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The Ghetto in Spanish Town, Jamaica

This post has more pictures than usual because I really wanted to show what kind of experience I had in the “ghetto”. When I got there it only took minutes for one of them to tell me I suit the ghetto.  In a strange way I was honored.

A couple friends of mine who stay in Ocho Rios invited me to their REAL home in Spanish Town, in the parish of St Catherine.  I agreed without hesitation, not knowing really what I was in for.  We drove just over an hour and reached their home after dark so I never got the full effect til the next morning.  This is a picture of the front yard and behind those walls is where 9 of them live.

Spanish Town ghetto

Spanish Town ghetto

The night we arrived I was first shown to my host’s room.  All the rooms in this home have separate, padlocked entrances.  His room was around the back of the house which was pitch dark at night.  I followed them in and used the flashlight on my cell phone to see where I was walking.  The next morning I could see that this is what the walkway looked like.

Back of house in Spanish Town

Back of house in Spanish Town

When we arrived we all sat in one room and chatted for a while, and before long one of the brothers who lived in another room came to join us.  Through the wall I could hear the sound of an infant child so I asked about it.  The brother told me it was his daughter in the next room and asked if I’d like to see her.  I TOTALLY wanted to!  He led me around the front of the house to another door and inside I saw his girlfriend and 3 girls, aged 8, 6 and 6 months.  The baby immediately smiled at me and the other two girls looked cautious.  I quickly scanned the room and noticed that in this 20X20 space was a double bed for the mom, dad and baby, and the other two girls slept in a single bed together.  There was a TV on a shelf, a stove in the corner and that was pretty much it.  Wow.  It made me feel greedy the way I live back home.

Back in my friend’s room now I scanned his space.  Just a double bed, dresser and a laundry basket.  This is looking out his door into the dark walkway.  That walkway is also the place where they told me to pee when I had to go LOL.  There are no washrooms or running water here.

out-zeds-door

We all stayed up a while listening to music til another brother showed up.  He was a real livewire compared to the others I was with.  I suspect he’s the hothead of the family.  He was really nice to me though, and all of them agreed that they were going to take me to a street party in a garrison tonight.  I was hesitant but mildly amused at the thought so we all got dressed and hit the streets.  I admit that there were a few moments walking the dark streets of Spanish Town after midnight with 3 Jamaican men, that my mind wandered to the list of things that could go wrong at any time!  I said a little prayer for safety and decided to enjoy the walk.

The street party was actually pretty lame LOL.  It shut down about 20 minutes after we arrived.  I was a little disappointed but kind of impressed that they told me the police like to keep things quiet and keep parties under control.  Not what I was expecting.  So there we were at 2:30am in the streets of Spanish Town trying to catch a taxi home.  Well this place isn’t like a tourist place….taxi’s are not abundant.  We ended up catching a ride with a random car that passed, and I think they only stopped because they saw a white female in the group.

moms-bed

The picture above is the room I got to sleep in.  Its their mother’s room but the mother works away from home so there was an extra bed for me.  I felt honored they would let me have her room.  One of the guys stayed in there with me for my comfort level and we shared the space with the odd spider on the wall behind  us.  We laid awake and chatted a long time, til about 4am.  It was at that point he told me he felt honored that I would accept their invitation to come there, and that he felt like “somebody” because I came.  I couldn’t help it…..I cried.  And I wondered if he was in any way embarrassed of where he came from.  I told him the total reverse….that I was the one who was honored to be a part of their everyday lives.

The next morning I was awoken at 7:30 by the sweet sounds of a cooing baby through the wall.  The door to the room I was in was open to the outside and everyone was already busy about their day.  I saw one of the brothers preparing bath water for the baby.

jermaine-pouring-water

I went outside and said good morning to everyone, including the little girls from the night before.  I did a lot this day but I’m saving some of it for another post.  I will tell you that around lunchtime they were gracious enough to ask what I would like and they would go to the market.  So I turned it around and said I would like to take care of lunch.  I wanted curry chicken and I gave them $1000 JMD to get what was needed at the market.  $1000 JMD converts to about $15 USD…..and that fed 9 people.  Amazing.  Everyone voted this brother the best cook so he took care of lunch.  Prepared outside on this table and cooked inside on their gas stove.  I was completely in my element here….loved it.

jermaine-chopping-chicken

While lunch was being prepared I took note of how things went in this yard.  There are big barrels of rainwater all over the place and this is their drinking, cooking and bathing water.  They simply scoop water from the big barrels into small tin cans and use it for whatever.  Whenever I squatted behind the house one of them was always gracious enough to pour water over my hands to wash.  And one of them was bathing from a barrel on the other side of the yard while lunch was cooking.

