I was accepted to volunteer in Jamaica with International Volunteer HQ (June 2022). The application process was very clear and all the guidance materials provided were really helpful and informative. I was really impressed with the level of support from both Merran and the local team in Jamaica.
As I reflect on an amazing two week experience in St Mary Parish, I’m not even sure where to begin. I had the opportunity to cherish some beautiful moments at breathtaking sceneries with the most incredible individuals and share some unforgettable memories.
I had the privilege of teaching the wonderful, lively and content children of Faith Builders. Not only did these children teach me so much in such a short time but, have inspired me to create changes in my own behaviors and view life from a different perspective. They have taught me the importance of appreciation for everything in life and to find happiness in the little things.
The teachers inspired a passion for learning in the children all the while not always having the ample resources or access to technology most other schools take for granted. A big thank you to all the staff members at Faith Builders ECC for involving me in the learning and cultural activities.
The teaching and school support experience truly was emotionally rewarding, it has been a humbling experience and certainly the right decision! Thank you Jamaica! One love!
I was able to decide on the tours and activities that were of interest to me when I arrived and met the other volunteers. Some of these tours and activities include Blue Hole, the Luminous Lagoon and Green Grotto Caves and Jamaican cooking classes. All these activities took place in the first week of the program and were organized well in advance with updates sent on the Jamaica volunteer group chat so that we were able to plan meet ups with the other volunteers after work.
I especially enjoyed immersing myself in the Jamaican culture by supporting the local community at the street markets, restaurants and providing resources for the children to use in the schools. For example, purchasing Jamaican attire from the local markets and including this into my daily attire and buying fresh fruits from the side roads to eat at lunchtime. Some of the resources that I took along on the trip were coloring materials, coloring books, stickers, sweets and other toys. The class were able to use these during coloring tasks and enjoy the sweets on their last day which was also, the key stage 3 class's graduation day onto Primary School.
I was part of the meal plan during the weekdays, for both weeks, which includes breakfast and dinner and this was more than enough for me. The cook catered for vegetarian and gluten-free meals. We were provided with hot, traditional meals along with refreshing juices at 5pm Monday to Friday. A few of the dishes included rice and beans, steamed vegetables, jerk chicken, and salad. The meal portions were perfect and simply delicious! I would definitely recommend signing up for the meal plan, you won't regret it!
The hosts were simply brilliant! They all encouraged responsible travel, ensured that we were well looked-after during our programs and that we were enjoying the volunteering experience as a whole. To our hosts, Jade and Chayna, thank you! 🖤