Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pluckin' down on the farm

During lunch on Tuesday, one of the farmers asked me if I wanted to go help pluck chickens on Wednesday. I am pretty sure he was asking as a joke, but after thinking about it I thought that it would be a good experience to have. A few times I question if I wanted to because I love chicken and I was scared that it may make me not want to eat chicken anymore. Anyway, Wednesday morning I headed down to the farm around 8am to get started. No worries, I documented it all for you to enjoy!
This is where our friend begins his journey. They put the chickens in this "cone shaped thingy" (yes, that is the technical name) to cut the head off. Having them upside down helps with the blood flow and the "cone shaped thingy" keeps them inside because they twitch like crazy. A few times they twitched so much they flew out and were literally a chicken running around with it's head cutoff. When this happened I absolutely lost it with laughter. The Jamaicans enjoyed watching me, watching the headless chicken run around.

After the head is cut off, we dipped them into a pot of boiling water. This cleans off the blood and allows the feathers to come out easier. Here I am with my first of six chickens!

You can tell I was a little hesitant at first....

In no time though I was plucking that chicken like it was my job!

My first victim after all the feathers were out!

What an experience that was! I will never again take going to the store to buy a nice clean piece of meat for granted!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

things I have learned while here

Here is a list of things I have learned while in Jamaica: 
(Oh and me plucking chickens will be a post for tomorrow night- get excited!)
Wow! There really are bugs that look like leaves. It is not just in National Geographic ladies and gentlemen!

If you are peeling an orange and don't realize you let some juice drip; you will know within a few minutes. Quickly I learned to peel oranges outside and anytime food touches my counter to wipe it down with water and soap to prevent a miniature stampede of bugs on my counter. 

I learned how to carve the island of Jamaica into a Jamaican pumpkin. This is (supposed to be) the island and there is a heart where we live. Thanks Erin for getting us pumpkins. Afterward we baked the pumpkin seeds with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Oh my how yummy those were!

We have not had any water pressure for the past week and a half. So here is my shower...I get water out of the white bucket and use the clear basin to shower. Oh the things I have been taught. (Sorry, this picture is sideways)

The power of stickers! When I am working with Miss Sanieka it is a huge challenge to keep her focused. So now, every time she is following directions and doing the right thing, she gets a sticker. One day was awesome, she had stickers all the way up her arm! If this is what it takes to teach her how to write her name, I am all about it!

And of course...I have learned how to set a mousetrap. After the first night of setting one, I realized the trap was not where I had left it; it had moved basically all the way across the room. When the mouse is still alive and trying to escape the trap (haha good luck it ain't gonna happen) they can move the trap all over from wiggling around on it. So, Erin told me to stick a bottle cap on it and then put a chair leg in the bottle cap..GENIUS! (PS - my mouse count is at 21!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

a little insight on how great God is

As many of you know, I am a gym rat. Since I like to start my days off at home with exercise I decided to have the same goal while in Jamaica. I try to start my day off with a run, key word there is try. Sometimes there are some obstacles that get in my way: rain, no running water to shower afterward, or just plain laziness! When I do get a run in, I use a majority, if not all of that time, to pray and reflect on how God is working in my life. A couple weeks ago I had a great conversation with my Heavenly Father. When I got back to my apartment after my morning sessions, I immediately wrote down my feelings and thoughts into my journal. If any of you journal like I do, you may look back and say, "I should had added this", "I should have said that differently", or "Look at the horrible grammar, good thing no one else is seeing this!". Well regardless of all of those, I decided to share that journal entry with you.
So- here it is.
How awesome is God?! Today has been a very eye opening spiritual day for me. I have obviously been reminded daily of God's love for me here, but today as I was running it really hit me. I spent the 30 minutes this morning in conversation with my Heavenly Father. Realizing how the Holy Spirit has guided me throughout my time here left me in awe. I have felt in a cloud or a bubble since this morning.
I started off my run like any other run I have had here. At first I start off in prayer and usually halfway through I am merely focused on making it out alive. Startig off my prayers giving thanks for all the countless blessings in my life, my mind began to shift to the thought of the Holy Spirit.
Seriously, 5 weeks ago I completely doubted my ability to do this. During my run I thought about my time here, this is God's work that I was called to do. I have the strength and ability to be her through the Holy Spirirt that is alive in me. Because of this, I have has a transformation of my heart to see this for what it truly is. I am NOT here by my own will but God's.
I have been blessed to have the God given gift of teaching and I know because of Him I will be able to impact many lives if I stay focused on Him. If I continue to let my light shine, this feeling will continue after my return home.
I have always "known" God is with me. BUT after putting myself completely out of my comfort zone, I have truly realized, felt, and seen God's presence in my. If it weren't for the Holy Spirit living in me, I doubt that I would have been able to make it through the five weeks."

