THE MAGIC OF THE BLUE MOUNTAINS IN JAMAICA…..

bluemountainby: Neo Makeba

As the longest mountain range in Jamaica, and one of the largest in the Caribbean, the Blue Mountains of Jamaica are extraordinary, spectacular and imposing. The steep gradients and varied relief produce cool surroundings amidst the tropical vegetation.

The Mountains receive more than 300 inches of rain each year, providing water for almost one half of Jamaica’s population. The land is particularly rugged and when the Spanish fled Jamaica, their freed slaves escaped to these mountains.

Jamaica’s highest point is the Blue Mountain Peak, which stands 2256m above sea level, and is nestled in the heart of the range. On a clear day hikers can see Cuba which is 210km away, from the summit.

The true atmosphere of the Blue Mountains is found in the hundreds of paths that connect villages with planting grounds and other villages. These are not recreational trails but utilitarian tracks used by people who live and work in the mountains. There are some nice walks around Newcastle on the Kingston to Buff Bay Road where trails lead to Catherine’s Peak and Mt. Horeb.

The rich, nutritious soils of the Blue Mountain slopes make for perfect agricultural conditions, which is why the mountains themselves are so green and tropical. The famous Blue Mountain Coffee Beans produce the ultimate in gourmet coffees. The sensational taste, richness and smoothness makes this locally grown product a unique culinary wonder.

There are also over 500 species of unique flowering plants and huge trees that tower over visitors below. The world’s second-largest butterfly (Homerus Swallowtail) flutters through the forests and there are plenty of other creatures sheltering from the intense sun amongst the foliage.

THE PEAKBlue Mountain Peak, Jamaica. Today, the famous Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, which commands premium prices on world markets, is cultivated between 2,000 and 5,000 feet above sea level, while higher slopes are preserved as forest. Hagley Gap and Mavis Bank are farming communities located on Blue Mountain with Hagley Gap being closest to Blue Mountain Peak. Both towns rely upon the area’s rich soil for growing coffee.

loggerhead birdBlue Mountain Loggerhead Bird. The Blue Mountains climatic diversity has led to the growth of diverse and lush vegetation including towering trees and more than 500 species of flowering plants. The mountains are home to the world’s second largest butterfly and the largest in the Americas, the Homerus swallowtail (Papilio homerus). The Jamaican Coney (Geocapromys brownii), a type of rodent, and the Jamaican Boa (Epicrates subflavus) are also found there. More than 200 species of birds live in the Blue Mountains.

bloggerA BLOGGER WROTE: When someone suggested that I do an 18-mile bike ride in Jamaica, I figured they’d had a little too much sun. But in the spirit of adventure, I soon found myself poised at the top of the Blue Mountains, strapping on a bike helmet and getting ready to plunge down a steep road. The next three hours convinced me that cycling is the best way to explore Jamaica’s gorgeous back country.

Most ships calling on Ocho Rios or Montego Bay in Jamaica offer the downhill bike ride as a shore excursion. If not, you can contact Blue Mountain Bicycle Tours directly to arrange a day of cycling through the Jamaican countryside.

The route is almost all downhill, starting at Hardware Gap, with its hazy views of far-off Kingston, and ending near Buff Bay on the northern coast. Along the way, you see, smell, and feel many of the things that make Jamaica famous: Blue Mountain coffee growing in steep fields, ackee trees bursting with the yellow fruit that goes into the island’s national dish, jerk chicken simmering at a roadside stall, and national icons like the long-tailed Doctor Bird and the Blue Mahoe tree.

Bike-mounted guides are poised at both ends of the pack to monitor traffic and road conditions, and answer questions about the flora, fauna, history, and culture. Brunch at The Blue Mountain Restaurant and Coffee Shop is included in the price, as is the Ting grapefruit soda that quenches your thirst at the final destination — a small waterfall and swimming hole to wash the road away before driving back to your ship

bluemountainviewWonderful view of the Blue Mountains in Jamaica. This is where Newcastle is located. The town of Newcastle, located two miles below Holy well, has an interesting history. The British established it in 1841 because troops manning the lowland forts were dying of yellow fever in alarming numbers.

