Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Brittany's final Jamaica reflection January 10, 2010

Now that I am back home, looking back on my trip to Jamaica, some images haunt me and others make me smile. This trip was the best of my life. It has truly humbled me and made me so grateful for all that I have and all of those who promote my success. It is so easy to travel to countries and never truly see them. You walk around in all the safe tourist areas and talk to natives who deal with foreigners frequently and totally miss what the country really has to offer. I feel we saw the real Jamaica, because we talked to the people, we went into the villages, we ate the food and we learned to value the things they value. We may have only been there one week, but it felt much longer. In each single day, I had more experiences than I have had in months. Getting to know the people was the best part of the trip for me. It hurt to learn that so many young children are malnourished and sick. It hurt to see fathers who could not provide for their families. Yet, listening to their stories and praying with them brought me peace. It is hard to explain but only one part of helping them was providing medications, while another was sharing burdens with them. Letting others know that they are in your prayers and that you care for their well being, I believe, made - and makes - a difference.

They seemed to be so thankful for our presence. At first I thought they might look at us as intruders but it was the complete opposite. Before really getting to know us they welcomed us into their homes. The children showed us their favorite toys. Some women offered to feed us; even giving us their last. They were overall a happy people, humble and loving. The environment was so positive it radiated from everyone and made me want to give more. For that reason it made it very hard to turn people away. There came a point when we had to close the doors to the clinic and turn many people away, sending them back to their homes without care. Some of them just wanted a check-up and others seriously needed our help. It was very difficult. The people were a bit angered and as we walked out of the building I couldn’t look any of them in the eyes. I understand that there is only so much we can do but I just wish that our giving had no limitations.

I have gained so much from this trip and I am sure all who went feel the same way. I wish everyone could go and see this side of a developing nation. I feel this has changed my life for the better, forever.

-- Brittany B.

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