Na iets meer dan 2 weken in Jamaica te zijn geweest voel ik me nu helemaal thuis. Opgevouwen met 8 personen in een taxi zitten, ‘whitie’ genoemd worden, een paar keer ‘yahman’ in elke zin horen en de ijskoude douches zijn inmiddels de normaalste zaak van de wereld.
De stranden en de rest van de omgeving zijn fantastisch. Het witte zand, de turquoise wateren, palmbomen, bergen… wat wil je nog meer?
Die prachtige omgeving is natuurlijk mooi meegenomen, maar waar ik eigenlijk hier voor ben is het helpen van de kinderen. Op het moment geef ik les op Villa Road Primary and Junior High aan de 4th grade. Te veel kinderen blijven achter in de klas op het gebied van lezen en schrijven, zo erg zelfs dat ze onder het niveau van de 1st grade zitten. Dus ik heb er mijn project van gemaakt om de kinderen die het het hardst nodig hebben te helpen.
Ik werk maar 4 uur per dag, maar verveel me hier nooit. Op dinsdagmiddag hebben we altijd een activiteit met alle vrijwilligers, zoals een reggae dance class of een hilarische patois class, waarin je erachter komt dat je dingen zegt of hoort die iets totaaal anders betekenen dan je zou denken. Op donderdag zijn de project meetings en daarnaast gaan we in de avonden wel eens ergens wat drinken of naar de bioscoop o.i.d.
De Jamaicaanse cultuur is heel relaxed (wat zelfs aan het langzame lopen te merken is) en ontzettend gastvrij, en dat, in combinatie met alles eromheen, maakt dat ik hier voorlopig nog niet weg wil!
It is not often that we find people who are willing to give of themselves to help others. We often pass people on the streets without looking twice and if they get our attention it is usually because they are either unkempt or have a foul odour. I wish to applaud all volunteers who travel very very far from home to give back to society in very meaningful ways.
It must feel like a fish out of water, a bird without wings and a worm without earth for most volunteers. I applaud all volunteers and humanitarians everywhere who think about others as they sit in their own comfort and more so because they unselfishly share said comfort with others. I applaud the volunteer who does not think twice about hugging a child or sponsoring such as child with school supplies because he or she knows education is the only avenue to upward mobility. I applaud the volunteer who spends endless hours teaching a child to read and write. I applaud the volunteer who uses initiative, spends weekends with children and is always eager to help. I applaud the volunteer who sees the pure potential of a child who is hyperactive with low attention span. I applaud the volunteer who is serious about helping others and sees a higher purpose and calling than a particular career fashioned by formal education. I applaud the volunteer who has the ability to make a crying child smile when others ignore. I applaud all volunteers who give human loving care expecting nothing in return. Please applaud yourself with me!
This is a story about a journey. A journey to the other side of the world. A journey to a place where nothing is the way it is at home (even the cars drive on the other side).A journey to Jamaica.
The experience begins at 3 am on a cold January day in cold Germany. On the way to the airport people don’t look at you, not because they are tired but because they are not used to. After a flight of an hour things got stuck in London…
London Heathrow, grab your bags and guitar, look for the bus, pay 22 £, get in the bus, fall asleep, wake up seconds before you arrive your destination, London Gatwick, find the check-in, wait…
5 hours later the journey finally goes on. It’s 12 o’clock and the engine starts.
3 hours of shaking, people getting sick and Stewards telling you that it is aganst the law to stand up.
Finally in Jamaica, Kingston. Still used not to look at anyone, the journey went on. Passing the Gates of the customs, I realized two things. First of all:”It’s really hot!”, and second:”Jamaica smells different then Europe.” Trying not to miss one impression of Jamaica, the car drove by so far, I have seen the first Jerk Stands, Bars and Fruit Shops. Arriving in Mandeville at the host family there was only one correct question:”Where can I sleep?”.
