Wednesday, April 9, 2008

C I A - Jamaican Style

On Tuesday we traveled up into the mountains - about 20 minutes away - to carry water for the families there. We filled 5 gallon jugs and buckets from a spigot near the church and then carried the water to fill 55 gallon drums outside their homes. It was quite an eye opener as to how others in our world still live. As Carl noted: "I'll never take running water for granted again".

Today's slideshow can give you a bit of an idea of how hard we worked and how much harder the lives are of those who live this everyday.

In the afternoon we came back and largely picked up where we left off. Gardening, painting, bike repair, organizing and prepping for concrete work.

On Wednesday, we worked HARD! Most of the men spent the day mixing concrete by hand for the hammock posts on the pool deck and parking pad in the front. The concrete ingredients had to be hauled from the back to the front. One ingredient is called marl - a gypsum-like subtance. It had to be broken up by pickaxe, screened into a wheelbarrow and hauled to the front. We called them the marl-barrow men. The parking pad was finished just before it rained.

Several of the women worked on the gardens again and did a fantastic job. They really got into their work! As this picture clearly shows....

Dereck, when he was not being one of the Marl-barrow men - worked on the play set replacing rotted rope on the rope ladder and swinging bridge. Connie spent the day with needle and thread - sewing on buttons and repairing clothes for the children. At the end of the day, I caught them relaxing and enjoying the fruit of Dereck's labor.

Several others helped out in various ways. Erin and Jen did more painting and organized cupboards, Kathy updated the website for My Father's House with dozens of new pictures. Erin's big adventure of the the day was taking the younger children on a bike ride down to the beach where they caught 15 hermit crabs which one of the little girls put them in her shirt pocket - not the best idea. But fun - which is what most of us have had - even though we are very tired - and very sore. It's been a great day of serving and falling in love with these children.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jamaica Trip - Monday Report

Monday was a very full day as the following slide show demonstrates....

It was a wonderfully warm and mostly sunny day until late afternoon when it threatened rain and thunder rolled off the mountains.

A bit of explanation of Ackie (spelling unsure). It is a fruit that grows down here and when cooked tastes and has the consistency and appearance of undercooked scrambled eggs. Can’t wait to try them.

We’ve had a few taste adventures. There is callalu - which is a leafy green vegetable which doesn’t taste quite as sweet as spinach but not as bitter as collard greens. Then there are star apples that taste nothing like apples. They are more like a cross between a mushy melon and a grape with enormous black seeds. But they are quite tasty. We will also be having real yams - they have one in the pantry that is 7 inches in diameter and about a foot long and it has been cut in half! We will also be trying bread fruit which is grown right here in the yard.

Another new experience was the frequent blackouts and brown outs yesterday. The lights began to fade and then just go out about mid-afternoon and continued until well after dark. Carl and Barry were trying to do some welding which was really difficult to do when the voltage kept changing. This is also the explanation for not sending out this update last night. It was ready, but the connection was not cooperating. So my apologies for being a bit late.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Jamaica Sunday

We had a great day today. A very relaxed morning. Church didn't begin until almost noon. So we had plenty of time to get around. Eat a great breakfast - we were introduced to McPenne's or My Father's House egg McMuffin - a yeasty bread slice with egg and cheese - it was GOOD!

Here's a quick look at the church experience - it was much longer, and more meaningful than the video can convey, but it will give you a taste.

The afternoon was spent with the kids. Some swam in the pool, others went to the ocean and took beautiful photos.

Now it is late evening, the children are in bed and we are sitting around sharing. It's been a great day.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

We are In Jamaica!

It was a really long day - beginning at 3:00 a.m. in Lansing and ending at 10:30 in Jamaica. Along the way we drove to Detroit, flew to Minneapolis and then flew down to Jamaica.

Everything went smoothly. A great trip. We ate a quick meal at a true Jamaican fast food place.


Then the real adventure began - a 1 1/2 hour trip over the mountains and across the island on narrow, winding road with 14 of us in a small Toyota van and our luggage and two others in a pick-up. I was sitting on a cooler and holding on for dear life.

We arrived, safely, well after dark. Had our meeting and are winding down.

A quick story to go with this last piciture. I was getting the computer out to update this blog and Felix came over to help. As it booted up, there was a picture of my grand-daughter Raegan on the wallpaper. He wanted to see more of her until he saw Rhys in his halloween Spiderman costume. Felix loves Spiderman and he says, that's me. Then the punchline. That's me when I was white.

You have to love kids and their creative imaginations. So he's the first of many here to win my heart. More tomorrow.


Friday, April 4, 2008


I did a quick ride to Waucousta yesterday. As I rounded the last corner a guy in a van yelled out - Hey Lance!

Was it the speed?

Was it the aggressive riding style?

Was it the trim, toned body?

Maybe it was the yellow jersey.

Or maybe it was the hair.

Anyway, it was nice to be outside and not freezing to death for a change!