This is a guest post from one of our travelers, Cali B.
When I got back from my first Jamaica trip in 2015, I spoke often of Bluefields and people would always ask me, “What is it about this little town that you love so much?!” I guess through pictures and my stories it just seemed like another small, less established town that we had stumbled upon in our travels. It’s really hard to translate into words all of the things that popped into my head, so my answer was usually “the people, the views of the crystal blue ocean” —common answers that were true, but not the whole story.
Then one day at work it hit me. All of the memories started aligning and I knew why I was so attached to this little slice of paradise located on the Southwestern shores of the country: Community. Okay, you’re going to need some background for this one…
When I’m not constructing water catchment systems with the Jamaica team, I work for a prestigious land developer in Raleigh—Newland Communities. I’ve been there since I graduated college, and our goal is simple: create healthy, thriving, beautiful neighborhoods for people to live in. We pore over the amenities we place to encourage homeowners to meet neighbors, feel a sense of belonging, and use spaces to create life long memories with those around them. I’ve experienced first hand how the environment you are in shapes your entire well being and affects quality of life.
We do exactly what Wolde and the rest of Bluefields is trying to do : build a better community.
Since teaming up with Wolde, we have refurbished the Community Center, where residents of the town come together for educational classes, social events, and charity work. There has also been great progress made on how fishing is regulated, so that the reefs are protected and the town has a sustainable export to bring in money. Residents of Bluefields are coming together and thinking of innovative ways to protect and serve the people around them. Needs are being identified and growth is being made. When you hear Wolde talk about his love for Jah, love for people and love for equality, it ignites something inside of you that you’ll take with you from then on.
The work we do in Jamaica is an extension of what we do in our daily lives back stateside. Many team members are socially active, bring awareness to injustices and give back to our own local regions as much as we can. We love people and we love the feeling you get when you are a part of something bigger than yourself, a part of making places better for generations after.
A lot of prayers, hard work, hope and perseverance goes into the Bluefields community. I think we’re all ready to bring back a little of that spark with us again.