Jamaica: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Jamaica, the economy and social status, the Rastafarian religion, marijuana cultivation.



Jamaica's economy is in some trouble. Tourism has decreased, and prices for many food exports have stayed relatively low, while the prices for imported manufactured goods, oil, and foodstuffs, have soared.

With more than 90% of the population of African or mixed descent, the social divisions tend to follow economic rather than color lines. Although some status attaches to being lighter than average in skin color, the dual standards that exist in wages, public services, work facilities, personal relationships and criminal justice are leveled mainly at the poorer sectors. The middle class is small, and the vast bulk of the population is poor. There is a minimum 25% unemployment rate. There is vast urban poverty, and the cities are ringed with slums. "Scuffling" (local term for scrounging) a living is an accepted way of life among the poor, who rely on their extensive family connections to get by. The rural poor frequently have a little plot of land, possibly shared with another family or relations, which may provide a subsistence living or a small income.

The Rastafarian sect is a uniquely Jamaican group of black nationalists, who desire a return to Africa and who refuse to involve themselves with Jamaican society. They will not beg, preferring to be self-employed or unemployed rather than take charity from Jamaicans. They never cut their hair, but twist it into long hanks. They have believed in the divinity of Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, from whose title--Ras Tafari--comes their name. Many smoke ganja (marijuana) for religious purposes.

Marijuana is Jamaica's 3rd largest export, after bauxite and bananas. Plots of it are cultivated in the mountains by whole villages, but it also grows wild all over the island. Cutbacks in Mexican exports have increased Jamaica's production.

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