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Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Unconventional Gift

The Unconventional Gift 
A view from Strawberry Fields
What will you be doing this Christmas? For us believers we will most likely be spending the morning in church, revisiting the reasons why we believe and serve; to forget about ourselves and focus on the "Light of the World." For others it will be a day where folks from across the globe make that extra effort to convene in one location for big dinners and merry making. Drink some wine, get a little tipsy, perhaps a little drunk, fatten our stomachs on the stuffed turkey or ham, the pound cake, the sorrel; the list goes on. And for a chosen few, the 25th will be a day of quiet reflection on the months that have passed and on how suddenly the year is ending. Those New Year’s resolutions will be in tow as we convince ourselves that the coming year will be “the year”  for the fulfilment of our dreams. 

For those who have no idea how they will be spending the rest of the season, here's an unconventional idea. Take a trip away from the city cluster and stress of Christmas shopping to a getaway where man meets nature and nature embraces man.

A few days ago I took a road trip with one of my friends to his backyard in the banana parish, a place also infiltrated with the Rasta vibration. To my surprise I pounced upon a few skin-bleachers, but mostly I was greeted by humble country men and women who understood and enjoyed the simplicity of life. The people of St. Mary will welcome and hail you, not with a “Wah gwaan”, but instead, with a colloquial “mannaz” deriving from the word “manners” meaning “respect”.

However the purpose of this trip was to experience what I now describe the “Bongo Living.” I took lodge in the hills of Albany at a bungalow owned by a Rasta, affectionately called Bongo, who takes on the subtle temperaments of an Indian Yogi. Very much wise for his years, he stays abreast with the current happenings of the world without the use of the latest gadgets. All he needs is his radio permanently stuck on the BBC and his daily reading of healthy living magazines, which he retrieves on a monthly basis from his American friends without having access to a mailbox. The information he gathers transforms him into a well read and knowledgeable machine.

A laid back, slow talking dread he is, but a man cognisant of spirituality even not limited to that of Rastafarianism. Bongo is the all around health guru, from his solar electricity to his vegan diet, complemented with his daily consumption of herbal and "bush" teas and vitamins. My friends and I never leave the Bongo cabin without a full dose of his special bread and smoothies, and not to mention swinging idly in hammocks or dosing on the cots against the wooden floors. We take a small recess from Bongo's cottage and drive  to another part of the country area, trekking partway to Winter Hill to take in the lush vegetation and the striking mountain view, while sucking on slices of sugar cane. 

The next stop is Robin’s Bay to a small resort called Strawberry Fields. While my two companions swim, I, donned in my swimwear, use the ambiance to reflect and write pieces to a developing new story. Like a tourist I trot around my friend’s backyard, already deciding to make another trip. 

So, I ask again. What are your plans this Christmas? If you are still battling to find a solution, how about a peaceful escape similar to my St. Mary experience. I can’t truly explain the pleasure that overcomes me while the breathtaking surroundings inculcate my senses. You have to experience it yourself.  

This season experience God’s gift to us—beautiful lands and seas. Discover the island’s hidden treasures, including the one’s often times overlooked, like the banana parish. This could be your perfect gift to a special someone, your friends and or family and even to yourself. It’s inexpensive and most of all, exhilarating. And if the day is already designated to something else, there are still six days left in the year to unwrap that package of escape.

Have a wonderful Christmas and may your endeavours be fulfilled in the coming year.

God’s blessings!

A slice of Bongo's special wheat bread

On the way up Winter Hill


  1. So serene, beautiful scenery

  2. Your so becoming a photographer. Your husband better watch out. Lol
    Great job Chevy