Git 'R Done
Trip Start Jul 06, 2005
21Trip End May 31, 2007
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Well my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...but I'm not leaving on a jet plane, but I'll be driving to my new place tomorrow. Yes, that's right, training is done, and the Swearing-In ceremony is tonight, and then tomorrow afternoon I leave little ole Heartease for the hustle and bustle of Ocho Rios. The last time I wrote to you all I didn't know where I was going, I was only on the verge of the constant stream of ambiguous information. Drum role please....Ocho Rios will be my new home and there I'll be working with the Northeastern Regional Health Authority as a Sanitation Engineer. From what I know so far about Ocho Rios (aka Ochi) is that it is a very popular tourist destination, receiving a couple of cruise ships every week. Ochi is on the North coast, and has white sand beaches and blue green waters. There are some other natural wonders close by, like Dunns River Falls and Fern Gully, both of which I'll be experiencing very soon I'm sure. The agency I'm working with, NERHA, is an arm of the Ministry of Health, and there are 4 Authorities in Jamaica, covering different regions, the others are Western, South, and Southeastern, and the other engineers in my training class are assigned to those regions.
Initially when I got my assignment, I wasn't sure what to make of it. I pictured myself living in a small community, which Ochi is not, and I pictured myself not working for a government organization. The more I learned about Ochi and the agency, I realized that this experience can just be a beneficial to me as what I originally pictured in my mind. Working on the national level will enable me to rub elbows with people that I may not have had the chance to do in other situations. During my community orientation week, I was able to talk with my supervisor about my position, and she presented me with two possible community based projects that will be my chance to work with a small community to address their water and sanitation needs.
Living in Ochi won't be so bad either, so I'll be viewed as a tourist, but people will get to know me and I'll make my way into the community. Ochi has alot going on, so I won't be bored, and it has all the major ammenities like internet, postoffice, bank, video store, dance halls, vegetarian restaurants, and it even has a movie theatre. I'm really excited about where I'm living, I will be living with another volunteer who has been in Jamaica for a year, we have a great two bedroom place, with tiled floors and vaulted wood paneled ceilings, it's really nice. Not to mention I'm within walking distance from work and the BEACH!!! Also if any of you want to visit, there is room for you at my place, and either international airport is about 2 hours away. (Actually, there is a special right now on plan tickets from Chicago and Detroit to Montego Bay, if you buy them by August 31st, and travel between November 2005 and Febuary 2006, their live $100 one way, so $200 round trip. Check with a travel agent) Sorry about the plug, but keep your eyes open for cheap fares, I'd love you show you around.
I'm excited to be moving on to the next step, training has been good and bad. I definitly won't miss the classroom training part of it. I was able to see alot of the island, meet alot of people, and I can't believe I've been here for 7 weeks. On the other hand, I feel mentally ready for being a volunteer, I want to get out and begin practicing the skills I learned in training, begin working with my agency, meeting people in my community. I look forward to settling into my new place, making it my home. Settling in to Ocho Rios, making it my home...
I must give respect to my training community of Heartease, it's just what the name implies. I really enjoyed living in a rural area, th quiet, dark nights, friendly people, the small community feel. I loved having the spring close by for those long weekend afternoons...swimming in the cool water...laying like lizards on the rocks...peace and quiet. I was within walking distance of the beach, I will miss my early morning runs to the beach, watching the sun come up over the mountains, feeling the cool breeze, hearing the waves crash on the shore. Could I have asked for a better place to acclimate to my new environment? I doubt it.
So as I move on I'll remember those that I again leave behind. But it's not "good-bye", just "later".
I hope you are all well. Thanks to those that write me and send mail, I really appreciate the time you spend to keep in touch.
Peace to you.