Blue water barrels at side of house

Blue water barrels at side of house

Bathing with a tin can.

Bathing with a tin can.

My summary of this experience….I was in complete awe that they all function normally and the only reason they are “poor” is because we look at them and say “awwww those poor people”.  Everyone right down to the 6 year old has it completely together here!  The little girls take care of the baby while the dad cooks.  They know how to hang laundry.  This is just the way they live and they don’t seem to be upset that they bathe from rain barrels.  Its all just what you’re used to and we are REALLY spoiled in North America.

Even though I was hot, sweaty and felt kinda gross without a shower I would do it again in a heartbeat.  In fact I’m going back to see them in September.  The chicken was some of the best food I’ve eaten and no, I didn’t get sick from eating in these conditions.  My friends have a really old laptop so I uploaded ALL the pics I took of them and the kids so they would have something to look at.  I can’t imagine raising children and never having any photo’s as keepsakes.  I can’t wait to go back and see the baby walking a few months.

This was by far, one of my most treasured experiences in Jamaica and I will definitely be going back.

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66 Comments

  1. this is just the kind of experience i want on my vacations, this is the reason i travel. To walk in other cultures shoes…
    You are blessed and doing a wonderful thing kristi!

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  2. ahhh bathing outside with rainwater…cutting up chicken outside…brings back memories of my days in St Ann back in the day!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Yes it was a fabulous experience. I’m in the process of sending a photo album down for that family via Damswell. And I’m gonna take lots more stuff for them next time I go back.

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  4. This is exactly what people from the US can’t understand. How another culture can have all the riches of life yet have a “poor” life. I personally feel exactly how you did “honored” to have these types of experiences. We all should experience something like this at least once in our lives. To walk in anothers shoes and truly live life! Your story made me smile, cry and feel blessed.

    Thank you!

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  5. Thanks for sharing this with the rest of the world, Kristie.
    I am certainly going to stay at my friend’s in the guetto in pineapple (Ochi).
    I have been looking for information like this for a month. It is absolutely brilliant. You have some guts girl!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Thank you very much! And thanks for the inspiration to post it right away. I knew you were waiting for it. Keep in touch!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  7. wonderful report Jam, you are true lover of the culture and people.thanks for sharing your wonderful journey with me.

    LJ

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. Anytime girl. Your trip is coming right up and you must be excited now!!!!

    Can’t wait to meet you down the road sometime!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. I came across your blog through BlogCatalog a few days ago and have been riveted ever since! I like the look and feel of your blog – very pleasing and uncluttered. Easy to navigate around too! You write really well… so much so that I can actually visualise Jamaica… in my mind’s eye. Great pics too! I knew about the location and geography of the Caribbean/West Indies and their cricket team of course! Brian Lara, Sir Viv Richards, and the like… and Usain Bolt as well. But, very little about their art, culture, and everyday life… your blog fill in those gaps quite well! Thanks a bunch!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. Thank you very much Roshmi! It makes me happy and inspires me when I can share pieces of the world with others who wouldn’t normally get to see or know this stuff. I really appreciate your comments. :-)

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  11. Superb, i love reading this kind stuff. its brilliant how people live in other places isn’t it. If the world wasn’t such a greedy place most of us would be happy bathing in a tin.

    I had a similar adventure in Laos, they lived in a room with no windows and one door with newspaper on the wall. They had nothing, but he had a job. he and his girlfriend lived there and do you know what i think i will write about it instead on my blog…. talk soon, good write up. love it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. Thanks Richard!!! Link me when you write your post, I’d love to read it!!!

    Yes this was an experience of a lifetime and I’m definitely going back next trip. Fell in love with this family.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. Very nice site. I like photography.

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  14. Thanks Mike! I dropped by your site and LOVE your photography!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. I JUST CAME BACK FROM A NINE DAY VACATION, I STAYED AT THE NEGRIL TREEHOUSE AND THE LAST 4 AT THE GRAND PALLUIDAM, I HAVE NEVER FELT SO GUILTY IN MY LIFE, I WILL GO BACK AND THIS TIME I WILL MAKE IT AN ADVENTURE JUST LIKE YOURS.

