I was born In Kingston Jamaica, and what a wonderful thing which happened to me. In almost all of my posts I have always included something about my life in Jamaica while I lived there or as you read my blog you will definitely realize that I am Jamaican, a very proud one, (de now ah days gully queens dem ah mek mi shame doe). Jamaica is approaching its time for independence celebration and of course the celebration has already began and I think it is fitting that we here on Embracing Spirituality celebrate right along.
The music up top, I stumbled on it yesterday,(I love music with a passion), and it made my day, the singing is humorous it self, with him bawling out Chiquitita, ah grung mi lan! I love fun and laughter, so I find humor in everything, mi all laugh afta miself, this is one of the reasons I love Stanley Beckford, his songs are hilarious, imagine during his time, singing about “Sawdahring, ah whey de young gal waan, and leave mi Kisolo”, Vybz Kartel these elders were doing slackness before you, but in the most inventive way, (Although Vybz yuh lyrics Back it up pon de dumpa truck and set good like de ie inna freeza bad nuh puss foot) yes Stanley we needs up de sawdahring, lolol! Mth please to translate for AMH!
The story without me going all over the world
My memories of Jamaica brings to me lots of Joy and fun. I must say Jamaica is unlike any other place in the world. I have traveled a lot in my life and the closest I have come to Jamaican living is in Africa. I was born on Nelson Road, off Maxfield Avenue, Kingston 13 Jamaica, and I have no idea where this is, lol. My parents moved from there to a place called Mc Donald Lane off Delacree road when I was a baby, and I have slight memories of that place when I about was three years old, I think. The lane was called 66 3/4 lane I believe (only in Jamaica you will find weirdly named places like this). There was a Chinese woman called Miss Chin, (Jamaicans calls all Asians Miss Chin or Mr Chin regardless if they are from Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan etc) who had a shop beside the lane and I remember my mother carrying me on her hips as a baby to buy goods from her shop, the woman would always give me sweeties.
We moved from there and went further down the street off Delacree Road and it was there my brightest memories of Jamaica came from and is still with me to this day. The characters which were apart of our community were like actors in a play. We had a very colorful cast and here they are:
Hilda Willis; Aka Miss Will, she had two sons one was Tony a very nice guy and one named Dukie a Speaky Spokey very Stush Gun man/killa who only Spoke good English de Bounty Killa Way…I har de one!
Hilda Willis was my mother’s Arch nemesis. From the first day we moved into the Yard (which was a Tenement), we having a very large two bedrooms, living and dining rooms, our own part of the veranda and a back patio, our own bathroom and a nice Kitchen, Miss Will as she was called also had her own two bedroom apartment equally large which she shared kitchen and bathroom with two roomers. There was a huge front yard and an even bigger back yard, where my father raised chickens, guinea fowls and pigeons just because, and we had a bad man dog name Rover.
Trouble began after we moved in, within the very first week. My mother who worked at the University Hospital of the West Indies as a theatre room technician went to work, she was on night shift, the shifts alternated every other week. This particular evening while mama was at work, we had just moved into the yard, Miss Will had cooked yellow yam and dumplings which were my favorite, and while we were on the veranda playing she offered my senior sister and I food which we took, not realizing that the whole neighborhood watched and cringed while we ate the food, If I remember correctly even Rover our bad man dog cringed.
Well some Laba mout (laba is a Yoruba word which means Butterfly as in laba laba, but in Jamaica we use it when describing a person who chats too much, like the flapping of the butter fly wings) could not wait for my mother to come home that night and told her that we ate Miss Will’s food. My mother called my sister and I calmly in the back room and gave us the flogging of our lives while asking “If we hungry!”, reminding us that she had always warned us not to eat from people, while still flogging us through gritted teeth and calling us craven.
My mother then went outside, still very angry, to Miss Will, but she approached her calmly when she went up to her with us draped in her hand and told her “thanks Miss Will but I am asking you never to give these children food again”. I believed that this was when the dislike for each other began, because from that day Miss Will and my mother have never gotten along, with Miss Will receiving numerous of beatings from my bad gal, can fight odee, ice pick, half ah lass wearing mumma.
After a while we realized why my mother had flogged us and why she was so angry with us and we became angry at ourselves for eating Miss Will’s food. Miss Will never bathe, never showered, probably once or twice per year if that much, it was as if she was a cat and she feared water. She did what Jamaicans call “wipe up”, lol. I am sure the words are self explanatory.
Not only did she never take a bath, she pissed herself daily, she said it was due to Malaria , (she always said she was a practical nurse, an nuh boddy neva si har inna nurse hat or uniform yet) according to Miss Ruth who she confided in. She had three teeth in her mouth and they were all black, long and shook when she spoke, we all feared they would all spring out while she was talking and bite anyone who was in close range of her and them. Her shaking teeth became a source of cussing or joking like “how yuh ah shake suh like Miss Will teet dem, or yuh waa clean up man, like Miss Will teet dem” and she always spoke with spit in her mouth which she harbored there like some sweet sap she could not bare to part with, the spit was black and it was a running Joke in the community not to allow Miss Will pit (spit) water catch you, or you would be condemned for life.
