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Life and Debt Jamaica video

The video we watched yesterday in class was a huge eye opener in seeing what life is really like in Jamaica. At the beginning of the film the narrator said "You can imagine yourself under the sun laying in the beach" or something along those lines, and I was thinking "Yes, I can, that sounds fantastic." But shortly into the film we began to see how the Jamaican people live, and immediately we feel guilty for our pleasure vacations. It was crazy to see the contrast between the lifestyles of the Jamaican people and the tourists. First the film shows all of these chunky white people getting drunk and dancing around on the beach like idiots, then we see the Jamaican people and see how they are living. The narrator said how we as tourists would see the people and think "they are so laidback," but in reality they have no escape from their lifestyle and they envy us because we actually have the opportunity to be able to take a break from our routine life and go on vacations. This video discusses how U.S. policies have destroyed the economy of Jamaica and how they are so deeply in debt. Their financial crisis keeps getting worse and worse, and according to the film is due to the world bank policies. Unemployment is increasing in Jamaica because they cannot compete with the farming techniques of other countries. They can not afford to buy equipment, and must get the crops by hand. Goods are being sold at cheaper prices in the U.S., so the Jamaican people can't sell their goods because they won't get money for them. One farmer produced I think cherry tomatoes and the American client he was trying to sell them to said that they didn't meet specifications. Because of this he had to get rid of all of them. Another man was going to sell 5 days worth of milk, but the milk was needed because the U.S. had enough, so they had to dump all of that milk. After watching this video, I still think that tourism is okay because I think that it is providing quite a few jobs for some Jamaicans. But I think that we need to realize the issues that are going on in some of the poor countries we go to visit. I'm not quite sure what we as individuals can do about Jamaica's economy, but there are ways we can help out. I know that other countries that used to be colonies are now suffering economically as well. I went to the Philippines last year, not for vacation, but as a missions trip to help out some of the poorer people there by giving them food, and assisting in free medical clinics. The film also talked about how Jamaica barely has any hospitals. They don't have the security of knowing if they get hurt, there is a hospital or medical clinic near by to help them out. It is sometimes so easy to forget about some of the problems that are occuring outside of our own lives, and to think only about ourselves and how we live. But just imagine yourself being in the situation some of these people are in, they are struggling to survive, they don't have good health care, and their economy keeps going down and down.

Comments

I totally agree with your post! I think that we, Americans, sometimes forget about other countries and the struggles they deal with to solely focus on our own. It's very interesting of the situation in Jamaica because I definitely feel that the same is starting to happen in the US with our current economic situation (but not to the severe degree of that in Jamaica). The situation in Jamaica should definitely open the eyes of those who vacation there and realize the laid-back, carefree attitude of Jamaica isn't necessarily a choice.