Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jamaica Report From our Student Ambassador

Angelina, age 7, went to Jamaica with her mom, Global Explorers Kids Director Holly Hutto. Angelina served as our student ambassador while we worked on a collaborative project between the children of Chicago and the children of Treasure Beach, Jamaica. Below is her report of the trip:

My experience in Jamaica
Through the time I was in Jamaica and the camp I had the experience of learning how to get over the hotness, making new friends, being sort of an assistant teacher, and getting used to the salty water. By getting used to the feeling of being in a totally different place than my home, I finally realized, when I got back home, that I was more used to Jamaica now, than my home.

Things I did in Jamaica
Well, let’s see, in Jamaica I went snorkling a lot, had dinner outside on an outdoor table, ate WONDERFUL food such as fish, veggies, rice, chicken, cornmeal and coconut porridge, cooked plantains, ackee, bammy, sour cherries, cactus fruit, pod cakes, johnny cakes, quesadillas, jerk chicken, pumpkin soup, curry chicken, and more. I actually did a dance with some older girls. It was easy to learn because I watched them dance for a while, then I joined in.

What we did during camp
At the camp, we did art projects. We did papel picado. We did, let’s see, we worked on paintings for the quilt, we read stories, we did face painting, we jumped rope, we played games on the beach, and more.

What some of the kids did for me
Some of the kids were very cool. Once I found three sand dollars on the side of the road, and one boy cleaned off the sand dollars for me and another boy cracked one open to show me the little creature living inside. In Jamaica, they don’t call them sand dollars, they call them sea biscuits. They don’t know what we mean by sand dollars.

What’s exciting and what’s not
Ummmmmmmmmm, well, at night, in Jamaica, at the hotel room, there’s not much to do except play cards, read books, and do nothing. Once it gets dark and everybody stops playing and gets ready for bed, not much to do when we’re already ready for bed and not really doing anything. But then, when we go to sleep and wake up in the morning…it’s a brand new day and it’s not like last night where we hung around not doing anything. We can do anything we want now, like snorkeling or walk to Jack Sprat’s (a restaurant over a mile walk from the hotel). We usually have to bring water because it’s a long way to walk.

The big storm
We had a little bit of a hurricane in Jamaica. It was really in the other parts of Jamaica, not in Treasure Beach (where we were), but we had the winds and the rain parts of it. Both our and our friend’s (Manassah) rooms were flooded. Our room was flooded because the rain came through the windows since we had slatted windows. But Manassah’s room was flooded because the rain came through the crack under her door. Out the window, from a little bit of a distance, I saw a tree that was knocked down from the storm. And, before the storm happened, we saw that it was raining in other parts of Jamaica. And I actually saw a lightning bolt from where the storm was. Oooooo, it must have been raining really hard down there. I’m just glad I wasn’t in that storm. But the hurricane also caused us to have no electricity or water. Stephanie (the person that told my mommy about going down to Jamaica and helping with the camp) filled up buckets with rain water since we didn’t have any water and our toilet wouldn’t flush. So we put that water in the toilet. And Viking (Stephanie’s husband) gave us a water container to drink from and to use as teeth water. And Manassah used our cereal bowl to catch rain water to fill up the bowl to use as teeth water.

The best parts of Jamaica
The best part of Jamaica was feeding the goats, playing with the kids, snorkeling, Jack Sprat’s icecream, seeing an actual mongoose running, doing the dance with the older girls, seeing a giant croc while I was in a fishing boat, seeing crabs in a crab net, the pond (with lots of lily pads and water lilies), and climbing the tree next to the pond.

What I learned in Jamaica
I learned that it’s very, very hot there, even in the winter. It doesn’t get cold like it does in Chicago because it is more to the equator so it doesn’t get cold. I learned that it’s easier to get sunburned there, and that in Jamaica you can go to the beach anytime you want, especially at our hotel because the beach is just right across the little tiny dirt road with lots of thorns and you have to walk single file. And I learned not to be afraid of sand crabs because all they’ll do when you come close to them is run away, although sometimes when you’re just sitting there not doing anything thinking they’ll not mind anything they’ll come a little closer to you and you get a little frightening. I learned that it can be hard to understand some of the real Jamaicans because they have an accent and way of talking that’s hard to understand and when they speak to each other they speak patois so you have no idea what they’re talking about. Some words you understand and other words you do not.

The friends I made in Jamaica
The friends I made were: Eleni, Anath, Naomi, Safir, Sabrina, the volunteers from New Zealand, Manassah, Stephanie, Viking, Nia, Sommer, Dominic, Portia, and the other kids at the camp.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Jamaica Project update

August 19-30, 2008, Global Explorers Kids Director Holly Hutto, and her daughter/student ambassador Angelina were in Treasure Beach, Jamaica volunteering at the VIJON (Volunteer in Jamaica Opportunity Network) summer art camp. Scheduled for 5 days, 5 hours a day, the last day of camp had to be canceled due to Tropical Storm Gustav which brought a day and a half of rain and wind to Treasure Beach - typically the driest area of Jamaica. About 20-25 children from Treasure Beach participated in the camp, which provided children with arts and crafts activities, sports and games, and one meal and snack a day. Coordinated by Stephanie Genus of VIJON, the camp is offered free to the children, many of whom come from low-income families. VIJON also provides the campers with school supplies, to help them offset the personal expense of school.

During the camp, Global Explorers Kids helped the children work on a collaborative project with children in Chicago. The children in Chicago and the children in Treasure Beach are each working on squares for a culture quilt - providing them an opportunity to share their cultures with each other via painting, fabric collage, photography, words, video, and more. Children and families participating in Global Explorers Kids summer camp donated pencils, paper, folders, and markers for the children in Treasure Beach, which were distributed to the children along with additional supplies that were donated to VIJON.

Work continues on the project as Global Explorers Kids edits the children's videos, prints their photographs, and works on sewing their quilt squares together. The project will be documented online and the finished quilt will be publicly displayed at a later date. Stay tuned for a personal account of the Jamaica trip from our 7-year-old student ambassador Angelina Kujaca-Hutto!