Hi Everyone! Thanks again for reading our reflections and stories from Jamaica. It was such a great week to spend serving the Lord. We would now like to give you an opportunity to serve with us. Our house church is getting involved with a ministry called Blessings in a Backpack and we need your help!
Blessings in a Backpack is a 501 C (3) non-profit organization (all donations tax deductible) that is currently feeding nearly 62,000 children in 437 schools in 42 U.S. states and three countries – Canada, Columbia, and Haiti. They partner with America to ensure impoverished elementary school children are fed on the weekends throughout the school year.
You may ask….How does it work?….How can I help?
After funds raised…
- Blessings provides backpacks (free of charge)
- Blessings sends grocery Gift Card weekly
- Program coordinator buys food from grocer
- Our volunteers pack backpacks (typically on Wednesday/Thursday)
- Teachers hand out backpacks to children on Fridays
- Children eat the food over the weekend
- Children return the empty backpacks on Monday
What does it cost?
- $80/school year for one child
- Minimum 50 children per school (minimum $4,000 per school year)
- We have a 3 year commitment to the school
- How is that possible??
- Blessings in a Backpack has created various menus of non-perishable food items that will feed a child over the weekend for $2.10 per week.
- 100% of your donation goes to feed the children.
What’s in the Backpacks?
- Non-perishable, easy to prepare, kid friendly food
- Three of the four essential food groups
- Including (but not limited to) granola bars, raisins, apple sauce, crackers, mac/cheese, soups, etc.
Who are we Helping?
- Xenia Summit Academy Middle school
- 135 children eligible to receive backpack (must be on free/reduced lunch program)
What’s the Impact?
- Better test scores
- Improved reading skills
- Positive behavior
- Improved health
- Increased attendance
How can I help?
- Support a child
- Spread the word
- Help fundraise
We have about 25 students supported at this point and support for 50 students to start the ministry for next school year. Our goal is to support all 135 students in need with backpacks
Please join us to help support a child,..any donation amount is one step closer! Also please pray for this ministry, and spread the word.
If you are able to help sponsor a child so we can get this program started in Xenia, please go to https://getinvolved.blessingsinabackpack.org/new-donation-page and specify “Summit Academy – Xenia” in the comments box.
And PLEASE share this post on your facebook wall, tweet it, email it to your mom, and print it out and share it with your neighbor. Together we can make a difference!
Thanks for serving with us!
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40
Hey everyone…here is the last reflection from our team. This time here is Caitlin!
From Caitlin…”Jamaica Medical Mission International was my first experience on a medical mission trip. I have to say that it was an extremely positive experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to go. I was excited when I learned about the opportunity back at the beginning of this residency since my previous medical mission trip I was supposed to attend was canceled, so this trip was a blessing to be incorporated into my residency. I was not quite sure what to expect going into the trip and leading up to departure things were getting very busy with residency and it was hard to step away from the hustle and bustle of life and work, however I am glad that I did.
The biggest observation that I have from the week was the Jamaican culture and way of life, and how peaceful and blessed they feel. It is amazing to me that these people live with the limited resources they have and still feel genuinely happy and blessed. Many of the places we visited the living conditions were not as poor as I was expecting, which was a pleasant surprise. Working with the people brought me joy and reminded me how truly wrapped up in business and minute details I get living in the culture of America. It is so wonderful that these people trust and love God whole heartedly, and I am finding myself reminded of how little I trust God in comparison. I am always worrying about how things will turn out and I spend much of my time and energy trying to figure out my life on my own rather than trusting my life with God, and this is a simple thing we are taught very young as Christians yet it remains one of the hardest things to do.
God has definitely been working in my heart through this trip and I am reminded to step away from the need for control of my own future and to learn to trust in God because he has a plan for me and he has never failed me yet. I am reminded how powerful prayer as I watch and participate in large group prayers. It is a nice reminder that God hears his people. The thing I need to change most in my life is to remember that there is joy in this life, that I need to live my life for God and not live my life worrying about my future, and that I can so many things through so many different people.
