Jamaican Rastafarian; Carver
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If you keep an open mind, you may find a friend in the most unlikely place, even in a Jamaican Rastafarian.
When I first began taking trips to Negril, on the northwest end of Jamaica, the walk could easily be interrupted every ten steps or so. Jamaican vendor would pressure me into purchasing their goods. It was maddening.
Since that time, the government has done a lot of work with the beach vendors. They are much less aggressive and there are many fewer of them. You can still buy just about everything without leaving your beach chair, which is kind of handy. Meat patties, grilled lobsters, ice cream, fruit, juices, hats, jewelry, cigarettes, and, of course, marijuana, known here as “ganja,” can all be brought to you.
Mostly, the vendors are pretty docile and if you say, “No thanks” most will wish you a good day and walk away. But there always has to be that one.
A few years ago, I was wandering along the beach alone one afternoon, lost in thought. I had my ear buds in and listening to music on my iPod. Off in my own little world, I didn’t notice a vendor calling out to me, until he waved me down.
I was rather annoyed because he repeatedly told me that he had made the jewelry he was hustling himself, which he clearly hadn’t. He insisted that I HAD to come buy something from him, which I had no desire to do. He literally blocked my path to prevent me from walking away.
I kept trying to get past him but he kept talking as he walked in my way, telling me how hard life was, and how badly he needed money. He even added how I was just being a “bleep” by not buying from him. His girlfriend even joined in. Honestly, I was getting a little frightened by the violent manner in which they began to verbally abuse me.
Suddenly, I felt a gentle tug on my arm, leading me away.
A man’s voice rang out in thick patois, the slang type language spoken in Jamaica. I couldn’t understand a thing he said to the people who were harassing me but they backed off.
Looking up, I saw a thin Rasta man with a very concerned look on his face. He calmly told me to not listen to “the crazy people” and went on to explain that life here is only tough because they want expensive things like the movie stars.
I learned a lot about the way a Rastafarian thinks, lives and desires out of life that day.
He was full of kindness and gentleness. He extolled the virtues of living in a land where you stick a seed in the ground and it produces food all year-long. He explained that there was no need for anyone to go hungry in a place like this. His was a life of simplicity. We became good friends that day.
He told me he goes by “Carver” because his trade is that of a wood-carver. There are many vendors on the beach who have mass-produced carvings shipped in. They stain them and then tell you they personally carved “this work of art.” This guy was actually sitting there carving in front of me. He carved a goat for me a few days later, something I had been collecting in my travels but had yet to find in Jamaica.
The most telling thing happened when I was getting ready to head back home a few days later.
By then I knew his name but I had no other information on him. I wanted to keep in touch and asked if he had a business card. He excitedly ran back into his shop. He came out smiling, handed me his card, gave me a hug and I went on my way.
It wasn’t until I was back in my room that I actually looked at the “business card.”
All it said, was “Carver, Negril, Best On The Beach, Custom orders with a smile.” No phone number. No email. No Facebook. No website. Basically, it was just his name, and not even his real name, at that. I smiled to myself as I relished the idea of such a simple existence with no “technological” interruptions.
Even now, years later, when I go to Negril, the first thing I do is walk down the beach to find my friend, Carver.
He always greets me with a huge smile and a big hug. He calls me “mommy” because I’m usually there with one of my kids in tow. I will never forget his kindness that day. Things could have gone very badly, but didn’t. You never know what your guardian angel might look like. He may even smoke ganja and have dreads. Mine does.
To read about some of the other amazing people I’ve met in Jamaica, click here. Please the form below for questions or fill out the subscribe box on the right to follow our story. Thanks for sharing this moment with us!