by Talpha Everette
While in the States, I received numerous calls, texts and pictures requesting my presence back in Jamaica, so cutting my 3 week vacation in the states short, I boarded my plane and headed back. Staring at the clouds, I wondered would my upcoming experience be the same, better or worse. Upon arrival, I realized it would be better. I was greated with hugs and smiles all around and a big “welcome home!” from someone that I didn’t even know. That’s when I realized, Jamaica is really my second home.
In Jamaica, there is a country wide sense of community, no one is a stranger. The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” applies strongly here. I observe how the taxi drivers take extra care of children being dropped off from school or how they will go out of their way to make sure a young woman gets home safely. There has been many times where I was ill prepared for the weather, and a stranger would take notice and literally give me the shirt off their back or the shoes off their feet. Yes, Jamaica is home.
I’ve received so much joy through helping others by working at the homeless shelter. Being a “senior volunteer,” I was able to use my past experience to improve the shelter’s current state. So far, we’ve revamped the local craft market to a more appealing look for tourists, we’ve sold more items in the resort gift shop in the past week then in the past 4 months, we’ve started a women’s group, formed activity days, and created a sense of community! We are currently working with Food For The Poor to provide meals to the homeless street people and even those who do not need shelter. It’s heart warming to observe the reaction they give when they receive a healthy meal from people who care.
It is at this moment that I realize, I’m happy to work.