Each year volunteer groups and individuals from around the world visit places that are underdeveloped and struggling with poverty and social issues. Many of these countries struggle with basic infrastructure that most people take for granted. the article below highlights the experiences of one volunteer who had the opportunity to travel and perform volunteer work in Jamaica....
I have had the opportunity to take part in two missions trips to Jamaica. While we were there we were able to help build and paint a school for elementary children, the best part was the kids curiosity in what we were doing. The kids would come up to us with their hands open wide wanting to be held.
We were also able to build a water storage unit for a family who lives out in the bush, the water storage container is a 10x15 ft. concrete box, that stores the rain water for the family to use. This family was made up of 12 people, a mom, dad and 10 children, the youngest being 8 months old. They live in a house that is the size of a large walk in closet. While we were building the water tank we saw that they were in need of a chicken coupe, so we built one and donated 30 chicks and three roosters so that they will have both eggs and chicken to eat and sell.
We spent a lot of time at a local orphanage where an American native housed, clothed, fed and watched over 20 orphans while hoping to find them a loving home. We spent three nights after a long day of work over at the orphanage playing with the children, we noticed that a lot of them did not really want to play they truly just wanted to be held and feel love. Being able to give them something that they do not get to feel very often was a true blessing and brought us to tears as we had to leave them.
Before leaving we were able to donate baby supplies, food, clothes, medical assistance, toys and a garden so that they can grow some of their food. One of the hardest places emotionally that we visited was the infirmary. This is where old men, women and the disabled go to die. These people do not get many visitors, not even from their family, the only community they ever feel is with each other.
The infirmary had a smell of death and urine, but in that moment we did not care and seemingly did not notice. We spread out and talked to as many people as we could. These men and women had some of the greatest stories, all of which were told through thick Jamaican accents. The men told stories about their youth, wars they fought in, colleges they attended, women they loved, and sports they played. The women told stories of their families, they told us about these absentee families with a smile on their face and a grace in their hearts. The men and the women had one thing that they told exactly the same way, the way they spoke of their faith in Christ.
They told us how blessed they are, they quoted scripture like a reverend standing in the middle of a crowded church. The faith that we witnessed in these destitute people with no material items to their name but faith that could not be shaken and amounted to all the wealth in the world, did just that to us, it shook us to our core! The spirit is alive in these people, they have so much to teach us as to what is truly important in this life. The trips to Jamaica were trips of a lifetime, the memories are unprecedented and the meaning and time can only be truly understood by those who were there.
If you are interested in volunteer work in Jamaica or any other destination around the world please be sure to check out our information section highlighting many of the great volunteer options that exists in various locations.
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