This is probably the hardest blog post that I have ever written because there are absolutely no words to describe the things I saw in Jamaica and how difficult it was to return. I will forever be a different person because I have learned the power love. The purpose of this mission trip was to spend 10days in Jamaica serving others. At the end of the day, I know that the work that I did will never compare to the imprint that they left on my heart.
Here are some of the highlights of my trip:
Hugs and Smiles:
When we first walked through the gates of Jacob’s Well, we were greeted with a plethora of hugs and hellos. One thing that I learned during this trip was the power of a simple smile and how meaningful a hug can be. Love is one of the most powerful things that you can offer to another person. ❤
I ended up spending a large chunk of my morning at St. Monica’s with Ms. Cambell. She is blind and partially deaf. She has this Carebear doll that sat on her lap all day. I spent most of my time with her holding her hand and letting her rest her head on my stomach and arm. Every once in a while, she would kiss my hand or ask me something because she thought that I was the nurse. For a while, she either thought that I was her daughter or she was talking about her daughter (I am not really sure). But having the opportunity to just be there with was enough for me because I know that she probably doesn’t the attention and care that she needs.
I am not really sure what kind of help we offered to the teachers of Riverton; but, I am glad I had the opportunity to spend the day with these kids. The afternoon on playground and in the classroom reading books to the kids was a reminder of how alike we are. Our circumstances -financial, educational, and social- may be different; but, we are all human and have a lot in common because of that. The most shocking part of our visit was probably related to the fact that this school is in the middle of the slums. And each of these children is from the slums and will probably never have the opportunity to get out.
Homeless food run:
During our first day of volunteering with the Missionaries of the Charity, a few of us volunteered to help the sisters during a homeless food run. They took two vans out into the city and the homeless lined up with the hope that the sisters will have enough food to offer them a meal. One of the craziest parts about this little adventure was watching the system. The homeless knew that they van was there to serve them a hot meal and the line started as the homeless put their hands on the back of the van and began to follow it as the driver drove onto the curb and put the vehicle in park. At the end, the sisters saved a few meals for the homeless, who they knew were physically unable to get to the line. So they drove around the city, personally handing each of them a meal.
Owill was a resident at the Missionaries of the Charity and he was in a wheelchair because of a fall that ended up resulting in him injuring his spine. While he was in a wheelchair, I have never meet someone who was more culturally aware and offered such good advice. There are no words to describe how grateful I am for the opportunity that I had to talk with him. He really made me think and reflect on who I am and where I want to be in life. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from our conversation:
“Your mind is greater than your heart because if you don’t have no mind, then you don’t know what your heart is saying.”
“The one who says they will stay until the end, never come. Give praise to the one who is around now.”
“Everybody is good. But what makes you good?”
I did not believe Caribbean blue water was actually a thing until I saw it. While I thought the water was beautiful, I must warn you it was salty. The water was so salty that it burned my eyes. The beach was beautiful and a great ending to a long two weeks of hard work and service. Since it was a locals beach, we had the opportunity to interact with Jamaicans and I still cannot get over how friendly, talkative, and helpful everyone we encountered was.
The hardest part of being home is knowing that no one here understands. I can continue to tell my stories; but, you will have no idea what I am talking about until you have experienced something like this. It is also hard to continue with my old routine knowing that there are so many people who have just as much potential as me, if not more; but, the difference between us is that I am in a place where I have the opportunity to succeed. What will happen to those kids that we meet? Will they always be living in poverty? Why do I have all this? Why do they have nothing? Why would God allow this to happen? Will they remember us? because I will remember them for as long as my memory will permit me.
I am so grateful to have spend my 10days in Jamaica with these amazing people! Each of them is unique and wonderful in their own ways!