time flies while you are living the dream

Can you believe it, I have less than four weeks left in Jamaica?!? Where has the time gone? Once again, so much has happened since my last blog posting. I have continued to work with my students and see progress all of the time. Seeing them learning and understanding more is so rewarding.
The school had midterm break last week to celebrate their National Heroes. Erin and I took this free time to escape once again! We headed to the beach in MoBay with Ionda, Kadeen, Daphawn, Tashi, and Blake. While there we got to enjoy two beach days, which were very relaxing. Erin and I took Blake, Tashi, and Daphawn back to Kingston a week ago and indulged in some delicious ice cream at Devon House.

the school building

This is a view of campus from the second floor of the school. Immediately on the left is the girls' dorm and opposite that is the boys' on the right. The dining hall and auditorium are on the right after the boys' dorm. In the background on the right you can kind of see the vocational school and up at the top of the hill is where I live.

Daphawn, Blake, and me at Devon House in Kingston. This was the house of the first millionaire in Jamaica.

The three girls at Devon House

Some Jerk Chicken from Pork Pit in Montego Bay.

Daphawn and me at the beach!

This is my classroom where I spend my morning working with Annakay and Sanieka.

Monday, October 10, 2011

lots of catching up!

I have been neglecting my blog recently. sorry friends. After I have included pictures in one posting, I feel as though I need to include them always now. In order to do that, I have to borrow someone's laptop and I do not want to be a bother to others by frequently asking them to borrow their computers.
Since my last posting, a lot has taken place! I had a nice relaxing weekend staying here on campus (2 weekends ago). Last week we had a team come from Samaritan's Feet and they distributed a new pair of shoes to all of the students. During the process, they were sized for shoes, got to color a bit, their feet were washed by the team, and then they tried on shoes to find that perfect fit.
On Friday, Erin treated Joanne and I to a girls' getaway. We went to YS Falls and then out for a dinner on the beach. The rest of the weekend consisted of football watching, movie watching, and baking!
Now for a catch up on pictures!
Sanieka is working very hard everyday to write her name. She is so proud of herself while we are working together. Frequently, she will look at me and sign "Smart".

Funny Story. I was hanging my clothes out on the line to dry and a Jamaican woman came up to me and started frantically signing. She was telling me how I was hanging all my laundry the long way. After some laughs and rearranging, my sheets hung the proper way.

Love him. We watched the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" and now he always imitates that dragons.

Hanging out in front of the girls' dorm.

Not the best picture, but this is right after Sheldon got his new shoes!

Miss Sanieka and her new pink shoes.

Gloria washing feet and telling about Jesus.

Allesha and Britania coloring before they got their new shoes.

the shoes

part of YS Falls

Joanne and me in the water, it was freezing.

Me jumping off the waterfall!

This is Little Ochi where we ate dinner. There were a lot of boats up on stilts and your food was brought out to you. Erin and I had fried chicken and Joanne was daring at had the fish. She picked it out of a cooler and they scaled it and cooked it.

The three girls at the end of the day. Erin was a trooper and drove through some crazy rain and roads that were temporarily rivers to get us here!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

picture Thursday!

