One of my personal goals is to get better at making videos to document our memories, and to share them with friends and family. I hope you enjoy a short look at our travels from 2015:
2014 was another eventful year, and we are so thankful for all the people and places we encountered! As usual, we’ve put together a short video of clips from our adventures. You’ll see footage from Peace Corps Jamaica, some road trips and National Parks, France and Switzerland, and more. We hope you enjoy!
What do you say when people ask you, “how was it?”
Today we say goodbye to what has been our home and lives for the past two years. It’s been a roller coaster ride, almost 4 total years of our life if you include the process we went through just to get accepted and placed to serve as volunteers (which was typical at the time, not so typical now). The last couple of months, weeks, and days we’ve had the chance to reflect with other fellow volunteers, get in a few new adventures, and more importantly, say thanks to the people of Jamaica who have taught and given us so much.
It’s incredible to think of all of the challenges, the fun, the adventure, the work- everything that makes up the life of a Peace Corps Volunteer. There’s just no way to really answer question, “how was it?”. I guess we could say, “It was everything we’d hope it would be and more,” and that still feels like we are cheapening the experience.
Two Years Video
It’s impossible to summarize two years, but these short video clips will hopefully give you a taste of our experience in Jamaica as Peace Corps Volunteers. We’re so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to come and live in a Jamaican community, to share life with people, to be challenged and to grow. It was not always easy, but we have gained so incredibly much in return.
And these are photos from the three farewell parties we attended (two of which were at the community center this past weekend):
-J + M
This past Sunday Michelle and I were invited to a high school concert in a different parish to support my supervisor’s daughter. We didn’t think too much about it, just another opportunity to see a different part of the country and experience a high school concert.
After a beautiful- if hurried- drive through picturesque farmland and then hairpin turns overlooking the island during “golden time,” we reached the historic all-girls high school. It sat like a chateau at the peak of a humble mountain.
We had just enough time before the show to greet my supervisor’s daughter, a “senior” in the steel pan band. We also discovered that one of my summer camp volunteers would be in the choir, as well as the daughter of one of our favorite bus drivers.
The concert featured steel pan (steel drum) bands, dramatic and entertaining choir performances, and short solos by several piano students. We were pleasantly surprised at the girls’ talent and have never enjoyed a high school show so much. The choir pieces were performed like musical numbers, many of which were cleverly written in Jamaican patois by the music teacher herself. Hopefully the short video clips we put together will give you a sense of the entertainment value and the energy in the room that night!
We had no idea what we were in for, but we both agreed it was an unforgettable, truly enjoyable night.
– J + M
Peace Corps’s Third Goal Office is hosting a video challenge for this year’s Peace Corps Week. Being the wanna-be film-maker that I am (and being partial to the Office of Third Goal who awarded us a free trip to DC last summer!), I had to do something.
Peace Corps has three primary goals for its volunteers, and the third goal focuses on raising awareness about our countries of service among Americans. Hence, the contest to depict what you wish Americans knew about your country in two minutes or less.
My strategy was to let Jamaicans speak for themselves (not too many PC countries can capitalize on their English-speaking counterparts). I’ve collected a lot of great interview footage over the two years, so hopefully I’ll get motivated to share more of that eventually.
This video makes me smile.
I coordinated two youth camps at our community center. The goal of these camps was to unite youth from different communities, teach Continue reading “For the Smiles: Summer Camps 2013 Video”
One of the rewards of being a Peace Corps Volunteer is getting to meet amazing people who serve alongside you and making new friends who live all over the U.S. This video is an interview with a very special woman. Although we weren’t in the same training group, we were lucky enough that our terms of service on island overlapped more than a year, giving us the opportunity to share some time together here and there. In the video, she shares some of her funny stories and serious reflections from living two years in Jamaica. I think you’ll enjoy it!
If you want to see more, this is a link to the extended, “uncensored” interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed7fA20blcA
A while back, Jedd and some other Peace Corps Volunteers on island started a collaborative cooking blog called PCJ Cookshop. There, volunteers can share their recipes for dishes that can be made with ingredients that are available and affordable to Peace Corps Jamaica’s volunteers. This past week, we worked on the creation of our first cooking video together. The link below will take you to the original post where you can access other PCJ Cookshop recipes (like Jedd’s famous “Run Down”).
Jamaica is known for its music. “Artists” (singers or DJs) are idolized, even to the point of causing riffs between communities and leading the youth into some big trouble. Some Jamaicans blame the dance hall music culture for the degradation of society’s values. There are a number of artists, however, who are promoting positive values through catchy songs. Here are a few of our favorites that we thought y’all would enjoy:
I’ve been collecting footage of the various creatures and friends around our yard since we arrived. Some have already come and gone in the short time we’ve been here, but there is also a continuous renewal of life through new birth. In that way, the place is always, always full of life.
Most recently, we disposed of a particularly unwelcome guest, Continue reading “Life In The Yard: A Video (and so much more)”