The buttercups that grew in great numbers following the rains were blamed for exuding some sort of effluvium that caused the deadly sickness. The troops were stationed high in the forest at Newcastle so they would be far enough away from the buttercup fields to be affected. It was much later before someone made the connection between yellow fever and the hearty, thriving mosquito population that–along with the buttercups—also mushroomed with the rains.

Black slaves were much less susceptible to yellow fever than their British owners. Slaves named the buttercups after the white people (or “backras”), calling them “kill-backras.” The saying also developed that “If backra wants to live long, he must ask nayga leave” because it appeared the less sickly slaves knew the secret to good health and long life.

coffeepickerThe  coffee is always picked by hand. Blue Mountain has partnered with Organo Gold to introduce Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee with Ganoderma. Premium Gourmet Royal Brewed Coffee. It’s the same great tasting Blue mountain coffee, now infused with one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants, the most celebrated of all Chinese herbs and one of the most tested product on earth. 100% Organic Ganoderma Luciduim.

aroma-ridge-blue-mountain-coffee

RED FLAG TO FIFA, YELLOW FLAG TO JFF

IFASo FIFA was issued a Red Flag on corruption charges that seems to have its roots from the CONCACAF region of the Federation of which Jamaica is a part.

The investigations seems tight, not air tight as they are still unfolding. There is a saying where there is smoke, there is fire. The allegation of corruption has been alive for years and the awarding of Qatar of the 2022 World Cup brought those flames of corruption burning higher than before.

Qatar’s 2022 has come under worldwide pressure as allegations of human rights, slavery as well as deadly work conditions pile like refuse on the organizing committee. In the latest episode of Qatar’s disregard for human rights, they refused to allow Nepalese workers to return home to attend the funerals after their country’s deadly earthquake.

Surely such draconian decisions do not fare well with the world’s favorite game. FIFA has been quiet on these allegations and artist have now chided corporate sponsors in the wake of their seeming consent by silence of the atrocities. They have re-created their logos with visual images of human slavery and suffering . VISA is one such sponsor

VISAHYUNDIECorporate sponsors HYUNDIE and  VISA have come under criticism for their support of Qatar.

The corruption goes deeper than what it appears on the surface and it will be interesting to see who else is indicted as the case unfolds.

As Jamaica is a part of the region indicted and we all know the Jamaica federation has its own troubles, let us hope the administration gets its book in order and not be so careless as to root whatever there is to root, through the US financial system as surely if there are improprieties, they will be uncovered.

Indeed there are many that accuse the local federation of its own transparency as it relates to its own administration and the way a national team is selected. The JFF receives a lot of support from sporting organizations worldwide in many aspects of its football objectives and the corruption today uncovered not only deals with bribery of FIFA’s internal affairs but also of sporting companies that are involved with the payout of millions of dollars to solicit deals.

Let us hope that the local officials are as clean as a whistle as it relates to the multi million dollar bribery scheme that sees the greasing of palms here and there, nepotism flourishing over here and over there , all at the expense of the people that love the game.

We can hope and we can dream. The reality is corruption is like a snow ball, once it starts it keeps rolling. If our federation is free from corruption, then let them be free to operate with an open conscience. But if, like the CONCACAF President and others charged , our federation is also tainted with bribes at the cost of the blood of football fans in our country, then let them be on notice that they too should also face the red flag , and they will be investigated, charged and made to answer not by the people, but to the people of Jamaica and the world.

The accused in the bribery

the accused

THE “BAD FRIDAY” THAT JAMAICA TURNS ITS BACK ON….

rasta1

(CONTRIBUTED IN PART) Neo Makesa
In 1961, the largest landowner in Jamaica was one Sir Francis Moncrieff Kerr-Jarrett, Custos of St James and owner of numerous sugar plantations (pictured in glasses). He continously petitioned the Governor and colonial office to clamp down on the Rastafari who he described as ‘an undesirable sect’.

Sirs Clifford & FrancesDuring the late 1950s, Kerr Jarrett was behind one of the conservative movements under the guise of Moral Rearmament. The colonial special branch police placed Rasta camps under surveillance and used Vagrancy laws to enslave them.