The next morning- or the first day in Jamaica. After waking up I was overwhelmed by the view over Balvenie Heights, Hopeton and Mandeville Towncenter. The first breakfast, huge as any ther breakfast afterwards. Toast, calalloo, pancakes, baked beans, tea and juice. Nothing to do but hanging out this day. Lunch at Juici patties, Jamaican fast food. Back in Germany, fast food was considered garbage squeezed in shape and sold for as much money as possible. But this was really great. The rest of the afternoon was just like the morning mostly hanging out. But in the evening our journey took us to Port Kaiser, to the enormous Rebel Salute.
We arrived at 9 o’clock, no idea what to expect from a Jamaican Reggae-Festival. On the first sight it appeared to be just as any other festival in Germany. But the more time we spent there the weirder it got. Every third person trying to sell you Wata, Ital-Food or Soda. The music was great, one well known artist left the stage and the next entered it. Queen Ifrica, Tony Rebel, Berres Hammond,… all very big names, but the whole scene got totally surreal when I-Octane entered the Stage. Waving Flags, singing, jumping, dancing, using aerosol as flamethrowers,… words can’t describe this experience.
After a short nap on the festival area, finally Mavado started his gig. Although the sun was already rising people were totally freaking out. 7 o’clock in the morning, 6 more artists to go and tired as heck we decided to leave Rebel Salute and Port Kaiser to go back to Mandeville and our beds. Never using a Jamaican taxi before and not used to random people helping you without any reason at all, on an island far away from home, the way back to Mandeville was almost as exciting as the rest of the weekend.
Pumped by this journey I couldn’t wait for the rest of my trip in Jamaica, which will never be forgotten.
Jamaica, Mon! Jamaica, NICE!
I come from way over east (and north), so the Jamaican climate is for me, no problem! I LOVE the sun, heat, blue sea, fresh colorful nature and the high mountains! Jamaica is the opposite of the land far away where I come from! In the land far away is it snowing, below zero degrees and the country is flat like a pancake. Not nice, mon.
Jamaica has some lovely food! The fruit is so fresh and it just tastes better down her, than back home. My host mom is a very good cook! She makes a lot of the Jamaican national dishes fx Ackee and salt fish. My host family is so sweet and helpful. I just feel like home. It is also a home where many people come to go to church. One Saturday I and Maria (a girl who also live at the same house) attend church. That was a real Jamaican experience. It is so different from the church where I come from. In the land far away we don’t have live music, where the priest plays guitar and another minister plays the drums. Everybody was dancing and having a good time worshipping God. I think, it is more fun and people seem to be happier when they go to church in Jamaica, than in the country far away.
In general Jamaica is a very friendly country! People I don’t know want to talk with me, when I’m walking on the street. They ask: Where you from? What are you doing in Jamaica? How long are you here? And others just smile and say good morning! Some of the Jamaican men even want to marry you. They will say: Do you need at Jamaican man?? J It is very different from the country far away, where you don’t chat with people you don’t know.
One afternoon myself and Maria sad in the park and enjoyed a cold cola (which is very cheap down her!) Suddenly a man came over and talked to us. Between his questions he called us a raggamuffin. I did not know the meaning of the word, so I looked it up in my guidebook. It meant: no good person L later I asked one from my host family and he told me that it also mean a person down to earth. So I believed that the man from the park meant it positive.
In Jamaica I work at New hope Children’s Home. Me and Maria are teaching some of the oldest kids. We just love all the kids and are happy to be there (even though they not always are listening to usJ).
BIG UP to projects abroad Jamaica! You organize some awesome day trips fx to the Bob Marley museum, and culture classes, where we learn to say: Wah a gwaanJ
Jamaica is just a wonderful country! ONE LOVE!
I joined Projects-Abroad ironically thinking mostly about the Jamaican culture and less about the reason I was here, which was to volunteer five days a week at an orphanage. My induction day was short, but meeting the kids even for fifteen minutes had me excited to work the following week. Thus far, I have only worked a total of two days, starting at 8:30am and ending roughly at 1:00pm.
