Monday, May 28, 2007
Jamaican Labour Day was last Wednesday, May 23rd. This is a national holiday in Jamaica. On this day, many Jamaicans, given a day off from work, elect to use their free time on a community project. These projects usually take the form of cleaning up, bushing, or refurbishing a building, park, school, or church. The Portmore Municipal Council's official Labour Day project was to build a small park with a monument showing the historical importance of Passage Fort, a district in Portmore. If you would drive around Jamaica on Labour Day, you would see small groups of people hunched over, painting, picking up trash, or weeding in their straw hats.
That it the type of sight we saw as we traveled to our destination, a school in St. Andrew where our friend Brooke works. When we got there, we saw that Brooke and her students had been hard at work collecting rocks and starting to dig a terrace into the small hill in front of their school. Their goal was to spell out the name of the school using the rocks. Shane helped out by grabbing the pickaxe and extending the terrace over about 10 feet, with the help of the students. At that time, it began to rain and didn't let up for about three hours. Since we couldn't work outside, we went inside and talked with the students and staff at the school. They were very nice and kept us amused while we waited out the rain.
By the time it stopped raining, all we had time to do was clean up the work site a little bit. The rest of the project would have to wait for another day. Afterwards, we took a little tour of the town and got to see where Brooke lives and the view she has from her apartment.