Thursday, June 2, 2016

Two Different Worlds- Kelly

On day one of this trip, I remember being told that we would need to be flexible; it was almost inevitable that plans would change in some way, shape or form throughout our time in Jamaica.  Very soon into being in Jamaica, we showed our ability to be flexible and embrace change as Thea and Kaye excitedly told us they were planning a surprise for us. They loved doing this and we were alway excited to see what they had in store for us!  Their surprises were only the beginning of how we showed our willingness to fully embrace this trip--changes and all.  As a group, we adapted to different work sites, different projects, and different locations.
One change was going from Pedro Plains Primary School to Churchill Primary School.  Our projects at Pedro Plains Primary School, our first location, included finishing up a major project, the net ball court, and a lot of painting.  Our projects at the second location, Churchill Primary School, were to continue building a gazebo as well as some painting.  These projects alone were a lot different from each other and needed a different kind of focus from the group.  At Pedro Plains, we were given the task of finishing up a huge project.  This needed a lot of focus on getting to the end goal and making sure the finishing touches were completed.  At Churchill, our project was much different as we weren't faced with finishing a large project.  Instead, we were given the task of continuing work on a project and picking up where the last group left off.  Both of these projects required different skills from us.  I know I was able to learn different things from the day laborers at each site.  Because of changing projects, we got to see projects supported by various GSI programs at different phases.  For my self, it was an amazing experience to finish up a project that was on going for so many months.  At the same time, it was also very rewarding to contribute to a project that would be completed by groups just like the one I was with.  Both of these projects gave our group different challenges and required different focus, but both projects provided amazing experiences.
Another major change was moving from Taino Cove, Treasure Beach to The Whistling Bird, Negril.  In this move, I saw the differences and similarities in the two cities.  Treasure Beach was very remote and the houses were generally spread out from one another.  In Negril, I saw many more tourist and resorts.  Immediately driving into Negril, I could tell that this city was larger and more of an attraction.  I also noticed that a lot of focus was placed on agriculture and living off the land in Treasure Beach where as this was not the main focus in Negril.  As we drove to and from the work site in each city I noticed that the main mode of transportation was also different.  In Treasure Beach, it seemed that walking was one of the main modes of transportation.  Differently, in Negril, it appeared that motorcycles were the more popular mode of transportation.  The weather was also very different in the two cities.  At Treasure Beach, we were very excited to have a nice breeze through our bedroom windows and on the work site.  In Negril, the humidity was more noticeable.  Among these differences, there were also so many similarities.  My favorite was the people.  In both cities, the Jamaicans and schools were so welcoming to us.  I always felt so welcome by everyone whether it be the people at the hotel or the children and staff at the schools.
Experiencing both Treasure Beach and Negril has allowed me to get a better taste of the Jamaican culture.  I have seen a more remote area of the country and the more traveled part of the country.  As we sat around the table tonight reflecting on our work today and previous days, I couldn't stop thinking about how we my experiences in both cities has shaped my trip.  Being on the work site for both of these projects has been so much fun and I am truly excited but sad for my last day of work tomorrow.

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