Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Shelter

The Shelter

So I thought I'd write a wee bit about the shelter and the work I'm doing there. Basically the whole thing is set up as a place for the homeless of Port Antonio to get back on their feet. When someone decides they want to make use of the shelter, they have to sign up to this thing where they set themselves goals in order to find jobs, get somewhere to stay permanently etc...

As far as staff goes, the shelter has 4 permanent staff who do three shifts between them over the day, so that there's always someone at the shelter 24 hours a day. The volunteers come and work either from 8:30am-2:30pm or 2:30pm-8:30pm. While we're there, our duties are pretty varied, basically just whatever needs to be done around the place. This could range from preparing meals, administering medicine or general tidying to leading everyone in morning meeting that includes stretching, discussions of how people are feeling and what their plans and goals for the week will be.

The clients at the shelter all vary although the majority of them have some kind of mental health and drug abuse issues, so things can be pretty challenging at times. To give an example there is one lady who is both deaf and mute, however owing to her poor upbringing she never learned to read and write and thus can't really be taught sign language, since it relies on the learner already understanding the letters that are being signed. Communicating with her can be pretty challenging as you can imagine.

The road from Boston Bay down to Great Huts

Nevertheless everything I've experienced has been really positive so far. Most, if not all of the clients have been very receptive and friendly and the staff are a really good bunch too. Other than that I've been doing a lot of chilling at the beach and just generally trying to find my feet in the area. The beach is pretty awesome, just a little bay with the resort on one side. All the locals hang about, fisherman try to sell their fresh catches or at least try to entice you to a nearby restaurant with it, rastaman wander about and it's generally chilled out vibes.

Unfortunately there hasn't been a lot of opportunity to party yet. One of the volunteers, Sophie, has been sick and the other two volunteers had to go down to Kingston for a few days on Thursday, so I've had to take it pretty easy thus far. Nevertheless, one of the staff at the shelter, Salai, says that he'll take me out this week and there's apparently going to be a party tomorrow (Monday) night at the bar out the front of the resort too. Tonight is also dub night at a sports bar up in Boston so we might go check that too. I'll be sure to update later in the week to fill you all in on how it goes. Until then, here's a track by Busy Signal that provides some very convincing reasons as to why you should come to Jamaica.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, heaps of serious talk and then the last paragraph starts with 'Unfortunately there hasn't been a lot of opportunity to party yet', classic.