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Pablo and Verena were the first two volunteers to arrive in Jamaica in April 2013. Pablo, the dread sporting energetic volunteer had his orientation on April 02, 2013 and cannot wait to start his Patois classes. He is very much in love with the sub cultures of Jamaica and is keen on been fully immersed in the many dimensions of the little island.
Pablo will complete his language course in Patois before joining the Maroon Project in Accompong St. Elizabeth. He cannot believe that he is really in Jamaica. It has been his dream for a long time and now he is just soaking it all in. He feels very blessed and privileged to be in this position.
Verena will stay for 3 months and will do both the Sports and Care Projects. She has fitness training and experience and has chosen the sports project because it is dear to her heart. A warm and soft spoken volunteer, Verena is helpful and upbeat. She immediately offered her help on her orientation day at the Teaching project Easter camp where she will work for the next three days before joining the Bethabara Primary and Junior High School.
Verena is excited about tasting her first mango. She loves fruits and feels special to be in a country where fruits in general but mango in particular is in abundance. She loves babies and has identified a few who she said she would love to take back home with her. The big wide smile that comes across her face as she expresses her feelings is but a reminder that babies bring real joy to many. She looks forward to the adventure that awaits her in Jamaica and is excited to share her story with family and friends.
Let the Journey begin for this dynamic duo...
Esther Smit came to Jamaica because she was told that helping others in a foreign country is one thing everyone should do once in their lifetime. She carefully planned her trip to Jamaica with her very close girlfriend but had to make the trip alone after her friend became ill. She was told about Projects Abroad by former Care Project volunteer Marianne van Rijn who shared her great experience in Jamaica with her.
She has been having a wonderful time working at the Percy Junior hospital observing and helping with deliveries and surgeries, among other things but loves the Out Patient Department (OPD) very much. There she has helped with patient intake which is one of her core functions back in the Netherlands. Here in Jamaica she is particularly interested in the medical education of patients as she feels their knowledge is lacking concerning critical illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension. She has begun to teach patients with whom she comes in contact certain lifestyle choices that would make a difference not just in their longevity but the quality of life that they lead.
She is so passionate about this that, if time permits, she would love to return in 6 months to conduct a wide educational training for both nurses and patients. She feels that the nurses at the hospital work very hard but have limited resources with which to execute their responsibilities. It was this observation that drove her to make the whopping $314,000 Jamaican Dollar donation to the hospital which was used to purchase multi sample pipettes, adult scale, foetal doppler, nebulizers, gluco meters, thermometers, safe light, kettle, bath among many other things including office chairs and computer systems.
She said the donation was a small amount to her but soon realized, after understanding ...
The Projects Abroad Teaching Camp started with a bang on Tuesday April 02, 2013 at 9:00am. The camp which is being held the second time has teaching volunteers engaged in activities with community children. The camp was implemented to creatively utilize the skills of teaching volunteers to meet the social, physical, educational and spiritual needs of children who are on the Easter break and who would not have been reached otherwise.
On the first day volunteers learnt about the children, taught them about themselves and their respective cultures and got them in the mode for learning and interacting with fun getting to know you games. This is the beginning of an inspirational and life-changing 4 days. The children were well behaved and listened to the instructions of the volunteers. Both volunteers and children are very happy to be at the camp. Collette Kerr, the Project Officer for the teaching project did an excellent job organizing and planning the camp. This was reflected in the seamless flow of events and the adherence to the structured schedule that was created. We cannot wait to get into the activities and hear from the children about their camp experience.
So what is it that I’m actually doing in Cape Town? I thought I should write a post on the day in the life of and actually shed some light on what I’m doing – other than having a stonkin’ brilliant time!
I’m working as a volunteer journalist for a NGO quarterly publication based in Cape Town, so yes still working on the “light” side as my journo friends say – apparently PR is the dark seen and I’ve seen the light….whether I’ll stay in the light remains to be seen. I’ve been told I’ve missed my calling……we’ll see!
The office is in an area called Wynberg and it’s by no stretch of the imagination one of the posh suburbs of Cape Town – that would be Durbanville, sounds like Pleasantville and a make-believe suburb to me, but I’ve been there and it’s rather erm nice! Not north-snore or Toorak nice but it’s still lovely.
Catching the train to work every day is an experience, if you’ve read my earlier blog called “Capeside” you’d know what I’m talking about. As expats we’ve been told always travel in first class which by first world country standards is like fifth or sixth class – first class here is called “Metro Plus” how is it first class when there are no automatic doors? Yes I come from a first word country so I’m used to these things! Here you have to open the doors yourself – sometimes the doors don’t open or you need a lot of strength, there are days I’m thanking my personal trainer for making me swing 20kg kettle bells and for lifting 25kg sand bags - then there are other days usually when in the midst of training that I hate 20kg kettle bells!
The trains ...
I successfully got on the bus in Cd. Guzman, got off in Guardalajara and got a taxi to my hotel. The Rosa Morada is quaint and charming. My door key looks like something from the 17th century. My room opens out onto a long, narrow courtyard beautifully planted with a bubbling fountain right outside my door.
I have already spent about 3 hours cruising the shops and stalls of Tlaquepaque. I could fill a container. Most of the craft for sale is made by local artisans and is just beautiful. It ranges from pottery and ceramics to paintings, metal work, clothing, papier mâché, jewellery and sculptures. I intend to be a little more focused tomorrow now that I have my bearings but I won't be buying too much because I am booked on the city tour for Thursday. And that goes to another famous craft centre at Tonala.
I had dinner this evening at a place that has been going since 1877. I chose to have a rest from Mexican and dinner, wine and coffee came to just over $20 AU. It was accompanied by at least 3 Mariachi bands playing in the huge courtyard area. Mariachi is supposed to have originated in this part of Guardalajara and there are musicians everywhere in restaurants and roaming the streets. I believe you can get 2 songs for $20 MX - about $2.50AU. I was quite happy listening to what other people had paid for.