Children in Jamaica 2016
Posted on 21 September 2016
My perspective on life at the age of 34.
I decided to make an early retirement. I decided to resign from a job that I had for 15 years. I decided to stop fighting the thing that has been pulling me away from "Corporate America" . No real plan just faith, just knowing I will regret it more if I stay there. I know that money is important, important so you are not poor, not homeless. Important so you can take care of yourself and your family. Important so you can have luxury, wealth. Important so you can have happiness? Is Happiness subjective? Poor or rich, does having money define you as rich? Am I more happier now than when I was working my 9-5, am I less stress? Hmm that's a touch question because everyday is different but I could tell you I just have new problems and new stress. I could also tell you that these new problems and stress is worth it, worth dealing with. I haven't for one day or second thought about going back to working for someone or a single regret. The business I started is moving slowly, its not generating income fast enough. But I have this vision, this dream and man oh man it just seems real. I design t-shirts with positive strong messages. I design them and market them to a certain demographic or segment of people. I sell them online. I fell in love with the idea that I could make money while I sleep, while I take care of my family, while I enjoy life while I'm still living. Working 9-5 spending more time at work than with your own family just didn't make sense anymore. It was costing me greater to go to work than to stay home, that is when I quit my job. It was not only the cost of gas, or new car to drive there, ware and tear, frequent maintenance because of the distance, babysitter, or the inconvenience of other people lives, to help your own. It was costing me time. And I value time so much, because when it's gone it's gone, You can't get time back, you can't buy time. And tomorrow could be your last time you have.
I started to write this while on a trip with my family in Jamaica. When something hit you, you should just write it down. This trip wasn't planned but I envisioned it happening because every year the sales from my shirts goes to buying backpacks and school supplies for children in Jamaica. And the goal is to fly down every year and give them out. We did this two years ago but were not able to do it last year. I had the supplies and backpacks but not as many as before. Also there are other factors that have to align for me to make the trip. I can't do it alone. My parents were spending one month down there to build up on their house, my father is adding a garage and another bedroom. My two sisters booked their flight to visit them. I had a credit and a discount on my JetBlue flight. My wife had to get the time off from her employment. I had to get some other donations. But it happened, I went. It was all Gods doing. I'm here and after I've arrived on Friday my mother called the school teacher so I could talk to her about how we were going to meet. Her name is Ms. Rose and her and another teacher, whose name is Ms. Joy. They teach in one small room that is split into two. That is the entire school. Ages 3-4 on one side and ages 5-6 on the other. Ms. Rose teaches the older kids. While On the phone with Ms. Rose she asked me, when do I want to come up to the school? I suggested the next day at 10am and she agreed. The small school has 31 kids, and nothing much else. Technology has left them behind. It is what you would imagine a developing or undeveloped country's classroom would look like. 10am Saturday is here and me and my two sisters and another family member walked up to the school with all the bags. The school was up the road, really up the hill. In each backpack we had books, pencils, snacks, sunglasses, and folders. It was an awesome moment. Ms. Rose also requested a tablet for the classroom. We were able to buy two new kindle tablets one for each teacher. It was truly amazing to be in their presence. Everyone was appreciative of the help. Ms. Rose says, if we didn't do this, then they wouldn't have it. I was born here in Jamaica and my parents migrated to New York. I left Jamaica at the age of four. When I got much older on my trips back to Jamaica that’s when I started to notice the bad conditions. My mother has always been a giver. If she only had one dollar in her pocket and you needed it more, she would give it to you.
It's not until now and the reason I started writing this, that I realized my fathers way of giving. My summation is that he gives even more than my mother and me and my father changed my perspective on life again.
My father is a hard worker. Born in Jamaica son of a farmer. At an early age was building carts to ride in and play with. His father Joseph sent him to trade school to learn carpentry. He worked hard all his life. At home I seen him work everyday, he never missed a day. But he was very quiet, he didn't talk much with us or spend time with us to teach us anything. He worked very had, everyday he came home and my mother had a huge plate of food for him and a hard drink. He would shower first then eat then watch a little tube then go to sleep and do it again and again. It's not until my adult life, late 20's we started to talk more and I started to learn more. On this same trip to Jamaica I'm sitting on the veranda and observing my surroundings and I noticed it's the same guys working on the house as they were two years ago on my last trip here. I noticed some of these guys I grew up with, these men are from our community. Some of their sons are working beside them and other little boys in the neighborhood. My father was paying these men and boys daily for their work. Some of these same children that I gave backpacks to. Being able to employ men so they can provide for their own family was a gift that I didn't realize until now. I want to help people that need help. I want to help my community that is struggling. I need to do more so I could give more.
I'm walking around my father’s property and its break time for everyone who's working. The children are playing marbles, I remember I use to do that when I was young. The fun they are having. I see them climbing trees. I see them making fun of each other. The joy I see, how could you use the word poor. Poor In terms of money, yes but Rich in terms of peace and joy. That peace and joy, money can't buy in America. Their little is abundant. My children, my little boy who is eight years old and little girl who is five years old do not have that same joy. They do not have a care in the world. Their life is occupied with technology pressure from their parents to do well in school. Seems like my children's fun is manufactured and the children in Jamaica's fun is organic and natural. I want that fun for my children. I want those same children in Jamaica to have a strong future, so they could leave Jamaica and become what ever they dream to become. Why leave this country with a great wealth of peace and joy? Contradictory but it's because there's not much in their future here, not for many and in America it’s the land of monetary wealth and opportunity. They must leave but must come back and provide that same hope for other children and keep the cycle going for a children's hope.