The Loudmouth Protestant

August 29, 2007

Rastafari

Filed under: God,Jamaica,rest — nickisym @ 8:04 pm

Some of you may have noticed–or maybe not–that I was gone for a little while. I have finally resurfaced with a renewed spirit and a refreshed body after spending some time in Jamaica. It was my first time to the country after spending many years of my life claiming my heritage there.

My primary reason for visit was a wedding but excursions soon overshadowed that momentous occasion. On my first day on the island, I took a bus from the Montego Bay airport–otherwise known as Sangster International–to my resort which was located in Ocho Rios. The ride was about 2.5 hours which was depressing considering I’d spent about 3 hours on the plane. But thanks be to God, the tour guide made it worth our while by giving us a rest stop at a local Jerk Hut–the first of many that I would encounter on the island.

Now the jerk wasn’t mind-blowing, but I was starving, so I devoured the dry chicken to the point where a strip of it got lodged in my throat–for two days. But the hard-dough bread on the other hand was moist, doughy and chewy–all important components of a slice.

We boarded the bus and passed about 10 other all-inclusive resorts until we finally reached our destination, Riu, Ocho Rios, a beautiful oceanfront resort. It was almost completely an outdoor resort with the exception of the fact that the rooms were obviously shelter from the great outdoors.

My good friend and I spent the next few days eating like queens, sleeping a whole lot and drinking lots of watered down–virgin–drinks. In all fairness, the wedding was great because it offered an opportunity for the family to get together–which I will talk more about in a later post–but the highlight of my trip was an excursion to Bob Marley’s Mausoleum.

Dare I say this leg of the trip was life changing thanks in part to our amazing tour guide, Desmond–typical Jamaican name. He was gregarious Rastafarian–or as my dad call them “Nyah Man.” Every couple of kilometers on the bus, he would stop, pick a few leaves and tell us about their medicinal purposes–no he didn’t pick a marijuana leaf, but we were offered a tour of the gangja garden situated not too far way from Bob Marley’s Nine Mile home.

Desmond told us of the healing powers of mint, hyssop, lime leaves, all spice and then he told us of the most magical fruit of them all, the Noni plant. Most of you have heard of Noni before, you might even have a friend or family member that is a Noni distributor. Noni is touted for it’s might healing powers. According to Desmond, if you put the juice of the fruit in your sauce, drink and baked goods, it will clean you out so good it will make you cry. Desmond also looked directly at me and told me that if I put in on my face every night for a week it will clear up that which is hiding my beauty. He then looked at my parents–who suffer from back and knee problems–and told them that the juice would heal their bodies. Desmond had such a strong conviction about the juice that he began to give us testimonies about how it changed the lives of people he’d sold it to in the past.

All of this was confirmation for me because I already knew about the incredible power of drinking the juice, but never had I had someone tell me with such strong conviction–plus he was sellingĀ  100% pure Noni for $15 instead of the $45 charge in-state. Long story short, my friend and I bought a bottle and my parents bought six.

But Desmond’s amazing-ness didn’t stop there. This man knew the Bible like a seminary/Bible school taught scholar. He was quoting scriptures–KJV-style, telling us about their significance, even telling my friend and I our biblical names. He also confirmed something that my friend had been pondering for a really longtime in regards to her career.

In addition to Desmond’s prophesying, he had an amazing love and compassion for his country. And his compassion even bled into my mother, who, for the last year has been suffering with her knee following a replacement. As she tried her hardest to climb the slope leading to Mt.Zion–Bob Marley’s second home where his single bed and his body lay–Desmond scramble to find help. He made the driver of the bus take her and my dad up the first hill and he preached to her about the power of the Noni plant and the Hot Springs in Jamaica. He even called her mommy–in that so not NY way. It was endearing.

Desmond shared the history of his roots and culture with us. He told us about the ital diet of Rastafarians and their beliefs. It might sound crazy, but he imparted much on me that day. I left that excursion with a changed mind about my lifestyle. I wanted to go vegetarian, unplug my television, throw away my secular music and just be one with my God. (Side note: I know it sounds like I am contemplating Rastafarianism, but I’m not–plus Jesus Christ is not a Rasta’s savior, Haile Selassie is.)

So now, three days following the excursion, the feeling has stayed with me. I have started my ital diet–eating only vegetables, grains and things from the earth (with the exception of one quarter of a burger, some shrimp and a chicken wing I ate last night which my body immediately rejected–I was being entertained by a friend’s clients). I haven’t turned on my television save for watching the news. I haven’t been able to completely get through a secular song. Lastly, I feel a different connection to God. One that is not contingent on feelings but more on contemplation and thoughtfulness in my actions.

I came back from Jamaica in peace, a peace that feel unbreakable and beyond my own understanding, so I’ve been cutting my words carefully, minding my manners and trying not to let the craziness of the sh*tty–yes I said it–city life get to me. I want to retain this feeling, so I am doing everything in my power to hold on to it. I’m not jumping back into the rat race and drowning in work and a million and one assignments–professionally or otherwise. All things in moderation.

I’m resting in peace on earth.

Thank God!

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