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.