J in Jamaica: Day Six

The events of Wednesday July 18th.

Two of the worst words to ever hear while you’re riding through Jamaica with 31 people stuffed into a 15 passenger van are: “Who fart’d?”

Aside from that near death experience the morning and afternoon were rewarding, humid, and really quite lovely. It also included Coco Bread, a Jamaican bread pastry made with coconut milk, so I had absolutely nothing to complain about.


The days this week are long, tiresome, and sometimes as mentally exhausting as they are physically. The struggle to communicate effectively a message to children, or adults, often suffering from the harsh reality of living everyday sometimes just to survive is a hard one. Add the joyful Jamaican sun always looking down on you and the chaos of the never stopping activities and it’s a recipe for mental taxation.

But, when you have moments of spark, moments of pure smiles, and moments of clarity & thought it makes it all completely worth it.


There’s certain moments on this trip that I wish I could capture with any justice but I know I will just never be able to. There’s been a lot of places and situations I’ve found myself part of this week and none were more special than today’s.

After our work at the church we head back to Sav for a late lunch before a few hours down time, usually spent in preparation. Today my old friend Amy and I, who has happily pulled me into several random adventures so far this week, went home from the church with Miss Kathleen James just to talk, sit, and visit.

After getting off the van at her stop we waddled our way by a small roadside store stopping to get a bag juice for Amy and a box juice for myself. The items are exactly what it sounds like, fruit juice in box or fruit juice in a bag. It should be noted the roadside stores are as common in Jamaican as fruit trees. Usually a simple four walled shack with bared door and windows, painted colorfully and sporting posters. Inside a local resident, sometimes with their house attached to the shack, sells all sorts of convenience goodies from juices and sodas to chips and fruit.

As we walked up the grass yard of Miss Kathleen’s the sweet smell of flowers and fruits moved with the light breeze. Like most houses here her’s was simple but welcoming. We sat in the main room which served as living and dining. Several couch like chairs, a bookshelf, and a table for eating at—all there was but really all you need.


Like most grandmothers her decorations were mainly keepsakes. Pictures of families and friends and beautiful trinkets reminding of memories years passed. We talked about life and family, looking through her picture book and discussed how kids are on their phones way too much. Even in Jamaica cell phone use is grandparent enemy #1.

It was a special afternoon in a special place, filled with love, laughter, and the inescapable joy that can still be found with so little. It doesn’t just peak through the poverty but shines bright even in the face of such despair.


After stories and cooking tips we took a quick tour of her flowers. She sent us on our way in a taxi back to town with warning not to let the driver get the better of us on the price. Later that night she’d bring me a mango she had her grandson pick from their tree. I’d hug her even tighter then.