I felt truly blessed to work with the people that I did this week. It was encouraging to see that there are health care professionals who are passionate for God. So often it seems as though general health care professionals are removed from God. Working with these people, I was encouraged that there are still health care professionals that desire to share the Lord with the people they touch. Although they were able to do so much more freely on this mission trip, it was obvious that these people really are a light shining for their patients. Health care professionals can make such an impact in a person’s life because people trust their health to them, so it is so beneficial to be an example of God’s love and help provide spiritual healing as well as physical healing.
I find myself in the recent days of the trip thinking about the people of Jamaica and their way of life, and praying for them as well. It was nice to touch their lives in a small way, knowing that the medications we provided may not have had a huge impact on their overall health, but the compassion we brought and the education we provided could have made a big difference. I think the experience was more beneficial more me than for the people we traveled to help. My goal is to try to live more like that people of Jamaica, feeling truly blessed in everyday and in every situation. I want to focus on the joy in life and spreading that joy towards others. It is hard to fight the feeling of discouragement and worry in life and work, but it is encouraging to know that I have the Lord by my side to lean on to overcome these things.”
Amen! Thanks for reading our posts from Jamaica…look forward to sharing our summer travels with you in a few months….God Bless!
Hey everyone, Dustin here and I wanted to share a little bit about my experience in Jamaica as it was quite different from the medical and dental teams.
Last year towards the end of the trip, we talked about having a building project of some kind that I (and other non-medical people) could work on during the week. Turns out that Vinus (our project leader) wanted me to lead that team this year.
While I consider myself pretty handy, I felt that it would be quite difficult for me to lead a team on a project in a foreign country, especially since I would have to find a way to get all the tools there from the United States and I knew there wouldn’t be a Lowe’s right around the corner to pick up the supplies that I forgot about.
We decided before we left for Jamaica that we would bring some small tools and do whatever misc tasks we could find around the camp.
The maintenance team was composed of three people; myself, Matt who is a website developer from San Diego and Randy from Texas. The first two days we split up and we helped the teams set up the tents for the clinics as well as moved furniture around the clinics so the doctors could work efficiently. There wasn’t much for us to do, so we just helped where we could. I also was named as the unofficial photographer, so I spent my idle time taking pictures of people serving the Jamaicans.
I was the only brave soul who volunteered to drive during the trip and I drove all around the country. I got very good at dodging potholes and navigating around St. Elizabeth. It was a little bit of a challenge remembering how to drive on the left side of the road, but it came back to me quickly.
My main task each day was to go and get hot lunches for the medical teams. This normally consisted of Jamaican Patties, which are essentially deep fried hot pockets. To get these juicy patties, I would have to drive into Santa Cruz (usually 45 minutes from the clinics), pick them up and scamper back to the medical teams. I would normally drop the food off at the closest location, stay for a few minutes and head to the other clinic site so our medical teams could enjoy a warm(ish) lunch.
After the lunch run was over, the maintenance team and I would head back to Ocean View Bible Camp. If it was convenient, we would try to stop at the dental clinics on the way home to see them in action and take a few pictures.
On Tuesday evening, we heard of this great opportunity to help out one of the local Jamaicans. Marteeka is a single mom that lives right down the street from the camp and she was starting her own little general store. The problem was that no one knew she had this shop.
Our Mission: Build a sign to showcase her store.
Using recycled pieces of wood and paint that we found, we were able to construct a sign for her.
The only thing we had to buy was a bag of cement to secure the sign posts in the ground.
We spent the mornings on Thursday and Friday building and painting the sign.
We were successfully able to put the sign in the ground on Friday, right before the rain came. Luckily we had used the correct paint as the letters on the sign didn’t run after painted with rain.
My other responsibility was to help Dr. Willett (one of the dentists) make popcorn for everyone. Dinner was usually on the small side, so we would make popcorn in the evenings for everyone to enjoy.
This year the trip was much different than last year, but I’m so thankful that I went. I had the opportunity to serve the team by bringing them food / running errands and I got to experience the joy that the Jamaicans have for life and the blessings they have. I can’t think of a better way to spend a week to help me focus on the most important thing in our lives, our relationship with Jesus.
