Monthly Archives: September 2014

Being Kind vs. Being Taken for Granted

120bd105d1fdbe5a1e6300d3b9777947I remember hearing constantly that we need to be kind in order to have kindness returned to us. If that is someone’s main reason for being kind, I really wish them all the best.

As many of you have read from my previous posts, I did not grow up wealthy, and I am still battling the world for a little “wealth” to this day. I didn’t have the resources to offer things every time I was asked, and I ended up losing many “friends” because of this. I have seen instances where my so-called friends from my former years have asked repeatedly for things I had limited access to, and the day I said “No, I really need this” was the day I lost a friend.

I am not saying to be mean, but learn to identify when you are being gypped and learn to walk away respectfully from a potentially harmful friendship. While I was working in Jamaica, I had a friend who constantly borrowed from me, and most times I had to actually ask that friends back for my funds. After having my daughter, things obviously became more expensive for me, and life got a little more complex. That friend, knowing my situation, came to ask for a large sum. Upon hearing that I don’t have it to give, I was sentenced to a long, sad story of woe. I relented and loaned out my money, with the promise of it’s return at the end of the month. That was almost ten years ago (I am no longer angry, just using this as an example).

I called, I texted. Eventually, I was removed from my friend’s social media and their phone number was changed. I ended up in a cycle of borrowing from other people to support myself, as I gave away all my resources. Kind? Yes. Stupid? YES! I didn’t identify that I was being taken for granted. There is a very thin line between the two, and I missed the memo by a long shot.

Kindness extends far beyond that, however. If someone is in need, lend a hand; if someone cries out for help, see how best you can make them smile. I definitely endorse this, as we are humans and we need people. I am speaking, however, of people who seek to “use” your kindness as a weakness and endeavor to take all they can out of you until they can move on to the next prey.

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Photo courtesy: Pinterest

Am I still kind today? To a certain extent, yes. And what I strive for is not to ask people to go out of their way to get things done for me. Not only is it inconvenient, but you may really be desperate for help at some other point and people might be hesitant to help. My roommate thinks I am a strange person because I am very selective in how I distribute kindness. I don’t think I am strange at all. I am human, and I have had a bad experience which taught me a valuable lesson: not everybody has your best interest at heart; they are mainly concerned about their own.

As such, what I have done is learn to pick my battles (in all instances) and try to be a good citizen because that’s what I want to be, not because I am backed in a corner and forced to be. I don’t want to be made to feel guilty because you were denied what you want.

My mother always says “Experience, my girl, teaches wisdom” and I have had my share of experiences and I’m now making the transition to wisdom.

 

Jodi-Ann is an Environmental Studies major in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Manchester

200px-Manchester_in_Jamaica.svgThe parish of Manchester is one of Jamaica’s most recent parishes, formed only in the 19th Century out of the parish formerly known as Vere along with St. Elizabeth and Clarendon.  Manchester has a very short history leading up to the abolition of slavery and into the 20th Century.

Manchester is known as Jamaica’s most elevated parish. The majority of the parish rests on a plateau and there are no major rivers that occupy the parish. Additionally, Manchester has the shortest coastline of all the parishes. The elevation serves as both a benefit and as a deficit. The major benefit is having exceptionally cool conditions throughout most of the year. However, there are frequent droughts and dry seasons due to the absence of a fresh water supply.

It’s no surprise that the parish has the title of the most mountainous parish (though it is not home to the highest mountain range); there are three mountain ranges in this one, medium-sized parish. And since the parish has a large deposit of Limestones, it is also no surprise as to the number of caves that exist

Gourie Cave Photo Courtesy: Jamaicancaves.org

Gourie Cave Photo Courtesy: Jamaicancaves.org

within the parish. Some of the Caves include The Abbey Cave, The Oxford Caves and the Coffee River Cave. Topographically, the parish is very rugged and hilly, but it offers some of the best views of some other parts of the island.

The major economical activities include Bauxite Mining,  Agriculture, Small Businesses (including wholesale and retail), and Horticulture – which attracts visitors from all over the world.

Fun Things to Do

  • Go Explore a Cave (literally! You have lots to choose from!)
  • Visit the Pic-a-Peppa factory on Shooter’s Hill
  • Go sight-seeing on Spur Tree Hill or Off Shooter’s Hill (or off Pen Hill, or… you get the point! 🙂 )
  • Visit the Pioneer Chocolate Factory (No Willy Wonka here!)
  • Martin’s Hill Orchid Sanctuary ( Oh look! Another hill!)
  • Attend a Horticultural Show
  • Visit Yam Hill for your roast yam and salt fish

 

Sources

National Library of Jamaica

Jamaica Information Service

 

 

St. Elizabeth

200px-Saint_Elizabeth_in_Jamaica.svgA culture of diversity is often associated with Jamaica. However, one parish takes the cake for multinationalism in Jamaica. That parish is St. Elizabeth.

St. Elizabeth, one of the more rural parishes, boasts one of Jamaica’s longest rivers and THE LONGEST NAVIGABLE river in Jamaica. Due to being so rural, it is also home to some of the freshest vegetation and some of the best fruits, tubers, and vegetables (yam, etc) in the country.

A Brief History

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The Abeng Photo Courtesy: insidejourneys.com

Many history books in Jamaica provide information that the Tainos are  extinct and even go as far as providing evidence of their extinction during the 17th and 18th Centuries. Fortunately, many Tainos, even entire families of Tainos are still living in parts of the parish. Tainos are just one of the many diverse groups of people living in the parish, St. Elizabeth is the ultimate melting pot as there are descendants of Germans (in the famous Germantown), the Dutch, Africans and Spaniards (among others) who are still living in the parish.

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The Cockpit Country Photo Courtesy: keepitjiggy.com

St. Elizabeth was at the centre of the Sam Sharpe Rebellion, and even though they were miles away, the Cockpit Country (intricate hills) was instrumental in providing a hiding place for the runaway Maroons. Accompong, a Maroon settlement in the parish, was named after the Maroon leader after he helped organize the Maroons, including Nanny and his brother, Cudjoe,  who were victorious in their fight against slavery.

Fun Points

St. Elizabeth was also reportedly the first parish to have electricity in Jamaica.

St. Elizabeth was the first to have a motorized vehicle (I could just imagine how terrified the citizens were).

St. Elizabeth has the second longest river in Jamaica.

The Cockpit Country has an adapted biodiversity (fleeing species) found nowhere else in the world.

Stuff To Do in St. Elizabeth

  • Black River Safari/Cruise
  • YS Falls
  • If you are flying into Montego Bay, it is perfect for getting an aerial view of the Cockpit Country
  • Visit Accompong Maroon Village
  • Visit Lover’s Leap (one of the most tragic love stories in Jamaica’s history happened right here)
  • If you get a chance, visit German Town and see the vast difference in architecture and other traditions.

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Sources:

Visit St. Elizabeth

Jamaica Information Service

National Library of Jamaica

Cockpit Country

Jamaica Travel and Culture