The Rastafari brethren from Maroon Town were prevented from walking alongside the areas of the coast close to the Half Moon Bay Hotel. They always traveled on foot from Railway Lane and Barnet Street up to Salt Spring, through Flower Hill and sometimes to Flanker and White House (a fishing community now blocked by the Sangster airport).

On Holy Thursday April 11, 1963, some brethren claimed the right to walk in this tourist region and sought to defend themselves. A petrol station was torched, a policeman was killed and Sir Alexander Bustamante, Prime Minister, (bottom right) flew to Montego Bay with the Commissioner of Police, the JDF top brass, two Ministers of Government, and several police from the headquarters in Kingston.

bustamanteBustamante was about to demonstrate to foreign ‘developers’ that the space around Half Moon Bay Hotel was free from the presence of bearded Rastas. A police manhunt rounded up and killed Rastas then unleashed total repression against all in Western Jamaica.

On Good Friday, a massive army and police presence was around Montego Bay and Bustamante gave the order “Bring in all Rastas, dead or alive.” Canterbury was raided, spaces of the Rastafari ransacked and desecrated. The police and army invaded all working class neighborhoods and arrested and detained all those who were Rastas.

The lock up jail at Barnett Street was so full that they were held in the yard just as the enslaved had been and from time to time hosed down with water. The police and military cut the locks of the Rastafari.

rasta

.ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, EH?

FACTS ABOUT THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA 

 
 FACTS ABOUT AFRICA

1. The Gambia has only one university.

2. Equatorial Guinea is Africa’s only Spanish speaking country.

3. South Africa is the most visited African country.

4. Nigeria has the richest Black people in Africa.

5. Samuel Eto’o is the highest paid Footballer of all time, he received about £350,000 weekly in Russia in 2011.

6. A person from Botswana is called a Motswana, the plural is Botswana.

7. A person from Lesotho is called a Motsotho.

8. A person from Niger is called a Nigeren.

8. A person from Burkina Faso is called a Burkinabe.

9. Nigeria has won more football cups than England.

10. Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the world’s most educated President with 7 degrees, two of them are Masters.

11. Al-Ahly of Egypt is the richest club in Africa.

12. Didier Drogba is Chelsea’s highest goalscorer in European competition.

13. Johannesburg, South Africa is the most visited city in Africa.

14. Zinedine Zidane wanted to play for Àlgeria, but the selector rejected him, saying they are already many players like him in the team.

15. President Jacob Zuma was given a special award by Fifa for refereeing on Robben Island during his years as a political prisoner.

16. President Robert Mugabe was jailed for 11 years for fighting for freedom.

17. President Robert Mugabe is Africa’s oldest Head of State and the world’s second oldest Head of State. He was born in 1924.

18. The Seychelles are the most educated Africans. Seychelles’ literacy rates (Adult: 92%, Youth: 99%) Zimbabwe is 2nd (Adult: 91.2%,Youth: 99%).

19. Rwanda is a better country for gender equality than England and USA.

20. Somalia got its first ATM on October 7, 2014.

21. South Africa has the most Grammy award winners in Africa.

22. Ethiopia has the most airports in Africa.

23. Ethiopia’s economy is growing faster than China’s.

24. Eritrea’s President, Isaias Afwerki is the least richest President in Africa.

25. Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent country, it has existed for over 3,000 years without being colonised.

26. Haile Selassie 1 was the 225th and last Emperor of Ethiopia.

27. Nigeria has the most monarchs in the world.

28. Angola has more Portuguese speakers than Portugal.

29. President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos has ruled Angola since 1979.

30. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is Africa’s longest serving Head of State. He has ruled Equatorial Guinea since August 3, 1979 when he overthrew his uncle, Francisco Nguema. His son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue is his Vice President and will succeed him if he resigns. He started ruling Dos Santo

31. George Weah of Liberia is the first man to win World, European and African footballer of the year in the same year.

32. Swaziland is the only remaining absolute mornach in the world.

33. The Gambia is the smallest country in Africa followed by Swaziland.

34. King Sobhuza ll of Swaziland took the longest time in reigning Swaziland, 62 years as he was crowned in 1921 and died in August 1982 at the age of 83 years.