Meet Emily…..She is one of the pharmacy residents I have had the pleasure to work with this year! All three of the residents that do their Ambulatory Care Rotation with me were able to come this year, which was a huge blessing!
Here is some of Emily’s reflection from the week…
“Although I did my best to prepare for the mission trip before we left, I do not believe any amount of time could have fully prepared me for the experience. I knew the Jamaicans would be less fortunate than I, with fewer luxuries and amenities, but what I could not have prepared for was the attitude and outlook of most of the Jamaican people. Some live without electricity and running water, but when approached, they speak of how blessed they are to be living and breathing for another day. Each clinic was organized a little differently from the last, but all of them were filled with grateful Jamaicans who were happy to have the opportunity to see a doctor.
When I feel a little ill, I make a quick phone call to my physician, make an appointment, and move on with my routine. These patients often do not have the opportunity to see a physician due to the remote area and dangerous roads. As the patients sang together to start the beginning of the clinic day, raising their hands in praise to the Lord, I felt myself holding back tears as I realized how completely unthankful I am for all that I have. I find myself complaining about the smallest of problems, even when the Lord has blessed me with so much. I will never forget the positive attitude of each and every one of the patients I served.
My walk with the Lord was strengthened greatly during my week in St. Elizabeth. When confronted with a problem in life, I often call my fiancée or my mother to discuss my problems and ask for advice, as opposed to taking my problem or concern to the Lord in prayer. Because I was without cell phone service for an entire seven days, I had a lot of time to spend in prayer and reflection. On the first night, I felt very overwhelmed by the experience, feeling that there were too many patients and not enough time to make a real difference. I did not know if I could ever make a real difference, as I’m only one person. My heart broke for all of the Jamaicans we saw that day, so many without regular healthcare.
Although I spent time counseling patients, I had very little time to just sit and talk to them and show them that I care. I also did not have the opportunity to pray with any of my patients. I felt discouraged and helpless. On the first evening, I migrated to the upper porch with my Bible and my journal, where I prayed for a long time and asked God to help me through the week and watch over the many patients we had seen that day. I knew I couldn’t do it alone, and I’ll likely never see the patients I talked to again. As I read my Bible following prayer, I felt myself being drawn to the Psalms, where the Lord gave me a set of verses I’ll cherish for the rest of my life:
“The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.” –Psalm 34:17-20
After reading these verses, I felt a wonderful peace pass over me, and I was reminded the Lord would never leave me nor forsake me. My faith grew daily, and I felt myself singing hymns on the bus to myself, renewed in knowing the Lord was with me always.
I had the opportunity as well to work with many wonderful people and make new friends. An unfortunate part of my personality involves an excessive amount of worry and stress, oftentimes over things that have not happened. It was a great blessing to me to work with others who feel less stress over the little things, mostly because they have given their problems over to the Lord. Knowing that He is in charge of all things brings me a great comfort. I will forever be thankful for those who demonstrated a great unwavering faith in the Lord.
Before my trip, I felt I had a great faith, and I still feel that I do. However, I have much room to grow, and this mission trip was the beginning of a great period of growth for me. I hope to continue to grow in my faith, especially in learning to give things up to God.”
Every day that I live, I am blessed.
When I wake up in the morning
Till I lay my head to rest,
I am blessed. I am blessed.
When I wake up in the morning
Till I lay my head to rest,
I am blessed. I am blessed…
We had two medical teams, two dentals teams, and a maintenance team that set out each day (Mon-Fri) on our trip. Dustin was in charge of the maintenance team…I’ll let him write a post about his adventures which included driving! (This time no flat tires!)
Sarah and I were on Medical Team A, throughout the week we went to Port Sea, Aberdeen, New Market, Lacovia, and Ginger Hill. Ginger Hill is always an experience, it is located up in the mountains and most of the people there seldom go into town (Black River) which is only about a 15-20 min journey by car. Each clinic was unique but all of the people had such a passion for life and a attitude of thankfulness.
