So apparently Jamaicans the world over are feeling quite puzzled because of a WhatsApp voice note that’s been making the rounds in the past few days. In the message a female voice can be heard telling someone that she lives in Jamaica. No big deal, right? The cringe worthy moment comes, however, when she explains that she’s not in Jamaica, but is instead in Ochi. A weh di…Wha-???
Now for anyone who is not really familiar with Jamaica, that means nothing. But for everyone who is from, or associated with yaad we know Ochi is the short for our beloved and beautiful Ocho Rios, a breath-taking town on Jamaica’s north coast. So if Ochi is located in Jamaica, what is this young lady talking about? Honestly, everyone I’ve spoken to about it is still trying to figure that one out. Of course, in true Jamaican style the now infamous voice note has become the butt of many jokes, songs and memes. Among the most popular are pictures depicting passports to Ochi, a so-called Ochi International Airport, and airlines with names such as Air Ochi.
On the real though, this poor girl must be hiding somewhere far away right now, who knows, maybe off the island of Ochi? I don’t even know where to cast blame for this one- Parents? School? Government? Jah know star! To be honest, I chalk it up to a bit of ignorance. So here goes my very shaky hypothesis. This young lady is so unaccustomed to traveling outside of the geographic area where she resides, so much so that upon seeing Ochi she thinks she’s in a different country. Unlikely? Mi nuh know! When I was in teachers’ college we were encouraged to make field trips a regular part of the teaching- learning experience. Somebody or the other told a group of us, aspiring teachers, about a class of awestruck kids who were once taken on a field trip to Cross Roads. We were told that their reaction was due to the fact some among them had never been given the opportunity to travel outside of their communities although they lived nearby.
In this day in age, could one such mythical creature still exist? In her defence, anyone who has been to Ocho Rios can testify that this town induces feelings of being in another world. It’s a stark contrast to Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, where (based on her accent) I suspect this girl is from.
Located in the parish of St. Ann, Ocho Rios is one of Jamaica’s main tourist attractions, boasting pristine white sand beaches, picturesque waterfalls and lush tropical gardens. Of course, Ocho Rios is Spanish for eight rivers; and although this town does not boast eight rivers it does offer one of the most unique river experiences in the world- trekking to the top of Dunn’s River Falls. On any given day you can observe a line of tourists, holding hands and climbing to the top of the falls as they are encouraged to follow the footsteps of the guide in order to avoid slippery spots. It is truly a thrilling experience and one that you definitely have to seek out the next time that you visit our shores. There is no end to the adventures that you can have in Ocho Rios– river rafting, scuba diving, swimming with the dolphins, zip lining…Come to beautiful Ochi nuh, and lose yourself (or your senses) for a day or two. 🙂
Written by: Syrece Montgomery