Many of our friends have asked us about our trip to Jamaica, so this is a recap.
We just spent five weeks working with Monsignor Albert and his team in Kingston, Jamaica at St. Patrick’s Foundation. Of the five weeks, we did get to go to Ocho Rios one day and to Strawberry Hill another day. Both are beautiful. The car ride to Ocho Rios was through the rain forest. That trip through the rain forest was most intriguing. The roots of the trees grow out of the ground about 20 feet high like huge statues and the canopy of leaves gives everything a green tone. Even the river reflects the green as it appears to have an emerald color.
This trip all started because of a conversation with Monsignor Albert, founder, and Mark McKenzie, Chairman, at Jamaica Night at St. Luke’s Catholic Church last November. They explained the help that is needed for the people in Jamaica. We called them in December about going to help them and by February 19 we were on our way for five weeks of work, fun, tears, smiles, and lots of new friends.
St. Patrick’s is famous in Jamaica. The Monsignor is famous in Jamaica. Of the four million people who live in Jamaica, most all know who “the Monsignor” is and what St. Patrick’s does.
You can learn more by going to this web site: www.stpatricksfoundation.org. You will learn a lot by just clicking on the 13 minute video done by “60 Minutes” about Monsignor Albert. Then you can click on the individual centers to learn what each center does.
There is so much to say about St. Patrick’s that it is impossible to put it into one article. St. Patrick’s is helping the most disadvantaged people in the world. The most poor in the USA live better than the average person in Jamaica. By Jamaica standards, there are no poor people in the USA.
St. Patrick’s cares for 1500 children from homes that would be condemned in the USA and for 40 adults who were abandoned by society to die because of leprosy, AIDS, elephantiasis, cholera, blindness, and just plain old age. Some homes are build from tin, others from cardboard, some from discarded shipping pallets, and some of poured concrete. Many are without any running water or plumbing.
We wondered what we would have to offer in this setting. And it ended up that we could do a lot to help.
First: they need money. Every dollar that is sent to St. Patrick’s goes to good use for books, computers, supplies, tools for wood shop and cosmetology, and food. For many of the children, the meal provided by St. Patrick’s is the only meal that they get all day. To teach 1500 students and to care for 40 patients requires $70,000 per month (only $45/each). St. Patrick’s is the type of group who needs our charity rather than send money to foreign dictators, Planned Parenthood, NPR, GM, unions, banks, and all those groups who lobby our politicians.
Marcia runs the foundation HQ. Junior runs Riverton for the children between 3 and 6. Pauline runs the skills center. Suzanne runs the teaching center for remedial children. And Joy runs the nursing home for the abandoned. They are all true professionals. They love their work, the children, and the abandoned. They get paid so very little for what they do, especially when compared to teachers in the USA. They do it “to make a difference.”
A sign at one of the centers reads: “Skill is power.” We Americans have been led to believe that knowledge is power because we live in a society of lobbyists and lawyers and journalists. We forget that America was built by the people who did stuff. Entrepreneurs, factory workers, engineers, doctors, and farmers. Well, St. Patrick’s is helping children learn to do stuff. “Skill is power.” The students learn to cut hair, to work computers, to do wood working, to answer telephones, to read, to multiply, to do engineering, to worship God and Jesus, and to cook. When the children leave the program, they get jobs as beauticians, help desk operators, carpenters, cooks, receptionists, secretaries, and electricians. And that is the objective of St. Patrick’s: “to teach these new members of society to take care of themselves.”
One of the items that St. Patrick’s believes is necessary to survive in life is faith in God and Jesus. At each school, all students participate in the morning devotion, in prayer, and in learning the word of God. Wasn’t that what our own founding fathers also believed? The children learn that abortion is wrong, that coveting is wrong, that theft is wrong, and that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. It was refreshing to watch all of it.
So how did we help? Teaching how to speak Spanish. Teaching how to read, write, and do arithmetic (the young children are doing math and reading by the time they are 5 years old). Teaching how to use Power Point, Word, and Excel. Helping high school students learn how to interview. Helping install computer systems. Helping build a new library. Reading to the elderly. Holding the hands of ones who may soon die. There was a lot to do.
We are glad to be home with our friends in the USA. But we also miss our new friends in Jamaica. They reminded us of what America once was before we in America got the “entitlement” disease. Jamaicans accept responsibility for their own lives. The people in Jamaica appreciate everything that we can do for them.
The people in Jamaica gave us much more than we could ever return to them.
A sign in the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Kingston reads: “John 5:36: Doing the work of the one who sent me.” Monsignor Albert and his staff are doing the work of the one who sent them.
Some about our experience in Jamaica is included in “Rules for Conservatives.” You can check it out at www.saveamericanow.us.com.