JamaicaJamaica '11LearnServe Abroad

LearnServe Jamaica Day 6: Life at the Castle


The journey to Hagley Gap and Penlyne Castle to work with the Blue Mountain Project was one of the bumpiest rides of my life, but outside the bus was one of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen up close . At one point, the bus passed a giant gorge that seemed to be swallowing all of Jamaica.

As the scenery dissipated, I was welcomed by a nice little “Gap” and two very friendly faces in the square of Hagley Gap. Zadie and Poppi were the two kind people that welcomed us and guided us towards the clinic. At the clinic we met the sweet Cathy. A very rosy cheeked, kind, sweetheart. Cathy explained about the Blue Mountain Project and what its purpose was. After our introductions, we walked, a very hot walk, back to Hagley Gap where we were fed chicken and rice.

My first impression was that this was definitely not what I expected. I thought to myself, “I can’t believe I am doing this”. Slowly, I began to feel a tad bit of fear but as we reached the amazing river I was excited. We eventually were picked up from Hagley Gap in jeeps and taken to our host homes in the town of Penlyne Castle.

Now my host home was something else. It was a very pretty little home with a nice garden in the back and lots of animals around. At the door Maisha, Ralph and I were greeted by a very solemn looking Rastafarian. He pointed us in the right direction and we walked into a dark room with two beds and separate bedroom for Ralph. Maisha and I glanced at each other nervously and then unpacked. At this point I was exhausted, but I gathered my strength and proceeded up the hill across the street to the Penlyne Clinic where we would do most of our work. I played soccer with some kids and then prepared myself for dinner.

Victory with one of her admirers

For dinner I expected worms and roots, but instead it was a nice meal of rice and chicken. My first day was not as bad as I expected , but over the next two days I worked my butt off, so now as I sit typing with a knot in my back I’ve realized something about myself: no matter what, I enjoy helping people even if it means mixing concrete and digging trenches for clinics.

Enjoy your day. 🙂



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