Trip Start Jul 08, 2004
4Trip End Aug 27, 2006
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July 17, 2004
Peace Corps Training
"Wha-Gwann?" - What's going on?
Well, eventually you knew you would hear from us. Peace Corps has kept us extremely busy. However, the schedule is beginning to slow down just a little bit. It is hard to imagine this all began July 6th in Miami, FL and we've been in country for a little over a week now. Our orientation at the University of West Indies in Kingston was about four days long, the highlight of which was making a trip to the downtown market. We were blessed to have guides as it can be a little risky. It is a lively area with a lot going on
Today we took a trip north to Caayan, outside High Gate in the Parish of St. Mary in order to work on a Habitat build and afterwards went swimming in the ocean at Port Maria. I'll try to upload some of the video or photos I took from the bus on the way up. The Habitat house is on a piece that was donated by the govt. of Jamaica has been divided into 15 parcels. The house we worked on will be a first for the Northeast affiliate: transitional rental housing for families to be able to save funds each month to eventually purchase a Habitat home.
The past week in class we have been making observations of the physical environment in Old Harbor. Most people in Jamaica have access to chlorinated water, but water pressure is frequently low, which promotes infiltration and contamination and not always available. Solid Waste is another story. Wastewater usually goes to absorption pits or septic tank on site. Few towns (20%) have wastewater treatment facilities. Other issues related to sanitation come from solid waste disposal. Much of the ground and open storm sewers are littered with cans, bottles, etc. The storm sewers seem to be a convenient trash can
Jamaica is a land of great contrasts. The very rich cruise by in sporty SUVs while goats graze amid the shanty houses and crumbling streets. The old weather-beaten churchs banks sleek and modern dominate tiny town centers while the novelty shops and open markets & colorful vendor stalls wind out lining the side streets. A conversation at the water commission in British English is followed on the street by deep interior Patois. Living with a host family is a tremendous immersion. Walking the town, watching the futbol (soccer) matches, attending church and community meetings all contribute to an ever widening picture. The response has been overwhelming positive. Jamaicans are very friendly, eager to share what they have, teach us local dances, songs and Patois. Patois the dynamic living mostly oral language of the vast majority of the 2.6 million Jamaican was born of necessity centuries ago when slaves of various tribes strove to communicate with each other whilst eluding the Spanish, French and mostly after the 1600's, English slave owners
Jonathan & Rogean