• Chantal Porter

Growing up in Rural Jamaica- Learning to Overcome Struggles

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

We all have dreams, aspirations, and ambitions. From a tender age, I knew that I did not want to become just another statistic or a mere product of my environment or circumstances. Growing up in rural Jamaica was hard, we never had many of the luxuries of the kids our age, so it was challenging at times. I remember the countless times that I wanted to grow up so badly so that I could help my family. Despite the circumstances, however, there was love and laughter in the air.

Learning Responsibility

Being the eldest child in the household I assumed responsibility for my siblings. My mother and stepfather had to work long hours daily, so I tried to lead my sisters by example. I would ensure that they were OK at home, at school, and at church. At that time, I believed my actions would determine the people that they would become. I felt burdened by the pressure that I placed on myself, but to this day I have no regrets. It taught me the value of responsibility, integrity, gratitude and love.

Play and Laughter

There were also some fun times, I mean really fun times. To this day the village mentality is still a strong part of the Jamaican culture, especially in rural Jamaica. In my little community, everybody basically knew everybody so I had a lot of kids my age that I could play with. We made up our own games and allowed our imaginations to run wild. Life truly felt like an everyday adventure.

Am I a true Jamaican?

I do believe that I still missed out on a few of the experiences that some thought would essentially make me the ideal Jamaican. Let's look at two of them! I was terribly afraid of heights so I never learned to climb a tree and I cannot ride a bicycle. For a while, I was quite embarrassed to mention them but overtime I found the courage to simply laugh at myself.

Good Jamaican Food

I am a big fan of a home cooked Jamaican meal and I have my biases. Sure, eating out is good, food in the city is great but nothing beats Jamaican food prepared by the loving hands of your family in 'country' as we call it. Every year, I look forward to the family gathering in December where my family members go all out. All my favorite meals are cooked and everyone gathers around with other family friends to talk, laugh and have an awesome time.

Growing up in rural Jamaica was a blessing! We might not have had everything but hunger is a concept I never understood. My grandmother, provided dinner for the family everyday. We all would stop by in the evenings, and she would be quite busy in the kitchen cooking up a large amount of food (she still does this even today!) to feed the different generations. Here's one thing I have come to realize, growing up I might not have had everything, but I had everything I needed.

For the love of Mama

To a live a meaningful means that you appreciate your lessons, struggles, successes and failures. Life is not an exam that you can cram for the night before. It is a process! At each level new challenges will arise, loved ones will be lost and meaningful relationships will be created. If you are struggling, you are not alone. Social media will have you believe that everyone else is having a blissful experience, don't be fooled. Stay in your lane, stay on your grind, and believe that everything that you desire is already yours. If you would like to learn more about me, you can always check out my previous blog, right here.

Three the hard way- Sister tag

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."- Albert Einstein

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