Monday, June 30, 2008

We Left for Miami One Year Ago

As I sit here writing this blog it has struck me that we left for Miami exactly one year ago. We spent two days in training and then left for Jamaica on July 3rd. Thursday will be our one year anniversary on the island. We still have a little more than a year left as our volunteer service didn't start until training was over in August, but it is still a milestone.

My brother Cory and his girlfriend Marie have been in town for the past week. We have had a lot of fun going around showing them our little corner of Jamaica and our projects. It makes me proud of the work we are doing and the people who are our Jamaican friends. Some days it is hard to stay focused and positive on our projects and the seeming lack of progress and how it seems like we aren't integrated enough into the communities. Then we start showing what we have been working on to outsiders and we get a new perspective. I can see that we are making progress and that the people really do appreciate the work we are doing.

I haven't posted new pictures for a long time and they are building up. We took a trip to the St. Thomas lighthouse a couple weeks ago. It was a very nice trip and I have some photos from it. It is the farthest eastern point in Jamaica. I was curious about the garbage that had washed up on the beach near the lighthouse. Most of it had come from Haiti. Hopefully there will be more up in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

One of those moments...

This afternoon I had one of those moments that just makes me so glad that I made the choice to come here. I am fairly certain that it won't come across very well in text, but I feel like it is one of those key moments that I just want to share. I started to write out the context and it got cumbersome and boring. So I will just sum up:

1) The idea to ask adult literacy class participants to perform community service projects of their own creation and design in lieu of payment for the class IS NOT a bad idea. I am so proud of them and their initiative.

2) The literacy primer that I wrote is a hit (which was a risk for me since I am really not a writer or an illustrator). Today my class groaned when I said we had to stop reading in order to go on to other things. There is absolutely no reason that books that are easy to read need to be boring. We are in the middle of the second 10-week session and they are clearly excited about reading. I can only hope this keeps up. Again, I am so proud of them all.

Hopefully we will have some new pictures up soon. It has been a while since we posted and we have traveled a bit recently. I'm hoping to have pictures of the baby goats that have to be born any day now at the end of the beach road...the momma goat is huge and has been so for weeks now. Soon come.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Summer in Antartica

Yesterday we were watching a nature program that was talking about the poles. When they started to talk about summer at the poles Carrie mentioned how funny it is to think about that. It struck me, it's like talking about winter in the tropics. It is currently June and we have been here for 11 months. Some days I can barely tell what month it is and if I don't think about it I couldn't tell you what season it is back in the US. Winter here is a little more comfortable, but it is 12 months of summer. Even the US south has a period where a jacket is nice and you know that the season has changed. Not here. It's not something you can really prepare yourself for. Time does pass quickly though.

Time has been going fast and it is hard to believe we have been here for 11 months. Our projects keep us busy and we really don't have time to think about it. We are starting to realize that we are closing in on 1 year left and if we have anything we really want to do we had better get started. I know that I need to start computer classes at the health department and I know that if I don't get them started soon they will never happen. I also tend to pick up small things every week or two that I help the health department with that fills my time.

Congratulations Rob and Layla!! We are looking forward to seeing you in Jamaica.