Darine BenAmara is a French woman, who is currently working in the downtown Kingston area. She describes herself as “passionate about international relations, international development and feminism.” She authors a great blog (http://easypoli.com) which breaks down complicated issues in more digestible and understandable ways, through short articles and YouTube videos. Here is a guest post by her, with her beautiful photos – showing her growing appreciation for downtown Kingston. The captions are mine.
Downtown Kingston makes the headlines on many occasions. The neighbourhood is sadly best known for being the theatre of violence, a place plagued with many socio-economic issues that have led to the near abandon of the area. Once a thriving neighbourhood, the demise of downtown Kingston is the result of political corruption and criminal activity. This led to corporate abandon, reinforcing negative social issues and accelerating the misfortunes of the community. As a result, for decades downtown Kingston has been home to many of the city’s undesirable inner-city communities and gangs.
As a foreigner, people will strongly advise you not to venture into the area. And guess what? That’s where my office is located – not just downtown, but on the waterfront no less. Having your office on the waterfront, can you imagine! It sounds ideal, but I am not going to lie, I was very skeptical and concerned about my safety when I began working there. During the first few weeks, I took a cab that dropped me off and picked me up at the office door each day. I did my very best to avoid walking in the streets of downtown Kingston. However, I was always looking by the window, watching people come and go, curious to see how life was moving around in such an area. I could feel the vibrance of the streets, hear the music and the people bargaining, and see the youth playing and dancing.
So one day, I decided that walking along downtown’s streets would be my daily routine. The busy streets, lined with many historic buildings and monuments are breathtaking. There is a wealth of historic sights, and downtown is also a bustling business district with busy roadways and crowded sidewalks. Once again, I’m fascinated by the true beauty and strength of Jamaicans, making the most of their days, always smiling regardless their condition.
Downtown is the heartbeat of Kingston. The buildings mark the vestige of a properous economy and still preserve the testimony of the country’s rich past. The situation is not gleaming for the people living there but they hope and work for a stronger and better tomorrow.
Jamaican Proverb – “Hungry mek monkey blow fire” (People are forced to become innovative and resourceful under harsh conditions).