the hotel owned by ACE called the Galina Breeze
I went on a mission trip to Jamaica with the college aged and 20 somethings group from my church. it was amazing. We went with a group called ACE or American Caribbean Experience. While there we tutored students, the first student I had was a first grade girl, she could read anything I put in front of her, even big words she could sound out. Next I had a sixth grade boy who couldn't even read the word "go". I was in shock, how has he made it through, ends up they just pass kids through and that's it. In sixth grade they have to take a test and this test tells them whether they go to university or to trade school. Can you imagine that, in sixth grade your life is decided for you. My church sponsors a few of these kids, that gives them the tutoring, food for lunch, uniforms to wear to school. They kids families are so poor some of them sleep on dirt floors, and when it rains they sleep in mud. It was so sad. We were at the schools 4 of the five days we were there, we also did PE with the students because they don't have it as part of their curriculum they also don't get science very often. Entire curriculum's are missing from these kids schooling.
One of the schools we worked at 1st-6th grade
Besides the schools we also went to something called the infirmary. This is basically the "poor house" when you have no money and no family to take care of you this is where you go. It's a giant room with beds all along the perimeter, all these people did was lay in bed all day, until ACE came in. Now they get juice, and fresh water and food at least 3 days a week, they get music, and they are coloring and playing dominoes, and messing with play-doh. Many of these people are older and you may think that's not a big deal, coloring, woohoo, when ACE first started going there most of these people couldn't even get out of bed, its huge that they are now able to do this. These people get basically no vegetables, no fruit and little meat, rice is their main food. One male there, was probably about 19 and he lived in this place because nobody else could handle him, why was he so hard to handle? Because when he was a boy he got "passed around" the males of the town, the only way he could handle it was to act out, now he is drugged up all the time that he can't do anything, because he never had the chance for counseling or the chance for a real life because nobody took him out of the situation he was in. This all sounds sad and hard but let me tell you, this was the chance of a lifetime and i will be going back.
It wasn't all work, we did have some relax time while there. We got to see the football team play that is sponsored by ACE. That was an experience, football is a religion to Jamaicans and so much fun to watch. We had a water volleyball tournament in the pool, great devotions at night with the group. I learned how to play dominoes, the unofficial game of Jamaica. We spent a day in Kingston seeing the only Lutheran church in all of Jamaica, the pastor from that church actually spent the week with us as my church is "unofficially" teamed with him.
The football team sponsored by the Galina Breeze hotel
I am actually going to ask you to click the link above for ACE and see if it is something you would maybe talk to your church about. They need people down there to help, the kids need your tutoring, the people in the infirmaries just need you there visiting with them, talking to them, and making them feel alive again. And Marla just loves it when groups come down!