Wah gwaan (What’s up)!! From Jamaica

Students in Jamaicaby Mary Grace Stolz

Staff Writer

Sewanee students [over Christmas break] traveled to Kingston, Jamaica to do outreach work in a small town called Trench Town, which was where Bob Marley was born and raised. Over the years Kingston has experienced a lot of violence from gang and drug related wars. Because of that, many areas have been subjected to disaster and devastation. The goal for this trip, according to Sasha Green (C’17) was “to [go to this heritage site] and do as much as we could to refurbish and restore the buildings to their former glory and create an even richer tourism destination. We realize that there is beauty in the Jamaican culture and history and if we can be a part of bringing in more people to realize that and learn about it, ultimately we will be doing good for the Trench Town community by bringing money in.” To help Trench Town, the students put new windows around the whole place, built tables and chairs for a cafe, built a display case, and made several mosaics for the yard.

Amidst the service work, the students enjoyed forming relationships with the Jamaicans themselves and learning about their culture. Students witnessed the locals use scrap metal from the trash to make art out of aluminum, or make beautiful bags, belts and hats from anything they could get their hands on. This trip wasn’t only about the students impacting Jamaicans’ lives, it was also about Jamaicans making a difference in the student’s lives and that it exactly what happened. The amount of pleasure and satisfaction that filled these Jamaicans despite their hard life was astounding and that really hit home with the students. Sasha Green (C’17) recounts how the trip made her realize to never take life for granted and just be happy with what you have.

Other students who went on the trip learned a lot as well, such as Jewlz Davis (C’16), who learned to just simply “be” wherever you go. “When doing outreach you give a piece of yourself to the place where you go and you allow that place to give you a piece of itself as well.”