Can't buy you happiness
Grange Hill Travel Blog› entry 5 of 10 › view all entries
It had been a hot night ... and with the dawn came even more heat. I rose with the sun.
Adeeba's nephew Rayon had agreed to take me to Grange Hill, Jamaica and show me around as it is a place in Jamaica I hadn't been to and I wanted to see another small Jamaican town and community.
It was still very early as I walked down the nameless dirt road with Rayon beside me, I looked at each little house, some of them no bigger than my garden shed at home, and made up of rotting, yet vibrantly colored wood. There were chickens and goats all over the streets, and dogs, too, yet none of these animals seemed approachable.
''We call them mongrels'' said Rayon, gesturing to the dogs.
As we reached the end of the road, we came across a group of children playing with a ball around a large pile of woodchips and on to the street they ran as they kicked the ball happily to each other. Immediately, I felt a wave of pity wash over me, pity for these poor children playing in the dirt, with one ball, they told us they had no other toys so they played ball games all day.
I closed my eyes, and I could see my younger cousins surrounded by all their toys. So lucky! But then the scene in my mind shifted. Once again, all their toys surrounded them, but this time, they both fought over a single one.
I opened my eyes and shook the scene from my mind. Once again, I saw the children then tossing the ball cheerfully to one another.
We continued walking around Grange Hill, stopping constantly to meet people and talk to them, and each time we met another happy face. If I noticed one thing about them all, it was that they were all smiling; but why? Their houses were tiny and rusty, in comparison to even some of the worst houses in the south of London. Their possessions were meager, and they didn't know if they would be eating dinner that night.
We sat down on the concrete steps in the heat of the day for a little break. I watched the ants scurry about the ground near my feet, about six of them were carrying one lump of something back to their little ant house I guess.
It was just after midday and we sat watching the community of Grange Hill women began to hang their laundry on the lines that were strung tightly between the trees, children ran about the yards, playing carelessly with one another, and the men began their work around the yards.
That afternoon, We went walking with two little girls that we had met earlier that morning. I took them in to the store with me, I desperately needed another cold drink. Kay and Shanda raced towards the candy, as I made my way leisurely towards the drink cooler. After picking up four bottles of Ting which is Jamaican grapefruit juice, I followed the excited chatter of the two girls, finding them at the front counter, looking at all the penny sweets.
I suggested that they pick some sweets for the walk back. Their eyes lit up, the smiles on their faces becoming wider. The two rushed forwards, hugging me as tightly as two little girls could, and then turned back to the sweets, picking only one piece each.
''Here'' I said, grabbing a handful, and walking over to pay. Kay and Shanda couldn't believe it. If only you could imagine what their faces looked like. They were so happy that someone wanted to buy them so many sweets. Such a simple thing brought so much happiness to two little girls.
Rayon was waiting outside and we walked the girls back to thier home and then we were on our way back to negril bidding everyone goodbye.
I thought about how happy everyone was, and I wondered why we, in London, America, Canada, in wealth beyond Jamaica's imagination, weren't. I cant help thinking of those childrens smiling faces as they play ball games, laugh together, get to know each other, connect! and as I see it, I can see the difference between the cultures.
True Happiness - I will live to know I saw it in the faces of those who I thought least likely to even know the meaning of the word.
''money can't buy happiness''
Sweet Jamaica. :)