Workcamp in Jamaica Reflection

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this is the reflection i did about my time in Jamaica. You probably won't understand a lot of things, since I wrote it for my youth group reflection book, but I hope it helps you to understand my trip a little better:)

Workcamp 2005 in Jamaica this year was a pleasure to go on, and a very rewarding experience.  The first few days were not exactly the best, but things got better as time went on.  It was filled with many unique opportunities that I will probably never get to experience ever again in my life.  I was able to go to schools and interact with the beautiful kids of Jamaica and teach them parables and songs, work on construction projects which would help other people, talk with kids in hospitals, play with kids in orphanages, and truly got closer to God than I’ve ever been.  I’ve never helped people in such a distinct way.  I felt so satisfied after going to devotions many times, because I felt like I had not only connected with the children, but also spread Jesus’ teaching.  I felt like I had, whether minute or enormous, made a difference in many of those kid’s lives while I was at the school.  Devotions were my favorite part of Workcamp.  Not only did I get to act and sing, which are my hobbies, but I also formed a strong connection with some of the children, on a spiritual and friendly level.  It made me so happy that I got to connect with kids that came from such a different background than I.  They are so different than I am, yet so the same.  When I saw the children playing, it reminded me so much of children in the United States.  They did the same sorts of things, and it was funny how they acted so much like we did when we were younger.  One of my fondest memories happens to be extremely simple.  We were in the bus, driving home from the orphanage, and there was this little girl standing in her driveway with her mom.  She looked to be around 4.  Immediately when she saw us, a HUGE grin came on her face, and she jumped up and down and waved.  That memory is so simple, yet it shows just how friendly the people of Jamaica are.  That moment alone made me so happy to be there, because I felt so welcome.  The children of Jamaica seemed to get less interested with us as the age became older.  The younger kids were great, and they were so friendly.  The older kids seemed more educated, and I think that they realized how spoiled us Americans really are, and also they probably knew more about our countries reputation.  It made me sad to know that these little friendly kids would grow up and be the older kids, the ones that were not so friendly.  One of the things that struck me the hardest, was the fact that us Americans have such higher living conditions than any of the people in Jamaica.  We were there for only a week, yet we still managed to complain about the food and feeling nasty.  Yet, the place that we stayed at was far nicer than many of the “houses” in Jamaica.  It made me kind of depressed to know that we were complaining about a temporary living condition, while many people live in far more inferior living conditions there, without complaining at all.  Americans are incredibly spoiled, and although I knew that before I went to Jamaica, I realized it even more when I was there.  It made me happy to see a country filled with people that did not rely on material possessions to make them happy.  They worked hard during the day, and when they did have free time, they would do something extremely simple, yet so pleasing.  Us Americans, we work during the day, and come home and turn on the television or computer, and that’s about it.  Jamaicans know how to be happy and content without material possessions, and I admired how simple yet magnificent their lives were.  I doubt that I’d ever be able to go back to Jamaica and stay at a resort.  Having lived in the incredibly poor interior of Jamaica, staying in a luxurious resort would not be my cup of tea.  If I were a native, I would get feel incredibly weird living such a meager life, and seeing all these tourists staying in 5-star resorts.   Workcamp was such a rewarding experience that I would never trade off for a family vacation to a resort.  I felt like I got to know mostly everyone who went on this journey with me, and I’m so glad I got to form so many friendships.  Not only did I make new friends that are part of the Youth Group, I also made new Jamaican friendships which I will always remember.  I learned so much while on workcamp, and became the closest to God I’ve ever been.  It was an experience of a lifetime, and I’m really glad I was able to enjoy it.

vances says:
Nice piece, and an important comment how interacting with our brothers and sisters develop friendships in spite of how different lifestyles, etc. are. I'm sure your work left a favorable impression of Americans upon several Jamaicans ---> THANK YOU!
Posted on: May 29, 2006
portia says:
Obviously not all Americans are spoiled. Especially people who travel, they get to see and learn about others, and be better people. Like I am sure you are.
Posted on: May 03, 2006
vinlhed says:
Keep up the good work Nick. Its good to know there are kids like you out there trying to make a difference.
Posted on: Apr 15, 2006
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photo by: Nick