Meet Vorn Johnson: Antigua’s coolest environmentalist
He DJed with Grandmaster Flash in the 70s. Now he’s using the knowledge his grandmother gave him to help save the planet.
If you like a little learning with your walking consider taking a guided jaunt around the Jolly Harbour area of Antigua with local legend, Vorn Johnson.
Vorn is a lanky Rasta who once hung out with Grandmaster Flash in New York in the 70s. He was schooled by his strong-willed grandmother and is a walking encyclopaedia on the island’s flora and fauna.
On Vorn’s walk through the Mount Obama hinterland, he’ll point out the plants that will cure what ails you – including a natural aphrodisiac called ‘Man Bettah Man’. Vorn insists that it more than lives up to its name.
The walk winds its way past abandoned sugar mills to Valley Church beach. Here you can feast on the mangoes Vorn picked along the way and swim in the shallow turquoise waters.
Vorn also offers guided walks through Bolans, a local village. Here he’ll tell you all about the local history and legends, including his very own encounter with a jumbie. Jumbies are the evil spirits found in these parts and Vorn shakes his head ruefully when he recounts the tale.
You’ll also drop in unannounced to local people’s houses.
They belong to Vorn’s friends and family, of course, so you’ll be treated to a glass of rum or a cup of tea at the very least. It’s a rare and delightful insight into local life.
Vorn’s number one concern these days is educating people about the environment.
He wants people to respect it and and appreciate the bounty it offers.
But he’s definitely had a colourful past. Make sure you ask him about his time in the Bronx in the 70s. He was a DJ and hung out with Grandmaster Flash – just when Hip Hop was being born.
Or better still, download his book, Vorn Johnson: The Untold Story. It’s a real page turner.
Main image: Vorn bearing the fruit of the Antiguan countryside (© Peter Moore)