Thursday, June 14, 2012

JAFSP - Day 7 (School of Hope)

Banana tree at the School of Hope
Group of students I worked with today

Today I was back at the School of Hope with a new arrangement of students to supervise. I went in first thing to speak to the principal/head mistress of the school and as I walked in the classroom, about 4-5 children ran up to hug me. One can never feel insignificant in such a place! We worked with two groups in the morning and after lunch, we worked with another group and then the students worked in 2:1 or 2:2 sessions.
Another picture taken by a child at the school
I love this picture taken by one of the children

Another child took this picture of her friend with Mrs. Sharon

Approving the picture :)
Sweet little girl watching older boy to play along
The children were just as energized as before (if not more) and nearly all were extremely affectionate. They all wanted our cameras again to take pictures and some of their shots turned out very well! They were more organized today and during recess grabbed drums and other instruments, sat in the chairs outside where we did our groups that morning, and began to play/sing/dance their traditional music. I couldn't help but think how this is so different from the States. Many of our children have lost traditional music with budget cuts and a society that is so intent on moving forward that we sometimes forget to hold on to what is good...and preserve our culture. These children live, literally, in another world.
Working with children with hearing impairments

My student from SMWC, Laura Kempton (senior music therapy major), is also on this trip. Today is the first day I got to work with her, so I was sure to get some pictures of her as well. One child took our picture together and other than the fact that he moved too far to the right, the picture itself turned out nice!
Laura Kempton, SMWC student, with two children at the school

Picture by a child at the school

We did our drumming class as we have every night. Thankfully, tonight was more review with little new material. This is a fast paced class where we are taught numerous Afro-Caribbean drum rhythms, with multiple parts, and also many songs which can be song over those various rhythm patterns. Some of the patterns are just difficult to play at the fast tempos at which we need to play them to be authentic. I find that for some reason, some patterns are easy for me to pick up while others just escape me until we've reviewed them a lot. But, I am enjoying learning new songs and traditional drumming.

Our host

waiting for our food
We walked down the main road to a little stand where our host, a Rastafarian, prepared us an Ital meal. There were no seats, so we all tried to find places to sit on very sharp rocks or just stood. Our meal was interesting and it did not taste badly. In fact, parts of it I really liked. There was soy which looked like hamburger, fresh vegetables like tomato, plantains, and cucumber (which I loved) and numerous other items. I took a picture so I won't forget. Music played as we ate and talked. At different points, we were able to eat fresh East Indian mango which was the best mango I have ever eaten. There was also passion fruit, bananas, etc. to eat. At the end, one of other men cut up coconuts and handed us a straw. At one point, Eric came around with limes and we were able to literally "put the lime in the coconut". Until that moment, I did not know people actually did such a thing!
I put the lime in the coconut

After drumming and planning for tomorrow, we headed to the town beach near us where they had built a bonfire. It was pretty mellow and while some sang, others just talked to the locals. 

Tonight, I battled the large (and apparently biting) ants which have decided that my bed and mosquito netting must be conquered. George, one of the staff, said he will try to spray for me tomorrow while I am gone to allow time for the room to air out (easy without any actual windows). I am hoping that will help keep their number down so I can sleep easier the next few days of the trip!

Tomorrow I return to the Infirmary for my last time.


  1. Sharon,
    I have really enjoyed reading about your adventure! Thanks for taking the time to blog about your experiences.

  2. I agree....thanks for sharing your experiences! I've been inspired by your descriptions of nature, like the shooting stars and lightning storms, and the lime in the coconut!, The work you did in the infirmary sounds amazing; i loved your description of the music and compassion that you experienced.

  3. Thank you! It has been both personally and professionally challenging. Awesome.