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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday, September 11, 2016

We have been busy this past week or so learning more about the computer tools we are to use to keep track of projects and finances and finding our way around Kingston and other parts of the island.  As Buddy says, it's a steep learning curve, but we're making progress.

We had great success purchasing supplies for 100 school kits for an elementary school in Port Antonio.  We were able to find everything we needed in just two stops; pretty amazing. We are so appreciative of all the detailed notes and directions Elder and Sister Summers - the previous Welfare Services Missionaries - left for us. We are now coordinating with the Port Antonio branch leaders and community members to plan a time to assemble the kits.  We're excited to be able to see the culmination of this worthy project.

This last Friday and Saturday we travelled up to the northern coast of the island. On the way we stopped in Linstead to follow up on an ongoing improvements project at a preschool. We were able to meet the wonderful, dedicated principal and learn firsthand what progress has been made and what is left to be done. There are great needs at this little school, and we are grateful to be a small part of the humanitarian effort of the Church for this community. 

Even the preschoolers 
wear school uniforms. Adorable!
A portion of the project was helping to provide
tables and desks like these.
Our drive up through the middle of Jamaica was quite interesting!  There is a new tollway that recently opened, and we were on it for part of the drive, but most of the time we were on less developed roads. It was pouring for most of the trip, but the scenery was beautiful. We were definitely in a rain forest environment. The roads were very narrow in some places, and particularly the one lane bridge we encountered was fun for Buddy to negotiate.  (I don't think I'll ever drive here - we'll see.) 

After our visit in Linstead, we continued on to Falmouth.  We were meeting the mission president and his wife and two other senior missionary couples for dinner and a short boat tour of the Luminous Lagoon. The hotel, restaurant, and attraction is called Glistening Waters. (Google it.) After a lovely dinner and once it was dark, we went on the boat tour of the bay. We were told this is one of only four places in the world where this phenomenon occurs. As the water is disturbed either by the movement of the boat or by dragging your hand in the water, you can see a beautiful glow. It is because there are millions of tiny bioluminescent creatures called dinoflagelattes. It was really cool. We didn't know ahead of time they would let people get off the boat to swim in the water, but we enjoyed watching others swimming around in this almost eerie glow. I imagine Buddy will want to swim if/when we go there again. We understand that it's particularly spectacular when it's raining because each drop of rain disturbs the water causing the glow. Unfortunately for us, the rain stopped just about 30 minutes before dark. 

We booked a room at the nice, yet very reasonable Glistening Waters hotel since we were going on to Montego Bay the next day for another project visit. The others all drove back to their homes. It was a great evening.

Saturday, we continued east along the coast line enjoying the beautiful view of the ocean. We passed through several small towns. Here on Saturdays, throngs of people gather in the streets to sell or purchase all kinds of things. So again, it took some of Buddy's expert, fancy driving to make it through some of the crowds and narrow streets. 

We arrived at the LDS Montego Bay Branch meetinghouse and met the Branch President. We were delighted to meet him. We had heard what a wonderful man he is, to which we quickly agreed as we could feel his dedication to the Lord. He has only been a member for four years and is giving his all to service in the Kingdom. We visited with him just getting to know one another, and then he shared some ideas for possible humanitarian projects in the community. He then accompanied us to visit a parish infirmary. This is a government facility for men and women who are in various stages of ill health who have no other place to go. We met with the Matron who we could tell is very dedicated to these people. We toured the facility and quickly recognized the need for humanitarian aid. We plan to propose a project to assist with some improvements. This will be our first time to originate and propose a project. This is what we were sent here to do. 

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