Montego Bay: Day at the Waterfall

After a long week of waking up early, getting in late, and sweating our scrubs out in the smiling Jamaican heat, we had the chance to take a break and enjoy Jamaica a little bit. We have done teaching and healthcare screenings all over town in churches, orphanages, and adult and youth centers. We sang Christmas carols, packed food for holiday gift baskets for the less fortunate, and became family with the community here in Montego Bay. It was now time to pump the brakes and relax on our last full day in the tropical country of Jamaica. On the agenda: Dunn’s River Falls in Ochos Rios, Jamaica.

Although it’s a two hour journey to get there, we were amped at the opportunity to travel and explore. From Montego Bay, we traveled through dark skies and rain to Falmouth, Duncan, and Discovery Bay. On our trip, we found out that Discovery Bay is actually where our team leader and trip coordinator Dr. Lisa Muirhead lived with her family for 2 years back in the 90’s. She has been coordinating this alternative winter break (AWB) trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica, since she came to Emory University from The University of Tennessee (UT). At UT, she took students on similar trips like ours to Jamaica and had already made the connections that power this location’s success and mutual appreciation. Runaway Bay was another city we passed through and our bus driver Mr. Willie gave us a very moving and interesting teaching on the history of the city’s name and its connection with slave trade in the 1800s. Mr. Willie shared several little gems of Jamaican history with us along the way and made sure to enrich our American minds with some of his culture as much as he could, and we appreciated it. We continued along through St. Ann’s Bay and finally found our way to Ochos Rios.

Dunn’s River Falls is simply amazing. Once we made it in, the rain stopped, the clouds scattered, and the sunshine pierced through the skies just for us. In this beautiful gem of a natural attraction, we took a hike downhill with AR 15 rifles through the tropical oasis that is Jamaica and found ourselves at the mouth of Dunn’s River Falls, leading into the ocean. From there, we met our tour guide and up through the fresh water of Dunn’s River Falls we went. Beautiful is the only word that can describe nature’s artwork in that place. Simply a thing of beauty and we all had a refreshing, fun time climbing up through the falls. We enjoyed it so much that we did it twice!

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For lunch, we visited the Ochos Rios Jerk Centre where we enjoyed jerk chicken, pork, sausage, and conk, along with roast fish, calalou, rice and peas, and festivals. We’ve become quite accustomed to the foods here in our short stay and had no problem placing our orders by this time. To top it off, we had another run in with Devon House Creamery where we did damage, again. That ice cream didn’t stand a chance. As we loaded up to leave and head back to Montego Bay, we looked out over the beautiful scenic views of the ocean, beaches, and tropical mountains and vegetation in awe. What a time to be alive.

Many many thanks to our incredible professors Dr. Muirhead and Dr. Ferranti for their leadership this week and to the Lillian Carter Center for providing such an amazing opportunity for us. We can’t wait to take what we have learned back to school with us this coming January as many of us start our last semester at Emory. And thank YOU for reading our blog and reading about our work! We are so excited to share!

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