Flying over Cuba. Since I am not the best with geography, it took me until I got back home to realize that I had flown over Cuba.
Welcome to Jamaica!
Seeing the Caribbean water for the first time took my breath away. It was beautiful.
I have never seen such green mountains before.
Landing in Montego Bay Jamaica.
Sunrise outside my window in Dunsinane, Jamaica.
Heading to Hayes, Jamaica.
The drive was filled with gorgeous views.
Down the mountain we go.
One thing that really stood out to me as we drove to Hayes was how lenient drivers were on passing each other. Especially going up the mountains, trucks that would be going very slow, cars would pass with ease.
Another thing I saw a lot of was people walking along the streets. I have heard about people doing that and seen it in pictures but seeing it in person changed my perspective.
Compared to back home where we have cities and things are very close to each other, here in Jamaica, buildings are much more spaced and not everyone can afford cars so they spend most of their days walking back and forth to get food.
Passing the food stands. I will say that Jamaican food is very good.
Passing through a Jamaican town. This was a culture shock to me because it was so very different to towns back in America. These towns had many buildings that were not in use and had some that were in use but didn't have any electricity so it looked out of business.
This road took us through a mountain and the first day we drove through it I was a little worried if we were going to make it coming back because the drive up was so steep at times and we would drive so slow, but we managed every time.
Seeing the different mile unit change always was throwing me off.
A not so built up plaza near Hayes, Jamaica. I was told that Hayes Jamaica wasn't one of the best living places in Jamaica.
Welcome to Hayes, Jamaica. I learned about their school system and it was very different compared to schooling in America. Per week it cost families only a couple hundred or thousand dollars to send their children to school.
The family we helped build the house for, the father wasn't able to send his children to school because he didn't have enough money even though he was working 3 jobs.
My first reaction seeing the yard and the house was "Is this really where we are working?" There was piece of wood all over the yard with nails in them. A handful of us spent the first two days removing the nails.
However, there were a bunch of kinds in the house next to us who joined us and they were so helpful and absolutely inspiring.
Man, the amount of goats I saw while I was here was ridiculous. But the little goats were so adorable!
After driving around in Jamaica for a week, I will be forever grateful of the paved roads we have in America. When we landed in Montego Bay, we had a 3-hour drive to Mandeville to where we were staying and the amount of pothole we had to go over and swerve around were endless.
Jamaica is one of the countries that are very poor, so not having the money to repave all the roads, results in endless amounts of potholes. Driving back to our church it felt good to be driving on smooth roads again.
Heading back to Mandeville.
Many evenings it looked like it would rain, but it never did. Only in the very late hours of the night.
Group picture at St John Bosco Boys' Home.
It felt weird being at an orphange because I hadn't been to one since I was in Russia at 3 1/2. I really loved however the sense of community here.
The backyard of the orphanage. The rocks painted white was the "time out" area where if a boy misbehaved there were to sit there and think about what they did wrong.
I fell in love with the bright colored building all over Jamaica.
Our guide told us that they painted the rocks and bottom of trees white for more sophistication.
Saw my first banana trees and it was very interesting to learn about how they grew.
This little pup was so cute! I wanted to take him home with me.
The plants in Jamaica were just a colorful as the buildings.
View in Mandeville, Jamaica.
Heading into the mountains again.
The atmosphere these mountains and the view gave me was beautiful.
Mary Help of Christians Home St. Elizabeth Mandeville, Jamaica.
View of the other side of the rock landing at Treasure beach. It was so relaxing to watch the water hit the rocks.
I got to watch a guy clim a coconut tree and take the coconuts. As a sign of respect and a gift, Jamaicans will cut down coconuts from the trees to give to their guests.
The water was surprisingly warm and not very deep.
I could watch the waves crash against the rocks all day.
Little Ochie Seafood Restaurant Alligator Pond, Jamaica.
Boats on the sand at Treasure Beach.
Sun beginning to set on the beach.
The sunsets here were so stunning. They would set in about 5-7 minutes. But the vibrance of the sky was so gorgeous.
Night on the beach.
Working on this house was not the easiest task. There was a lot of miscommunication so a lot of the time we would be standing around or playing with the kids while things were trying to get figured out.
What we finished on this house was the roof and the stairs in the back. Also, when we would leave the job site we would have a clear vision of what we were going to get done but only to find the next morning it would be completed and would throw are plans off.
This was an incredible group of people I got to know and work with. I would absolutely go back in a heartbeat. The kids I got to meet were truly inspiring.
The house that we worked for belonged to Jimmy (red shirt) and Akeem (white shirt on the left next to the kid holding the sunglasses).
End of our last work day.
Photo before we head to the airport to go back home.
I had such a great time in Jamaica, I learned so much and was greatly inspired and can't wait to travel again.