The worldwide Augustana College experience

Last Days in Jamaica

The end of our trip was bittersweet. In many ways, I think a lot of us were ready to go home, but it was sad for such a great experience to be ending. The time at the school seemed to go by so quickly. By the last day, we were just starting to really get to know the kids and establish connections and a true understanding of their abilities, which made it sad to leave when it felt like we were just getting started. Most of the boys were wonderful to work with and seemed to really enjoy how interactive we tried to make our lessons and activities and seemed to really be having fun. It made me wonder if they were that happy there all the time, during their regular school days.

     The afternoon of our last day at Alpha was spent over at the girls school, where we watched an assembly they had put together to thank everyone for their time there. The students performed songs and dances, and a few from our group even joined in on the dance, which was hilarious. Dr. Egan made a speech about the importance of education and how every child, no matter where they come from, is capable of accomplishing what he or she wants. It was very  moving and inspiring. While it was great to be a part of this assembly and see what a great experience the math group had at the girls school, it made me wish we’d been able to establish better connections with our students at the boys school.
     After the last day at the school, we took a drive through the city of Kingston and got to see some of the rougher areas that we’d read about in class. The area in Kingston where our hotel was located was in a much nicer and safer community within the city, and seeing the rest of the city really put all that we had been reading into perspective. The local Kingston market was rows and rows of stands covered by awnings made from torn up tarps and walls of mismatched pieces of metal and wood. There was political graffiti everywhere, and I was appreciative of the reading we had done before the trip that helped me be able to understand what some of it meant. The police walk and drive around with rifles in hand. In other parts of the country we had been to, we would see worn down buildings or shacks selling things, but they were often in a quiet roadside setting. Here, it all existed amidst the typical hustle and bustle one would expect of a big city. It was all unlike anything I’d ever seen.
     The last evening was quiet but pleasant, with our final dinner being at a rooftop restaurant where we could get a nice view of the city. We took off for the airport early in the morning and had one last beautiful, scenic drive back to Montego Bay. We packed so much into the ten days we were there that the trip felt longer than it actually was, and when I got home, it felt like I hadn’t been there in ages. While it is nice to finally be back home, it was truly a once in a lifetime trip that I will be forever grateful for. The experiences, memories, and friendships made throughout the trip will never be forgotten.

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