papayaWoke up this morning to the peaceful sounds of life in Hagley Gap, Jamaica: Children running around playing with odds and ends; Women making their way to the river for water, passing gossip along the way; Wind rippling through date palm fronds; A car straining to make it up the hill. Looking out the window I saw the trees and flowers – brilliant greens and yellows and reds undiluted by pollution. Ripe limes and mangoes hang from nearby trees; maybe they will be on my breakfast plate tomorrow. This morning I was greeted with ackee (creamy yellow), breadfruit (slightly starchy and firm), and papaya (deep orange and so so sweet).

Today, Austin and I will walk around the Gap visiting the Blue Mountain Project host families, confirming who is still interested in providing a home to the Service Learning volunteers on their visits to Hagley Gap and what their volunteer preferences are. Host families are one of the reasons that the Blue Mountain Project is successful. Not only do they provide a place to sleep at the end of a long working day, but host families also gently introduce the volunteers to Jamaican life through traditional food and by inviting them to be a part of their family for a short period.

My host family, Linette Richards, is certainly taking good care of me: excellent food, good company, a great source of information on Jamaica politics as well as on Hagley Gap life. Like I said before – Blue Mountain Project would not be where it is today without the host families.

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