Her house was an untidy mess, nasty as Jamaican people would say, and according to the community she wuk obeah and jumped poco (me like dah part deh, lol)! To write on Miss will would take quite some time, and I may just do that, write a book titled;
The Adventures of Hilda Willis!
There was the time my mother caught Miss Will running from our kitchen with my mother”s hot chicken she had just stolen from out our pot, Usain Bolt had never seen the likes of Hilda Willis when she teef food outta pot. There was even a rumor that Miss Will was a undercover lesbian, well that would explain de black teet and pit wata, sass crissseee!
I will, over the next couple of days introduce you to some of the other people of my then community in Kingston Jamaica, remembering Miss Will was fun for me.
I am sure that in all communities in Jamaica we have our set of Miss Will, or Miss Dottie or Fatty or Cookie or Drunk ah ready Freddy or Fergie. I am not from uptown so I do not know their life, and I thank God because for me, Ghetto life was sweet and I learned many things there which I have even taught to my children and others alike. It is important to be proud of where you are from I was brought up well, I spoke to someone, who lives in Jamaica, recently and they said to me, “I will soon polish you up”, it was in jest of that I am sure, because we both laughed and they may have said it because of all my jokes about random things, but I thought about it for a while. I may have been born in the Ghetto, but my parents grew us well. Mama especially, instilled in us great morals and principles which I still apply to my life this day and I have taught my children. We were taught from early on out how to sit at the dining table, elbows off, and how to use our knives and forks, of course I was schooled very well and so I have no problem with grammar, and I also schooled myself as I searched for knowledge. I am comfortable in the company of Snobs and stiff upper lips alike, and can assure you all that I will not drink the water set at the Queens table for fingers washing.
I prefer to speak Jamaican patois, because I am confident in my English, not only in speaking it but also in writing, I am one who spent almost all my days in the library and am a member of almost every book club there is. I choose to write in simplistic forms, because this is how I believe people (fi mi kine ah people) feel most comfortable reading, and it gets the point across, why be pretentious! Education is not something I boast about and even MTH, asked me why I only speak about my Hair dressing days but never about my academic accomplishments, Why should I? I need not impress anyone, I am humble and very modest I hope so, I would have it no other way, and plus show off bring disgrace! lol.
There is a blogger among us who is a serious academic, this blogger accomplishments is beyond all your imagination because they are here everyday and so humble, I love the blogger for this and very proud of them. Mi nah brag pon dem enuh, mi ongle ah point out dem humility.
Jamaica our sweet home, a place where we can never forget, those of us who live abroad, in another post I asked what’s good about Jamaica and these are all the things I put, please read them and add yours;
What’s good about Jamaica? The people, the lifestyle, the music, the beautiful faces, our educational system, our food, good ole Jamaican Ganja, de Weed, de Herb, de Marijauna did I mention de Good ole Jamaican Ganjah!
What’s good about Jamaica di white rum, our art, painting, carvings and sculptures and to us women wi lovely, lovely dark (and some brown ones) chocolate sexy , or mocha carmel bodied men, inna dem Clarks and mesh marina, (for me Obara Meji wid de ganja spliff hanging off de side of their lips, “an nuh bwoy cyaa sen call dem”, yeah dem feisty man deh lol) and some ah de brown one dem tuh (BIG UP UUNUH SELF KINGS)); and from the mens point of view, the shapely good-looking women (caw di whole ah wi pretty like money, except mash mout Paulette and bad breath Mitsy and you dead dawg Donna!).
What’s good about Jamaica? Dandy shandy, baseball, hopscotch, stew peas & rice, curry goat, bammy, roast fish, good ole mint tea and di bitta cerasee…
Whats good about Jamaica, the Blue Mountains, the blue lagoon, Duns river falls, Portland, St. Mary, Montego Bay, Ochi….. What’s good about Jamaica? Di good ole paw paw tree where many of the local boys gather and await their turn to do only God knows what, ( an I love Paw paw ei si man cho!)….What’s good about Jamaica? Poco, Revival, Kumina, Nyabinhgy, the Rasta Man especially de cute bobo dem, big up oonuh self natty, the Maroons, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Louise Bennet, Rex Nettleford, Oliver Samuels, Stone Love, Beenie Man, I-Wayne, Capleton, Sizzla, Usain Bolt, Shelly Ann Fraser, all de one Kerry Washington, we can claim har enuh caws de madda ah Jamaican!
The Weather, rain beating on the zinc roof top while people do what dem want (inject anyting yah suh), the smell of the earth, Nature, the sun set, the sun rise, the Ocean, the trees, the plants, What’s good about Jamaica? di vibes, di vibes and on a whole juss di vibes, di vibes, di vibes, di vibessssssssss!!!!!! Lawd GOD DE VIBESSSSSSS! oonuh please to add oonuh own!
