Wednesday, July 15th, 2009...10:51 am
The Famous Faith’s Pen
With the dew still on the lush greenery of Jamaica’s rural countryside and the sun rising slowly, warming the Tuesday morning skyline, the Go-Jamaica team, Kerry-Ann Bercher and Peter Abrikian, began a very fulfilling and eventful day going Roun’ St. Ann.
Our first stop was the famous Faith’s Pen, one of the main stops in St. Ann for tasty traditional fast food. You can get four ‘festivals’ for $100, a hot cup of soup for $100 and tasty fried fish for $350.
We had not even parked yet when several male vendors rushed to the car shouting, “Good morning! Good morning! Any roast yam? Any fry fish? Any jerk chicken?” We looked at each other in surprise and then laughed. “We’re from the Gleaner and we just want to feature some vendors here and learn a little about Faiths Pen.” Their expressions changed immediately. Disappointed, they went back to their stalls. One man lingered saying, “So you really naah buy nothing from me? No breadfruit? No ackee and saltfish?… ai sah.”
We made our way to our first stall – ‘John Bull Cow Cod Soup’. There we were met by a ‘drum pan’ grill with mouthwatering fried breadfruit, fried fish and jerk chicken. ‘Miss Toots’ was more than willing to talk to us about how long she had been selling in Faith’s Pen. She also told us about the late John Bull and his legendary Cow Cod Soup.
While stirring and adding the ingredients to a huge pot of Cow Cod Soup, she expressed concern on behalf of herself and fellow vendors about the Government’s decision three years ago to relocate them and the negative effect it has on their livelihood.
“A Gleaner unu come from?!” exclaimed ‘Number 1’, the chef at Cherry’s One Stop. He approached us with his cook fork and apron on. He laid the fork on the table and greeted us warmly. “So unu come feature we today? We open from 4 a.m. straight back till we say whenA me cook the best jerk chicken, fry fish and bammy, curry goat, tripe and bean, corn soup…roun’ here you know?!” he said smiling.
A woman could be seen thoroughly enjoying a mean plate of roast breadfruit and ackee and saltfish – piping hot, straight from the pot at Cherry’s One Stop After finishing her scrumptious meal, she told us a little about ‘Cherry’, her aunt, who had been selling there for a number of years.
Before ending our visit to Faith’s Pen, we met a very unusual man. He had piercings in his eyebrows, lips and ears – 14 of which were of copper wire. There was evidence of other piercings too as there we holes in his nose bridge and nostrils. In all, he had 26 visible piercings in his face which he did himself.
“Good day sir! You look like a very interesting character. Would you mind if we talk with you and take a few pictures?” said Peter. The strange man just sat and looked at us blankly. After a minute or two passed, he said “You can gwaan take your pictures dem, but I can’t talk about it”, he said. “Ok. Thanks”, said Peter.
With a look of bewilderment on our faces, we made our way out and continued going ‘Roun’ Jamaica’.