I was devastated, not to mention my own financial status had just taken a hit with a wedding the week before. Lovely timing. Thinking the best option would be to cash out the insurance we purchased and cancel the trip, I told hubby we should postpone to a better time. His answer? What if a "better time" never happens? Tomorrow is promised to no one.
This picture I took from our balcony the first morning we sailed into the Gulf of Mexico after cruising all night on the Mississippi River. I wanted to document the first day of my "Better Time." Two days later, we ported in Jamaica, my first tropical island, and first time in a foreign country.
I experienced a lot of "firsts" during my "Better Time." I also learned a valuable lesson about appreciating life.
Jamaica is beautiful, the people warm and friendly. They like to "touch" you. They don't have problems. They have "situations." The Jamaican flag is gold, green, and black, standing for sunshine, lush foliage/good crops, and strength, much like their people. We also visited the Cayman Islands and Cozumel, and while I expected to see lush greenery, an aqua ocean that has a crayon named in its honor because no other color describes "Caribbean Blue," not to mention so clear you could see hundreds of feet below, I was surprised at the level of poverty we encountered. No welfare system to fall back on and wages far below our standards. I don't know anyone who could live on $400/month, do you? And if you want a comparison of cost of living, gasoline in Jamaica is equivalent to paying $11.00/gallon here in the States. Lots of bicycles and scooters! Of course, we did manage to find a few "comforts from home" on every island.
1. 50 would be male - 50 would be female
2. There would be 26 children and 74 adults, 8 of who would be over age 65.
3. There would be:
14 people from the Americas
4. Christians would dominate the religious sector at a count of 33, followed by:
12 people who would practice other religions, and 12 who not be aligned with a religion
5. Only 5 people would speak English. The dominating language? Chinese.
6. 83 people would be able to read and write, while 17 remained illiterate.
7. Only 7 people would have college degrees.
8. 22 people would own or share a computer.
9. 77 would have shelter from the elements, but 23 would not.
10. 1 of the 100 would be dying from starvation, 11 severely malnourished, yet 21 would be overweight.
11. 1 out of every 2 children would live in poverty.
12. 14 people would live with a disability.
13. 87 people would have safe drinking water, while 13 did not.
14. 37 people would still lack access to adequate sanitation.
15. 1 adult age 17-49 would have AIDS/HIV.
16. 20 people own more than 75% of the village's income.
17. 21 people would live on less than $2.00 per day.
18. USD $1.24 trillion would be spent on the village's military, while less than $100 million would be allocated to development and humanitarian assistance.
If you can put food in a refrigerator, hang clothes in a closet, sleep on a bed, and have a roof over your head, you are richer than 75% of the world's entire population today.
I'm so glad my husband insisted we go forward with our cruise. I witnessed so much beauty, relaxed for a change, and came home renewed in mind and body. Every day I greeted a glorious sunrise and relished a fiery sunset melting into the Caribbean Sea. I also consumed waaay to much food! Besides increasing my word count to finish my novella, I now have to up my exercise routine to fit back in my clothes!
"No problem, man....just a situation. Yeah, man."
Count your blessings and do not take what you have for granted,
because others may just be hoping they had what you have.