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  16. Well if you’re going back let me know and I’ll find you a wicked place to stay that’s cheap and you can mingle with all the locals you like!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  17. It is great that you saw this part of Jamaica – not great that this exists though. I know Jamaica has its big problems not only with poverty, but with drugs and gun crime so it is probably dangerous to go out into the communities like this. Did you at any time feel threatened or afraid when you were looking around?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  18. No I never felt “threatend” at all, I was with people I trusted. There was a fraction of a moment that I thought about my safety though. I asked them about all that and they said they were pretty much born and raised here and have never seen or heard an incident in their immediate neighborhood.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. tell me or send me more info on spanishtown st.catherine jamaica please and also bridgeport school in portmore jamaica.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. These are the only 2 days I’ve spent in Spanish Town, I don’t have much more info yet. But I’m going back this month so stay tuned and I’ll bring back some more for you I hope. What do you want to know?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. Thank you so much for your blogs. I’m just coming back from a 3 week vacation in Jamaica (Spanish Town, Portmore, and St. Thomas), and your blog really captures the essence of our country. Thank you so much for the images and sobering reality of just how spoiled and greedy we can be here in the States at times. Going home always reminds me not to take things for granted. Oh, and the rain water is heaven for your skin. I love it. In the country, we bathe in the river…your skin will be as smooth as a baby’s! :o)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  22. Thank you so much for the compliments, its my pleasure. True story…..I get so much pleasure out of all my experiences.

    I’ve heard its been non-stop rain lately! It betta dun by the time I get there in Feb!!

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  23. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  24. I wasn’t going to approve your comment but then I thought it’s good to have both sides of the fence…everyone’s entitled to an opinion.

    In a way I think you’re right, people live the way they do for a reason. If they wanted to live differently they probably would try a lot harder. However before judging anyone it’s good to know the whole story. They all have jobs and go to work so if this is the best they can do then don’t knock it. And there are only 3 kids there, I don’t think that’s an oversized family at all….pretty average if you ask me. So it’s not like all they do is breed. LOL I guess if you have a problem with too much breed you should talk to the men who have 8 kids by 8 different females. :D Or how about chatting to Elephant man’s 24 kids! hahaha

    Anyways, yes I do think SOME Jamaican’s mentality is a little too laid back and they could do better for themselves if they had more motivation. But I do NOT think its fair to make sweeping generalizations about people you don’t know.

    Thanks for your input! It’s as real as it gets. :-)

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  25. @Anthonette Wow i can’t believe what you said. I was born in Jamaica I lived in Kingston, and not every single Jamaican’s lives in the ghetto, I didn’t, (just so you know). Every where you go there are people who live in bad conditions. I lived in Kingston and everyone thinks Kingston is ghetto, I don’t get it. Its not the whole Jamaican people live in poverty my dear. There are parts where you wouldn’t even believe is Jamaica and parts that are really beautiful. So back to you, you said you couldn’t believe that’s where they invited a tourist to come, are you serious she obviously wanted to go there. Not everyone like to be fake OK, most people that lives in the ghetto are really nice people AND THEY DO TRY HARD TO MAKE THEIR LIVES BETTER. I have been to America ( Atlanta,Chicago, California, Florida, Washington, Wisconsin, and my favorite NEW YORK) and I have been to the HOODS their too, and I was shocked because I did not know that Americans could live in those places.And my cousin was robbed in new york(Brooklyn).That just show you that every country got there flaws. And Jamaica do so does the whole Caribbean, and north America. So don’t make it look like they’re only ghettos in Jamaica with people who sit around and have 50 babies and they all are uneducated. I must say i am really offended not by JC but by Anthonette who seems to live in a little box, Hun poverty is all around the world. In addition if you really like a place, and you really want to see every where and experience the cultures there (DON’T JUST SEEK OUT THE BAD PARTS). Then do it go talk to the locals if you are up for the challenge visit the ghetto visit the suburbs at least when you get back home you have both views of Jamaica or any country at that. And thats what i do my next place to go is Great Britain.

    PS: DO YOU EVEN KNOW THE HISTORY OF SPANISH TOWN

    ah gush wah we seh we life soon start outt but Wi nuh mek dat badda WI. ONE LOVE

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  26. @Anthonette
    OMG…!! You are either a young person with no brain, or an old person with no real experience of life & no F**KING brain…!!
    I was actually gobsmacked at the words that you wrote…! How could someone be so stupid…!
    You have no right to speak these words that I have just seen…!
    How can you say that they were ‘disgusting’ for inviting a tourist to where they are from…! They were simply showing her how they live! The people are her friends so why wouldnt she go there…! Im sure if she felt uncomfortable, they would take her out of there! & just like jamboy said, there is alot of crime all over the world, not just Jamaica…! Maybe you should take a look around where you come from and you might be suprised…!

