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Lush green foliage of the Blue Mountains
In highlighting the many things Jamaican, the rich foliage covering this little piece of paradise cannot be overlooked. Hidden within the leaves of towering trees of deepest green, shrubs, grass and everything else in between, are flavors that have led to more than just a local tradition. In every home there is a secret recipe for what some refer to as herbal teas. Here however, we simply call them “bush tea.”
A cup of bush tea
Many Jamaicans are firm believers in the health benefits of these plants and in recent years, science has proven that our grandparents (Granny an Grampa) were right all along. In addition to the medicinal properties, there are the unmistakably distinct flavors and wide varieties that make Jamaican bush teas unique.
Among the most prominent Jamaican teas are the mint varieties. Peppermint and black mint are two of the most popular.
Fever grass (lemon grass) is another Jamaican must have that is enjoyed by many.
Jamaican Fever Grass or Lemon Grass
Cerasse may leave a bitter taste in your mouth but its renown as a blood cleanser, medicine for stomach problems and its richness in Vitamins A and C, may cause you to think twice about passing it by.
Ginger, while not a “bush,” is another local favorite. This root spice contains antioxidants that are linked to the relief of pain, inflammation, digestive disorders, nausea and motion sickness.
Wild basil is another plant with a distinct flavor that is traditionally had for fever, pain and the common cold.
Jamaican Wild Basil
You do not have to live in the country to enjoy a wide variety of bush teas. The Jamaican entrepreneurial spirit has made many of these teas available on the supermarket shelf, locally and internationally. The essence of these plants has been captured in modern packaging in a variety of blends for your drinking pleasure and otherwise.
Whether the plants are gathered from the wild, grown in the yard, bought from the local market place or high-end supermarket, using then to make bush tea is a longstanding activity that is steeped in Jamaica culture. So on your next visit to the island; ensure that you indulge in a cup, or two, of some good Jamaican bush tea!
In the spirit of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we wanted to celebrate the football fever that is spreading through our projects across the world.
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I'm Lauren, a 17 year old English girl, a bookworm, cat owner, optimistic pessimist and self-confessed lover of Disney movies, that doesn't really know anything about blog writing... at all. I'm originally from Sheffield in the north, but moved to a boarding school for people with a visual impairment in the midlands in September last year to do my A-levels. I was born totally blind, but due to a hell of a lot of surgery, gained some sight in my right eye. Since I moved to boarding school, my confidence has improved so much. This time last year I wouldn't have gone into a shop to buy a bag of crisps, so travelling to Ghana for 4 weeks on my own is a huge step for me confidence and independence-wise.
Currently, I'm sitting in my semi boxed up bedroom. Due to awkward term dates colliding with project dates, I'm going to have to leave for the airport straight from school. With not living at home and only going home every 4 weeks or so, it is like 10 times trickier to get all of my stuff for Ghana sorted out. While all of the other volunteers will be buying their stuff 2 weeks before we leave, I had to buy all my stuff while I was at home last week. My bag is already completely packed up and ready to go. My mum is doing all the visa applications and printing and whatnot from home so she can give me the documents when she comes to pick me up and take me to the airport.
With the date of my departure edging closer, I'm starting to feel more anxious about the trip than excited. I find myself constantly worrying that other volunteers won't like me or will find me a burden because of my visual impairment and that the culture shock will be too much for me and I'll want to go home. That's just me being pessimistic I suppose. I know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I just gotta grab it by the balls, haven't I?
So there you go, first ever blog post. Hopefully it wasn't too terribly structured :)
"Life opens up opportunities to you, and you either take them or you stay afraid of taking them" - Jim Carey
Nepal Social Manager 145 days ago
Congratulations Mees Mansvelders! Mees, 20, from the Netherlands, volunteered at Chitwan Medical Teaching Hospital in Bharatpur, Chitwan, as part of the Medical Project. As a medical volunteer, Mees had the opportunity to observe all facets of a bustling Nepali hospital, from the Emergency Room to the Maternity Ward.
Mees had a few words to say about her winning shot:
As a professional physiotherapist, Susanne Haupt knows the tricks of the trade. With clients and a nine to five back home in Germany, Suzy expected her two weeks volunteering in Nepal to be one of observation, and maybe a chance to share some of her acquired skills. What she didn’t expect was the knowledge and memories she got back in return. “I came here to see a new culture,” Suzy said. “I didn’t think I would take so much of it back with me.”
Suzy spent her time in Nepal in Bharatpur, a bustling town west of Kathmandu. While tackling the sights and smells of a foreign locale, she also applied her talents to CMC, or Chitwan Medical Teaching Hospital. As a trained professional, Suzy was able to jump straight in to the rigors of hospital life. “From the first day I was given patients to do exercises with, and I even learned about treatments like electro-therapy and ultrasound that we rarely use back home,” Suzy remarked. An even further testament to her initiative, Suzy and another volunteer are creating posters in the physiotherapy ward to help doctors and volunteers alike. Suzy related that “we decided to write down commands in Nepali and English; things like ‘breath’ and ‘relax,’ simple words that play an important role in physio.”
Although Suzy played a significant role in her workplace, it was her colleagues that gave her a new perspective on her craft. She worked alongside three other professional Nepali physiotherapists, and one even trained in a similar methodology as her. “Kopil took care of me from the star,” Suzy said. “He is so warm-hearted, and we like to exchange our experiences because the system in Germany is so different.”
Even further testing the boundless generosity of the Nepalese, Suzy fell in love with her host family. From laidback dinner conversation to playing with her host-brother, there was no shortage of laughter and learning in the household. After leaving for a visit to the jungles of Chitwan National Park, there seemed to be something missing. “When I came back to my host family yesterday,” Suzy realized, “it was like coming home.”
While her two weeks in Bharatpur has surely impacted the way she looks at physiotherapy, it has also helped Suzy define a country that was previously a mystery. Frustrations do occur in a land unlike one’s own, but they only add to the experience of somewhere different. “I don’t have many patients back home that have been to Nepal,” Suzy added, “but now I can tell them there is more than Himalayan Mountains. There is a wonderful people and culture, eager to share it with you.”