This post is part of a group blog and will include submissions from West Virginia University students who 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!

Wednesday March 12, 2014

On Wednesday the group visited Bluefields beach in Jamaica. Bluefields beach is located in the southeast of Westmoreland, about 20 minutes from where we were staying. Although I am a well-traveled girl, words still could not describe the beauty of Bluefields beach. I have never seen such crystal clear water in my entire life.

When we first got to Bluefields we passed a man selling things like snacks, cookies and Red Stripe out of a little cart he was rolling up and down the beach. He ended up staying close by since everyone kept coming back for more snacks.  This stranger selling us drinks and snacks was so unbelievably kind to us, the people he just met on the beach. He started telling us stories with insightful information on the beach that you would only know from a local. To me, that wasn’t a conversation I could have had with a stranger back in the states. Even when I was just snapping pictures on the beach, all the locals would get into my pictures and say, “makes for a better photo!” It made me laugh, and definitely gave more meanings to my pictures.

After spending hours in the beautiful ocean it was almost time to eat our fantastic lunch made by our housemothers. While waiting for the food to be done Mr. Brown was blasting music out of his truck. We all started dancing and copying our housemother’s dance moves. Local Jamaican dance means so much more then just dance to them, which is why it’s so fun to do. After dancing lunch was ready, jerk chicken and breadfruit salad was my favorite. The breadfruit salad was like potato salad but with a softer potato… So good! After all the students went back for a second plate, the house mothers ended up giving a plate to the man carting around the snacks. A gesture so small opened up my eyes so much. Handing a stranger food just because he was close by and because you had enough food was just so wonderful to me.

This wasn’t just a day at the beach; it was another day full of cultural immersion. Another day and place showing different examples on how these people are just friendly and loving in general. These people and culture as a whole are just friendly to anyone and everyone even including strangers, who really just inspired less judgmental person and me to be a more giving. I have just learned so much from these easy going people, like how to be a better caring and friendly person.

This picture is just another way to show the mentality of these people. The bus had a sticker on the top that said “I wish for you the same thing you wish for me.”

By: Lauren Dwyer