Mission House Basic School: Our Jamaica Mission Highlights


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Mission House Basic School: Our Jamaica Mission Highlights

December brought warm weather and a Jamaican adventure to three of our congregants. Showing their dedicated and generous spirits, Ruth Rankin, Liz Callendar, and Linda Wright set off for Gordon Town, Jamaica, to lend support to a school in need.

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The idea for this adventure was born two years ago when Liz and Ruth visited Jamaica on vacation. Ruth, a now retired kindergarten teacher in Newington, Connecticut, wanted to get a first-hand view of a Jamaican school, and Liz Callendar, her companion, arranged for them to visit Liz’s grandchildren’s school. The primary school children were proud to share their projects and songs, and stole Ruth’s heart. She knew then that she wanted to return and do what she could to help the school because the teachers had very few supplies, and the children often arrived without breakfast. Liz and Ruth returned from their trip and filled 4-foot bins with school supplies, toys, breakfast foods, and clothes for the children. They sent the bins to the school, and made their plans to return in November of 2013.

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Linda Wright became involved when she asked if she could carry Ruth’s suitcase (don’t we ALL ask that of traveling friends?) and Ruth answered, “Yes, please!” When the Board of Christian Service heard about the mini mission trip, it gave its support in the form of funds to purchase building supplies, as the school’s major goals were to fix the leaky roof and finish building another classroom and kitchen. Sand and cement were purchased with some of the funds, and buckets of concrete were prepared and sent up ladders to pour on the school’s leaky roof. With some other funds, “steel” (what we call rebar), “bricks” (what we call cinder blocks), and more concrete and sand were purchased to build a kitchen counter. Linda, who assisted with construction for the 8 days that she was there, learned a lot about mixing cement on the ground, troweling, and making do with limited supplies and no power tools.

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During the month that Liz and Ruth were there, they visited the school quite often, and Ruth enjoyed her days with the children and students. One morning, the students performed their Morning Devotions for the three visitors, belting out some Christmas songs, the Jamaican National Anthem, and a few poems. Another day, Liz and Ruth treated the hard-working teachers to a day at the Rio Ochos beach and lunch in honor of their dedication.

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Another fun event included the Christmas Party! Liz and Ruth rented a bounce house and a DJ, and supplied hot dogs, drinks, chips, cake and ice cream for the children to enjoy. Linda spent the day playing some American games with the children such as Duck, Duck, Goose, Red Light/Green Light, and Mother May I. At the party’s end, Ruth gave each child a Christmas gift bag that contained either a new piece of clothing or a toy. The children enjoyed the day, as evidenced by the plentiful smiles.

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For more images of our Mission to Jamaica, click here.

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