March 21, 2014 by maddieswab
On Wednesday, I got to go to Reading Prep, a local kindergarten. We were painting three rooms and mostly just finishing up what the previous groups had done, but the bonding time we got with our group members was so valuable. And we got to play with the children at the school, which was so much fun! We started the day out with some songs we sang with the children, and then we acted out The Prodigal Son for the children. It was amazing seeing their pure joy and excitement and their love for God! Then, we went to painting and interacting with the children during their breaks. I really connected with one of the older girls, JoHanna. She was one of the quieter ones, but was so interesting to talk to and really opened up if you gave her the chance. She taught me that joy and specialness don’t have sounds; you can be quiet and shy, but still be amazing, which really touched me since I’m a pretty shy person. I also loved how enthusiastic all of the little girls were to braid our hair! We sported so many different hairstyles that day!
We all did outreach work on Thursday, with one group going to a special needs orphanage, one group going to hospice, one group finishing up work at the Homes of Hope site and participating in the key ceremony, and my group going to a state-run orphanage/children’s home. It was pretty regulated and we didn’t have a ton of time to play with the children, but one of the most impactful things that happened to me on the trip occurred there. We split up into two groups, one to play with the toddlers and one with the babies. I was in the babies group and when we walked into the room, there were two workers holding babies. But I immediately headed towards a little girl clinging onto a crib and crying so hard. I knelt down, told her “Everything’s going to be okay,” and picked her up. She immediately stopped crying and clung onto me for the rest of the day. I spent the day walking around with her outside, talking to her, rubbing her back, and praying over her. She didn’t cry the rest of the day and even fell asleep towards the end of her visit. It made me so sad because this little girl just wanted love and attention and while the workers do love the children, there are only 5 workers for 50 children; not all of the children are going to get the amount of love they need.
On Friday, we met up with the two other Jamaica trips in Ocho Rios. We went to a market first (I’ve gotten way better at bartering since my trip to China!), where I got some Jamaican coffee, a wooden necklace, and a beautiful tunic. Then, we went to Dunn’s River Falls. Most people climbed up the falls a few times, but I had already climbed up the falls a few years ago and didn’t really love it, so I hung out at the beach with a few other people. It was so much fun to relax and hang out with everyone and hear the different experiences people in the other two trips had!
Jamaica was one of the best weeks of my life, and I learned so much about myself and life and became closer with God. I learned that I want to be a journalist so that I can give a voice to those who can’t speak. I learned that I definitely want to adopt a child when I’m older. I learned that God can do amazing things if you just trust in Him. This week came at a pivotal time in my life and everything on this beautiful island hit me the right way.