When I look back on my time in Jamaica, I can summarize the whole experience thus far with
just one word, community. I knew it would encompass a large part of this experience since it is
one of the main pillars of PVI, but I never realized, until recently, just how crucial it is to me as
well as every other Jamaican I have met. Every facet of my life here has some form of
community, whether it be the other PVIs, my mission communities, my support staff, or the
random Jamaicans I come across when I need a helping hand.
“This same hospitality, generosity and loving nature has given me the passion
to go out of my way to do the same for someone else.”
Coming from an individualistic society, it was surprising to see just how selfless and welcoming
Jamaicans were. I felt extremely welcomed and loved in each of my mission sites. No one
hesitated inviting me over to their yard, cooking food for me, or giving me very wise advice
about life, faith, and relationships. Jamaicans have a special way of making you feel like you
belong to a larger family. They are always willing to welcome someone new or extend a helping
hand if necessary. A lady from one of my mission sites opened her home to an 8-year- old boy
because he had no parents to look after him even though she had no connections to the child
whatsoever. Jamaicans are always ready and willing to help those in need in any way they can
without any hesitations. Even when I am backing out of a spot in a crowded parking lot, I know
there will be at least three people trying to help me out. It warms my heart knowing that a
complete stranger will go out of their way to ask me if I am alright or if I am lost and know
where I am going. This same hospitality, generosity and loving nature has given me the passion
to go out of my way to do the same for someone else.
“…they have loved me unconditionally despite all of my flaws.”
Since coming here, I have made a more conscious effort to see other peoples’ needs before my own. I have made a strong effort to complete little acts of kindness and extend the same warm Jamaican spirit to everyone I meet.
Community has definitely been the most crucial part of this entire year. Each community I am a
part of has shaped me in some way, but none more than my fellow Passionist Volunteers. These
incredible individuals have looked out for me, put up with my shenanigans, challenged me to be
the best version of myself, and most importantly, they have loved me unconditionally despite all
of my flaws. It is hard to sum up just how important and impactful my Jamaican community is to
me; all I can say is that it is truly something special.