Before arriving in Jamaica I had little to no experience taking care of children but, that quickly changed. Call it maternal instincts, but I went to work almost instantly knowing what needed to be done. My first day was nothing short of a learning experience and my second day I have to say, was much of the same.
Most of the Children at New Hope Children’s home have special needs and require many different forms of love and attention. Alex, a young child under one that I bonded with on my first full working day, was a twin born to a mentally ill Mother. While in her care, Alex and his now deceits twin sibling had received inadequate nutrition and suffered mentally and later physically. At six months of age and at only five pounds, he entered the New Hope’s family.
My very first day, not knowing Alex’s background, I grabbed his hands and helped him stand. He took each step forward, and with my help guiding him, walked. The woman who owns the institution, Mrs. Amanda Williams, was ecstatic at the sight of him walking because up till that point he hadn’t walked that distance. Shortly after, he began to walk and stand entirely on his own.
After having lunch with Ms. Williams I said to her, I’ve only been working for a few days but I can’t help but to feel so attached and proud of the children. And I am, really very proud of them all.
Happy Days Are Here Again! Written by Daphne Wake
After the long flight, humumungus wait to get through all the airport stuff, I meandered outside. There I heard the cries of Daphne, Daphne ringing through the air.All the Project staff were behind a banner welcoming me back , there were presents too, to remind me of Jamaica. I was so happy to be back that I cried.
My host family welcomed me back saying “ Welcome home!” I feel like one of the family.
It seems as though everyone here remembers me taxi drivers, street sellers, market traders, the Star ladies, Rasta lion man, the bird man, Thrift shop ladies, book sellers ……………..
Buying oranges in the market every day requires me to take on the role of Solomon as the vendors are so possessive of me. They argue about who I will buy from so I end up buying a bag from each one. Same thing wit t taxi drivers, they run towards me and the first one to grab my oranges gets my custom.
What a difference a year makes? Everyone tell me I have pit on weight although I still get chatted up by Jamaican gentlemen who think I am fat but just the girl for them. As I am almost 62 now I am loving it.
However a year on and I cant reggae dance like I did with pencil man last year ( see the video).
A new experience this year at Jamaican Pantomime called Blinga Linga. It was full of colour, singing, dancing, Jamaican humour and thoroughly enjoyable. I had a great time laughing along with the audience even though I did not understand some of the patois, I laughed on my own at times.
The one thing I remember from each visit is my host Mrs. Forbes telling me alomoist everyday, “Miss Daphne you nuh easy, you nuh easy”.
I can vividly remember the first day when I started working with Projects Abroad. It was that very eventful day on April 1, 2008 when Greg Thomson (Operations Director) and Mircea Samoila (Country Director – Romania) had me scurrying around Mandeville to find placements and host families for the soon to arrive volunteers. Dominik Rohe and Thorsten Rosch argued a lot to determine who actually came off the plane first and touched the Jamaican soil. Either way they will go down in history as the first two volunteers with Projects Abroad in Jamaica.
Now 2 years and 10 months (1,053 days later) with 445 volunteers coming to Jamaica with Projects Abroad as the Country Director I am pleased to be a part of their global organization. The work that our volunteers do is remarkable, self-less and have been a blessing to our ‘likkle but talla (small but mighty) island. While we cannot change everything the work of our volunteers has had far reaching impact and implications. Let me highlight a few instances which demonstrate this as well as some memorable moments.
I cannot forget our first dirty day when volunteers and staff went to the Heathfield community in South Manchester to do a make over HGTV style. We painted the house, cleaned the tank and made pillows and curtains for an 18 month old child who was on the parenting project. The volunteers were treated to roast yam, roast sweet potatoes and saltfish along with some lemonade.
