Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Maroon Tour

Published:Sunday | August 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The gushing water of One Drop Falls, close to the Blue Mountains.
This statue showcases that 'sharing is caring'.
The abeng was used as a form of communication, announcing whether a baby was born, someone had passed away, or if you needed to call someone.
The copper pot was used by the Maroons to boil sugar and to create 'home-made' rum.
The entrance wall to the Asafu Yard, where the Maroons prepared for war or battle, depicting the Middle Passage.
The fertility doll which was said to bring forth a child of your own if you treated the doll like your baby.

Krysta Anderson, Lifestyle Writer

There is nothing like taking a break from the everyday hustle and bustle of the city and heading to the country, learning something new in the process.

On August 17, I became a dry-land tourist and joined an inspiring group of brilliant minds down heritage lane. In celebrating Marcus Garvey's birthday, Sun Venture Tours highlighted what was to be 'a day in the life' of an influential group of people in our culture, the Maroons.

The eager troupe that hopped on to the bus at Andrews Memorial Hospital, was all too excited to have an authentic Jamaican experience.

With an easy-like-Sunday morning attitude, we ventured off to the cool parish of Portland to pay a visit to Charles Town Maroon Museum as well as other affiliated historical sites, with hopes of indulging in friendship, food, and fun.

So now that we have enjoyed the calm, let us address the storm.

Driving to a deserted land

The drive through the long and winding Junction proved that the local drought was real. Remnants of bush fires reflected this reality, which hindered the mystifying effect of flowing waters.

We were greeted with puddles of water instead of a rushing stream at Castleton Gardens. The highly promoted One Drop Falls in the Blue Mountains only lived up to its name in a literal sense by offering 'one drop'. While disappointed, the group made the most of it basking in the natural beauty of their surroundings.

Maroon Museum's Missing Touch

From the way they prepared their meals to how they cleaned their houses, weaving grass into fashion, to the tools they used for hunting and their fighting strategy, the group was given a detailed description of Maroon life. The tour of the museum was informative, no doubt about that.

But I was saddened when it was revealed that the war dance often performed by the Maroons would not be taking place as scheduled, owing to the religious nature of some members of the group. Picture live drums fused with singing and dancing. This, for me, would have added some excitement and a sight to behold. Instead, I was left to rely on my vivid imagination.

Nyam Jam?

With lunchtime almost an hour and a half behind schedule, the famished group was in a bit of a jam when the Nyam Jam Restaurant and Travel Halt presented some members with a choice of heads or tails. Those who ordered the fish meal expected to receive a whole scrumptious fish, but were disappointed when they discovered they were only given a half of a fish. Head or tail anyone? They were not pleased. Those with chicken had a different story. The stop at Junction was a great reprieve to silence grumbling stomachs.

Swimming Hole

Now, this was the highlight of the trip. Some lymed by the river bank at Buff Bay Valley and others avenged themselves of the hot summer day by indulging in the river festivities. The locals among the tourists all seemed to have one thing in mind - they were all going to treasure the moment and have a good time. Unfortunately, the call to leave almost 40 minutes later was too soon for them.

Winding down and coming full circle to our
original starting point, many reflected on the day that was. Interesting
Garvey conversations pursued intertwined with ordinary-but-interesting
facts about St Mary and Portland, and, of course, the spiritual lives of
the freedom fighters - the Maroons.

All in all, the
tour made a great attempt at connecting with the past, but it fell short
in balancing factual occurrences with an overall fun

by Rochelle Keane