The worldwide Augustana College experience

Jamaica- To Trust or Not to Trust

Talking to the locals has been quite an adventure. On Sunday night we went to dinner at a place called Mickey’s to get some of their famous jerk pork. The meal was fantastic, but there were many locals trying to sell us bracelets and such during our meal; one actually got very upset with me because I did not want to buy one, and Dr. J had to step in and help me out of a situation that was going downhill! We then tried to pay our server and explained that we were told it would cost $6 American per meal. He continued to tell us that the total price was $55 American, and luckily Casey was brave enough to stand up and say that was way too much money. At this point, I was becoming a little weary of my surroundings because it was clear that we did not fit in, and I did not want to buy anymore bracelets. But then a man appeared who carves bamboo and claims that he is an artist and does not do this for the money. We got to talking and had a great conversation about Jamaica and why we were visiting the country from Augie. He was thanking us for helping out the people of Jamaica, and said that he hopes we can meet the good people of the country. I never once felt pressured by this man to buy anything, so I decided to support him and buy one of his beautiful carved bamboo cups. 

After getting back to the Great huts at what felt really late (it was really 7:30), I was a little nervous about going to the market in Port Antonio. I love to shop, but I do not want to be hassled or forced into buying anything. I decided that I would just have to be tough and say no to many vendors.

As soon as we got to the market in Port Antonio, a man met us by the vans and explained that he would help us where we weaned to go. He took us all around the market and showed us his stand that he sells items from. He then said he would take us on adventure, which we all decided to attend. The man (or I suppose now he was our own personal tour guide) led us to the Marina (where the wealthy people stay). We helped ourselves in and he showed us plants such as touch me not (which wilts when you touch it), a flower with a rose hiding inside, and the Hibiscus plant (which is the national plant of Jamaica). As we ventured back to the market, Jenna told our personal tour guide that she was looking for a sundress. He brought us to a clothing store outside of the market, and even waited for us until we were done to escort us back to the rest of the group. This man was super helpful in the market, and he was not the only one! There was also a man named Jeffery that helped lead us to a convenience store to buy snacks (we have all been very hungry late at night). He even helped us around the store to show us where everything was and kept track of all of us. I could not believe two completely random Jamaican men were willing to take the time out of their days to help us around the town and not expect any money for it! If someone were to do that in Chicago, they would have asked for money up front. 

After meeting these locals that were nothing but helpful, I realized that not everyone in the world is bad; some people really do want to help you out. Yes, there were many others trying to get money out of me, but I am so thankful I met these locals that wanted to help tourists like us. This experience has showed me that i can be a little more trusting of people, and there are good people in this world. 

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