By Kimberly Reynolds and Molly Sant
Photos by Jordan Waites
Today was by far the busiest day of our trip. It consisted of holding a health clinic for women at the Women’s Centre, playing with children at Blossom Garden’s Children Home, performing health screens on officers at Church Street Police Station, and joining the congregation of Montego Bay New Testament Church at their family life session.
Our visit to the Women’s Centre was an enlightening experience. As we walked up multiple steps and through the concrete doorway, we entered a typical classroom with an array of desks and chalkboards. We continued walking into the facility and noticed one poster full of contraceptive information, and another filled with child care tips. The women themselves were soft-spoken, yet very kind and courteous. Some were pregnant while others recently had children.
After finishing our visit at the women’s center, we headed to Blossom Garden’s Children’s Home. Once inside the orphanage, half of us were assigned to the infants and the other half was assigned to the toddlers. Both the babies and toddlers alike were so eager and happy to see us. Those interacting with the infants held them, rocked them, and bonded with them. Once in our arms, we could tell that the infants did not want to be set down. Us students who had the opportunity to interact with the toddlers first helped with lunch and then headed out to the playground.
Once out on the playground, we immediately joined in play with the children. Some kids just wanted to be held, while others grasped our hands, pulling us toward the swing set and slide. The goodbyes at the orphanage were definitely one of the more difficult parts of the day. Not only had we each bonded with particular children, but the children had been so quick to attach to us, even referring to some of us as “mom”. Even so, as we reluctantly peeled ourselves away from hugs, and looked back, we noticed many children continuing on in their play. There is no doubt that children are resilient, yet this day still left a lingering feeling in our hearts to want to do more for these children.
Onto our third excursion of the day, we headed to downtown Montego Bay to the Church Street police station. We checked weight, height, BMI, blood glucose, blood pressures, and taught on sleep hygiene. We had the opportunity to interact with a male and female police officer who had just come on duty.
We piled back into the vans and headed a few streets over to the Montego Bay New Testament Church of God once again. Upon arriving, we were able to sit in on a Christmas celebratory church service. Midway through the service, after many prayers and hymns, we were able to provide education on sleep, distribute recipe cards to the church community, and even sing a Christmas hymn (shoutout to the inaugural Emory Nursing Choir). The church community was so welcoming toward us throughout the entire service and even served us a delicious dinner at the end. The unwavering, welcoming attitude within the community of Montego Bay truly continues to amaze me.