Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jamaica Outreach 2012

International Outreach

Our days have been a great mix of time spent on the playground and in the classroom. We’ve also had a chance to visit the area and learn a bit about the culture in general. This is Jamaica’s Jubilee Year…50 years as an independent country.

We went into Mandeville on Friday. The Mercy’s grade school (Mt St Joseph) was holding their annual Market Day and this year they were focusing on the Jubilee celebration. Each grade learned about some specific food item during the year. They either grew it and were selling it or they prepared it in some type of baked goods. I bought some Indian fried bananas. Definitely a new taste treat!

The other day, I mentioned that a few folks in the group made a trek to the city dump in Kingston after spending the morning cleaning out a building that will soon be used for volunteers. The following is a reflection from one of the students who made that trip, and some other reflections as well.
International Outreach Jamaica 2012 Group

First Impressions – Not always right
I let someone talk me into riding in the back of the pick-up truck. I said “No” a few times, but he kept saying, “It will be fun.” Which it was. I felt like I was on an unsafe roller coaster that gave me a bird’s eye view of the city. We went through the heart of the city. Then we took a turn into an alley. Before I knew it, some guys from the alley jumped onto the truck. I was actually thinking, “we are about to die.” But we ended up taking the guys around the corner and they took the dirty bed mats off the truck. From there we rode past the city dump. There were mothers with their children picking the trash and a little house made from scrap. It was the most humbling sight that I ever saw.

God, why have you marked me with this scar?
Have mercy on my skinny feet
I’ve been beaten down with no help
I’ve walked miles shoeless
She gave birth to me, but I’m still motherless
Abused, beaten and battered – a second chance is all I ask for.
Yet, you starve me of love and take away my
happiness I’ve never had
I have a house and yet I’m homeless
love don’t live there!

Jamaica is a fantastic place to visit! The culture here is so rich and vibrant. Being at St. John Bosco has shown me that it is very important for us to appreciate the small things in life. The students here are phenomenal. Everyday we meet, they never cease to amaze me as well as warm my heart.

Sr. Mimi, one of the ladies who runs this facility, has done an excellent job with trying to make us feel welcome and as “close to home” as possible. I would love to make Jamaica my home one day!

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