I received an email yesterday from a gentleman living in Costa Rica. His grandparents were from Jamaica and he was interested in learning Jamaican patwa/patois. He never learned it from grandparents. He told me that there are people in Costa Rica of Jamaican descent and some spoke an English dialect called language called “Mekatelyu” (make I tell you or let me tell you). The dialect is from Jamaican patwa/patois.
I spoke to a Panamanian friend of Jamaican decent who is from Panama about this. He lived in Costa Rica for 6 years. He explained that in the same area where people spoke “Mekatelyu” there is a town there called “Jamaica town“. He said the Jamaican culture is well preserved in this town especially the cooking of Jamaican food.
I know growing up in Jamaica we learned about Jamaicans who went to work in Panama on the canal. It is just amazing when you hear about it from “real life” people who are descendants of these Jamaicans. My first encounter with these stories was in the 1980’s when one of my Nicaragua friends told me about her Jamaican grandparents and the descendants of Jamaica that live there. I never get tired of hearing about Jamaican culture in other places around the world.