Black, Gold, and Green

 

Black for the strength and creativity of the people, gold for the beautiful sunshine, and green for the lush vegetation of the island. These are the colors of the Jamaican flag, and they reflect our experiences in Jamaica.

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We have witnessed the strength of the people in the hospital, A&E (also known as the ER), and clinic.

-The strength of a solo mother providing for and raising up children on her own.

-Three young boys sitting patiently with broken arms, waiting hours for the x-ray machine to be fixed.

-A grandmother’s hope and desire for a better future for her grandson, who is going blind after witnessing the murder of his father.

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We have treasured the beautiful sunshine, reflecting off the sparkling ocean. We have felt its power and heat.

-A drought has affected the island. The country did not receive the usual amount of rainfall during the typically wet months of May and June. Several of the country’s large reservoirs low, and the government is enforcing water restrictions.

-Hospitals are suffering from water shortages. In Kingston a few weeks ago, medical staff walked off the job as they reported being forced to work with little or no water.

-The Jamaica Agricultural Society reports 16000 farmers are affected by the drought, ruining crops and wiping out earnings of farming families.

-With the difficulty of high temperatures and windy conditions, the island has endured dozens of bush fires for the past few weeks. On our daily commute, we witness bush fires and fire fighters at work along the road. The air quality continues to decline due to dust, smoke, and pollution, bringing more children suffering from asthma to see us in the clinic and A&E.

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Even so, we are amazed by the beautiful landscape of Jamaica.

-The beauty of the deep ocean overwhelms and awakens my heart.

-The tropical fruits and vegetables from the land are so tasty—sugar cane, coconuts, ginger, mango, papaya, and the ackee fruit to name a few. The ackee fruit is the national fruit of Jamaica, which we’ve enjoyed in the national Jamaican dish of ackee and saltfish. Don’t worry; we’ve avoided eating unripe portions of the fruit and getting “Jamaican vomiting sickness” (profound hypoglycemia and intractable vomiting caused from the toxin hypoglycin A, which irreversibly binds coenzyme A, carnitine, and carnitine acyltransferases I and II, for those of you who are curious).

-We don’t say lush very often, but we’ve used it a lot here. The views take our breath away. Amidst hardship, we behold the extravagant beauty of the land and in its people. As our driver queried us on Monday, how can we deny the work and love of the Creator?

We give thanks for the opportunity to share in the culture and beauty of Jamaica and its children, women, and men. We are grateful to those here who have shared pieces of their lives with us—pieces of hope, strength, and creativity. We appreciate the warm welcome and hospitality of the Couples Resort and its staff, the kindness and help of the doctors particularly at Port Maria Hospital, and the smiles and hugs of our young patients.

Thank you for reading and sharing in this experience with us.

1 Comment
  • Diane Pollard |

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, vision, challenges and success as you volunteer! Thank you for all you do!

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