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Showing posts from April, 2017

Day 9 - YS Falls

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Today was a great day at YS Falls, a waterfall resort/park in the woods of Black River. The kids signed the wall at Jim and Penie's (all the missionaries get to sign it) and then we headed to the falls.
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Ryan:Hey this is Ryan! Today we went to YS Falls where we saw beautiful waterfalls in a town called Black River. We woke up and had a quick breakfast with French toast and fresh pineapple and quickly left Jim and Penie's house. When we got to YS, we took a tractor back to the falls where we stayed for the day. We zip-lined through the falls and met some cool dudes named Dane, Jonathan, and Mario. After we saw all of YS falls, we went to the salt water pool and ordered our food. Some of us got hot dogs (me), some got jerk chicken, burgers, anything. We then went to the actual waterfalls where we jumped off cliffs with ropes, swam in the stream, and lost some chanclas. The day was nice to relax, talk, and chill with other team members and unwind after working hard yesterday. M…

Day 8 - Return to Audayr

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Today was the most physically tiring day we've had yet. The temperature was in the high 90s with very high humidity - the saving grace was that it was slightly overcast most of the day. But the work - mixing sand, rock, and concrete with water by hand on a stone slab in the middle of a dirt path, carrying the mix in buckets 500 feet down a rocky mountainside, and building a retention wall - was quite a bit for both me and the students. Everyone worked extremely hard, and many scrapes on the concrete were endured. But the wall was built and water has been successfully diverted from Kenny's house!
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Rachel: Hey Everyone! It's Rachel!To start off the day we had cereal for breakfast so we could quickly load up the truck with supplies and head out the door to Audayr. One of the houses Jim & Penny had previously built unfortunately had some water damage so we brought cement, cinder blocks, and the tools needed to build a blockade in front of the house to prevent flooding. So…

Day 7 - The children of Audayr

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Today we traveled to Audayr, a nearby town that is known well to Brianna and I. Two years ago, this town was by far one of the worst we had been to in terms of the maturity of the children and adults; a town that doesn't get running water or many visitors, the local culture is a dog-eat-dog, take-what-you-want way of life. There were times that we needed to leave the town abruptly because we lost control of situations and became overrun by the locals. I was very thankful to see that in the last two years, Jim and Penie have made much progress with the locals, showing them that their love and compassion isn't conditional and that they don't need anything in return to be friends with them. The kids were still very grabby and hard to contain at times, but they were much more receptive to sitting with us and reading stories and scripture.
Jim and I found some work for tomorrow - one of the houses that they've built in the past is being eroded by water running down the mount…

Day 6 - Gully Bank, the hospital, and the infirmary

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Today was one of the tougher days we experience while here in Jamaica. This isn't necessarily a physical toughness (although it was well over 100° today with the heat index), but mostly a mental toughness. We started by visiting Gully Bank, a small community that the government doesn't even have a true census of; the inhabitants use fishing wire and cable to latch on to the local power supplies, and most homes aren't authorized. The kids that live there are very hard-up and don't have stable families. Most get sucked into gangs and drug trade, and sadly this is their best shot at having any sort of income.
The hospital is not what you'd expect here. The patients don't have rooms, they're all in beds in one large room, and the nurses don't really do a thing. In four years, I've never seen any patient care, and the patients report the same. Patients are expected to supply all their own toiletries and rely on visitors for everything. We visited the mens…

Day 5 - Easter Monday

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Easter Monday is an interesting event, as most of Jamaica celebrates the holiday on this day. Schools are still closed, businesses are shut down, and any Easter festivities that may happen take place on this day.
Our part in this was setting up games, activities, an egg hunt, and other fun for the kids of the house. Also invited were some kids from the neighboring town of Petersville, where the church is, as well as the adult kids who have "graduated" from the house and now live on their own with children of their own.
Here are Lauren and Shane's takes on the day-

Lauren: Today We had an Easter party at My Father's House, each of us got to spend time with the kids and their family. I enjoyed hunting for eggs and designing bags with the kids. I never dyed an egg before. I was so glad when I saw their smiling faces. I believe the time we spent together provided them with happiness. These several days I have experienced a lot of new things with the team. I got the chance to…