"Isn't strange how all the very richest colours of the world are to be found in the birds, beasts, seas and lands which belong to all the poorest countries in the world. It makes one wonder where lies the 'richest of worldly experiences' and whether or not what the poorest nations have to offer the rest of us, far outweighs any material advantage enjoyed by 'more prosperous economies.'
My mind instantly goes to Jamaica, a country born out of slavery and one that exists today upon the patronage of tourists to its beautiful shores. Having worked with the people of Trelawny, Jamaica and all of its 32 schools during the years 2000-2002, I was amazed by the overall positive attitude of its peoples in relation to the daily hardships most of them experience. Many live on a meagre $1 a day, a subsistence level from which school fees have to be paid by the parents for every poor pupil they have parented, despite having no chance of their offspring ever getting a job in their own country or a passport out of it. Their classroom floors are carpeted with nature's earth, pupils line their paper and write on both sides and pencils are cut into threes sections to make them spread farther. Each hurricane season of its year witnesses the collapse and destruction of the poorly built homes of many citizens and uproots their pot-holed roads. The largest growth industry is the spread of drugs, and with a third-world health service to supply its gravely ill, the chances of reaching a distant hospital if ever needed before the patient dies, is slighter than this snow-free land ever winning an Olympic gold medal for ski jumping or toboggan racing. Jamaica is the murder capital of the world and yet it has more churches per 1000-population ratio than any other country on the face of the earth. Given all of its hardships and poor prospects faced by Jamaicans, its people seem to be born with a capacity of 'always looking ahead to better times to come.' It's little surprise that one of its favourite songs that acts as an ambassador across the world for 'positivism' begins with the words, 'Don't worry about a thing, 'cos every little thing's gonna be alright' It's a funny old world, isn't it? " William Forde: October 26th, 2013.