Sitting by the steps of Devon House, owned by the first black millionaire in Jamaica (George Stiebel), I am mesmerized by the beauty of this country. As I look down the path cleared for walking I can see a water foundation in the centre of the garden surrounded by large palm trees, coconut trees and beautiful flowers built to fence the path. It is truly a sight to see, and is a remnant of my past. Devon house has been sitting there for over a century now and still remains as famous as ever. Upon taking a tour of the house, I’m left awe stricken, “I want to live in a mansion too”. The beauty of the antiques, the tapestries and the mixture of French/English and Caribbean decor are all fascinating. Upon leaving the mansion, I see that the short rainfall has left the temperature feeling cool and the ground wet.
My cousin and I walk in and out of the antique shops and then into the famous ice cream shop- this for some is the only reason to go to devon house. We sit in another part of the garden on benches and enjoy our ice cream. The sun came out from under clouds and warmed my heart, “I’m in Jamaica”.. Wow.
But before I arrived at Devon house, the Bob marley museum located on Hope road was the first stop. It is quite historic and inspiring. I was given a tour of Bob’s house and learnt about his entire life, including some of the most intimate details of his life- like the shorts he wore while playing soccer (football), a sport he loved more than anything. He used to play at the front of his house and often the neighbours would be annoyed by the fact that they were always making noise. The song he wrote from that experience is this one, “who the cap fit, let them wear it”. I felt inspired to do great things after the tour, because Bob was a Jamaican, grew up on the rough side, and still became successful.
When the ice cream was done, we took a bathroom break and off we went. We walked into new Kingston passing lovely apartments or condos along the way. We walked through the business district and arrived at Emancipation park, another inspiring experience. “Why am I living in Canada?” I started to wonder as I stared at my surroundings. There is a track encircling the park, where persons come out to run or walk freely. Others sit in the park on benches to enjoy the sun and the breeze. The park is well kept, not even a loose paper anywhere. We entered the area where the famous naked statues stand, proudly looking up to the heavens, and the slogan, “The freedom to hope, to excel, and to be” catches my eye because it gives total understanding of why the statues are the way they are. I feel a connection with it and fully embrace it’s meaning. I am those statutes because I was born in this country and it is that same slogan that has taken me around the world (though I was long gone before it’s design) to accomplish my own hopes and dreams. And in my “be-ing” those words has brought me back home.
Jamaica has so much history and on this third day, it is only the beginning…