Jamaica day three is now complete. Today was definitely one of the most interesting and joyful days of my life. We began our day with a wonderful breakfast, way to early I might add; but so worth it. We began today’s journey by heading over to New Hope, one of the children’s homes here. We got to spend the morning playing with about twenty-five children, ranging from three months to eleven years old. As soon as we pulled into the driveway the children were excited and reaching through the gates for us to come hold and play with them. It was pure joy to be there and to get the opportunity to spend time with them. More so, it was the purest kind of joy in all of our hearts to be updated on the children from last year; whether they had found a home with family, or they had improved in general. One boy stood out in particular to me primarily because last year he just sat quietly in my lap, but this year he was joyful, could speak, and ran around playfully. It was a breathtaking and truly heartwarming experience.
When we arrived back at JDV, we ate and then separated into groups for our work for the day. We broke into three groups in order to get everything done. One group consisted of Rob Patrick, Jennifer Patrick, and Penny Spivey. They worked on the second floor of the conference center: sanding the concrete walls with a broken cinder block piece as the sand paper. It was said that this created some big muscles. The second group consisted of Stephen Roberts, Debbie Carter, Amanda Kohler, and Ali Mickle: who cut rebar and made a concrete frame for the roof on the new night guard’s shack.
Jessica Mee, Katie Smith, Haley Roberts, and I all gathered fire wood with two of the residents of JDV. This was honestly such a funny experience. Crestmore was one of the ones with us and he drove us up the side of the mountain to gather wood for a big fire that they were planning on having later that night. We got to watch him use a chain saw to make smaller pieces and then attempt to make up a new dance move with it (off of course): very hilarious. After all was said and done, the fire wood was in the pit and ready to go and we were going to drive back. It was amazing bonding time with the residents and gave us an opportunity to really get to know them. None of our group signs really well so the residents were unbelievably patient and loved helping us learn throughout the whole experience of collecting wood. It taught us some new techniques on communication despite a language barrier and taught us how to work together to get the job done.
After a delicious dinner, all the residents and team went to the top of the hill to a big bonfire to make “dampers” (roasted bread dough stuffed with different delicious things). It was a great opportunity to run around and play games with the kids, talk with the residents about different things in life and really get to know their story, and a time to relax with new friends.