Before each clinic, the patients would sing a song or two to start the day. One of the songs I love to hear them sing is their national anthem. I also love when they sing their hymn that goes like this. “We are together again just praising the Lord, We are together again in one accord, Something good is going to happen, Something good is in store, We are together again just praising the Lord.” As their beautiful voices lift that tune up to the Lord, I can only imagine what it will be like when we are together in the presence of the Lord singing his praises in Heaven.
Here is a link to the folks @ Port Sea singing the Jamaican National Anthem!
Each day the patients were registered, saw the nurses/nursing students in triage, saw the physicians, then as we filled their prescriptions they went to integrated health. Integrated health is an awesome part of Medical Ministry International’s model that seeks to provide quality health education while sharing the gospel. To me this is the most important part, we can give them medicine for a short time, but the gospel is obviously going to change their life forever and even the health education piece will have a greater impact than a few months of medication.
Our pharmacy team spent a lot of time focusing on diabetes education as we counseled those patients on their medications too. If you know me, you probably know that I have a passion for Jesus and a passion for healthy living & food! It’s so fun to be able to share that with the Jamaican people too. Betty one of the MMI staff has many stories of patients coming back to say they changed their diet and are doing better the next year!
Each day in the evening we would return to camp for dinner, then we would have share time to find out about the other team’s day, pray, and prepare our hearts for the following day. Dr. Willett, a dentist who has been coming for many years, brings popcorn and M&M’s which most of the team enjoys. I think he is just trying to stay in business! We played cards in the evening and enjoyed time in fellowship if time allowed. A few days we did not get back to camp until late so we went to bed early.
Each day Jay, my pharmacist partner in crime, would share the the theme for the day. Here are the themes of each day! Thanks to Jay for your encouragement and jokes that kept us smiling!
Day 1: Get er Done!
Day 2: You are no longer new!
Day 3: It’s not about me!
Day 4: With a hot shower, and God I can do more!
Day 5: Ask yourself what makes you come alive or I went to Ginger Hill and I’m still alive! (If you are afraid of heights..I do not recommend keeping your eyes open on the way to Ginger Hill on the bus!)
Day 6: With God’s help what thing can I fix?
Jay encouraged us to reflect on the week, and to see if there was something God was calling us to do based on our experience here in Jamaica, with MMI, or beyond. All in all we had a great time of service in St. Elizabeth. It was amazing for me to see over the last 3 years, the Jamaican health care system in this rural area has improved, as many of the clinics now had access to a doctor and medications once per week. Health Education and Dental Care are still a great need.
Praying for God to continue his work in this country that is so often, “religious” but often just like us, misses the message of Grace. There will be a few more blog posts on Jamaica to come, Dustin will share his experience, and some of my students wrote reflection papers that they are willing to share with you as well.
Blessed be His name!
Hello Family & Friends…we just wanted to share a few posts with you from our recent medical mission trip to Jamaica. Here is part 1! Thanks for all of your prayers and support while we were gone.
We arrived on Friday afternoon around 3pm to Montego Bay. No flight issues, praise the Lord! It took a little less than 2 hours to clear customs with the medications, we had just a small issue with them taking 2 bottles of medication that apparently weren’t approved.
We got to El Greco, the hotel in Montego Bay where we are staying one night, and got settled and then headed out to find dinner. We had a minor incident of a key breaking off in our lock that had to be fixed before dinner, but other than that we were smooth sailing! I won’t mention which student broke the key.
We had dinner at The Pelican in Montego Bay, most of the team had Jerk Chicken with Rice and “Peas”…Peas in Jamaica are really beans. A few others had fish or curry veggies. The bill for the CU team was 11,000 Jam dollars, which is funny to see on a receipt! But don’t worry that’s around 130 USD, so it was a pretty good deal for all of us!
We enjoyed dinner and got to know some of the other team members better. We then headed back to the hotel and most went to sleep quickly since we had gotten up so early!
On Saturday about half of us got up early for breakfast in order to get some beach time,it was raining on and off but we got some beach time despite the clouds.
