The events of Thursday July 19th.
The last day of our Jamaica adventures took its time getting here and then ended far too quickly. Like most stages of life one thing comes to a halt and another starts a new. Life’s about seasons, and today was the end of our Jamaica season.
Like the last several days we performed the now normal shenanigans needed for a successful day of VBS. After a few days it seemed all the bumps were smoothed out from a children behavior standpoint and it generally seemed felt like no one acted up much or caused distractions. I could be wrong, but it seemed that way in the class I was in.
With the background of most of the kids from elementary to high school and the culture of this island it’s sometimes the biggest hurdle just to settle them down, retain their attention, hinder any mean words or actions between them, and simply connect with them about the stories you have to share. So much of their words and actions are about raw survival and turning that down just long enough for the whole group to hear you, understand the message, and hopefully have a little fun learning in the process can be a steep task.
While there are moments you want to hang your head and give up on some, there’s also moments when you really connect with them. When you see the tangible joy in their eyes and it isn’t just about the worldly suffering so many of them deal with. In their eyes I can see true innocence at times. A warmth that is happy to be alive and fighting regardless of how little they’ll go home to. It’s that glimpse of light that keeps you fighting for the most troubled ones.
After our wrap up of the weeks VBS classes for kids and adults we headed just outside of town and up into the hills to visit our friend Jude and his family for dinner. Members at the church in Cave, and wonderful Christians, we joined them for the best Jamaican meal our group had to date.
We parked and visited outside their small, mountain house. Jude, a former chef, stood over marinated meat and smoke while working his magic. The delicious smells sneaking around us this way and that as his family brought out the different elements of the meal. I stood soaking in several of the smells and imprinting the moment as children chased chickens behind me and the sun set over our group to the sound of laughter.
The food tasted twice as good as it smelled and Jude piled plates with rice & peas, special salad, meat & potato with gravy, jerk chicken, and a cup of pumpkin soup with festival bread. We shared more than a meal though, we shared life and laughter with each other as the moon rose high and the sky darkened.
For a few moments the stickiness of the humid air and the constant annoyance of the mosquito went unnoticed. For a few moments I felt the mixed emotions of extreme pleasure of being able to experience the evening and the following sadness of knowing it would have to end.