Accompong is a lovely little village on the edge of Cockpit Country. What is special about the village is that it belongs to the Maroons, and has enjoyed an autonomous state since a treaty was signed with the British in 1739. The area is something of a Jamaican frontier land, Cockpit Country is covered with small rounded hills and deep valleys. Very few roads penetrate here with Accompong being on the edge and one of the last accessable towns. Indeed the roads to Accompong are worse than those in other parts of Jamaica--on many winding roads, if two vehicles meet one will most likely have to back up to a place where they can pass eachother. We drove to Accompong on January 6th to Celebrate the birthday of Cudjoe, a historical leader who is credited for uniting the Maroons together to fight for and preserve thier freedom and autonomy in the 18th century. This is a very, very busy day in Accompong and it took a good while just to reach the town as the roads were crammed with visitors for this festival. However it was worth it just to take in this wonderfully cultural and fun-filled event. As with most Jamaican festivals there is lots of food, vendors, music and a general sense of human fellowship.
For my husband, who originally comes from Grenada, this day trip was very special for him--It was here in Accompong that he learned that not all Africans robbed from thier homeland were destined to remain as slaves in the Caribbean for hundreds of years. The strength, cunning and determinism of the Maroons in the face of the powerful and cruel colonial powers should be inspirational to all people of African decent in the Western hemisphere--as well as to all of us who understand the continuing struggle for freedom and respect that oppressed people still face all over the world. Go to Accompong and learn.