We packed up at 11am and left for the Parish of St. Elizabeth. It was about a 3 hour drive. We stopped for lunch at Treasure Beach home of Jack Sprat restaurant.
We all had Jerk Sausage Pizza and enjoyed the sunshine & water on the drier side of the island for a few hours…then it was time to get to the camp!
We settled into the camp Saturday evening and had chicken soup for dinner. The students enjoyed getting to enjoy a bit of Jamaican Sunshine before getting to work. We enjoyed some time of fellowship Saturday evening before getting more much needed rest!
Sunday = Church + Team Meetings + Med Packing! We had a wonderful church service held here at the camp in the chapel.
Just before lunch we took the team down the road to check out of the great view at the Oceanview Hotel.
Then we enjoyed a WONDERFUL Jamaican lunch of Jerk Chicken (of course!). After lunch we got to work. We unpacked all the meds I purchased from Jamaica and the ones we brought with us, out of our whole order, only the metformin was missing…too bad it’s one of the one’s we need the most! So thankful to have Jay with us again this year, he is a pharmacist from Missouri that keeps me laughing and knows how to get the job done! He was here on the first trip Sarah and I made to Jamaica too. He helped organize the med packing process along with our pharmacy students and residents, while I met with the other team leaders.
The process was also expedited because I made labels and one of the ladies from the dental team printed them all off for us in advance! We were so close to being finshed when dinner came around, just not quite. We finished med packing after dinner and spent time in prayer for the week with our team. We also lifted up those at home we knew had great needs as well.
Part 2…the real work began on Monday with our first day of clinics…Stay tuned!
In St. Croix our ship docked in Frederiksted, a small town about a 30 minute drive from the capital. We had heard the capital area can be a bit sketchy, so we weren’t sure what to expect and it turned out this side of the island was breathtaking!
We actually were able to walk about a mile (mostly on the shore) to a beach known as Duesche beach. We had originally planned to go to Sandy Point but the facilities there were closed for renovations. At this beach we got great pictures of our boat docked and the water here was crystal clear!
We camped in front of a small hotel called “Cottages by the Sea.” There was a large black dog (black lab?) hanging out and a friendly lady at the hotel was trying to find it’s owner. She gave it water and so then it hung around, but nobody knew whose it was. The dog didn’t bother us much until Melissa & Matt were swimming in the ocean, I heard Melissa scream OH NO…we look up to find the dog peeing on Melissa’s beach bag! So gross! The lady at the hotel felt so bad, and showed Melissa a sink she could wash it off. At least now we can laugh about it.
We swam & hung out on the beach for about 3 hours.
Here is a picture of me floating in the beautiful greenish blue water.
And Matt was our expert snorkeler, here is one of the pictures he took with our camera which is water proof!
Matt and Dustin snuck in another opportunity to practice their juggling with the oranges that were smuggled out of the cafe. Here they are on the beach “passing” between each other. Take note that every other orange that hits their right hand gets passed to the other juggler.
We headed back to the ship around 1 pm to catch a late lunch. It was a hot walk back so we actually were hungry for the first time in days, ha! We had to take a break from the sun after lunch, this is probably the first beach vacation ever Dustin & I successfully made it home without sunburn! Matt however was not so lucky.
On a cruise you have to set your bags out the night before so we headed back to pack up and figure out what we needed to keep with us for the morning. Then I hit the gym and Dustin hit the basketball court before dinner. He and Matt won another gold medal, but since we already had won a medal in basketball, they got luggage tags instead.
We had debated on this cruise trying one of the speciality restaurants because the reviews were so great, but our servers in the main dining room were so much fun, we decided to save our money and stick with them! Tonight Dustin had a lamb shank and I had roasted turkey with a side of cauliflower mash! (my new fav!) It was all wonderful as always, here is our picture with our waiters Sergio & Standley.
After dinner we played a trivia game to guess song titles of singles that hit 1 million. We lost this time, I was no help to this effort, Dustin did contribute the song title “Baker Street.” The only reason he knows it is because it’s Dave Ramsey’s podcast intro music, ha! It got us a point!
