Oh my, Ochi!
Trip Start Jul 06, 2005
21Trip End May 31, 2007
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The swearing-in ceremony was a success; the remaining 56 trainees were officially named Peace Corps Volunteers and we even made into the national newspaper, The Gleaner. My training group, Water/Sanitation, performed a song as part of the festivities. The song was about our training, to the tune of Sweet Home Alabama, and everyone loved it. The last verse goes something like this,
"Started out at 21
We're the group known as Wat/San
Bag juice and Smoochies get us by now;
16 strong to GET 'ER DONE!!"
A significant event in our training was loosing 5 trainees from our group
After the ceremony, we were whisked away to a party at a local club in Kingston. There was an abundance of current volunteers, and lots of dancing and talking. I had a great time, and I am grateful to have had that time to say goodbye to people because many of us will leave for our sites immediately the next day. I wasn't leaving until noon, so I had a good 'ole time and enjoyed myself.
Promptly at noon, a driver from the NE Regional Health Authority arrived to pick me up, I loaded all my stuff plus a few things Peace Corps gave me, I said goodbye to my host family and left my home in Heartease. It's always hard to say goodbye, but I know that I will be back to visit...that family is just too good to ignore. I know I'll be back to Heartease when Yallahs (the nearby big town) has its annual Jerk Festival in October. I've been told that Yallahs has the best Jerked chicken on the island, so that's a good reason for a visit.
The trip from Heartease to Ochi was relatively uneventful. I like the drive to Ochi, once you're out of Kingston and Spanish town, the country starts and there is a lot more green to ooh and aah at. The road follows a wide river for a while and then climbs up the hills on a winding road through small town after small town
Over the weekend I unpacked, bought some necessary items, sheets, a fan, and the most important item: a blender. The place I moved into is very well furnished, all I need to do is make it my home. I've hung up some pictures, which warms up the place, but I can always use more decorations. Hint, hint, hint...J In exchange I promise you can stay with me for free if you come to visit, I love visitors!!!
So now it's Friday of my first week, and so far I can't complain about anything. Living in a larger city though, I have had to change some of the behavior I developed during training. At home I can't leave my windows open at night, even though I have bars on them
My job at the Health Authority is going well. This week I've been primarily at the desk, reading or doing research on-line, it doesn't sound like fun but I see how all the information I'm gathering will help me when I'm actually in the field. My supervisor is trying to get me set up at the Health Department with a Health Inspector, who will be my counterpart. Soon I will be following this person to communities that they provide health services to, they respond to complaints regarding water, sanitation, pretty much anything about public health
When I walk out of the house and I see a cruise ship coming into to port, I wonder if I'm really in Peace Corps, but when I look closer and take into the picture the cows grazing, I remember where I am. I love my life.
Well I think that's enough for now. Let me know if there is anything about Jamaica that you would like to know more about, I'd love to research and write about it.
Thanks for all the email and snail mail. Some folks have asked for things that I want or need, well here it is:
1. Reading material (books, magazines, and newspapers)
2. Earth friendly, natural products like shampoo, toothpaste, etc: Jamaica has some problems with the environment, so I'd like to help any little way I can.
3. Jump rope, yoga mat, yoga book
5. Materials about home gardening (in pots), composting, and creative ways of reusing plastic bottles.
6. Patchoulli oil
Thanks everyone! Keep reading and keep in touch...