The BridgIT Water Foundation was conceptualized by Wendy Tisdell our fifth volunteer. Wendy Tisdell, a Director for the BridgIT Water Foundation, visited Jamaica on May 2, 2008. She worked at the Hanbury Children’s Home for three weeks in the home-based school to teach the children basic language, mathematics and social skills. During these three week Wendy discovered that while she was making a meaningful contribution given the many challenges faced by this orphanage and others in Jamaica more could be done. The Water and Sanitation Project was launched on January 5th, 2009, at the McIntosh Memorial Primary School. The project was sponsored by Prime Pump Australia in conjunction with Projects Abroad volunteers. The volunteers who worked on the water project were Wendy, Mark (Wendy’s husband) and their four children; Haarlen, Christian, Ben and Stephanie (Australia), Kieran Kelly (Australia), Peter Cooper (England), Kirsten Richerzhagen (Germany) and Jeovonne Stone (Jamaica). The project lasted for a month and at the end at the McIntosh Memorial Primary School the team built a storage tank, erected storage tanks on top of each bathroom, installed piping and electrical systems, changed all the toilets, painted the bathroom and tank and rebuilt the urinal. This included digging trenches, putting in piping, mixing marl and cement by hand, painting bathrooms, reinstalling toilets, installing electrical systems and refurbishing gutters. This the volunteers worked on assiduously. The New Hope Project included cleaning the tank, getting rid of the concrete cancers and building a covering for the roof. Since then The BridgIT Foundation has completed projects in Tanzania and Bolivia.The BridgIT team will be heading back to Jamaica to assist in building a care centre.
David Spitz – mi doops (good friend), this extraordinary volunteer worked with us for six months on the Sports Project. He was fully integrated in his school community; participated in dance concerts at his school, took reggae dance class and had his little patois book, he even taught patois class to the other volunteers. David was loved by his school and all he came in contact with. He was very dedicated and was famous among the Jamaican women because of his warm personality. Based on his experience in Jamaica he has now changed his career from an accountant to a teacher.
I will never forget Evan Minkema who taught a ten year old how to spell his name thi,s took six months; or Zerin Osmon who took the children from Hanbury Home to the Beach, for some of them it was the first time; or Petter Lomeland and Sanobia Palkhiwala who got a job for a mother on the Parenting Project or Alison Johnson who has collected hundreds of books to establish a library in the Albion community; Stephen Forrester and John Davidson who worked over eight hours each day to build toilet solutions and rebuild houses for poor persons in South Manchester; Caroline Holbek who truly demonstrated what care work was all about and Joan Johnson who gives continuously to the New Hope children’s Home. All our volunteers have done remarkable work and we say a big thank you to all.
An then I will never never I forget the volunteers who were very Jamaican; Benjamin Gruner (who visits us each year), Gianin Wuetrich, David Spitz, Carolina Ljungquist, Maureen Joel-Grant, Evan Minkema, Kristyn Gintz and Kirstie Colder.
Sweet Sweet Jamaica – mi nah lef yah, and some a di volunteers dem neva wah lef yah but dem did haffi go home (I have no intentions of leaving Jamaica to live elsewhere, some volunteers did not want to leave but they had to go back home). One of my favorite day trips now renamed cultural experience was our trip to the Rastafarian Village in Montego in 2009. We were given a rich history of the Rastafarian way of life and the various tribes. As we trekked across the river (Oshum) we had to give her (the river) a coin to symbolize the spirit of giving. We were then treated to a tour of the village, tasted various naturally made food (corn meal pudding made from all natural ingredients – best pudding I have ever had and I have had quite a bit of pudding in my lifetime). We also got the chance to do some meditation and were educated about the over 100 plant life in the village and what it is used for.
My 1,053 days with Projects Abroad has been very rewarding, Jamaica, Jamaica – IRIE.
Jamaica – white beaches, turquoise water and drinking cocktails out of pinapples. That’s what all my friends were talking about jealously when I told them about my forthcoming 3 months journey.
