1/12/2014

I want to start this post on a personal note. I can’t thank everyone that was a part of this trip enough. From my bosses Scott Ochander and Dan Chudzynski back in North Manchester having the vision and belief in me to send me here, to everyone that I got to know during my two weeks in Jamaica. The team welcomed me in from day one, and although they were strangers when I arrived at Maranatha, they were definitely my friends when they headed on to Port Antonio for the final week of their trip. I feel incredibly blessed that this crazy dream I had of being a photographer has brought me to such incredible places and in front of such incredible people. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

For their last morning in Kingston, we headed out after breakfast to catch a couple sights that we hadn’t had the opportunity to see during the busy week including the Jamaica National Heroes Park, Sabina Park (cricket stadium) and Independence Park, the national soccer stadium. After that it was a quick bite to eat, packing and a bus trip to Port Antonio.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who was following along at home. It’s been an incredible couple weeks.

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1/11/2014

Sorry I’m a bit late posting this one, things got pretty busy in the final hours of my trip!

 

Today we visited the University of West Indies track and field training grounds where Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake (as well as other from the Jamaican Track and Field team train), and the students had the opportunity to talk with Yohan Blake and take pictures and sign autographs. After lunch, the students visited the Bob Marley Museum which is located at his home. In the evening, we attended a theater production at the local theater house.

 

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1/10/2014

In the afternoon we toured the campus of the University of West Indies, which is the premier university of Jamaica. Afterwards, we traveled back into August Town and spent time at Judgment Yard, which is home to Jamaican reggae sensation Sizzla’s recording facilities and extended family compound. Afterwards, we played an additional game against the August Town Under-20 team, and capped off the evening by a return trip to Judgment Yard where Sizzla invited us to have dinner with him.

 

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1/10/2014

This morning the students traveled back to the August Town Primary School to spend more time with the students there, as well as tour the facilities. During our time here, we had the opportunity to observe several classes in session as well and spend time playing with the kids. We were all extremely impressed at the level of commitment demonstrated by the teachers, and that commitment shines through in their high level of academic success.

 

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1/8/2014

Today we started out by visiting the National Gallery of Jamaica (not pictured, as they did not permit photographs) and many of the students found an appreciation for the works on exhibit. From there we visited a large crafts market where many students picked up items for loved ones back home. Our last stop of the day was Lime Cay, a small island off the coast of Kingston Harbor. After a 15 minute boat ride, the students had a chance to explore the island and take in the beautiful views of Jamaica.

 

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1/9/2014

Today the students met with Susan Goffe, who plays a major role at Jamaicans for Justice, a human rights advocacy group. Susan told the students numerous personal stories of individual human rights violations, as well as Jamaicans for Justice’s advocacy for policy changes that effect everyone’s human rights. At the end of the presentation, Susan was presented with a check on behalf of the Manchester University Men’s Soccer team to help with their ongoing work.

In the afternoon we headed up into the Blue Mountains to visit the Old Tavern Coffee Estate coffee farm, where David Twyman, a local coffee grower, gave a tour detailing how coffee is farmed by hand.

 

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1/7/2014

In the evening, the team played a friendly game against the August Town Under-17 team, which is a part of the August Town Sports and Community Development Foundation. The soccer program was one of the first elements of this organization, and the participants were required to perform community service and meet certain educational goals in order to participate.

 

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Kenneth Wilson, President of the August Town Sports and Community Development Foundation, took the group on a walk through the the five neighborhoods that make up the August Town community. August Town is a community on the northern edge of Kingston close to the University of West Indies that has been challenged by many issues that Horace Levy and Kenneth Wilson and the August Town Sports and Community Development Foundation have worked to improve including high unemployment, inadequate educational resources, and gun violence. After lunch the students made a short visit to the August Town Primary school and spent time interacting with the school children.

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1/7/2014

For the morning class, the students had the opportunity to listen to Horace Levy, retired professor at the University of West Indies speak about the dynamics contributing to cultural violence in Jamaica. Overall it was an inspiring and eye-opening lecture for the students showing how one person’s actions can make a substantial difference in the lives of others.

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1/6/2014

This morning was our last time waking up at the Maranatha School for the Deaf for this trip, and it was definitely hard leaving our incredible hosts of the past week, Verica, Precious and Maurine. During our 2 1/2 hour bus drive we passed through the Manchester Parish on our way to Kingston. After settling to our rooms, Dr. Brad Yoder led a class talking about the impact of racism in the United States and Jamaica, as well as Abraham Maslo’s hierarchy of needs as a way of understanding why, we as humans, behave as we do. Once we finished dinner, Kenneth Wilson, President of the August Town Sports and Community Development Foundation, introduced us to the community that we will be walking through tomorrow and Friday.

 

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