JAMAICA!I can't believe I am really, truly in Jamaica! I am sitting in my room this morning, my hubby just left for a round of golf, and I am experiencing relaxation and leisure in a way previously unknown to me. Our suite has a patio that overlooks the sea, clear and blue.
Last night, at the welcome jerk reception on the beach (with flame throwers, beach drums, and men on stilts saying "no worries, mon! You are in Jamaica, Mon!"), there were security on the outskirts of the party. When I asked about it later, I was informed that Jamaica is very dangerous, and we should not leave the resort under any circumstances, unless it was a planned, guided event. Our bus driver said that the minimum wage here is US $50 a week. As we drove here from the airport, it was plain to see, by the houses on the side of the road, that many of the people here in Jamaica are very poor. I wonder how they view people like me...these americans, coming to vacation in luxury. Are they happy to see us, knowing that we will spend money? Or do they harbor a veiled contempt for us? I wonder. I verbalized this to Matt yesterday. This trip is absolutely blissful and I am so, so thankful to be able to enjoy it. But I do feel little twinges of something. Guilt, maybe? It just seems so wrong, to have so much, especially when surrounded by poverty on all sides.
But it is like this at home too, isn't it? There are people all around me, struggling to make ends meet, to provide for their families. Even just a few streets from my house, people live without air conditioning, are on welfare, live under the poverty level. Maybe it is just the stark contrast of it here, that makes me think about it more. I don't live like this at home, obviously. I don't lounge around under an umbrella with a drink in my hand on a daily basis. Too, at home, I am distracted. I am taking care of my children, our home. Important things. The most important things for me to be taking care of. But there are other things too...other people, that are in need, around me. But sometimes is takes a caribbean vacation to see them.
Other thoughts, of a different nature, of our time in Jamaica, here.
*creative commons image from gailf548 on flickr.com