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Interview with a Missionary in Jamaica
When you think of Jamaica, most think of the beautiful beaches and warm tropical breeze blowing through your hair. This is the image most think of when they think of Jamaica but there is another side of Jamaica. Part of Jamaica is very poor and the people don't always have what they need. My dad, Rufus DeZeeuw, went on a mission trip to this part of Jamaica to help out the people in need.
When did you first hear about this trip?
I first heard about the trip about eight months before we left. It was about August or September of 2002.
What made you want to go on this trip?
The desire to travel to another country and to take part in a mission project that would benefit the people of Jamaica.
Who went on this trip with you?
There were 10 of us on the trip: Adam, Nikki Glover from Elkton, and seven other kids and one other adult from the Brookings area.
When did you go?
We went in the end of May, first part of June in 2003.
Wasn't it very hot that time of year?
Yes, it was like midsummer South Dakota with a lot of humidity.
How long were you there?
We were there for 10 days.
What was your first impression of the island of Jamaica?
We arrived in Kingston after midnight because of flight delays so my first impression was at night. I was surprised at how many people were still up walking around at midnight. When I woke up the next day, I saw all the tropical trees and flowers.
What was your job while you were in Jamaica?
We helped in the construction of an addition on a school.
Did you have the tools to do this?
We had basic hand tools to use. We didn't do very much carpentry work. Our work was laying brick and we had to mix concrete on the ground by hand. It was very physical work.
Did you complete the job?
Not quite, however, our objective wasn't to completely finish because another team was going down to finish the project.
Were the members of the community glad to have you?
Yes, they were very appreciative that we were down there to help them with the building.
Where did you stay?
I stayed in the house of the school's superintendent. Other members of the team stayed with other members of the community.
How was the food? Any crazy tropical surprise dishes?
The food was very good. We had fish, goat, and a lot of fresh fruit. The wildest thing I had was fish that was cooked and served whole.
What were the people of Jamaica like?
They were very laid back and easy going.
Was it difficult to communicate with the Jamaicans?
No, they spoke English. At times they spoke in a Jamaican dialect which was very confusing and they spoke it so fast that there was no way to catch everything they said.
Have you kept correspondence with any people you met while you were there?
What did they think of your group?
The kids were very inquisitive of the members of our team with glasses. Not many people down there had glasses so they were very interested.
Did you have any free time while you were down there?
Yes. We did some sightseeing around the island and we got to go swimming in the Carribean and jump off a waterfall.
Did anyone get sick from your group?
No, we were careful to not drink the water and always had bottled water.
What was your overall impression of the trip?
It was very exciting and satisfying to know that we did something to help the people of Jamaica.
Would you go again if you had the chance?
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