Project Updates

Dear Friends,

Just in case anyone was wondering, I am alive and well and working hard. I
know that I haven’t written in a long time and that I need to. It is the
same old “busy” excuse, and I know, that is a very bad excuse for not
writing friends. I hope you will forgive me. Below are some of the
projects I have been working on.

A reading club for all ages and reading levels for people from Old Harbour
Bay. This is very needed because illiteracy is very high where I live and
(I believe) the source of many epidemic societal problems such as
unemployment, lack of a skilled populous, self-reliance and independance,
self-confidence and self-esteem, etc, etc.

Sanitation work with Ministry of Health (this is work that I should have
been doing all along, but alas, only just started recently. This is a
result of making more of an effort to communicate and share my time more
equitably with both offices (SDC and MOH) (Social Development Commission).

Major Project with the Old Harbour Bay Fishing Beach and key
stakeholders–as is the beach is in a deplorable condition and needs
attention, but the people that seem to rule the beach–fish vendors and
market sellers–refuse to be controlled, or so the belief is.

Last Friday, I helped a friend put on a “Treat” for the children which means
that we fed them and had icecream and other fun things. A Christmas Treat
is a favorite tradition. So the organizer, my friend, wanted to treat all
of the children of OHB. For five basic schools (ages 3 – 5/6) and one
primary school (grades 1 – 6), the number of children is about 1,000. The
number that actually came was much less, but still there were “nuff
children” there. I ended up leaving early for several reasons. Music had
arrived for one, which meant huge tall speakers that boomed throughout the
school grounds and I wasn’t interested in staying any longer.

the day was a very rainy day. After reaching home, I decided to put on
clothes that I didn’t mind getting wet and went to clean up the litter from
the community center. I actually got almost all of the trash from the area
where I was working, so that felt great.

So that was Friday. Saturday and Sunday, I hung out near my house and read
Sentinels and the March Journal and cleaned my room (which needed it).

Tomorrow, Monday, May 24th, I may be tempted to feel pulled in several
different directions. Labour Day is a very big working holiday here in
Jamaica, where every different organization has a project that they are
working on and want volunteers for.

The Labour Day project for the Youth Leaders is to hang out with the girls
there and help them plant all sorts of fruit trees and vegetables and other

My most immediate community, Blackwood Gardens, the larger Old Harbour Bay
community, and the Kiwanis club will be continuing the cleaning up of the
community center and planting trees and flowers. I specifically wanted to
clean up the plastic litter from the place because I knew that I was and am
in the minority of people that feel that burning trash is bad. Since I
really didn’t want to see all that plastic in the air, I took it upon myself
to have a nice time cleaning it up and putting it (via several trips) into
the metal rubbish/trash drum.

The next day, Tuesday, May 25, is a meeting planned for the fishing beach
project, the first one with me in the picture. It has been said that
fifteen times a year, people come with projects to fix up the fishing beach,
so a lot of people are pessimistic about any results. of course, this train
of thought doesn’t make my job any easier, but it is clearly an opportunity
for prayer!

In the meantime before Tuesday’s meeting, I need to gather some statistics
about the beach and schedule a meeting for Thursday, May 27 for the Reading

On top of all this (really lovely work), I spent some time with my Jamaican
brother (Queon) Thursday and Friday and he is asking me if I can help him
study for two exams coming up. Here in Jamaica, the exams to get out of
high school are called CXCs. I think as many as fifteen are offered, but
any student can take as many or as little as they want. Having passed
particular CXC tests is required for any school or job that a student might
want to get into, and likewise, not having CXCs makes a person very hard to
hire. Anyway, my younger brother here in Jamaica is working on preparing
for two of his CXCs for next week (Tuesday and Wednesday). While visiting
the house, he and I worked together exploring the meaning of words like
responsibility, moral, and amoral, integrity, virtuous, etc. I certainly
enjoyed being his tutor for a while and he seemed to not mind and even
appreciate my lectures. We had a good and fruitful time, and of course I
want to go back and work with him some more.

Well, as they say here in jamaica, it is “minutes to” three, and I need to
sign off and get to bed.

Take care and be blessed,

ps. Thursday, May 20, a local youth club hosted a spelling bee competition,
and I was there for 12 solid hours. I acted as an observer for the first
half (10-4) and the chief judge for the second half (4-9:20). For the first
ten of eleven total hours of spelling, the winner only had answered one
question wrong. 28 contestants started out, and even at 4 pm, only one
person had been eliminated. (Granted, we hadn’t moved from the beginning
round of words, and being so late decided to do so at that point, but still,
the spellers showed a lot of courage throughout the day.) Anyway, it was a
lot of fun and I think that even just judging the event has had a good
‘rub-off effect’ on my vocabulary. šŸ™‚

alright, take care until next time!

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