mas or Mistress So & So" that everyone knew or knew of, to being just another immigrant in a land of immigrants. As a big fish in a likkle pond, they were at the top of the food chain. As a likkle fish in the big pond of America, they were lost. And for many of them, the word humble was not even in their vocabulary.

The "have-nots" who left Jamaica with little more than a goal, a dream, and a vision, fuelled with the discipline to work to make it happen, were ultimately more successful, both financially and personally. They took nothing for granted.

I salute the hard work, the future-directed vision and the success!

Bless Up,
Lady Roots

At 9/20/2007 7:38 PM, Blogger fahriner said...

I wrote on this twice on my blog. There is actually a third article in the Gleaner on 9/20 with a third peron writing in. I belive that while opportunities exit in the US, as immigrants we dont educate ourselves about life in the US. Getting here is only part of it, learning to live here is just as important.

If interested, you can see more of my thoughts at


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