Rastafari in Downtown Kingston

Kingston, Jamaica
Journal Entry:

What does it mean to "recognize different perspectives"? I am very used to being around people who think about the world in a different way than I do, and I really enjoy experiencing the variety of cultures, ideas and ways of life that co-exist on our planet. To me, "recognizing different perspectives" just means that I remain open-minded and learn from every encounter I have with something that is different than what I'm used to.

Almost everyone I've met in Jamaica has been extremely pleasant and kind. Recently, I spoke to a young man who is from the Rastafarian faith. Often Rastafarians use words and phrases that are distinct and will identify them as part of that community. For example, a woman is called an "empress." My Rasta friends often say "Give thanks" in response to "Hello" or "How are you doing?". But this young man introduced me to a new word that has fascinated me: Upful.

When I asked if "Upful" meant hopeful, he said with scorn, "I do not deal in hope. I just do." I was surprised, because hope is such an important concept for me, but I completely understood what he meant. He likes to take action. 

I work with a group that is planted in the middle of a Rastafarian community. Rastafarianism is a "livity," or a righteous way of living. Often, Rastas will eat vegan foods.