City of Refuge: Kingston, Jamaica
In March 2019, The MI Project took a trip to visit the city of Kingston, Jamaica. Our goal was to visit a home for the aged, and bring donations they had asked for to help the elderly folks who live here, and to visit the City of Refuge Children's Home, an orphanage.
We choose Kingston, because my brother Joe is originally from Kingston, and he wanted to make an impact in his home. After months of coordinating, fundraising, and collecting donation, Joe, our sister Ruth and I flew from Hawaii, Los Angles and New York to Kingston, and make our impact.
Our first day was spent at the home for the aged (don't you love that phrase way more than old folks home or retirement home?!). We were pleasantly surprised to see a local group of children at the home keeping the members of the home company. The sounds and the shenanigans children make, really bring life to places like these!
The nurses at the home were kind enough to show us their modest home, and introduce us to a few members who stay there. These nurses work tirelessly to keep the home incredibly clean, as they cook and care for over 25 men and women; showering them with love, and both physical and mental stimulation to keep them with us a little longer. They are incredible humans!
Our third day was spent running a marathon, which allowed me to raise money for the MI Project! And who doesn't like running a marathon?!?!
Our fourth day was... recovery after the 26.2 miles!
Our fifth day was spent finalizing the details of our visit to the children's home, which included ordering over $400 in pizzas for the children's dinner.
On our sixth day, we traveled for over an hour up a steep mountain until we came across the entrance to the City of Refuge Children's Home. When we finally arrived with 30 pizzas, drinks and 30 desserts, we were so excited to meet the children! The children devoured the pizza for dinner, and were a blast! They reminded me of the children at the orphanage in Cambodia, and it took everything to not cry. They jumped, screamed, ran around, and make our hearts warm with love.
We were able to meet a few older children who live at the orphanage and one story still warms my heart, and makes me want to do more. A 20 year old young man, who grew up at the City of Refuge Orphanage told us he wakes up at 4am, to cook for the children, and then make a trek down the mountain to attend college, after a long walk, and a few bus rides he sits in school all day. He then makes the reverse trip in time to cook dinner for the children at the home, and then begins his studies. He is working to become an engineer and to save money to pay for both his younger brother's college education (also at the orphanage) and his best friends college education.
One of our next impact projects is to collect enough donations to buy him a car, to help save time and increase his study time. We want to help him get to where he needs to get faster.
Our last day was spent hitting both the museums and Trench Town, before we had to head to the airport for our ride home.
In all, Jamaica brought me back to a place of love. I have never been to a place where everyone was so kind, and so welcoming without prejudice or preconceived ideas. Jamaica is truly an amazing place.
2020 Impact Goals: Our next steps in Jamaica is to purchase a reliable vehicle for the older student, collect and bring additional donations for both the home for the aged, and the children's home, and lastly raise funds to provide the first Christmas bonus for the nurses at the home for the aged.
Donations needed: Suitcases, school supplies, children's clothing (all ages), school bags, adult diapers, twin bed sheets, dial body wash, other personal care items. Thank you in advance!