My Rasta father showed me the real Jamaica. After he died, I wanted to share it with my kids

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I had no idea where I was heading when we set sail from Jamaica in the 70s, but I’m glad I’ve returned with my children to remember their grandfather this way

As we bump along terrible roads in my dad’s hot, noisy buttermilk-coloured Beetle, I’m unable to take in the beauty of Jamaica’s north coast – its waterfalls and gin-clear sea, its lush fern-quilted interior and the majestic Blue Mountains my dad loved.

It’s the late 1980s. I’m 15. It’s been nine years since I last saw my dad. To mark our reunion in the country of my birth, my dad, who adored adventures, and wanted my mum, sisters and I to “visit all your people ’dem and see every corner of your beautiful home”, is taking us on a road trip. However, admiring Jamaica’s landscape is the last thing on my mind as I sit squashed between my sisters in the back of the Beetle, angry at my dad because he’d dropped in and out of our childhood. My aim, despite my teenage moodiness, is to get to know him better. Not Jamaica.

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