Jamaican “Tings”

Before I took this internship, when I thought of Jamaica, the things that came to my mind were sunshine, water, and resorts.  As a month of living in Jamaica has approached, I have gotten to know this amazing place for so much more.  This is the first chance I have had to work abroad in an environment like this.  I have to admit, compared to my roommates I felt a bit under experienced but ready to approach things with an open mind.

A place with a culture enriched with pride and passion, delicious foods, and the most welcoming and fun people I have ever met.  That is how I would describe Jamaica to anyone who would ask me now.  One of the most interesting things to do is to ask locals what their favourite thing about Jamaica is.  I have gotten so many variations in answers from taxi drivers to people at work to random people on the street: the food, the fruit, the dancing, the partying, church, the weather, the warm and kind nature of the people here, and more.   It has only been one month here and each day I appreciate these things more and more.

Jerk chicken and festival. Delicious!That is not to say there haven’t been any challenges during my time here.  My biggest challenges I have faced are learning about the different stigmas and beliefs in society from their abortion laws, to the views about HIV/AIDS, and to the way that many LGBTQ populations are treated.  For example, one of my assignments here was to work with the youth volunteers to write a blog piece about their views on abortion.  This was the most challenging thing I have done here.  I typed out their responses while the majority of participants voiced strong oppositional views to this matter with some even saying things like rape isn’t the end of the world and abortions in this circumstance should not be allowed.  I found this difficult to not voice my opinion, or bias their blog pieces.  I completed the blog pieces and talked with the youth to explore the reason behind their beliefs: many of them stating religion. 

A sunset on the beach one evening.As I was attempting to choose a topic for this blog I thought about all the topics I could possibly right about pertaining to my work.  This experience is so much more to me than work that I thought I would try and encom

Before I took this internship, when I thought of Jamaica, the things that came to my mind were sunshine, water, and resorts.  As a month of living in Jamaica has approached, I have gotten to know this amazing place for so much more.  This is the first chance I have had to work abroad in an environment like this.  I have to admit, compared to my roommates I felt a bit under experienced but ready to approach things with an open mind.

A place with a culture enriched with pride and passion, delicious foods, and the most welcoming and fun people I have ever met.  That is how I would describe Jamaica to anyone who would ask me now.  One of the most interesting things to do is to ask locals what their favourite thing about Jamaica is.  I have gotten so many variations in answers from taxi drivers to people at work to random people on the street: the food, the fruit, the dancing, the partying, church, the weather, the warm and kind nature of the people here, and more.   It has only been one month here and each day I appreciate these things more and more.

That is not to say there haven’t been any challenges during my time here.  My biggest challenges I have faced are learning about the different stigmas and beliefs in society from their abortion laws, to the views about HIV/AIDS, and to the way that many LGBTQ populations are treated.  For example, one of my assignments here was to work with the youth volunteers to write a blog piece about their views on abortion.  This was the most challenging thing I have done here.  I typed out their responses while the majority of participants voiced strong oppositional views to this matter with some even saying things like rape isn’t the end of the world and abortions in this circumstance should not be allowed.  I found this difficult to not voice my opinion, or bias their blog pieces.  I completed the blog pieces and talked with the youth to explore the reason behind their beliefs: many of them stating religion. 

As I was attempting to choose a topic for this blog I thought about all the topics I could possibly right about pertaining to my work.  This experience is so much more to me than work that I thought I would try and encompass some of this islands true beauty in this post.  I’m excited to see what these next 5 months have in store from my work to my life experience that I will be gaining.  I’m thankful and excited to share this experience with my colleagues Georgia and Manal. We are working hard to get involved in the community through work, playing ping-pong with coworkers after work, signing up for a 10 km race, and meeting new friends.  I am proud to be living in Jamaica!

Jennifer Brunet is working as a Health Promotions Manager with Jamaica Family Planning Association/FAMPLAN in Jamaica.