34.1. King Sobhuza II of swaziland, married 70 wives, who gave him 210 children between 1920 and 1970.

35. Zimbabwe is the only country in the world were almost everyone was a billionaire at one point

Contributed. 

THE BOBO ASHANTI WOMEN OF RASTAFARI….. 

  1.    

Neo Makesa

Bobo Ashanti, also called the Ethiopian International Congress, is a religious group based in Bull Bay near Kingston, Jamaica. The Bobo Ashanti are one of the strictest Mansions of Rastafari. They cover Their dreadlocks with turbans and wear long robes.

And while some Nyabinghi and Twelve tribe Rastafari drink wine and are either vegetarians orcarnivores (meat eaters), the Bobo Ashanti are all strict vegan vegetarians and stick to the biblical restrictions regarding their vow;

Men and women – the latter constituting only 20 per cent of the camp’s population of some 100 Boboshantis – live in separate dwellings and cohabit only for the week when sex is allowed. For 21 days of every month, sometimes 24, the women must deny themselves male companionship.

Boboshanti is the only Rastafari order known to practise this degree of separation. All women acknowledge the “power of the goddess” – a term used to describe a woman’s ovulation cycle. The blood cycle is a part of creativity. it is the womb that is shedding; it must make room to house a young human. Women must cover their legs and arms. A woman may serve food to a guest, but never to a Bobo male.

THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE OF AFAR, AFRICA  

   
   The Afar (Danakil) claim to be descendants of Ham (Noah’s son). They are located in the East African countries of Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. They prefer to be known as the Afar, since the Arabic word “danakil” is an offensive term to them. They are a proud people, emphasizing a man’s strength and bravery. Prestige comes from killing one’s enemies. 

The Afar consist of two subgroups: the Asaemara (“red ones”), who are the more prestigious and powerful nobles living primarily in the area of Assayita; and the Adaemara (“white ones”), who are the commoners living in the desert areas. Those who live in the desert inhabit one of the most rugged regions in the world, known as the Afar Plain or the Danakil Desert. One area, called the Danakil Depression, consists of a vast plain of salt pans and active volcanoes. Much of it lies 200 feet below sea level and has daily temperatures as high as 125 degrees F. The average yearly rainfall is less than seven inches
What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of the Afar are nomads who herd sheep, goats, cattle, and camels. A man’s wealth is measured by the size of his herds. 

Not all of the Afar are herdsmen. Many of those who work in the Danakil Depression pry loose slabs of solid salt during the dry season, supplying ready-to-use salt in the form of crude blocks. Some of them live in apartment buildings in the country’s capitol city, Addis Ababa. They remain there year round and work in government jobs such as the Afar broadcasts of the Ethiopian radio station. 

Although some Muslims are permitted to have four wives, Afar marriages are usually monogamous. Girls may marry as early as age ten. Marriages between first cousins are preferred, particularly between a man and his father’s sister’s daughter. The night of the full moon is favored for a wedding ceremony, and the presence of someone able to read the Koran is required. 

Meat and milk are the major components of the Afar diet. Milk is also an important social “offering”. For instance, when a guest is given fresh warm milk to drink, the host is implying that he will provide immediate protection for the guest. If a person is killed while under the protection of an Afar, his death must be avenged as if he were a member of the clan. 

The Afar live in camps surrounded by thorn barricades, which protect them from the attacks of wild animals or enemy tribesmen. Their oval-shaped huts, called ari, are made of palm mats and are easily moved
What Are Their Beliefs?

Early in their history, the Afar were heavily influenced by the Islamic religion; and today, Islam is still held in great esteem. The people do not eat pork and rarely drink alcohol. Those who can afford to do so, make a pilgrimage to Mecca. In addition, many pre-Islamic beliefs and customs are also prevalent among the Afar. They believe that certain trees and groves have sacred powers. They also have various religious rites such as anointing their bodies with ghee (a type of butter). Spirits of the dead are believed to be very powerful, and a “feast of the dead”, called Rabena, is celebrated each year. They also give annual offerings to the sea to ensure safety for their villages. Many people wear protective leather amulets that contain herbs and verses from the Koran.

What Are Their Needs?

