8 Tips to Try Next Time You Travel

Over the years, we’ve learned a few things about traveling, although we still can end up trying to get on the wrong plane (ahem…featured post image…not naming any names…)!

While we’re gearing up for travel season, we thought you’d enjoy a few things we’ve learned about moving from place to place, along the way.

  • Take a picture of your passport, other ID and insurance cards, and keep on your phone in the event of a lost or stolen document.
  • Buy your favorite snacks from the grocery store and pack them in; airport snacks are getting better, but are $$$!
  • Jackets and hats (and neck pillows!) don’t count as luggage. Wear them onto the plane and save space in your suitcase.
  • Spring for the preferred seats towards the front of you have a short layover so you can get off the plane faster and not risk missing your next flight!
  • Look at all nearby airports when booking your flight. If you are willing to travel to them you can save some costs. Sometimes, you could save by arriving at a different airport than you departed from, using a one way rental car or Uber to get you to and from the airport.
    Challenge yourself to only carry on your luggage, especially when traveling to warm countries for two weeks or less (no bulky coats!). Invest in a travel pack (about 40 liters is a good size) that will fit as a carry on. Minimize what you take, and roll your clothing!
    • It’s important to stay hydrated while traveling. Bring a refillable water bottle but empty it before security. Many airports have water bottle refill stations in the terminals.
    • Some airports have “fast passes” that allow you to skip the customs lines upon entry to or departure from a country (looking at you Club MoBay!). Plus, better food and adult beverages than you can get in the terminal!
  • How about you? Comment below to share your favorite travel hacks!

  • Just a Drop in the Bucket.

    Earlier this year, we started accepting applications for assistance, in an effort to understand just how much need was out there, and help us have a better way to plan to meet these needs.

    Within a short time, we received applications from people across the Bluefields, Jamaica area, with various needs brought to our attention – from rainwater catchment, to home and road repairs.

    Here are a few excerpts from the applications we received:

    “I need a water catchment because water is a scarce commodity for me.” ~Shopkeeper, age 49

    “A water tank is needed to store water for my chickens.”
    ~ Poultry farmer, age 52

    “Water is life. Please, I’m badly in need, and can’t afford to buy a tank
    right now. Please and thank you.”
    ~Farmer, age 54

    While there were 56 applications that initially were submitted, we expect more. And those we’ve already received represent over 250 people who’s lives can be impacted positively through our partnership with the Bluefields community.

    Read more about how we’ve already provided clean water to eight of our applicants.

    To find out how you can partner with us to meet these needs, visit our Give Back page for a link to make a donation that is comfortable for you.


    School Supply Drive!

    Sometimes parents of school-age kids can have a hard time purchasing everything on their kids’ school supply list due to circumstances beyond their control.

    Did You Know? The average annual cost of school supplies in the US is $104 per child; not including clothing or electronics.

    Source: http://www.statista.com

    A trio of friends saw this need and decided to step up, take action, and organize a school supply drive in the Walkertown, NC community.

    We’re grateful they allowed us to play a role in this awesome event by putting together signage and promotions around town to help get the word out…and later this week we will also be making our own donation of supplies!

    Want to Give Back? Check out the link below for donation drop off locations and a list of most needed supplies.


    And, even if you aren’t in Walkertown, we hope this has inspired you to donate supplies to your local school, so kids can get a strong foundation in education.

    One love, y’all!

    2017 Annual Report

    We believe that Jah Works, Inc. is a conduit for moving resources from those who can give them, to those that need them most – and believe our financials should reflect that.

    When we found ourselves starting fresh this past year within the non-profit sector AND as a stand-alone organization, we wanted to leverage a solid financial foundation for how much of your generous donations should go towards giving back to others, while still being able to sustain the organization for the long-term.

    We decided to track against three goals that Charity Navigator outlines: Program Expenses, Administrative Expenses and Fundraising Expenses. (As an aside, they are a great source for checking the legitimacy of any non-profit organization.)

    According to their published metrics, the “best” charities are spending 85% or more of their annual expense towards programs, 15% or less on administrative costs to run the business, and 10% or less on fundraising.

