Final thoughts...

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Moravian-ESU team.

The Ursinus team.

Our final thoughts on our time in Jamaica is best summed up by the following video, created by Moravian sophomore Emilie Bortz:  

We encourage everyone to catch the spirit of service and consider participating in service trips in the future.  

Day 8: Thanks for the Memories, Jamaica!

Our final day in Jamaica went quickly.  Some of us spent the morning on the beach or by the pool, then made our way to the local craft market, which was quite an experience!  The place was filled with all types of souvenirs, and the sellers were quite persistent in encouraging us to buy their goods.  (We hope to share photos soon.)  We filled our bags with t-shirts and local crafts to take home, then made our way to Juici Patties, "the McDonald's of Jamaica," where we enjoyed patties of all kinds - beef, chicken, veggie, and cheese.  It was then time to make our way to the airport and wait for our flight home to JFK.  Though exhausted from our week, we left the place changed by our experience and yearning to return to a place of such warmth, hospitality, and generosity of spirit!

Yum!  Juici Patties!
Back home in the U.S., but our hearts are still in Jamaica!

Reflections from Jamaica

Graham enjoying the company of the kids at Sports Day.

Name: Graham Matthews
Institution: Moravian College
Year: Senior
Second time participant in Jamaica Service Trip.

A poem:

So far on my trip

I have to admit
It has taken me in just a little bit.
From YS Falls to Salem School
The culture has taken a bit of my soul.
When I try to comprehend what I've seen
Happiness fills my being.
The smiles of children make me grin
And I cannot wait to come back again.

Micky making music with the band!

Name: Maureen "Micky" Martell
Institution: East Stroudsburg University
Year: Junior
First time participant in Jamaica Service Trip.

Our trip to Jamaica has been honestly awe-inspiring thus far.  Not only have I become more in touch with myself, my strengths, weaknesses, emotions, capabilities, work ethic, etc., my eyes have also been opened to the beauty in the Jamaican culture.  I've also made so many great friendships with people who only four days ago were complete strangers to me.  Referencing back to the Jamaican culture, what so many Americans consider impoverished living, I've witnessed and learned firsthand is actually the highest quality of life possible.  The people of Jamaica may not have leisurely living (e.g. electronics, cars, nice homes, fast food, etc.) but because of that they are actually so much better off that us.  They understand the meaning of hard work, and materialism and money aren't the key to happiness.  They know how to be outside with nothing but one another and genuinely have fun.  They know and value the meaning and purpose of community and respect.  They know how very important education is.  I could go on forever.  All in all, I am incredibly grateful for such an opportunity.  I know that my service here is forever appreciated, and the impact the work, culture, and reflection here has had on me is the best gift I have had and will ever receive.  I encourage anyone who may be given such an opportunity to serve to do so!

Day 7: Goodbye, Whitehouse!

Today we bid a fond farewell to Camp Hope.   It was hard to say goodbye to this amazing place, and the amazing people who offered such wonderful hospitality to us, including Nellie (pictured below) and Polly, who fed our stomachs and spirits with their amazing presence.  We then made our way back to Montego Bay. 

Packing up to leave Camp Hope.
Nellie (right) took good care of us during our stay.

On the way, we stopped at Seaford Town, a German settlement where German heritage, including Caucasian features, might still be noted in the population.  We toured the old settlement and learned more about the history of the area.  More information about Seaford Town may be found here: Seaford Town

Exploring Seaford Town.

We then enjoyed an amazing lunch overlooking the mountainous landscape, comprised of fresh, local fruits, vegetables, and meats prepared for us through the generosity of our host, Mrs. Rita Hilton.  Rita, a native of Kenya, moved to Jamaica and worked as school teacher for a time, before establishing her own import/export business.  We were graced with traditional Jamaica music during this time of fellowship, including some Bob Marley tunes.

Our gracious host, Mrs. Rita Hilton.

