EDITOR’S NOTE: The 2020 immersion took place earlier this year before social distancing, travel restrictions and shelter-in-place orders were enacted to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rewarding (adj.)- affording satisfaction, valuable experience, or the like; worthwhile.
Our first couple of days at the Missionaries of the Poor was eye-opening in many regards. Despite living conditions and often failing health, the residents maintained a happy disposition and greeted us as if we were long-time friends.
To see the emotional uplift of the residents as soon as we entered the room was instant gratification. Our hearts were full as we provided basic care such as dressing, feeding and moisturizing the residents. The women were overjoyed as we painted their nails in an array of colors while the children were ecstatic to engage in playful banter and simply being held.
While the purpose of our trip is to conduct assessments on residents and aid the Brothers and Sisters of the ministry, perhaps our greatest responsibility and greatest reward is to surrender ourselves and our typical ways of life to be one with the Brothers, Sisters, and residents.
We ate as they ate, prayed as they prayed, and although most of us are not Catholic we respected their customs and truly immersed ourselves into the experience.
Jamaica itself is beautiful in many ways from the delectable food with flavors that dance on your tongue to the abundant mango trees and palms. Though the city of Kingston is impoverished, it is adorned by its beautiful mountains and unrelenting sunshine.
The days are long but each day as we turn in, we look forward to the experiences tomorrow will bring.