June 24, 2013 Jamaica to me means one word: Homecoming. Stepping off that plane was like coming home. That fresh Jamaican breeze that you get after you go through customs is indescribable. The commercials about the really blue water and people drinking coconut juice out of coconuts are real.
When we got off the plane we went straight to the Hope Gardens where we met up with the KBC Learning our local Jamaican partner. The Bennetts and Selena from KBC gave us a basic lesson about the odd and new things that we may encounter during our stay in Jamaica, but of course I was aware of everything they were saying because I went on the LearnServe Jamaica 2012 trip.
Everyone had so many questions for me since I’ve been to these places and seen these things before. I felt like an ongoing movie trailer. I feel like I’m spoiling the movie. Coming to Jamaica a second time has allowed me to visit old friends and to learn even more about Jamaican culture.
Following lunch in Hope Gardens we drove to the Blue Mountains and lived with host families in Penlyne Castle a rural area in the mountains. The drive up the mountain was breathtaking and reminded me of driving back home in Cameroon, Africa. This time around, I stayed with a new host family in a home without running water unlike last year when I lived with the Bennetts’ who do have running water. My new host family lived very far from the other families so we had to walk a long distance to meetings. It made me realize how fortunate I am to not have to walk that far for school and to have access to regular transportation.
I plan to have a blast during this trip this time around. So far, everything is great. The service learning activities are small compared to what the people of Jamaica need but as they say in Jamaica it may be small but it tallawa!
Atem T., Central High School