You are in for a treat with this blog posting! I am able to upload pictures this time thanks to Keri for letting me borrow her laptop. Pictures definitely spruce up the blog life, so I am hoping to have a blog with pictures at least once a week now. Thanks to all of those who have been reading about my life even though it may be bland at times with no pictures.
Last Friday, Erin helped me install door sweeps in order to help prevent mice. Also, I noticed a few furry friends in my couch (which I never sat on) and Kirk was great and removed my couch. Unfortunately, they are hiding somewhere else. Last night I captured number 14!
My trip to Kingston with Erin was great. I was able to see the CCCD school there. Tashi (Blake's wife), Ionda (Blake's friend), Erin and myself went to Rituals (Jamaican Starbucks) for some fellowship, coffee, and relaxation. It was nice to get to know Tashi and spend more time with Erin. We had a nice lunch at Blake's house, had lunch, and hung out.
On Sunday, Erin invited Joanne and I into her home to watch some American Football! It was a nice little piece of home. She warned me though not to let the commercials make me miss America any more than I already am.
Paris, an absolute sweetie.

This is my little Sanieka. She was so excited to get her Handwriting Book. Throughout our time together, she kept asking me "This mine?" When I would say yes, she would get a HUGE smile!

Sanieka and myself

Kids during snack time.

Annakay showing off her sentence. After she writes a sentence correctly, she always wants to go around and show the teachers in the school. We are now working on "I am 14 years old."

Girls during snack break!

Jevaughn with the Jamaican flag. He is new and absolutely cracks me up!

Sheldon with his communication cards.

The boys love their playdough creations.


My cup o' joe in honor of National Coffee Day in America!

This week came and went just like the last one. I am continuing to work with Sheldon, Annakay, and Sanieka. Tuesday Joanne and I tagged along with Kirk and Keri when they went to a government run infirmary. This was basically like a nursing home for individuals with mental handicaps as well as physical impairments. The living accommodations there are quite sad. There is a building with about 20 beds with about less than a foot of space between the beds in order to walk through. Kirk and Keri's son, Drew, came with us to read Curious George to some of the women. One woman in particular really touched my heart. Miss Harriet stays in bed all day long and she can not take care of herself. She is very frail and extremely thin. When she began to sing "I am Blessed", my heart was touched and tears began to stream down my face. Realizing how thankful and joyful Miss Harriet could be considering her circumstances really made me reflect on my own life.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wait, it's Thursday already?

My oh my has this week flown by! My first week here definitely dragged on, but week number two has come and gone.
I do need to apologize for many typos in previous postings. Typing on an iPad takes a lot of time for me since I am not used to it yet. By the time I am done typing and see I have an Internet connection I go ahead and post. From now on I will proofread my posts so I don't look like a goober.

After praying and talking with friends and family, I felt as though I was not doing the work that God had intended for me to do here. God was tugging at my heart to work with Sheldon. He is a young boy with Autism, and he is hearing. Sheldon ended up at this school because other schools did not know how to work with him. Luckily, the principal here is amazing and was more than willing to change my schedule around. Currently, Sheldon is nonverbal and can be very aggressive at times. I am working on communication cards that I made with him. The goal is that he will point to the card in order to communicate what he wants. The first few days implementing this have been stressful, but it will improve.

I have been working with a 14 year old girl Annakay. She was out of school most of her life and came here last year for a bit, but then never came back after a holiday. This week we have been working on the sentence "My name is Annakay". She wrote it completely by herself multiple times! Way to go girl!

For my mouse situation. I have now captured 8 friends! Today I am headed to the hardware store to buy door sweeps to help close off the gaps under the doors.

My life in Jamaica is starting to settle in more. I am becoming more used to it everyday. Thank you to all those who have covered me in prayers for the past two weeks. I truly appreciate it. God is doing amazing things.

I will try to post again this weekend about my journey to Kingston!