After losing at trivia we headed back to our rooms to set out our bags & then played a round of Wizard before Karaoke night. My mom would be proud I sang “Wrong Side of Memphis” by Trisha Yearwood, the crowd wasn’t much into country though. Melissa and I did “Ain’t No Mountain High” together which was fun, we sounded pretty good on the chorus in harmony! Melissa rocked out “You drive me Crazy” by Brittany Spears and Matt also was a hit, he did about 3 songs all of which were great. My take away from this is I need to learn some pop culture songs, I listen to way too much K-love!
Karaoke night finished off the cruise…next stop San Juan..then Philly…then Ohio! Saturday we’ll drive home, then Sunday I hit the road again, this time for work. I’m headed to Vegas for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Meeting. It will be a quick turn around, but it’s a great meeting for networking & I’m speaking this year too.
Thanks for joining us on our travels…Can’t believe it’s December (mainly because it’s been 80 degrees for us this week!) but time flies so fast!
We don’t have another personal trip planned yet…not sure if we’ll take a trip next summer or not, Dustin wants to put a deck on our house, so we’ll see if we can maybe do a small trip! If you have suggestions, feel free to let us know! We might consider a Northern CA/Oregon hiking trip! I have been to 48 states, only missing Oregon & Alaska!
We are headed to Jamaica again with Medical Ministry International in March. Stay turned for a few posts on Jamaica in a few months! We are excited because Sarah is coming with us again as well as Ashley Hartzler and a crew of Cedarville students & physicians from my clinic. It will be a great time of serving.
Merry Christmas, may Christ be at the center of your holiday celebrations!
Today’s adventure started in St. Johns Antigua. We departed the boat at 8:45 for a 9am tour of the “Best of Antigua.”
The tour began with a drive through the capital city of St. John’s. A short drive through the countryside, brought us to the Blockhouse Ruins, which is an old fort / look out point.
Next was Shirley Heights another fort that looked over the English Harbour. The view was incredible from here.
Our final stop was Nelson’s Dockyard which was located in the English Harbour. Ships of the Royal Navy came here for refitting and repair as they battled with the French and Spanish for dominance in the Caribbean. All of the buildings in the area were built from bricks that were counter weights in the ships coming from England. It was incredible to see how well the buildings held up since they were built in the late 1700s.
After the three hour excursion, we got back on the ship and headed to the Windjammer cafe for lunch.
Once we were full (again!) we grabbed our beach gear and headed out to find a beach. We were able to find a taxi at a more affordable rate, only $3 per person, each way. We took a short cab ride with Derrick to Dickenson Bay. While we were driving, we mentioned how weird it was to listen to Christmas music while at the beach and Derrick popped in an Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas CD! Awesome!
Dickenson Bay was one of the more crowded beaches we were on, as it was near several hotels (including a Sandals resort), but the views were of course amazing. We found a spot in the shade and set up camp for a few hours.
While we were there, we had people asking if we wanted to rent jet skis, catermarans or kayaks, plus the newest attraction, the rocket man. This was a pack that riders would wear on their back and was powered by water, that could shoot the rider up to 35 feet in the air. The power comes from a jet ski like device that is attached to a hose and all of the water is pushed in a downward motion allowing the rider to “fly.” Here is a picture of someone flying.
Matt and Dustin talked to the owners and found out that the device costs $100,000 to purchase and it rents for $100 for 15 minutes or $150 for 25 minutes. Needless to say we did not participate but enjoyed watching from shore.
Derrick (our cab driver) came back a couple of hours later and took us back to the dock.
Next stop: wifi cafe.
We had been disconnected from the internet since Saturday when we left Puerto Rico and we were anxious to see what was going on in the world. It was good for us both to catch up on a few emails. We found a small little place where we purchased some drinks to pay for our “free” wifi. I got a Mango smoothie and Dustin got his favorite tropical drink, Ting. It’s a grapefruit soda that’s loaded with sugar, but it’s super tasty. His fav in Jamaica! I spend lots of time in Jamaica telling the patients not to drink it.
