If you ever wanted to know what it was like to be a Rastafarian or live in the faith shared by such luminaries as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Jimmy Cliff, Damian Marley etc. then the Rastafari Indigenous Village showcases a microcosm of the Rastafari faith and lifestyle that will interest you.
Rastafari is a faith that has roots in ancient Ethiopian Judaism. The faith began in Jamaica in the turbulent 1970’s.
Rastafarians believe, or as they would say, have the knowledge of, the teachings of Marcus Garvey, pointing especially to his prophecy that a great king would rise out of Africa. Rastafari have the faith that Haile Selassie I- is that King, born in the lineage of David and Solomon. This knowledge would come to clash with the heavily Christianized Post-colonial Jamaican Society, so Rastafari were treated poorly, at first, but through their collective message of peace and oneness, they have kept themselves a largely positive force in the society with even Jamaica’s greatest legend, Bob Marley, proudly championing the faith.
The Rastafari Indigenous Village Tour begins at the Montego River botanical gardens just minutes away, by car, from the Sir Donald Sangster International Airport and a short ten-minute drive away from the Montego Bay cruise ship pier.
The tour begins down river and there’s a short hike upstream to the village proper. As you walk you will be taught the guiding principles of peace and harmony that are foundations of Rastafari faith.
You may have worked up an appetite on the walk but not to worry- one of the first things the Rastafari do is give you a tour of the kitchen. On the menu are all-vegetarian, salt-free(Ital) delights. They start you off with a cup of “Sip”(vegetarian Ital soup), then its on to an appetizer of local natural fruit, in season, then you will be treated to some Ital Ackee and Breadfruit or one of the many other vegetarian meals as a main course. Wash it all down with one or two refreshing, freshly cut coconuts.
While your meal is being prepared and after you eat you are free to tour the meditative grounds, commune with nature or discuss spirituality and nature with the Rastafari “bredren”. You can also visit the herb garden at any point and your guide will explain the intricacies of growing and using natural herbs as medicine.
The tour ends with the sound of sweet Music as the Rastas sing the ‘Sattamasagana’ a traditional Rasta man chant sung to the sound of the Congo, Niabingi, and Kete drum orchestra. It’s quite a spiritual experience with the cool river breeze swaying you and the invigorating natural cuisine energizing you from the inside along with the driving beat of the drums.
What should you carry?
- A swimsuit (A river swim may be in the cards)
- Athletic Footwear
You can take everything with you on this tour, there is always a place to put your things and the Rastas won’t let you lose anything so feel free.
The Rastafari Indigenous Village is an activity that requires a whole day away easily. Its well worth it but it must be planned for. This tour is best done at the end of a vacation because then you can carry the Zen from it into the remainder of your life. The experience really is life changing.
All necessary facilities and amenities (Washroom/Change-room, Emergency Services, Lifeguard etc.) are available in the village and are suitable for the most part. The scenery and the vibe are understated and rustic so adjust yourself accordingly.
The Rastafari Indigenous Village is a family experience but its probably best restricted to older children who can process everything they may see. Pregnant women and the physically challenged can manage the up and down of the tour, but it will be moderately taxing. The tour is very much recommended for those seeking inner peace and a holistic approach to healing.
The Rastafari Indigenous Village is a great way to top off any trip to the island. Jamaica’s indigenous faith is strong and proud and offers a real oasis from the urban environment and the stress involved in it. Everything about this tour is meditative and awe-inspiring.
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