March 31, 2008

the little island that changed my world...Part II

Our little adventure in this whole new country had begun....

I fell into bed that night and slept like the dead. We had traveled from midnight on Friday until 7pm on Saturday.

And I forgot to tell you that a "bus" ride in Jamaica is nothing like a bus ride in America. For one thing, the "bus" is more like a large mini van and is not really safe, nor fit for extensive travel. (It seems these vehicles are very popular in the Caribbean though. I've since ridden in several on different trips to different islands and they are all as scary and unsafe) Not only did the van feel basically collapsible, but the roads were nothing but twists and turns. And I mean hairpin turns, not wide sweeping curves. Add to that, no lines on the roads, animals IN the roads, and absolutely NO traffic rules. You want to pass someone on a hairpin turn? Fine. Just beep your horn and go for it. You have to have a horn there or you would die. There are no lines on the roads. There are no shoulders separating you from the cliff edges. There are no road signs. It was like a U2 song. I distinctively remember seeing headlights coming straight toward us once and knowing we were going to die right then and there. It was an adventure.

So, I fell asleep after long day of travel so happy for my little bunk with foam for a mattress and nothing but cold water to wash up with . That's right. No hot water. I had never been in a place like that. Princess? Maybe, but I think more sheltered than anything else. Now truth be told the Deaf Village did have hot water, but only enough to wash dishes. Not enough for 40 people to take showers etc... Also, in Jamaica water is a valued resource that is NEVER wasted. For example, you don't flush the toilet every time you go. There was a sign above the toilet that said "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, wash it down." They didn't mess around. Also, the water was unsafe to drink. No quick drinks out of the sink. Talk about a learning curve. But in all honesty, I didn't really care. And no one complained about any of it. We did laugh and joke about it, but never complained. We were all so excited to be there.

I woke up the next morning so excited to see my surroundings. Let me tell you, it was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been. Jamaica's beauty, like Hawaii, isn't just it's beaches, but its mountains. We were a good 3-4 hours inland, no where near the beaches that plaster the travel brochures. The mountains are lush and green and just beautiful. Our little compound was smack in the middle of a tiny valley.

We had the nicest Jamaican ladies who came and cooked for our group. They were employed by CCCD to cook for all the groups that came into the Deaf Village. And the food was superb. All the fruit and vegetables were fresh. The bread tasted home made. It was delightful and made with love. Our breakfast that morning was eggs, fresh grapefruit and bread.

Since it was Sunday, we left the Deaf Village, which was still being built, and headed to the Knockpatrick Campus where we would do a church service for the kids that lived and went to school there. We had practiced several dramas before leaving the US that we were going to do for the kids. Two of them were mimed, using only music as a backdrop, so the kids could understand what was going on (remember they were all deaf). The third one was Carmen's The Champion (ah, Christian 80's music), which we had an interpreter for, so the kids would understand what was going on.

The kids LOVED these. After we finished them, and one of our leaders did a little talk, the kids ran up on stage and started doing all the skits over again. It was so cool to see that they had been paying attention. Not only paying attention, but understanding it too.

They also did a skit for us and their choir "sang" (picture above). We then went and had lunch with the kids in their school's cafeteria. I got to talk with some of the girls, and also realize how little sign language I knew. It was very slow going for me, but they were so patient and just LOVED asking about our boys. The girls asked me and one other girl on my team if they could braid our hair. I, of course, said yes and and they took us to an empty room and braided our hair in perfect little braids all over my head. When they finally finished and we had given them something as a thank you/payment, we went outside to find that the rest of our team had left us. They had gotten back into the vans and driven all the way back to the DV without us. Embarrassing! They realized what had happened after they got there and a van came back for us. Fun times.

We had dinner and then had a devotional time with our group. It was an amazing time for me. I was so excited to be surrounded by a bunch of 20 somethings that were passionate about God. They all longed to know Him more. It was so neat to sing songs and praise the Lord together with them in another country and realize that God was there with us just like He was back at home in the US.

This was the first time I began to understand that God was a global God. I had heard it for years from missionaries that had visited our church back at home, but it didn't really sink in. I began to see God in the faces of little deaf children. I saw him in the eyes of the poor that we passed as we drove up the mountains. God was so very real to me in those moments. More real and more alive than I had ever experienced before. I was slowly realizing that this trip was changing my life forever.

to be continued.....

1 comment:

Audrey said...

I had that same feeling when I first started working with the deaf ministry. I had been in school learning sign for 1 year. I thought I knew so much! LOL What a shock. Next month I graduate...we just got back from Tenn. taking our deaf adults and kids to see the Miracle. I just now feel as if I understand the language. We had a blast just as I know you did on your adventure. Looking forward to the rest of the story...