December signing off

Well, today was my last day of what has been a memorable experience volunteering in Jamaica. I spent the morning in Port Maria seeing children for various urgent care issues. At the end of my brief time here, I’m a little more comfortable with the Patois (although I had to break down and call in a nurse to interpret for me today). I know to ask the nurse for the “docket” not the “chart”. I also know to take a minute, as I’m looking into a child’s mouth, to lecture every parent about brushing or wiping down teeth before bed and limiting box juices (I’ve seen so many rotten primary teeth, it makes me sad).

On that note, I’ve been so impressed at the high prevalence of breastfeeding here. Nearly every mother of a newborn child breastfeeds, popping the breast out so comfortably, it makes me blush in my Western prudishness. But I’m so proud of them. True, a large part of it is due to necessity and limited economic resources to purchase formula; but I commend them all the same.

Aside from clinic, I’ve enjoyed seeing parts of Jamaica that I had not seen before on my previous visits. For one, the drive to Port Antonio is nothing short of breathtaking. On the drive back the hotel on Friday, it had just finished raining as we were driving through the hills along the coast, and the sun shown brightly making every color so brilliant. Green-golden palm trees were glowing; the red flowers on the tops of trees glistened. The painter had come to accentuate the clouds in the sky with specials tones of blue and the Caribbean sea itself sent sapphire jewels crashing on the rocky shores. Have you ever been to someone’s amazing house and looked around you with awe and a little bit of envy? I glanced at my driver, wondering if he took all this beauty for granted as he traveled up and down the coast daily.

Enough waxing poetic, so in my first post, I had mentioned that I was not a frequenter of all-inclusive resorts but that I had come to understand and appreciate their appeal to so many people. A short while after I wrote that, one of my best friends asked me if I had “converted”. I told her that I’d have to see. So after my two weeks here at a beautiful resort in a beautiful country I have to qualify those earlier statements. I missed the spontaneity and adventure of my typical holiday. After a few days, I had to take a route taxi into town to soak up some local flavor. It was a great trip away and I got to stop by the grocery store to pick up some packets of the delicious corn meal porridge, laced with vanilla and nutmeg, that the resort has been serving up for breakfast. My 2 yr old son is going to love it.

OK… I’m signing off. I hope to do this again someday. I certainly encourage people to take ISSA up for the adventure! It’s a win-win.

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