Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom

The Holistic Lifestyle of an Islander

Stassmore Allan an old African-American Rastafarian, alias “Stass” is quite eccentric and a high-flyer. Stass is a Roatan native born on May 24, 1935. Stass grew up in the United States and only moved back to the island in his early fifties. He worked as a deckhand on cargo ships, he built roofs, and he was a bass player and made plenty of mango juice.

His hang out is Cannibal Café in West End. Stass is dressed in colorful attire and he walks straight to Taco, the cafés parrot, who cries out in excitement: “Stass, Stass, Stass, Stass!”
“Wait a minute I need to do something about it,” says Stass. He strolls to his cage and speaks to the bird, gives it some corn and calms it down.

Stass was born 84 years ago in “French Men Harbor” as he calls it. Yet according to Stass his birth certificate places his birthplace as “Choloma” on the mainland. “They made so many mistakes I don’t even want to go there my dear,” he comments.

“In the end it took five days for my mother to give birth. The family was a bit worried it took so long and had to arrange a midwife. She figured out she had to bring my mother a bowl of mangos. After the third mango she sucked the juice out… I was delivered,” says Stass sipping on a mango smoothie. Stass’ love for mangos goes a long way back.

His father Fletcher Allan was an “alligator hunter” and his mother Emily was a school teacher. When Stass was about seven years old, he moved with his mother to New York. Stass says that his uncle Oscar was the Mayor of Roatan at the time. Many islanders were still ambiguous about their Honduran identity. When more mainlanders moved to the island, Stass’ mom decision was made: Brooklyn, New York became their new residence. “My mother taught me a healthy life, ‘health is wealth’ was her motto,” says Stass.

Stass went to University of California and met Miles Davis the American world-famous jazz musician. “The people you are with, make it possible”, he says. He travelled to Egypt and there he got the opportunity to make a tour with Miles Davis’ band on the Blue Nile. It was Stass’ “first awakening” and it made him question the origin of things around him. “We were brought in here by pirate Lafitte,” somewhat ambiguously said Stass.

It took five days for my mother to give birth.

Waking up when the sun is rising, he is aware of his entire being and understanding its components. In other words, Stass concentrates on the physical side, being physically healthy and strong. “God of the universe is the sun”, he says with befuddled look on his face.

Later on, Stass and his brother Alvin worked as deckhands on cargo ships. He still blames Alvin for not building a strong house for their father. “Well it was really well meant of my brother to build a house for him, but he built a ‘board house’ instead of building it out of clay from the outside, with bamboo in the inside,” says Stass. “A hurricane came along and blew the whole house away in the wee hours in the morning while my father was sleeping”. Stass thinks he was in his seventies when he passed.” Even today he is still dreaming about having an adobe machine to build his own house made from compressed soil blocks. Over the years Stass developed his own philosophy about different type of roofs. He dislikes the metal roofs as too dangerous and Hurricanes and tornados play with that and can chop people in two pieces. Stass says that roofs made by tiles and palm tree leaves “can take the winds.”

Sharing is not Stass’ thing. He has acquaintances, but no friends. ‘Why should I cater before them?’ When it comes to his family life, like children, grandchildren and wives Stass’ story becomes a bit vague. Stass claims he has five sons and six daughters. “I am telling you what I know,” he says with a smile pulling out an announcement card out of his bag. On the front there was a photo of his son and future wife. While Stass says his son was born on the island, there is not much contact and further information.

In fact, Stass says there have been three wives in his past life; Nadia from California, one from Roatan, a daughter of his dad’s fisherman co-worker and Cecilia from Texas. “Oh boy, she was something else,” comments Stass about Cecilia, but offers little more.

He likes to hang out around his house close to the beach and in front of the Cannibal Café in West End. Stass helped to build the roof of the café and that is where you can find him practically every day. There he contemplates life and food. Fish eggs with fish ‘heads’ is on his regular menu. According to Stass the head gives the soup the best flavor. No fillet fish for him. It is Stass’ secret recipe, one of many Stass’ secrets.