Service, the Roaring River, and Caribbean jerk chicken

by Amizade Global Service-Learning

Wednesday March 28, 2012

Today we went to Galloway ECI, a preschool for young children. I have to say, these kids were so full of life. They were tamer than their primary school counterparts, and had that spark that toddlers exude when discovering their world. I helped a classroom, drawing pictures of animals and writing their names underneath. The kids would then copy my drawings and writing and bring it to me for approval. Watching their faces light up when they correctly completed the assignment gave me a genuinely great feeling. The rest of the day, the kids trained for their sports day on Friday. The kids would participate in relays and races that included some educational or writing component. This was great because there was a lot of down time where I got to know the kids and just watch how they did things.

After school, Mr. Brown took us to Roaring River. Legend has it that the slaves of the plantation in Petersfield would come to the mineral waters in the cave to cool of after being lashed and beaten. Outside the cave, it looked like the Garden of Eden, so lush and filled with greenery. The cave inside was calm, still, and cold. The man who gave us the tour gave Ardath and I mud massages before we jumped into the mineral water. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced! We also took a dip in another pool within the cave. When we saw the light of day again, Mr. Brown took us to a small bridge that ran over the river. We had a blast jumping off the bridge. The river’s current carried us to a shallower open area. The sun began to set, creating a perfectly scenic backdrop to a great day.

That night, Ms. Jean Brown gave us a speech on Jamaican culture. She was a lively and engaging woman! I really enjoyed our time with her. We learned about the history of the island, and how each culture that went into making Jamaica builds off of each other in an oddly functional mix. We also talked about the Jamaican language of Patois, the relaxed and feel-good tunes of reggae, and the cooking style of Caribbean jerk. Using special sauces and seasonings, jerk is essentially Jamaican barbecue. I really enjoyed listening to a Jamaican tell her own story, proud and strong. This was probably the busiest day of our trip, and I am glad to be on such a life-changing experience!