When I signed up for the JCIP 2014, I understood that I would have an excellent time–just by merit of traveling to a country I’ve never been to. I never thought I would have as much fun with JCIP as I did. Nor did I think I would fall in love with Jamaica as I did upon immediately landing on the island. Nor did I think this experience would have the profound effect on me that it did have.
JCIP is a truly unique and unparalleled program. For one week, students in the program stay with a host family in Jamaica taking full advantage of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the whole island. The program is based on a service of platform (it was originally called the Jamaica Service Project) but JIP makes no chauvinistic pretense at “helping Jamaicans” or “giving aid.” The Immersion Program is intended to leave more of a meaningful impact on the Hollins travelers rather than the community, though we do a lot of service in the community.
For three of the 6.5 days we are in Lucea, each student spent about 3 hours in the local primary or elementary school, helping teachers out with assignments, learning from the students, and implementing their own lesson plans. Although I made some really cool lesson plans for my fifth graders, I didn’t really implement them when I was there because of scheduling conflicts. I intended on teaching the kids about nutritional benefits and deficiencies, etc. so I had a bunch of plastic fruit to use in my lesson plan to use as props. Instead, the kids taught me how to play cricket– we used the fruit as cricket balls!! We did play other educational games, though, involving geography, spelling, and math (or maths, as they like to call it =P).
I was so genuinely touched by how excited the children were to see us. They were all so incredibly nice and welcoming. They were so eager to learn about my background and culture (“Afghanistan is in Cuba?” hehe).
After the teaching sessions, all the ladies gathered at a local fast food place (Juici Patties- sooo yumm!) and rest and eat. Afterwards, we all went to the Hanover infirmary together. There, we volunteered for about 2-3 hours spending time with the residents–telling them about our families, making crafts, telling jokes… Yet again, I was so touched by the appreciation and love that the residents of the infirmary showed us. I made a few friends at the infirmary too–Misses Vida and Lillian–who told me about their upbringings in other parishes in Jamaica.
There are so many beautiful aspects of the experience that I’d like to expound upon as well, including our hostess Mrs. Malcolm who let my roommate Andrea and I feel as if we were back in our individual homes! From here on, I will do a picture summary of the trip which I think will do it more justice.
(I broke my phone just recently so I don’t have immediate access to it just right now but when I do, I’ll put up more of my personal pics!)
The gang on the last day before leaving- we went to the touristy part of town, which I have to say was my least favorite experience (which is not saying much because the whole trip is invaluable)
Market vendors- from whom I bought an unfathomably tasty mango on the second day
Goats on the road because Jamaica is surprising like that
View of Jamaica upon landing
On a tour of the breathtaking Black River, we caught a glimpse of this little guy
We caught this gorgeous sunset the first day we arrived
Fresh coconut water! Given to us by the Fabulous Harvey sisters of Harvey River– relatives of Lorna Goodison, whose book we read in our class.
Many many more pics coming soon!