I have not read the survey that led to the Gleaner writing 'No time to dream', but I can tell you that it's utter rubbish–or twaddle, which is my preferred word for things I think are rubbish. The conclusion comes because over 50% cannot articulate their dream?
Because I cannot tell you what I want for my teenage daughter, you will tell me that I have no dream for her future? Get out of here! I see her hard work and I hope it turns her into more than a child who had hard work and a wish to do better. If she manages to fulfill her potential as a swimmer, she may not become an Olympian or even represent her country, or even go on to the podium as a winner, but she would have done her very best with what she had. That, my dear friend, is still the stuff of dreams.
Because my parents had no idea what to expect when they boarded BOAC planes in 1961 and went to England, you want to tell me they had no dreams? One dream was to find work in a country where their qualifications not their connections could get them through the interviews for the jobs they knew they could do. Did that dream materialize? If it did, it was not just due to their wishing it; others had to believe in it.
If some want to say that Jamaicans have no dreams, then look beyond those who wish to dream and look at those who have the power to help dreams be fulfilled. If I need to point out to you to the dream dashers, who crush the hopes of those who wish to be dream makers, then you really have not been paying attention.
I dreamt I could make my parents proud. I dreamt that my grandmother would never stop making her delicious bread and butter pudding. I dreamt that I could eat mangoes and my belly never swell and hurt. I dreamt that when I fell from the tree and my knee was split that my father would believe that I just fell, and had never climbed the tree he told me not to. I dreamt that one day I could jump into the sea and swim without getting tired, and float on my back for hours. I dreamt that dumpling and salt is his on Sunday morning would never finish.
Stop tell lie! Jamaicans have plenty of dreams. They're just not stilted ideas. Because they may be simple, doesn't mean they should be ignored or diminished. That smacks of a certain arrogance in how people–dare I say, some intellectuals–want to shape the world.
Step out of the box and see on what it has been standing.
Ironically, I watched a programme last night on ITV ('Secret history of our streets') about people who live and lived near Caledonian Road, a place often better known for druggies, criminals, prostitutes and life's outcasts. It discussed how one landowner had a vision for developing a huge parcel of land and built tony homes around a square. Others had other ideas and tried to get their piece of the land speculation pie by piling in lower cost housing. Then, the government thought it would be great to build a prison in the neighbourhood–always good for property values and prospects. Then, the railways decided to heavy-handedly develop King's Cross. Waves of workers, followed by waves of cattle, followed by waves of immigrants, descended on the area, and it because the pits. It's the rich who get the pleasure, and the poor who get the blame…
Fast forward. In the 1950s and 1960s some residents had ideas of making the place better and reclaimed old car parks and turned them into green courtyards. Voila! A Jamaican immigrant bought a small house, and several more and rented them and raised his family with his Irish wife; he was later forced to sell as another rail scheme took shape. His daughter, who moved from their row house to a council flat, said her dream was to have a 2-bedroom flat in the estate and raise two children. She did it! She talked about working in Tesco's and 'handing on' goods to neighbours and friends, so that they could get by: that's how it was. Now, in her 50s, she's just bought a pub and got to know how to run it from old pub locals. It's now a place for reminiscing and trying to keep the old working class fabric in tact, as the area becomes gentrified. A Cypriot man, exiled from his war-torn island, but versed in insolvency accounting, bent rules and bought up property and rented box-sized rooms to anyone needing shelter. He's now filthy rich and people pay cheaply to have shelter that has little or no ventilation. One day, they may move out and see real sunlight and maybe get a nice place in Thornhill Square.
Those are all people with dreams; all different, but realizable. If they are just about survival, that doesn't make them worthless.