Enjoying a leisurely lunch in the mountains, made with fresh, local produce.

After lunch, we continued on to Montego Bay, where we settled into our hotel and relaxed a bit before getting dressed for a lovely dinner on the beach.  This was certainly a welcome way to spend our last night in Jamaica!

Dinner on the beach...

Day 6: Fun in the Sun

Today, it was Ursinus' turn to cheer on the teams at Sports Day, while Moravian folks stayed behind to finish painting Camp Hope and play with local children.  We hope to add pictures of Sports Day soon.

Painting and playing at Camp Hope.

We ended our day with a trip to Negril, where we enjoyed Jamaica's most beautiful beaches, and local cuisine.  We entered the beach through Chances, where we found the actual bobsled from the 1988 Calgary Olympics Jamaican Bobsled team!  Cool, mon!

Scenes from Negril.  Yep - that's the original bobsled from the Jamaican Bobsled team!

Reflections from Jamaica

Vanessa and Brittany enjoy Sports Day!

Name: Vanessa Effting
Institution: Moravian College
Year: Freshman
First time participant in Jamaica Service Trip.

First things first - Jamaica is awesome!  The beaches are clean, the water is ridiculously blue, and the food is amazing!  I've never enjoyed eating so much chicken before.

Next, there are the people on this trip.  Originally, I thought it would be tough to make friends because I didn’t really know anyone, but I’ve actually made a lot of good friends, some of whom I hope to keep in contact with after this trip.  We all get along really well and are enjoying the trip.

Then there’s the actual point of the trip: service.  I have to admit, I will never paint anything yellow ever again.  We painted so many walls that surround the school yellow that it made me dizzy.  However, knowing that we are helping make the schools for the kids beautiful is a great feeling.  It’s nice to know that what we’re doing is making someone happy.

Also, my favorite part is definitely the kids.  I love interacting with them and getting to learn how to play their games.  All of the kids are so sweet and so cute, I just can’t get enough of them.  They call me Miss.  They also absolutely love to play with my hair, which I really don’t mind, even though it kinds of hurts.

I have definitely enjoyed this trip.  It has been a great experience, and I hope to come back.  I really enjoy the “helping others” thing we’ve been doing and I plan on continuing this kind of work.

And just for fun, a haiku:
I got a bad sunburn
And made a lot of friends.
Go to Jamaica!

Name: Brittany Spinosa
Institution: Moravian College
Year: Freshman
First time participant in Jamaica Service Trip.

Jamaica is a great place to travel to - I am definitely coming back next year.  The people here are very friendly and are excited to meet you and get to know you.  Take the time to get to know them.  There is plenty of time to go exploring and enjoy yourself after doing service.  This trip is a win/win because you get to help other people while being in a new country, learning about a new culture, and seeing new places!  Speaking of new places, YS Falls is amazing!

Day 5: YAY, it's SPORTS DAY!

The spirit of community was evident as students from Moravian and East Stroudsburg spent the morning at a local school to celebrate Sports Day.

Many seasoned trip participants looked forward to Sports Day, an event in which local schoolchildren participate in various races.  Children are divided into teams - Red, Yellow, and Blue.  We served as cheerleaders for the races, each choosing a team and dressing in their color.  All were winners, as new friends were made and much fun was had by all.

The teams gather to cheer for their teammates!

Meanwhile, back at Camp Hope, folks from Ursinus got to work painting the Camp in order to spruce things up.

Camp Hope gets a fresh coat of paint.

A few of us decided to return to Miss Helen's house to finish our work there, rather than participate in Sports Day.  Miss Helen and her family were so grateful for the work we were able to accomplish.

Finishing up at Miss Helen's house.

Once the morning festivities were through, we made out way to YS Falls to enjoy the natural splendor of the Jamaican countryside.  We spent our time on the rope swing, swimming, hiking the landscape, and relaxing as we took in the beautiful views.

Some scenes from our time at YS Falls.