Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Day Four?! WHAT? HOW?

SERVICE DAY TWO DONE! We spent the majority of our second service day back at Pedro Plaines finishing up the work we had started with the day laborers on Monday.  Collectively, we completed painting three rooms, rendering the racketball court and the wall in between the court and the bleachers.  We also installed fencing on the top of the new wall, and painted much of the inner and outer sides of the walls of the court. After lunch and cleaning up, we packed everything back into the van and rental car and made the drive up the mountian to St. Mary's school.  Because of St. Mary's location, it doesnt receive quite as much attention from service groups as Pedro Plaines and other schools. St. Mary's teaches students grades 1 through 6 and also has an infant center. All of the students have class in a one roomed buiilding that is split up into areas for each grade by partitions. The same structure also houses the school kitchen and the Prinicipal's office. Aside from this building there is a water tank, a court and not much else.  This is not nearly enough space and they would really like to expand the school and create a new building or wing. Kaye brought us to St. Mary's to donate all of the group's collected school supplies and to use our engineering backrounds to help the school brainstorm with future construction ideas. We were introduced to Mr. James who gave us a brief introduction to the history of the school as well as improvements they'd like to make.  After taking us on a tour of the school, it was clear that the school was running low on space. Kaye and the principal and some students discussed potential ideas and means of funding and labor.  Her goal is to start a major project at the school starting in a year.  She is currently making arrangements with a major U.S. coroporation to fund the work. As we walked through the school, I was reminded by how welcoming the people we have encoutnered in Jamaica are.  The students, without knowing us or why were there, were all smiles and waves as we interupted their classroom sessions. Even Mr. Jams, the principal of St. Mary's school, originally introduced himself as a mere "school staff memeber", too humble to introduce himself as the head and principal of the school. Time and time again, the people in Jamaica have been incredibly kind and personable towards each and every one of us.  They are an incredibly humble community who really get every ounce they can out of what they have. They continue to remind us to love what we have, do all we can, ask questions, listen and so much more. It's been a true honor and gratifying experience getting to interact and serve such a complex and thoughtful community, especially with such a down to earth and genuine group of people from Stevens. I feel eternally lucky to have crossed paths with each and every person I've interacted with in these past couple of days. I could go on for blogs and blogs but I'm experiencing some serious FOMO ("fear of missing out").  With the other Stevens students so close by having fun as I write this blog, I think this is enough for now. I love these crazy cats. So glad to be here and grow with them. Gah! So sappy!!  GOOD NIGHT! LOVE AND MISS YOU MOM, DAD AND ALLEIA! love, johanna

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