Jamaica! Sun, beaches, a great tan. However, I journeyed to the center of the island, where it rained nearly every day, and I often had to wear a sweatshirt. Needless to say, I did not get much of a tan.
I flew into the Kingston Airport with a team of girls from my high school, where we met the charming customs workers. They asked about twenty questions to each of us asking why we were there, how long we planned to stay and why we were so pale. After that experience, we rode two long and terrifying hours to St. John Bosco’s Home for Boys. I say ‘terrifying’ because the Jamaicans seem to disregard all common road rules, weaving in and out of traffic and barely stopping at the few lights there are. When we finally made it safely to Bosco, we quickly learned that we were not alone in inhabiting our little house. We were greeted by several cockroaches that seemed to multiply every day, and geckos climbing up the walls.
I stayed with the girls from my high school at Bosco for ten days. We helped out around the complex by cleaning and painting the school buildings, dormitories, and the catering hall. In total, I washed the outsides of four buildings, all of which were covered in the red dirt that is so common in Jamaica, I scrubbed four mildew coated awnings, and I cleaned the green front gate, which surprisingly was white underneath. By three o’clock each day, I was glad to be done. Then, I went to the playfield outside of the boys’ school, just in time to see them rush out. The next several hours were spent talking to the boys, and playing futbol (American soccer) and basketball. One day on the playfield, we surprised the boys with bottles of bubbles. Most of them had never seen bubbles, so quite a few of them tried to drink their new toys. After the bubbles were explained, the boys had so much fun running around trying to pop their bubbles before they blew away in the wind.
To get the full experience of being in a foreign country, Sister Mimi, the principal of the school, took us to town. We went to a Jamaica fast food restaurant, Juici Patties, where I forced down a chicken, cheese and grease filled patty. We then went on a tour of the market place, where we were caught in the middle of a torrential downpour. After a half an hour of taking refuge under a holey roof, we decided to make a run for it. While trying to avoid puddles, people, and cars, we were encouraged by yells of “Run, Whiteys, run!”
Before the trip was over, we headed to the Sunset Resort for one day to experience the magnificently clear ocean waters. This little side trip was a welcomed break from our hard work at the boys’ home.
In spite of the bugs, rain, and food this was a great trip in which I was exposed to a different culture. I made many new friends among the boys at Bosco, and experienced several once in a lifetime opportunities, such as learning Jamaican dances, like the “Gully Creeper,” and attending a pig slaughtering.
It was finally time to go home, and while I was excited to get home to a hot shower, I was also greatly saddened because I had to say goodbye to all of my new friends. I had a great time on this mission trip and cannot wait to go back someday!
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