What I expected was to experience this „easy-going“ lifestyle, this relaxed Carribean Flair, everybody is talking about and just to gain tons of new great impressions.
When I made my first steps out of the airport I just felt paralized – it was like I had stepped into a different reality.
I was surrounded by shimmering heat, palmtrees many excited „psssst“-ing sounds, which I first didn’t even recognize refering to me.
Getting my first „Yo maaan, welcome to Jamaica whitie“ from a guy with looong rastas, I started to realize: This is Jamaica!
Making my way from MoBay to Mandeville, was a trip I would name my first aventure in Jamaica.
Driving in a car which gave me the feeling to sit right on the street, I really could say „Hi“ to every chuckhole on the street in person.
The mix of being concerned about not going straight out of the opended window, when we bumped into another road hole and marveling the amazing green nature just next to me kept me pretty busy all my way to my home for the following 3 months.
Mandeville was, to be honest, the exact opposite of what I had expected.
I can’t even tell what I thought I would see. Maybe a small town center with some palm trees, where people lie in their hammocks, twinkling into the sun lazy?
Maybe. However, what I got to see, was a rushing town, where everybody is moving without stopping. Coming from the pretty quiet area, near the jungle where my host family lives, I suddenly was surrounded by people. People selling me fruit or shoes or even running after my with a pink bra in their hand, telling me it would fit me perfect.
And I have to say that I liked it. I liked being in this lively community, just going with the crowd and being surrounded by so many people.
The „last of my first challenges“ was my first day of work. I was really looking forward to be around the children all day and to spend time with them.
When I opened the gate at Winsor Lodge, after some seconds I already had 2 kinds hanging on me, calling „Ana, Ana!“ I still wonder where this name came from, but trying to teach them my „real“ name during the first weeks, by now, I already find myself calling my self „Ana“ when I am at the orphanage.
I enjoy my time at Winsor Lodge so much, I love to be around the children, every moment with them is great.
When I see them coming out of the dining room, with porridge all over their body, putting forth their arms towards me, when they keep holding my hand when I take them to bed, or when they just come up to me to give me a kiss – there are so many moments which give me the confiramtion that it was the perfect decision to come to Jamaica.
Here I get a mix of the „Carribean Dream“, chillin’ on white beaches on the weekend, making new friends, volunteers and Jamaicans and being surrounded by children which give me so much and who I can give so much to!
I make new experiences and impressions every day here and I can say for sure that this are some of the best months of my life!
It`s a warm day, the sun tries to find it`s way trough the clouds. We are speeding along the bumpy Jamaican roads on our way to work. The work is about to take place 30 minutes outside Mandeville. We are coon there and the wind catches my hair as it blows trough the open window. When we`re almost there the car rakes a turn into a small sand covered road. After a few minutes drive the road stops but we continue to drive, trough bushes and out on open fields, up on a hill and down again, and finally we reach our goal. Half way up another hill there`s a small, damaged house. The walls are half broken what use to be the roof now lies on the ground. The house, that isn`t bigger then 20 m², got destroyed by a hurricane a wile ago and our mission is to rebuild it.
Apart from the difficulties to get there it`s absolutely obvious. Why you would like to live right there. The surrounding hills are colored in green as they are covered in trees and bushes. Oranges and bananas are hanging from the branches. Next to the parked car goats are enjoying their breakfast.
The heat gets more intense as the time soon reaches noon. We start with the roof. After nailing the first boards an old lady comes limping out of the woods. She gives us a smile as if she`d been waiting for us a long time. The time runs by and faster then I could imagine the sun starts to go down. We finished the roof and started with the walls but as it`s getting dark we have to stop working. There`s still a lot of work to do but after a long day we`re all tired. I don’t know whether it was good or not to leave as it was already dark. Chances to crash the car into a tree were probably higher but at least I didn’t have to se the terrifying way down to the main road again. The day comes to an end are even if I`m tired it`s hard to sleep because all the new impressions. It`s been an exiting day at the building project.
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