Today was our second day of manual work at the Blue Mountain Project. As you might have already read in previous blog posts, the scenery of the Blue Mountains is so incredibly breathtaking. It is unbelievably picturesque as if one was pulled into an idealistic countryside portrait. The sun peeks out every now and then, but the cool breeze keeps the temperature perfect. Goats, donkeys, and roosters roam the hills as the clouds roll along the mountaintops. Although, if you ask some of my fellow friends they’d say these animals only served the purpose of waking them up at four in the morning. Nonetheless, they contributed to the surreal scenery of this region of Jamaica.
Now, to speak honestly, the work we partook in was hard and laborious. I commend our group for all their effort and patience throughout the process. While yesterday we spent the day digging a trench in order to repair a broken pipe, today was spent mixing concrete and pouring it in front of the clinic to prevent the constant blowing of sand and debris and for other safety reasons. I believe we accomplished a great deal today through our organized groups and assembly lines. We each contributed by focusing on our stronger attributes and knowing our limits. With the help of men from the community we were able to accomplish our goal in a very short amount of time.
As each piece of the concrete floor came together, each of us felt a little pride at the clear result of our backbreaking labor. By the the end of the day we were all a bit sore here and there, including myself. But as my body ached I couldn’t help but feel that it was some sort of signal or message that I was doing something right. Something greater than myself and the doings of my everyday life. It felt empowering.
I also believe that what we accomplished here goes beyond our physical efforts. We provided a source of inspiration for the community that surrounds us. The community that welcomed us and hosted us in their homes. It gives me a sense of happiness to know that we provided something in return for these big-hearted people, even if it was just the spark of motivation to work and cooperate to achieve a goal. Cooperation is an attribute that was already present in these people and that we only helped to bring to light. From my perspective, the community of Penlyne Castle is capable of a great deal and they proved it in these past days; we were just a couple of helping hands that sped up the process.
I found it ironic how neighbors in the United States live door to door yet barely share a smile or two while the neighbors in Penlyne Castle live great distances from each other yet all united together to improve their community. Their friendly spirits and smiling faces as the sweat dripped down their backs earned them a great deal of respect in my book.
Tonight, at midnight, we begin the long awaited hike to the peak of the Blue Mountains, in other words “the walk of doom.” We’ve heard some discouraging words, but we all plan to tough it out and take part in this once in a lifetime experience. The view as the sunrises will be an unforgettable sight. We’ll make sure to take lots of pictures, of course, so all of you following us at home can vicariously experience this journey with us. So keep watch for the next blog post that will describe this great undertaking. Wish us luck!