The International Farmer: Peter Broggs

Photo of Peter Broggs


The culture of Jamaica

Jamaica beach

You should know that Jamaica is a former British colony. Settlers lived there, importing slaves from Africa. Plantations were mostly oriented toward sugar cane, for the production of rum. This production was returning then to the British Isles. The famous triangle of slavery: 300,000 slaves in the late eighteenth century, and 20 times less white ... Subsequently, a long struggle towards emancipation took place, until the declaration of independence of the island in 1962. Independence? Jamaica is still part of the Commonwealth with a Governor appointed by the Queen of England.

Jamaica is an island with many beautiful beaches, with the Caribbean Sea that surrounds it. Of course, in the tropics, the water is warm. Anyway you guessed it, the conditions are rather unusual at the end of December! The Cayman Islands, renowned for its rusted tanker fleet and its blind bankers is a few hundred kilometers west of Jamaica. Speaking of close, we find Cuba about 300 miles north, Haiti to the east, and Venezuela to some 3000 km to the south of Jamaica.

Frenchman's Cove is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, according to many guide books. She probably deserves: it is a cove, an opening of about thirty meters of the sea inside, white sand, coconut palms and tropical trees. Good access fee, with limited number of bathers. But suddenly, this beach is clean, and does not accumulate dirt there! Oh also another charm: the small river that flows into the creek. And there arises an amazing phenomenon: the meeting in the creek with the cold fresh water of the river, with hot water and salty ocean. These two bodies of water do not mix, creating bubbles in the hot and cold bathing area. In two meters, the water temperature increases from 20 to 30 degres, and again at 20! Same for salinity, confusing!

In addition to the white sand beaches, there are some mangroves. These coastal areas are a place rich in terms of biodiversity, unfortunately very fragile. In Jamaica, a small coral reef surrounds the island. This natural barrier will break the waves, so the coast does not get the maritime assaults. Unfortunately, the destruction of coral reefs, for the passage of boats including directly affects the mangroves.

As for British history Jamaica finds herself in the daily lives: the official language is English, driving is on the left in particular. Also, the architecture of the old town is also very colonial, with multiple wooden cottages. But now the British culture is gradually replaced by that of our American neighbors. Not only by mass tourism, but also by the exodus of Jamaicans to the United States. The most obvious is the pervasiveness of religion on the island, with dozens of churches coming from the States, each with its particular orientation.

Of course, Jamaicans do sports. The traditional sport is cricket. British tradition requires! It is a rich man's sport, practiced more during schooling. The most popular sport is of course athletics, with the results that we know (with Usain Bolt (double gold medalist and double world record at the Olympics) and including Powell Assafa).

But talk of Jamaica without addressing the Rasta world would be a shame. Difficult in a few lines to present this particular way of thinking. Originally, it is a religion, Rastafari, from Africa, land of origin of Jamaican slaves. A religion that places man in his natural environment and refuses society consumerism (aka Babylon). 5% of the population seems to be practicing.

The refusal of the consumer society leads to a gradual sidelining of Rasta. They manage to live, odd jobs, begging (especially in tourist centers, ironically). So, some wander into town, and are completely offset is a little downside. On the other hand, others live very simply, from fishing and agriculture, and remain open to the modern world. Eg beachfront, offering fresh fish to tourists in their non hotel rentals.

The music is for many a reason to live. Based on the number of inhabitants, Jamaica is the largest producer of music. The mentor is obviously Bob Marley, who invented reggae. Since then, the pace has changed. In any case, we find it at every street corner, every open window. Regularly, passing cars with amps inside or on the roof. Others set up their equipment at a crossroads, and send the maximum decibels. But again, the American rap size gets ever more important, conveyed by television made in U.S..

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