My Jamaica mission diary

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Dear Diary,

Day One, March 26

I did not sleep last night. It is four o’clock in the morning and my dad’s friend is coming to pick up my mom and me to take us to the airport. We board the plane, and I do not know how I feel because I am on my way to a developing nation. I do not know where I will sleep, what I will eat, what I will be doing, the language, or the culture. When we arrive in Montego Bay, we go outside to be picked up, but we do not know who is picking us up or what car they are driving. We can not communicate very well because we do not speak the language. A man named Leroy arrives and takes us to pick up the other mission workers, which were college students at the University of Missouri. They are not very welcoming at first. I am on a bus, in a foreign country, with people I do not know, going to an abondoned church in the mountains which is going to be my home for the next week. This day in particular is very scary, but it helps me realize no matter what happens, I will be okay.

 

Day Two, March 27

I walked into the main room in the church, and I see teenagers. They call me over and swarm me with questions and compliments. We end up talking for a few hours, and I feel as if they are a gift to me, because they are helping me while I feel so afraid. They are the immersion group. Today is Easter Sunday, and I am spending it at a little church with lizards and bugs everywhere.The church does not have air conditioning, flushing toilets or even warm indoor showers. This morning we have a five hour church service. I sat with my new friends Jonathon, Tanner and Maddy. I feel so glad to have American friends around, because I am afraid to be living in this enviornment for a week. The church service was so much more passionate than the church services I have been to. They are much louder and happier. Everybody is so nice here. After the church service, we all eat lunch together and my new friends take me exploring.

 

Day Three, March 28

Today is Easter Monday, the most important holiday in the Jamaican culture. We go on a two hour bus ride even deeper into the mountains. We were cramped together driving next to a cliff with many turns and stops. Finally, we arrive at a building. We go inside and we sing together. After we sing, we go outside for the first part of competiton. Kids line up and have different track and field events. Some of my friends from immersion also run, but the Jamaican people are so much faster than us so it is funny to watch. We go inside and I think it was about to end. However, there was a second part of competition that lasted five hours. The categories are singing, dancing, public speaking and acting. It is interesting to watch, but I become tired and weary. This day in particular helps me realize I have a sense of adventure.

 

Day Four, March 29

This morning is our first day of work. We do not know what we are doing or where we are going. We walk two miles uphill to a mountain. All the American mission workers sit down and desperately need water. However, the lady in charge, Marva, a 45-year-old Jamaican woman with three kids, starts putting bags of cement on her head and sprinting up the mountain. We carry buckets of rocks and cement up the hill all day long. I meet the other mission group today. I make friends with all of them. Being in a scary situation can really bond strangers together.

 

Day Five, March 30

Today I got sick. We worked, but I sat instead. One of the girls from Missouri was also sick. Her name is Hannah and we sit and talk. It turns out she is a nice girl and we become close quickly. I realized first impressions should not define people.

 

Day Six, March 31

Today I feel sick again. It is hot outside and we are still working. I feel upset because I am exhausted from learning the culture, eating the food, and speaking a foreign language. Today I learned life can be tough, so you have to be tougher.

 

Day Six, Part 2, March 31

I can not believe how much the immersion team, the mission workers and the people of Catadupa care about me.  It amazes me how much these people love each other. I never want to leave. Everybody here has become like family to me. The living conditions have taken a toll on me, but I am so blessed to experience this with them. It is amazing how a group of strangers can come together and create something beautiful.

 

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