WVU in Jamaica: Arriving in Petersfield

by Amizade Global Service-Learning

This post is part of a group blog and will include submissions from West Virginia University students were participated in Amizade’s Spring Break Service Learning Course in Jamaica. Keep checking back to hear more stories from the group as they experience Jamaica, serve with the community, and reflect on their experiences!

Jamaican Housemothers

Sunday March 9, 2014

Jamaica is very overwhelming upon arrival. Everything is very fast paced. People are talking very quickly, moving rapidly, and all I can do is stand and stare at how beautiful everything is. There is so much green everywhere. The water looks so blue and so tempting. The driving was a major adjustment. The different sides of the road and how quickly everyone was going made my head spin. It was also really cool to see all the animals just roaming freely. The warmth outside compared to West Virginia gave me the happiest and calmest feeling in the world. I was so perfectly content to be standing outside the airport doing nothing and just soaking it all in.

Arriving in Petersfield was even more interesting then my initial arrival in Jamaica. We went straight to the AOC and were greeted by some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. The community was so caring and welcoming I immediately felt comfortable. We enjoyed some amazing food at the welcome party and then I got to meet my host mom. My host family was amazing. They were so extremely kind and helpful, and made me feel at home from the first night there.

By: Sarah Shockey

Monday March 10, 2014

Monday, March 10th was a day I will never forget. We started the day off early in the morning with a delicious breakfast from our housemother, which was pancakes, eggs, fruit, and juice. The family greeted us with such cheer and gave us great vibes to spread for the rest of the day. We then went to experience our first day at school in the Petersfield community of Jamaica. The kids ran to us in joy as soon as we entered, the hugs were never ending. Before entering the classroom all of the kids got together and sang a couple songs. The most touching was when they all sang a song, “I am blessed.” We then spent the day helping in any way that we could, with math, reading, spelling, and writing. The kids were so thankful and loving. When it came time for a snack they all came running up offering different chips and cookies and fruits to try.

After school we got picked up by our leaders and taken to a beautiful cave! There we got to go swimming in the cave, jump in a “bottomless” area of the cave, and even get a mud bath by our tour guide! This was all a new experience for me, one that I will never forget. Also one that I will never be able to truly put into words, for others to try and understand. It left me speechless to say the least.

After the cave we walked down the road to an area where locals were jumping off a small ledge. We got to join in with the fun and be cooled off with the water once again. After an exhausting day of so much fun we then went home and were greeted by family members of our host family and a big dinner! As always, the food was delicious. The meal consisted of curry chicken, rice, vegetables, and fruit. Thanks to Amizade I had one of the most fun and meaningful days of my life.

By: Angela Sparachane