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Turquoise water and Ital Organic Farming

When I was a teenager I used to have a picture of an island in the Bahamas posted up on my wall, the perfect Caribbean island, with palm trees, soft pinkish coral sand, and beautiful turquoise water. This was my dream, I had to see something like this in my lifetime. Finally in my 22nd year I got to Jamaica for the first time, and was lucky enough to see some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The water in Montego Bay, Port Antonio, and Negril left me speechless. My dream had come true.

Since then I’ve been to many tropical beaches in the Caribbean, Central America and South East Asia, and the turquoise water is still one of my favourite things in the world. Here in Providence, I have to say I have been privileged to witness a sea so beautiful I gasped and repeated over an over again, “This is incredible!”

A few pictures, while not quite doing it justice, at least give you an idea. They call it the “Sea of Seven Colours” here because there are so many levels to the blues, aquas and turquoises. At Crab Cay, just a short boat ride from Providence we went up a short path to a lookout point on some rocks and had a 360 degree view of what I think is definitely some of the most beautiful water in the world.  Then we snorkeled around the small island and from the pictures it looks like we were on top of the world.

Back on San Andres we get a lesson in Rastafarian-style living. The word “Ital” pronounced “Eye-tal” while it might remind you of Italian, has nothing to do with it. It means “Vital” and it is what describes the natural way of growing and cooking food in Rastafarianism. It is essentially organic methods of farming and preparing food without chemicals and synthetic fertilizers, the way our ancestors were doing it for centuries.

As I mentioned before there is a strong influence of Jamaican culture like other parts of coastal Latin America (Nicargua, Costa Rica and Panama) and we had the pleasure of visiting Job Saas’ natural farm where he showed us the different fruit trees he grows as well as the endangered species he helps to protect and procreate such as various iguanas, black crabs and turtles.

Job Saas made us fresh Tamarind and cane juice and coconut cookies, sweetened from the sugar cane hand-pressed on his farm. Below he is pressing the cane, some of which we chewed on straight from the stalk, it’s sweet and refreshing.

Job Saas really believes in his work and it was nice to be able to visit his place and show him support, as organic farming is not easy, but is so important. He knows nothing he produces pollutes the water or the air, and is naturally healthy for all who consume the fruits of his labors. So kind he is, he even gave me a book that was on display called How to Speak Caribbean English. The Creole they speak here is similar to Jamaican Patois (in fact I can’t really tell the difference). The main difference is that Spanish is mixed in somewhat here, they say especially with the younger generation, as being part of Colombia means their education is in Spanish. Being completely captivated by language, I love to listen and pick out the roots of words and figure out what people are saying. It’s a lot of fun!

This part of our trip is over now, and on we go to one of the most historic and culturally significant cities in the world, Cartagena.