Because the Afar are a proud, independent people, they have had a very turbulent history. In recent times, the government has built houses with kitchens and bathrooms – luxuries previously unknown to these nomads. 

Only one large river, the Awash, flows through the Danakil Desert. However, it dwindles into a series of lakes before ever reaching the sea. Consequently, there is a great need for pure water sources for the Danakil and their herds. In recent years, they have suffered because of famines and drought.

THE BEAUTIFUL DINKA FROM SOUTH SUDAN

Found this beautiful piece and had to share it. It was a pictorial blog of the Dinka people from South Sudan Africa. What strikes me is how relaxed ans comfortable these people are in their own skin. It took me back to the time 200 years ago when Europeans came and saw Africans from Africa and the Taino people from Jamaica and disrupted their life with false claim of civilization and education.

Have you ever stopped and wondered what kind of a world we would have if history played out differently? How very different the world would have been. Enjoy the images and enjoy the life of the Dinka people.

From Tekey

The Dinka are a Nilotic ethnic group from South Sudan. They live from the tenth century on both sides of the Nile River and speak a language belonging to the Nilo-Saharan group. They are about three million and are divided into about 21 groups, each with its own legitimate leader.

Although farming has always been its main economic resource, there has never missed an important agricultural and fishing activity that allowed them to be self-sufficient in food. Their trade and light industry are increasingly gaining importance.

Photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher have an experience of over 30 years recording ceremonies, rituals and daily life of African tribal peoples. His photographs reflect a long and deep relationship of respect for the customs and people of these tribes, especially those of the Dinka:

Dinka-de-Sudán-1

dinka women remove their clothing before entering the river, revealing their beaded jewelery.their belts and bracelets have been worn since puberty, while the necklaces were given by their husbands at the time of marriage.

dinka women remove their clothing before entering the river, revealing their beaded jewelery.their belts and bracelets have been worn since puberty, while the necklaces were given by their husbands at the time of marriage.

Young Dinka boys enjoy playing in the water after fishing. occasionally during the spearing of fish, monitor lizards or even pythons may be accidentally caught.

Young Dinka boys enjoy playing in the water after fishing. occasionally during the spearing of fish, monitor lizards or even pythons may be accidentally caught.

A young woman abandons herself to the pleasure of dancing. she wears the highly valued blue beads given to her as a present by her husband at their marriage.

A young woman abandons herself to the pleasure of dancing. she wears the highly valued blue beads given to her as a present by her husband at their marriage.

At the end of the dry season when pastures are scarce, the dinka return with their cattle to their village homesteads on higher ground.women carry all of their possessions balanced on their heads, while men drive the herds.

At the end of the dry season when pastures are scarce, the dinka return with their cattle to their village homesteads on higher ground.women carry all of their possessions balanced on their heads, while men drive the herds.

Courtship begins for dinka men at 20 years old, and for girls at 17. a man, however, may not marry until he is 30 years old, as he must raise the sufficient number of cattle to pay the bride price.

Courtship begins for dinka men at 20 years old, and for girls at 17. a man, however, may not marry until he is 30 years old, as he must raise the sufficient number of cattle to pay the bride price.

At 17 to 18 years a girl is ready for marriage, and is fattened up by her family to look attractive.a beaded bodice veils and subtly enhances her femininity. a valued gift from her mother, the bodice is passed on to her younger sister after marriage.

At 17 to 18 years a girl is ready for marriage, and is fattened up by her family to look attractive.a beaded bodice veils and subtly enhances her femininity. a valued gift from her mother, the bodice is passed on to her younger sister after marriage.

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Traditionally Dinka not wear many clothes, so it is normal for a grown man to go completely naked except for collars around the neck. Women usually wear only a goatskin from the waist. Increasingly, young women are likely to adapt the dress forms from neighboring towns, and men, the long robes worn in the north. They care a lot, especially men, about body ornamentation. They usually remove some teeth by a purely cosmetic issue. Men who are pastoralists, use cow dung ash to ward off mosquitoes. It is easy to see men, especially among young people, with dyed red hair, for what they use cow urine, while women shave their head and eyebrows, leaving only a tuft of hair above her head.