    Only the other day I was reading a story in the paper about how a mother had given birth to 14 children and had all of them taken away from her because she wasnt ‘fit’ to look after them! She knew everytime she had a baby that they would be taken away from her, yet she didnt care and kept havin babie!! They didnt even have the same dad!!
    Now you tell me which is more acceptable… having people in Jamaica making a FAMILY and taking care of them and giving them the best life they know how and can (which when they dont know any different, would be suitable for anyone)… or having 14 kids and them being taken care of by the government…???!!!

    In my opinion you are one STUPID BITCH…!!!!!!!
    Go slap yourself!!!!!

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  27. *ding ding ding* The match is over LOL.

    Having said all that….let’s take the war somewhere else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. Dear idiot-Aka comment 23.

    Really are you serious. Who are you to be so spiteful-whats it to you how they live honesty.Sorry to disappoint you really i am but having children is not a crime, and its non of your god damn business if they do or don’t.Its really unfair that you’ve decided to pollute JC’S good doing with those awful and unjustified opinions. It just shows that people like yourself really have a very very VERY basic outlook on life! Next time please do exercise your brain before typing, the only people in my opinion that cause the world that we live in to become so greedy and unjustified are people that are very narrow minded, with far too much money and time on their hands.

    Spread the love not the venom. And please do not embarrass our race with comments that weren’t necessary and only cause intentional harm. Its not normal behaviour.I see that comment as an attention seeking.

    Really gets my goat.

    Sorry JC i couldn’t stand bak on this occasion, please do continue your hard work though-its appreciated!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. No problem Vanay, everyone’s entitled to say what they want as long as it stays under control.
    :-)

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  30. Hello JC. I just read your posts and i can’t believe the life you are living in. I am so jealous! I am from Greece and I am trying to organise a trip to Jamaica but this is not so easy for me. I love their culture and their music but I am pretty sure that if I ever accomplish to visit Jamaica i will never see it as you did. I heard that this is dangerous if you do not any locals. I am very fur away to know any Jamaican. I really hope that if you see my post you will try to give me some advices about my dream-trip! I am sorry for my poor English! Please tell me how can I see the other side of life ( the true and beautiful one and not only the rich and fake side of world).

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  31. Thank you Erenia. If you want to know anything just let me know. Ask whatever questions you have! :-)

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  32. You are so kind! I have so many questions! At first, can i reach you someway in forum? Where should i stay that is not expensive? Just think that i will be able to make this trip in two years maybe. And can I come through the real life in Jamaica just in seven days? I hope when i will finally go to Jamaica you will be there and i will be able to meet you!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. @Erenia. your trip will at no time bring you into harms way because you don’t know any locals. I know every Jamaican loves tourists, we love showing people around, we love boasting our culture. So don’t worry about how far away you live. I’m pretty sure you can find so local friendswithin a day or two. Just go out have fun and talk to as many people as you can. All the best with your trip

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Thank you for this Demoya! Its so encouraging and reassuring to hear LOCALS say that. This is what I try to tell people, in all my experiences you Jamaicans have been waaay more than accommodating and are so proud to show us around and help us experience your vibes. Respect.

    And thank you for reading :-)

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  35. JC
    First of all, I must commend you on being such a brave person. I come from Trinidad and fortunately the economy there is much better than Jamaica, yet we do have some people who are very poor. When I was growing up I did pass through neighbourhoods where there were very poor people. At school, their kids were always dressed in clean school uniforms and one would never have known that they were so poor. I myself did become friendly against my guardian’s wishes with one or two poor kids and did enjoy visiting them on one or two occasions and what I envied most was the bond they had with each other and the happiness that they shared. They always made jokes, sang and danced. Although I lived in a beautiful house and a nice neighbourhood, I did not share that happiness. Those friends of mine have worked very hard and are all professionals today and so are their children. They now have beautiful homes and live very comfortable lifestyles.

    Circumstances make people poor. The fact that your friends invited you to their home meant that they really trusted you and saw that you were different because we West Indians are very sensitive about our surroundings. You were brave but at the same time you trusted them and they proved to you that they were trustworthy. It is nice for once that a human being is not phony like most people are and can understand that the world is not a perfect place. God bless. I hope that your friends’ situation will become much better as time goes by. What we sometimes fail to realize is that lots of unfortunate things happen in people’s lives that they are not truly responsible for.

