The American Dream | Jamaican Workers


Hello everyone, my name is Douglas Cohall and I’m from Jamaica from the parish of Kalani. I came here on the farmer program. The reason why I came here is to really better myself and my family.
I mean Jamaica job is really hard to find so this opportunity for me to come
here is to really make a bit of not only me and my family but Jamaica as a whole. The Jamaican program has been around
since 1943. From way back then we started sending workers to the United States to
work in various farms and 2010 we got an opportunity to come here to Brewster and
to Gebbers Farms. I have been in the program for the past several seasons
here at Gebbers Farms. When the opportunity arose I immediately wanted to come and
was fascinated about this place and I I wanted to come and even though their
persons down there who who have heard about it who have gone to other farms
but they just want to be here at Gebbers. This farmer program has really helped
especially my kids because going to school is really tough in Jamaica so you
have to pay your school fees by back to school. So it really has helped them to
really excel more in school once you’re on this program. It has
really helped I mean not just them for themselves not not only to improve
themselves but to improve their families and very far away, more than you can even imagine. Being here in Washington I’ve adjusted myself to be away from home. I
have a lot of friends here we really passed them, we talk about stuff, we do
stuff together and of course the work and the money. The money is really nice and the employer – it’s a great bunch of people. Seasonal employees we bring in a
host of H-2a workers – contract workers. Our full-time workers or the people who
are residents here have been declining over the years and we’re required to
bring in more and more contract workers. It’s a very labor intensive process so
we need a lot of people and we need good people. And so to have good people you
have to you have to go find them, you have to train them well, and then you
have to treat them well. The good thing about us being here as a
community we we tried to you know support each other.
If you really get to know Jamaicans you’ll realize that it’s a very
supporting group of people. In 2012 when Jamaica celebrated its 50th anniversary
and we were away here and we we wanted to have the same Jamaican feeling, I
suggested to our liaison officer, Mr. Brown, “why don’t we have our own Jamaican Day here?” and then he went right on it right away and started to contact the persons to you know to be a part of it. When we started our Jamaican
Independence Day it was twofold. We had two goals in mind.
One was to share our culture, food and the Jamaican way of living with the
great and wider community of Brewster. And the other was to take the money that we raised from that event and donate to charities back home. It has grown over the years since 2012 and I must tell you that the proceeds from all of these have
gone to to charity which the Gebbers family have much each year, so it’s
been wonderful and of the people in Jamaica been so grateful. Well the
Jamaican program is extremely unique in that the government of Jamaica takes
this program very seriously. They maintain a qualified pre-screened
pool of workers at all times so that any employer who wants to come down is free to come down and recruit and select from that pool. One of the most unique things
is that they provide a liaison officer within each state where we have
Jamaicans. They lias between the employer and the government and also the worker
to make sure that things run smoothly and to make sure the welfare of the
workers is protected but that also the employee is pretty much pleased with the
entire labor force that they have selected from Jamaica. Our labor force
here together with us, we’re kind of like a family. There’s there’s a lot of the
guys, I mean for the thousands of workers that we have, there’s many of the guys
that they come back they go back home to Jamaica every year and they come
back the next year and it’s just like they’ve never left and we’re able to
recognize each other and carry on conversations: “How is your family doing?” “How was your time back home?” and it’s really important to us to maintain that
kind of a relationship.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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