“Nothing without water”
My first visit to Jamaica involved cleansing, reconnecting with people of the African Diaspora and copious amounts of eating. The first morning, I woke up, made love with a tall glass of peanut porridge and put on my bathing suit. We drove a couple miles to Burwood Beach in Trelawny.
Bathing in saltwater empowers me because it helps wash away the baggage I hold from recent experiences. In Ghana, I sensed anger in the the sea and it intimidated me. It was the first time I felt the wrath of Maame Wata. However, the waters of Jamaica calmed my body and spirit. I was surprised to find it warm and inviting.
This sea bath cleansed me in a way desperately needed; I didn’t have access in the concrete jungle. I see it as a baptism, a plunge into physical and spiritual rebirth.
I played water volleyball with some new friends and enjoyed nk)mmo d3 (good conversations) afterwards.
We discussed Maame Wata, whom they knew as River Mumma, migration and the similarities between Jamaican patois and Ghanaian pidgin.
I headed to Five Star Touch Bar, a local bar that is built around a tree and sits right on the beach, and enjoyed popping tunes and tasty drinks.
We then walked around the bend to see mangroves, which are tree shrubs that have adapted to survive in saltwater spaces.
I treaded the path down towards the mangroves, thinking of my ancestors who were taken to this island from Africa. I felt an un-explainable sense of nostalgia as the first, second and third sand-fly bit into my flesh.
I imagined my people attempting to familiarize themselves with the land in relation to Africa. I was attempting to retrace the steps of my ancestors and remember them. The lush mountains and green landscapes reminded me so much of Ghana. Throughout my trip, I saw remnants of my beautiful country again and again. Inside the food, laughter, and spiritual force of black Jamaicans is Africa’s heartbeat. Around the world, her children are discovering new ways to love each other, hustling, bustling, and beating our drums into oblivion.
Photos by Sunkissednation Productions.