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  36. Wow Ginger, thank you so much for your comments and for sharing your experience. The last paragraph you wrote is so true…and they remain trusted friends to this day. Will be going back to see them yet again in a couple weeks. It’s funny, the person I was tied to who introduced me to his family is no longer in the picture at all yet I continue to keep in touch with the kids and their mom and dad, and the brothers. They make sure I know I’m welcome any time and I LOVE watching the girls grow! I think their situation will improve, they’ve been working hard on starting a shop….it just takes a long LONG time when you’re putting in a little money at a time.

    Thank you SO much for reading and commenting. I’ll have an update on them in a few weeks. :-)

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  37. u are a very ignorant person to say genarally that north america has it good there are many places in namerica just like this one with not only black people but whites as well

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. That may be true JCS but #1 this blog is about Jamaica, not North America. #2 North Americans definitely have more opportunity than Jamaicans. There is no social system to speak of in Jamaica.

    And no, I’m not ignorant. Thanks. :-D

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. woow , am from somewhat part of the Caribbean and I agree with you . People in North America have life too well . Am living in Oklahoma , been here for 3yrs & a first it was slightly different from what I was use to . I never had to bath from barrel water or anything like that but I would watch my neighbors and look at the way they live . They didn’t have electricity , water or space .. they had a two bedroom house but around 10 people including children would live there …

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  40. Yep it’s definitely a different way of life! I was very humbled.

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  41. ive just looked at this whilst researching jamaica in google
    i have been jamaica in hotel as a tourist
    but next year i willbe travelling to jamaica to stay with my sons father
    he lives in the ‘ghetto’ as it would be said..and i have been a little worried…he claims that it is one room like this im am guessing wiht loads of little rooms around where other people sleep..i dont know
    but hopefully my trip will be as pleasent as yours..
    i hope as i will be there for 3 months!!

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  42. Tiny I won’t lie, yes the people were pleasant and wonderful but living ghetto style isn’t comfortable like we’re used to. I’m not sure I could have managed to stay at this home for 3 months. I would long for a toilet and running water! So you’ve never been to your child’s father’s house?

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  43. J.C. thumbs up to you, my granmama lives in the ghetto in jamaica and shares bathroom (one) with about ten other family that lives in that yard. Her two room and kitchen space is completely separate meaning when she goes into her space she does not share or see anyone else unless she looks through her window or goes to sit on her porch. The bathroom though gets to me, I really do not wish to do my business in a chamber pot or go outside to the bathroom and most time someone is using it or banging down the door telling you to hurry because they need to go…..dwl

    I say thumbs up because you went off with someone you did not know I am too much of a scaredy cat. I am so glad that they are great people and you got to experience their way of life. Yes, I know we North Americans are spoiled stuff I take for granted its a luxury to other peeps.

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  44. Yes it was definitely an eye opener for real. And in hindsight I probably took unnecessary risks but it worked out in my favor and I’m a better person for it.

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  45. People are sometimes faced with situations which they find difficult to get away from.
    Unfortunately, this is a reality for Jamaica’s approximately 100,000 homeless people.
    The majority of these people did not have the luxury to choose the lifestyle they lead, but made the best uses of what the society offered.
    Many often try to make honest livings and when the time arises have to beg to survive, but nevertheless they try to resist the unfortunate temptation so many citizens are faced with – stealing and substance abuse.
    Two homeless men were recently treated in a way that some argued was insensitive and uncivil. During the late hours of the afternoon, about two weeks ago, a group of homeless men and women had their valuables taken away and discarded by the local police. The homeless were given prior notice that they would have to go and find residences elsewhere.The law says the homeless are not allowed to stay on the streets. But do they really have anywhere else to go?
    Shelters are dilapidated and many times there are no properly trained social workers on call. The homeless came to shelters, in search of refuge’ and instead have been greeted by rude and scornful faces that call them burdens.

    Please support People Helping people International

    http://www.peoplehelpingpeopleinternational.com

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  46. Trouble follows trouble no matter where u go r where u live. I luv JA, so dont ever look at peeps coz dey dont hav what u hav bcoz dey r probably happier dan u r I will ever b. Materialistic things r erelevant, happieness cums from within :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  47. Wow! What an experience that must have been! Thankx for sharing that with us…. I have lived here all my life but I doubt I’d ever find myself in such a place! I’ve often wondered what goes on behind those zinc fences.

