Today is day three in Jamaica. I’m in love. We arrived at the airport in Montego Bay and were greeted by Mr. Brown and his entourage. Going through customs and retrieving our luggage went smoothly. It wasn’t until we stepped outside of the airport that it truly felt like we were in Jamaica. I’d call it ‘organized chaos.’ “Taxis” (aka beat up cars) were zipping through to pick people up, blasting their reggae music.
One of the many sites Amizade volunteers visit in Petersfield, Jamaica is Roaring River Park – home to beautiful scenery and swimming holes, rich in culture and history, and the site of world-renowned limestone caverns.
We were greeted with the warmest of welcomes by Mr. Brown and promptly continued our journey, making the one hour drive to the rural community of Petersfield. My eyes stayed glued to the windows as we pulled into the town: beautiful colors, trees, and flowers – goats, cows, and chickens grazing along the road – and people everywhere! Walking to work, walking to school, selling mangos and breadfruit along the streets and socializing with each other on the Sunday afternoon.
On the first day of my internship at Amizade, Brandon asked the newly arrived interns if we wanted to go to Jamaica for a special event. I did not hesitate to accept the offer. The next day we were purchasing tickets to fly to Montego Bay. They called us the “Miracle Babies.” Let me explain the special reason for this event. On May 16, the Governor General Sir Patrick Allen visited the community of Petersfield, Jamaica for the first time in 50 years.
Today was Sport’s Day! All of us went to the Galloway ECI to support the kids. I was excited for them because I had been watching them train all week. All of them were clad and shining I their team colors. The students raced to see who could count correctly and write their names the fastest. Unfortunately team yellow did not win. It seemed every child’s parent came out to cheer them on. It was a big local event. People were selling candy and water. Parents and relatives were yelling at the little athletes to run faster.
March 29, 2012 Today was an extremely interesting day to say the least. The day was full of a variety…
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.
Today I spent my second day volunteering at Galloway ECI, a preschool for ages 3-5. The children were so wonderful and friendly! The school day starts with a neat time called “devotion”. A few of the students , assisted by a teacher, lead religious songs and the Jamaican national anthem, recite courtesy words like “please” and “thank you”, and name the parishes of Jamaica.
As I sit with five other members of the Amizade Jamaica Spring Break group the night before we are supposed to leave, a mix of feelings are surrounds us all. We are nervous, apprehensive, excited, exhausted, scared, and happy. We don’t know what to expect, but we all realize that this is going to be an experience that we will never forget.
We have spent the last three days helping out in various classrooms in the surrounding communities. Our students have been out and about supporting the students and teachers at Coke’s View Primary School, the Galloway Early Childhood Institute, Ferris Primary School, and the Petersfield Primary and Infant School. It certainly has been a rewarding (and challenging) few days for our students. Over they last three days, they have assisted teachers in the classrooms, graded papers, gave the students some much needed one-on-one support, and interacted with the hundreds of students attending these four area schools.