    We are happy to report that for Year-End 2017, we were right in line with where Charity Navigator says we should be:

    • Program Expenses: $5,822 Total (95.2% of total expense)
    • Administrative Expenses: $278 (4.5% of total expense)
    • Fundraising Expenses: $19 (0.2% of total expense)

    *For full transparency, once it’s submitted we’ll add our 990 form, a filing required by the IRS for all registered 501(c) 3 organizations.

    Thank you for trusting us to help those who need it most. We are looking forward to a new year full of connecting people and building sustainable communities!

    Wishing you and yours a rewarding 2018.

    One Love, Y’all.

    Give Thanks

    From all of us at Jah Works, we give thanks for all that Jah has blessed us with to be able to complete the work at hand.

    We give thanks for all of our readers, who like, comment and share our posts to help us spread the word.

    We give thanks for all of our donors who host fundraisers and give directly to help us fund work to be done.

    We give thanks for the people who travel with us to give back to others and want to experience a different culture and way of life.

    We give thanks to the communities where we serve, who welcome us with open arms.

    Give thanks, and be blessed this holiday season. One love.

    $6.31. It’s a Start…

    A really cool thing that Amazon does to make it easy for non-profits to have funding is this AmazonSmile program. Essentially, every time you shop Amazon, Jah Works can receive a portion of what you spend. All you have to do is to set Jah Works, Inc. as your preferred charity, and remember to shop via smile.amazon.com whenever you buy from Amazon.

    For the first few months we’ve been on AmazonSmile, we’ve raised $6.31…and it’s a start! Now, we’d like to multiply that by 111% – because we believe in big goals – AND because that would give us $700, which funds a complete rainwater catchment system for a family in need of access to good water.

    So, as you get ready to shop for the holiday season – we appreciate your support through this program. Instructions below for how to get it set up (easy!). Just remember to check that you are ordering through the AmazonSmile platform any time you place an order (hint: unfortunately, you can’t use the mobile app…but the instructions below can help you set up a shortcut on your phone to use easily).

    Click here to set up your Jah Works AmazonSmile!

    Episode 50: Jah Works

    Big Up to the AJAAGWIABM (whoa…So. Much. Acronym.) for hosting the Jah Works team for their 50th podcast event, where we answer the burning questions about what we do, how we do it, and why it’s important.

    Oh, and find out what Megan’s favorite Jamaican snack is too! Before ya tune in, throw us a comment with your guesses!

    A Jew and A Gentile walk into a Bar . . . Mitzvah

    In this installment the professor and the pastor interview the folks from Jah Works, not the band by the same name, but the 501c3 non-profit organization that connects people in the rural community of Bluefields, Jamaica with access to basic needs, education and employment, in order to build sustainable communities. They also create jobs in the tourism sector by regularly hosting small groups of travelers to the area to provide them an immersive experience, along with an opportunity to give back to the community. For more information visit www.jahworksexperience.org, visit them on Facebook and on Instagram @jahworksexpeirence.

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    Experience Bluefields, Jamaica, from October 24 – October 29

    Mark your calendars for this 6 day/5 night (October 24-29, 2017) culturally immersive travel experience on the southern coast of Jamaica. Tour the countryside, enjoy a variety of foods, meet artisans, and give back to the community by participating in a specially selected service project.

    Early Bird (register by June 30)
    $589 Double-Occupancy
    $759 Single-Occupancy

    Yaad Bird (register on or after July 1)
    $609 Double-Occupancy
    $779 Single-Occupancy

    A south coast view

    *pricing includes: all transportation in Jamaica, including airport transfers and travel to excursion; authentic Jamaican welcome dinner; guesthouse lodging with pool and within walking distance to local cook shops, bars and the beach; all tips; and a small donation towards materials for the service project.

    **pricing does not include: airfare to Sangster Int’l airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica; travel insurance (recommended); passport; souveniers; excursion entry fee; meals.

    Zero-interest payment plans available for bi-weekly or monthly payments. Down payment of only $59 to reserve your spot, with last payment due by October 10. Payments are accepted via Paypal (visit our “Give” page for the link).

    Enjoy 10% off the cost of your trip by referring a friend, or as a returning traveller.

    For questions, more info, and to register,
    email us at info @ JahWorksExperience.org.

    The Official Facebook event can be found here.

    Oh, Little Town of Bluefields

    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.