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  48. Guess it’s surprising to see that it’s just life that goes on behind there. Nice family and beautiful kids :-)

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  49. we are not poor and thats the ghetto life if u dont like it come meet me in jamaica at spanish town with my ghetto utes

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  50. i comment good for most people but some think that jamaican people are poor naw man we are just fine with our life peace out niggas

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  51. This story was written so well, and your pics are amazing. LOVE your blog and website… can you write more frequently please? I just found this site 3 days ago, and I’m all caught up now, and I’m constantly checking for new stuff… more, more, more, more!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  52. Awww thanks Heather! Yes I have lots more coming up! I’ve just been so busy working I have to take some time to get more posts together and publish. Stay tuned!

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  53. Ooooh–I’m with Heather–more more! I love how you incorporate pictures to illustrate what you are writing about, too! Heather and I are going to Jamaica in t-minus 39 days, and we are NOT staying at a resort. Can NOT wait to incorporate some of your discoveries into our trip!

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  54. That’s so great Lindsay, I’m excited for you guys!
    As for pictures, there’s no way to tell a story without them!

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  55. Excellent post… Makes me wanna go visit them too!

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  56. Ms Beauty, it was such a great experience all 3 times I went there. Have since lost touch with them but am so grateful for the experiences.

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  57. I Traveled to Jamrock and I had a wonderful time. However, it is not all fun and food. To see the sufferation sick me. It was a sureal experience. People all over the world are suffering. How can a government play so many games with the lives of the youth in Jamrock? UPRISING!

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  58. ISweetheart I thoroughly enjoyed your artiicle! I is wonderfully written and very poignant. As an American born and raised in the Nation’s capitol I’ve experienced “our” version of poverty and your eye-opening article is exactly what I’ve come to suspect about everywhere all over the globe. Living in D.C. all of my life I’ve learned that there are tourist areas in the city and there’s the “real McCoy.” I love that you were able to experience JA for it’s realness and not just the places designated for the typical tourist. I’ve never been there, but when I go (whenever that will be) I intend to go the route you went. Yeah…sure the beach…eventually, but I want to stay all the way First Class straight in the slums! As an American I recognize exactly how spoiled we truly are. It’s just our way of life…but I NEED to experience real joy and beauty in a country that offers more than exquisite luxurious surroundings and delectable 5 star restaurant cuisine. I need to experience JA’s beautiful, humble, and gracious impoverished people who have far more to offer than the latter. Thank you! You have experienced my dream vacation and I appreciate that you took the time to share. Continue to be BLESSED!

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  59. wow…what an incredible read. thank you so much for sharing, and the photos speak so much! I always believed that these kind of experiences open your mind- this is the world we live in, and like many commented above: there is the ugly & pretty everywhere in the world! I have visited favelas in Brazil and come across some honest, friendly people who have transformed their life in the most creative way. I’ve seen similar things in Cuba, Syria and Beijing. Your experience is really unique though. Keep blogging :)

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  60. Thank you so much! Yes it was eye opening and humbling to say the least. Judging by some of the photos on your Flickr page you’re had many amazing experiences yourself.

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  61. I just love how you document your experiences here and share them as they are, keep doing it. If you ever plan on coming to st.thomas when you are in jamaica let me know.

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  62. Thank you so much Kirk. I just got your email too so I will reply to you there. Thanks for reading! :-)

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  63. A friend just got back from Kingston. Told a story very close to what you tell. Only downside was she said she felt compelled to buy food ffor them after three days of eating “the same thing”. Threw party for the household with ice cream and at least 150 showed up in the yard. Said people would gather around her rented care and ask for money wherever she went. Forgive me, but I see a potential for being mugged or worse. I say, take the ehospitality, chart up the experience and leave things just as you found them. Am I being naive or uncaring?

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  64. I don’t think you’re being naive Tish, it’s always good to be aware and cautious. However I will say you don’t have to be in a poor area in Jamaica to be asked for money everywhere you go. That has happened WAY more to me in tourist areas than in poor areas. Someone in Ocho Rios showed me where a particular store is once and then stood there waiting for me to pay him for his assistance. I’m sorry but where I come from we point people in the right direction out of the goodness of our hearts with no expectation of anything in return. I believe the locals in tourist areas are MUCH more conditioned to hustle foreigners.

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  65. wow to the person who wrote this,ur really brave i mean i live in jamaica an honestly i would never go to the ghetto with strangers bt im glad u had the chance to experience something different as several others have commented not all of jamaica is like that i live in the country area an its totally different theres lots more space an privacy theres no violence so our parties dont gt locked down we party until day light.

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  66. Thanks Den Den, and yah it was a great experience for sure but like you, I prefer the quieter country areas.

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