In January 2000 I left for five months to go to a Missionary, and discipleship School in Jamaica.. I remember to this day the day I left from CLE. It was so cold several inches of snow covered yards, and roof. More was expected. I recall as I was boarding then getting a bag of food provided by the airlines to take on wiht me , and eat at my convenience. I recall being at the aft, or end of the MD80inking this does look like a tube LOL. I also realized no turning back and felt I was about to be put on the potters wheel.
When I arrived I found out only three of us on the team were Americans, the rest were Jamaicans.I loved their tongue potwah, and accents. Each had their own story and very touching.
I had to learn fast to be very flexible, and adaptable as I was a guest. The Jamaicans have their own way of doing things.We also shared a room for five months. I and five others. One bath, and the shower often was closed. To do laundry one area for all of us and those at the mission school who were all boys.
We often had meetings as we found out after a month of what we called the honeymoon period now we were living with each other.
I also really had to learn humility
1- Be quick to listen slow to speak my way what I want what about me
2- There is no place for I in team, We found we had to compromise and as the American I knew I also represented Americans so I had to compromise more keeping in mind this is not my home but for the time ours.
3 Empathy is key in communicating, and working as a team.
We did classroom lessons studies, worship, dramas, and work duty or service including KP. They also make most meals from scratch including milk .I learned how to clean out a newly killed chicken , heart and all. We also had cows, and I mean cows which roamed on our base. I loved it. But they could charged so it was highly recommended to not pet the cows. Also my team mates were my guides in market place as much they said was a rip off especially to tourists and new people. I was also privileged to teach 2 how to swim on my team.
The pot, ah you could smell it all over.It was so common.They also have gangs which extort from the locals and are very dangerous,Jamaica also just does not let women leave and easy as a man. They need husbands permissions , and or proof they have close family still there. A good reason to leave must be established to.
It is very beautiful as we were living up in the mountain.
Here are some pics. At some missions or churches we would stay for a week and later then two weeks our bed was the floor or pew. At the base we had bunk beds.
Jamaicans many are funny about pics. Rule 1 ask permission. Rule 2 never just snap a pic in the market place.
For team building
They took us to a big waterfall which we could walk up and walk down as a team.
It was very slippery , which was scary. We learned this early the importance of trusting each other, and to work together as one. We also developed a caring for one another.
The People in Jamaica live so different and most are poor. Their shelter often is tin homes, They do feed you very well. Huge plates of food.They love fish. Dogs are used as guard dogs often and not treated or looked on as we in America do.
My time oversees was fun a lot of fun, learning, humbling,stretching, and hard work. It was an intense time very. It was well worth it.
Our service was helping with an out house for a church, cleaning another church, serving a community such as helping to wash cloths, etc We did take turns teaching and did drams on the street and in the churches to. We took a lot of time getting to know the people, and helping, serving where we could and the need was.
At night after dinner days off our team would play games, go to the beach, visit the market and be together and enjoying. Yes there we some conflicts but we learned quick to communicate and respect each others feelings and opinions..
I promise one will never be the same after spending several months in another culture.
Every person is unique and has a story. Each nationality is beautiful. We can and should learn from others different from us.Relationships are most important than anything else. There is so much I learned and even about me.
I did at the end get a certificate of completion and a certificate of appreciation.