Matt and Melissa video Skyped home with his parents and their daughter Elliana while there. Technology is so amazing.
After getting back on the ship, we split up again with the boys heading to the volleyball / basketball court and we headed to the gym to burn a few calories. The boys played volleyball, seeking to bring home another gold medal. They ended up playing on different teams and Matt’s team won gold and Dustin’s team came in second. Medal count: Matt – 4 gold, Dustin – 2 gold, 1 silver.
Today’s dinner was formal, so we got dressed up and headed to dinner.
The theme of tonight was lobster / seafood. Matt and Dustin were super excited as they had been waiting all week for lobster night. They of course ordered the lobster / shrimp, as did Melissa and I had the beef short ribs.
Sergio (our waiter) brought Matt and Dustin another two servings each of lobster tails and shrimp without even them asking, talk about amazing service!
After dinner, Melissa and I headed to the theatre production and the boys played billiards. Melissa and I were definitely impressed with the talented singers and dancers. This show featured their orchestra too, which was awesome! When we met them later in the Muir’s room, they were juggling oranges. Ever since they went to the juggling session, they took every free opportunity to get some practice in.
Off to St. Croix tomorrow!
After staying out way too late last night, we decided we would meet at 9:30am to adventure out and see the sites in Guadeloupe.
Our game plan was to get off and find the most cost efficient transportation to a nearby beach. Matt and Dustin met a guy that we played volleyball with that is a local to Guadeloupe. He suggested that we check out Saint Anne beach. It was about a 30 minute ride to get there or there was another beach that was only 10 minutes.
We got off the ship and headed into the chaos of the locals. Side note, Guadeloupe uses the Euro and not American Dollars, this will come into play shortly in the story.
We tried talking with someone from the tourist information booth and while she was helpful in telling us where the beaches were, she couldn’t give us a price on how much they would cost to get to.
We began bargaining, and quickly realized that it could get pricey really quickly to take a cab. So our next thought was to take the bus, but for that, we would need Euros and our debit card that can do international withdrawals was in the room.
Dustin went back through security to get back on the boat to get the debit card and got rid of some US dollars, since they wouldn’t be needed.
Despite the emphasis on Euros, the cab drives gave us prices in USD. They originally wanted 15 USD per person to get to the beach. We got one person down to 10 USD per person to get to the beach but then he walked us over to another guy who said no that wasn’t enough, then we think the guy that took us over told the cab driver said in french take them for 10 USD and charge them 100 USD on the way back.
Then a friend from the boat told us about a time in Mexico where a cab driver charged him $4,000 USD to get back from the beach and pulled out a crow bar. He was able to contest it since he paid with a credit card and didn’t have to pay but still crazy! After hearing and still standing in the chaos of cab drivers we decided to just save our money and just enjoy the sunshine from the boat and headed poolside. Later Melissa & Matt’s stateroom attendant saw them and said don’t go out into this city either. Apparently there have been similar situations in the past.
My advice for anyone wanting to explore this island in the future would be to check out one of the excursions available through the cruise ship.
Before lunch, Matt played in the ping pong tournament (medal count Matt: 3 Gold).
Matt and Dustin smuggled oranges out of the cafe to practice juggling on their balcony. They spent an hour or so juggling and tried to teach me, I decided I needed to learn with something a bit lighter than oranges.
We swam for awhile and came back to catch up on our journal.
Melody then hit the gym and Dustin played volleyball. Matt and Dustin split up and his team ended up winning the gold (medal count: Matt 4 gold, Dustin 2 gold, 1 silver).
Then we got ready for dinner, it was surf and turf night! For starters the boys had crab cakes which were like crab meatballs. They had 2 rounds of these.
We all had the filet & shrimp. It was amazing! The boys opted for round 2 of the filet and shrimp as well and enjoyed the 2nd plate as much as the first!
After dinner we saw a comedian…wasn’t the funniest guy ever, but it was fun. Off to Antigua tomorrow ready to get off the boat!