Sowing Seeds of Hope and Community Development in the Heart of Rural Jamaica
The unspoiled lands of rural Jamaica display Nature’s earthly grid: rows upon rows of various crops for as far as the eye can see. You will be blanketed by the warm sunshine and breezes from the mountains that will have you pinching yourself and wondering if this green oasis could be real! Community development continues beyond the farm as you will be assisting in building and renovation initiatives that will help bring stability and sustainability to the warm and welcoming local people in the village.
- Help build and refurbish community infrastructure
- Discuss current economic challenges facing rural farmers
- Experience and learn about local culture: the language, music & dance, and food
- Provide assistance and work side by side with local community farmers
- Hear from notable guest speakers on current social issues
- Visit an outdoor marketplace
- Catch views of beautiful waterfalls while zip lining
- Bond with underserved children from a local children’s home
Days 1-2: Getting Oriented
Fly into Jamaica where a JVE staff member will be there to greet you! We’ll drive approximately 3.5 hours to Home Base, near the village of Walderston where we’ll meet our fellow JVE students and get settled into our new home. Learn about some important cultural norms in Jamaica, review our Code of Conduct, and start getting to know each other. We’ll explore surrounding villages, visit the site where we’ll complete our service project, and familiarize ourselves with the area with a community hike.
Days 3-5: Service & Adventure
We’ll awake early, as does the village, and spend the mornings working on our primary service project—working on the farm. Before entering into the farm work an informative presentation will be delivered from the local farmers you’ll be working with. You will hear from an expert in the agriculture sector about the effects of climate change and challenges Jamaican farmers face, for example. You’re sure to form close relationships with the farmers and make new friends from the community. Throughout this project you’ll be involved in every step, from cultivating the land to planting and sowing crops. Return home each day for a hearty Jamaican lunch and a quick break before you head out to see what learning opportunities and adventures the afternoon has in store for you.
At the end of your first service project, you will explore the local market and see your farm work come full circle. You will embark on your journey with the farmer with whom you have been working and will witness how his crop is sold to the local market.
After dinner, take time to reflect with your fellow JVE students and junior leader about the day’s service project.
Day 6: Adventure
Take a break from service on day 6 as you will travel to YS Falls. Enjoy the seven-tiered cascading waterfalls and the lush property which boasts over 2500 acres. You’ll have the chance to unwind by the pool, rope swing into the falls or unleash your inner daredevil by zip lining through the grounds.
Day 7-8 Service and Adventure
Your service will transcend beyond the farm in your second service project. On this project you will be participating in community development through building and renovation initiatives that are slated to take place at a local children’s home. You will have the opportunity to engage with the children who will love learning about your culture, playing games and spending time with you.
Day 9: Community Soccer Game & Celebration
Enjoy a day of soccer with youth from the community. Promote health and wellness through exercise, make friends and have loads of fun along the way! In the evening, your trip will culminate with a Jamaican Night. You’ll get to enjoy jerk chicken and spend the last night in Jamaica celebrating all your hard work with those who you have met along the way. Laugh and dance under the stars and celebrate incredible cultural exchange.
Day 10: Depart for Home
Say an emotional goodbye to the Home Base staff and community members before traveling back to the airport. There, the JVE team will help you check in for your flight and see you off on your return flight home.
While the island of Jamaica is stunning in its natural beauty, unfortunately there is more under the surface than meets the eye. Lack of infrastructure and resources lead to cyclical problems that inhibit social and economic growth in the community as well as problems with quality education and food scarcity. You will be a vehicle for change in your work on the farm as farming is a livelihood for a large percent of community members. The farm is also responsible for supplying much of the local community with the nutrients that are essential for sustenance and thriving. To combat the poor conditions of many of the village’s structures, you will participate in building renovation that will serve to beautify and make the spaces more functional. Lastly, you will have the chance to assist in community development as it relates to local children –assisting in the teaching literacy, numeracy and social skills.
You will gain knowledge about agriculture through immersing with working local farmers and also through presentations and discussions, you will hear about challenges that farmers face across Jamaica. You will learn about the rich heritage and tasty, local Jamaican cuisine after taking part in an experiential cooking tour. You’ll also have the chance to learn more about the relaxing sounds of the reggae music that have swept the world in popularity and have the opportunity to participate in some fun and rhythmic dance movements that complement the Caribbean beats.
Uncover why Jamaica is credited with being the land of wood and water. Take a canopy tour through the lush and stunning vegetation or a community hike where you are sure to be greeted by local farmers, goats and have your breath taken away by the beautiful countryside. Speaking of farming, you’ll be able to visit the area marketplace which is a bustling hub of food, social and cultural exchange.
Your home base is a historical estate set on a 24 -acre farm with beautiful mountains serving as its backdrop. The accommodation is located in the village of Walderston- a farming community known for its serenity and beauty. The estate is just 10 minutes from Mandeville, making it in the center of Jamaica and very close and convenient to all projects on the program. The students will share comfortable, gender-segregated, dorm style rooms. The home base delivers a cozy, “at home feeling” and is newly renovated with many Western amenities.