Below is a whole post read at your leisure and enjoy
Stanley Beckford Rest in Peace, you made Jamaicans celebrate their love of Jamaica while you dance, sang and wined your way into our hearts, you are gone but not forgotten
Eric Donaldson, yuh voice sweet like sugar
And not so long ago Shaggy, Vegas, and the out law Josey Wales
Medley of Artist celebrating Jamaica
In keeping with the culture theme of this week, here is the wonderfully melodious Stanley Beckford with one of his major Jamaican Independence day song, which he won in the independence day competition….Land of Peace and Love. The second is the sensational Eric Donaldson with, This is the Land Of my Birth. And oonu know we haffi go inna de ghetto an skank wid Vegas, Shaggy, and the out law Josey Wales!! buss a wine pon de cawna and bubble likka tin a pepsi!!!
Recently I wrote this in response to a wonderful post I did on The Honorable Louise Bennet, I had so much fun with my regular bloggers, that I went to bed smiling. The camaraderie was marvelous, I have never even met these people but it feels to me like they are family. What is important for us to know is that we all know each other, every single soul here on earth has met in some other life time or the other. Believe if you want to believe, it matters not to me. This I know is true, but I am awake and have no intention of going back to sleep. While we commented on my Mother Louise Bennet, I became nostalgic about my home land. Sweet Jamaica, and my people and the mixture of personalities that lives there and below is what I wrote in the comment box…….
I Obara Meji do declare that I am a true Jamaican, regardless of the fact that I live abroad, and I must truthfully say that I also love America, Africa as well, but my ambition is to… siddung pon de sidewalk pon a cawna inna de ghetto wid a box food and a bag juice, while music a play ah de rum bar next door and mi rum head, drunka ready fren missa Fergie out a road a gi mi peer joke and de neighba-hood mad gal Bev, whey people Obeah an mad off true she did bright, when she a go school, ah cuss an ah galang bad while de pickney dem out deh a badda badda har an run when she mek afta dem, and Jennifa and Peggy out fi fight ova Delroy de neigha-Hood…. Hood!!, while de police and de soja bwoy dem inna de bar ah smoke ganja an ah drink white rum, an de bar maid Irma a dig out dem pakkit!! an bar fly Suzie, Miss mary coolie gal in deh a look man, and infarma Dottie up stairs ah Missa He shop whey she live ah peep tru de winda, while jerky deh cross de road ah set up him drum pan fi jerk chicken lata, and Puncie send gone buy coal a town fi roast cawn, fi wi eat wid kuknat lickle more!, and de preacha boy just pass lickle while ago a shout repent!!, while some shot just buss off round de road,….. dat is my idea of a lovely day in Jamaica, mi madda wudda sey mi nuh ave nuh hambition but mi nuh Kattah!!
The world has it to say that Jamaica is the murder capital of the world, Palestine, Israel, Afghanistan cannot hold a candle to us in war and murder…Us???…lickle Jamaica???……I say Propoganda!!!!….Yes I know that crimes of all sorts occur every day and murder happens a lot, but the same can be said of a lot of places and this is a Country with a little less than Three million people, and can categorically be called a fish bowl (nutten nuh hide yah suh). Everything that happens on the island is highlighted times one hundred!……. People fi low we hyah!…Jamaica nice. Crime is everywhere, not only in Jamaica, however it’s not my intention to compare crimes from all over the world on this post.
It is however my intention to say how and what I feel, and I want love to come back to the world, I wish (and I know it is only a wish), that communities from all over the world would get together and live as one, yes I know this is pure fantasy and the bigger heads (leader of the world), has set the world the way it is now, by inciting racial wars, and religious divides and worse of all for black people, teaching us to hate our selves. We disregard our ancestors and our original ways of Practice. I wrote of Queen Ann Nzingha, the other day in a post Titled The Excellence of Women and in that post I made mention of the fact that a lot of people has never heard of this great black woman. When are we going to wake up and stop fighting and hating each other and live as God’s people in love, peace and unity. Instead, we back bite and hate each other and do it in the name of whatever mythical deity we serve religiously as our Saviour. The stiff-necked fools close their minds to the truth and condemn even what they don’t know or understand. O mase O!, (what a pity in Yoruba!). Bring back de days dem when me like you and you like mi back, bring back de days when mi nah fight and cuss yuh, caws if yuh offen mi all mi do is tell yuh wha yuh do mi and we work it out and everyting criss agen. Bring back de days where a village grows a child, bring back de days when mi a praise God an ah go tru an mi nah chat yuh inna church bout wha yuh wear come, and den lickle more ketch inna spirit and sey mi save an sanctified, holy ghost filled water baptized, Jesus pon mi mine, I have found a new life!!.
Mek old-time sinting come back agen, like Admiral Bailey sey. When bad spirits come tru de yard and mi granny tun har role and crash up two cream soda, and de whole ah de pickney dem inna de yard git up an spin dem role to., lolol and mad man Ben Ben from cross de road cuss and sey..”oonu si man deh yah thirsty and oonu a dash whey good good cream soda pon duppy!..Jamaica Nice!!
Tan an see nuh bruk nuh dance ongle intafarance…Jamaican Proverb
Obara Meji is a spiritualist, Ifa-Orisa practitioner, and teacher of metaphysics. Since 2011 she has used her online platform to share her personal experiences to those seeking answers about spirituality. Her teachings will expand into short stories, novels, and public speaking to continue her mission of bringing enlightenment to the world.