Jamaicans have always been a proud people, but when it comes to making things last longer, we know that we have to come up with resourceful ways to make everything last longer around us. We rearrange our surroundings to conform to our needs as best as possible, doing more with less, and even when it costs us more overtime.
Here are a few examples:
1. Sunday/ Monday-Wednesday – The Sunday/Monday has always been a big part of Jamaican lives where food from the big cooking on Sunday was eaten for breakfast and sometimes dinner on Mondays, but this practice has began to extend to part of the Sunday meal being served up until as long as Wednesday evenings.
2. Purchasing in small quantities – Shop keepers are now readily adjusting their products to suit the needs of their customers, and if you live where there are a lot of community shops then you are familiar with $30 cooking oil, quarter bread, half bottle of bleach..etc.
3. Diluting liquid soap – When one buys a large bottle of liquid soap, we all know that we need to have another empty bottle to pour half into it and add water to stretch it. Even though this weakens the mixture and we are forced to use more than the normal so it suds how we want it, in our minds it still lasts us longer.
4. Informal plastic recycling – Plastic items are never thrown away directly after use in the Jamaican household. Grocery bags are reserved for garbage or storage, and plastic bottles are used for various other reasons like storing drinking water, becoming a cooking oil bottle, detergent bottle, funnels, and if you are resourceful enough, shower heads. We are handymen.
5.Stretching the pot – It is no secret that the economy is not what it used to be, and so one has to resourceful in making meals last for everyone in the household. So we must stretch the pot by using smaller amounts of meat and stretching it with various ingredients such as macaroni, potatoes, and peas.
6. Mr Fix It –Every Jamaican household contains a roll of duct tape, a bottle of crazy or nail glue, and some patexx. Nothing in a Jamaican household is truly broken until it shatters to pieces and cannot be mended with these items and professionals are too expensive.
7. Bridging electricity wires – You will get locked up? You will be fined? It is dangerous? Has caused many house fires and death? Of course we know all of that but we still bridge the JPS wires to get some free electricity in our homes, and avoid paying the monstrous bills.
8. Mr Chin – They Chinese haberdasheries are popping up in every major town and have been set up in numbers in the cities. With their very inexpensive prices and ‘very close to original’ knockoffs, Mr Chin has become the place to shop, the sell everything from cosmetics to pots and pans.
9. Bush remedies – Grandma has never been wrong when it comes to bush remedies. We as Jamaicans know that there are bushes in and around our surrounding areas that can get rid of almost everything that we are ailing with. Bush remedies are drawn for before one even thinks about going to the doctor.
10. “Ring and heng up” – If you live or have lived in Jamaica and own a prepaid cellphone then you will know a few of the codes when one is out of credit. You may receive a “please call me”, “please credit me”, or the infamous “ring and heng up”. When someone rings your phone and hangs up before you answer you know that it’s the code for “I only have enough credit to ring your phone, so this is an indication that you should call me back”. Like i said, we are resourceful.