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A Visit to Roaring River

I grew up in a community close to Roaring River in the parish of Westmoreland but discovered its underground cave when I was in high school. Back then, it was a local secret. Now, it’s a well-known tourist attraction called Roaring River Park.

For long as I can remember, Roaring River has been known as a very close-knit community. Many of the residents have lived there for generations; some are even related. Visitors go because of the series of limestone caves, mineral springs, blue hole and the river, which supplies water for much of the parish. Even during the dry season, a deep green carpet of wildflowers and grass blankets the area.

Munching goat

Goat in field of wildflowers and grass

Roaring River is located on lands that were once part of the Roaring River Estate. Before sugar lost its importance as Westmoreland’s main crop, much of the lands surrounding the community belonged to the West Indies Sugar Company (WISCO), formerly a major employer in the parish. Now that sugar is no longer ‘king,’ many residents earn much of their income by leading tours of the cave, springs and the blue hole.

Part of the Roaring River in Westmoreland

Part of the Roaring River in Westmoreland

We traveled to Roaring River a few weekends ago, not to visit the cave or the blue hole but to see a man (Robbie, a relative) about a goat for a friend of the family. As we drove down its narrow dirt road, the only one into and out of Roaring River, we were greeted warmly by everyone we passed.

Once the goat was purchased and was being prepared, we walked down to the river. The water was so crystal clear, we could see the stones at the bottom. We sat at the river’s edge, watching children frolicking in the shallow part. At one point, three young girls, round 8 or 9 years, raced each other to the edge, stripping off their clothes and jumping in, oblivious to the adults, including a young man, around them.

Walking back to the car, a little boy with two buckets, one almost half his size, caught my eye. I looked around but no adults or older children were nearby. He headed to a spring, caught some water in one of his buckets then with it spilling every which way as he struggled to carry it, he plunked it down in front a horse that was tied nearby. Someone said the horse belonged to his father. When he thought the horse had drunk enough, he splashed the rest on its body, to cool him down, I guessed.

Boy and horse

Boy and horse

As we were loading up to leave, Robbie came running towards us. Don’t leave yet, he said. They’ve gone to get you some bananas and breadfruit. Shortly after, a few of the older children that we had seen, returned with a bunch of bananas and several breadfruit.

Robbie with breadfruit

Robbie with breadfruit

Random photos of Roaring River.

Flower

Flower

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

I was thrilled to see this Doctor Bird, our National Bird. He flitted from tree to branch while I fumbled with my camera, hoping he’d sit still long enough for me to take the shot. Thankfully, he did.

Doctor Bird

Doctor Bird

Roaring River warning

Roaring River warning

Wattle-and-Daub shop

Wattle-and-Daub shop

Painting of Roaring River by John Boydell, from Wikipedia

A 1778 Painting of Roaring River by John Boydell - from Wikipedia

Wattle-and-daub, an old tradition of building that used to be quite popular in Jamaica, especially in the rural areas. Here the wattle, interwoven wooden strips, has been set up. Later the daub, which could be made either from a paste of soil, animal dung or sand will be applied.

I will post a follow up when I visit the cave and the blue hole again. In the meantime, enjoy this video of the blue hole at Roaring River from YouTube.

 

 

Comments

  1. totsymae1011
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    That little part of about the kid giving water to the horse…I like that. Nice photo too. I’ll bet some of the best fruit are over there. And what is bread fruit anyway? Did I miss that part?
    totsymae1011 recently posted..Getting Down and Dirty: Under the Sheets with Political Bad BoysMy Profile

  2. What a lovely story.

    Our early white settlers built wattle and daub huts. Very few remain. They built them with wood from the wattle trees, which are very spindly but must have been in abundance at the time. Do you have wattle trees there? Their laitin name is ‘acacia’.

    I smiled when your started with you “going to see a man about a goat”. That is one of the sayings we say when we want to tell people we are going somewhere but don’t want to tell them what we are doing.

    Sounds like the kids are still having lovely childhoods.
    Narelle recently posted..being thereMy Profile

  3. Yes, we have acacia trees. I didn’t realize there was a special wattle tree. The more I re-acquaint myself with Jamaica, the more I realize I don’t know.
    Hahahaha, I do know realize that. But we did go to see a man about a goat.
    Oh, it was so lovely to see them being so spontaneous and nurtured.

  4. Hmmm, how do I describe breadfruit? Breadfruit was brought to Ja by Captain Bligh (Mutiny on the Bounty Bligh http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/Captain-Blighs-Cursed-Breadfruit-Jamaica.html). It’s hard to describe. The closest in color is the potato, the taste is unique. I really don’t think there’s anything else that tastes like it.