On September 19, 2007, four of us returned to Jamaica to survey and document the damage from Hurricane Dean, as well as plan future trips and conduct some business.
One of our first stops was to stop in and check with Ms. Nunes at the Lysson's Special Needs School. During our July trip, we took her several toy computers for her children. She said they were a great hit with the children, but that she needed some more. Not only are they educational, but they entertain the children while she is working individually with the children. Her new class this year is quite difficult because some of the children have severe learning disabilities. She has asked us for more of the toy computers and some visual aids such as posters with letters, etc.
Then we went to the Seaside community, a fishing village built on marsh land near the sea. As you can see from the photo to the left, some of these homes are less than 30 feet from the sea. There was a lady and two daughters living in this house. Because she was afraid someone would steal all her things, she decided to stay in the house during the hurricane. When she thought her house was doomed, she moved into the tiny masonry structure attached to her house (right back of house) and stayed in it. Water was over her waist when she was rescued from that building.
This home was badly damaged as were many in the area. The walls and the roof of 1/2 of the house were lost. Again, this is the home of one lady and two daughters.
This is another example of damaged homes in Seaside. This is the home for several mothers and children.
This home near Seaside was actually on a very steep hill before the storm. After the storm, it was several hundred feet away, down the hill, and in the road. A family of six lived in this home. The owner is a farmer and is doing lawn work and working other people's gardens just to survive. He cut the grass in the entire church yard of Port Morant Methodist with a machete.
On Friday afternoon, we went to the Muirton Boys Home. It was great, even though many of the boys had not returned from school, but you could sense an renewed sense of pride. First and most obvious, there was a white picket fence around the flower bed that had been constructed by the boys and some of the male instructors there.
Inside, we learned that there were now 22 boys there. Up from 15 in January 2007 and 18 in July. There were 6 of the boys staying in the room were we had replaced the floor in July. The lockers we built were being used and the facility was much neater because of them. Many of the boys had custom painted their lockers, some with artwork. The one to the left has an excerpt from the Lord's Prayer. Also, we noted that according to their daily schedules, they have devotions in the morning and evening. We left Bibles for them on our previous trip. After that, a minister and missionaries went there and had several boys give their lives to Christ. So, the Spirit is moving at that home and the director encouraged us to come back and help further their spiritual development even more.
One of the new boys, who was not there in July when our team helped them paint the mural in the community room, took us into the room, pulled a table away from the wall and pridefully showed us the mural.
We also check on the chicken house. We had left it nearly completed, but we could not find any chicks. We were pleased to know that it was working great and they had cleaned the first batch of chickens a few days before we arrived and they had a freezer filled with them. In the photo, you can see the next batch. The third batch had not been purchased because of the hurricane. They are also planning to buy some layers.
In summary, the hurricane damage was not as severe as we had anticipated, but people are hurting severely. Almost all of the fruit was lost and with that, many jobs no longer exist. There is still a shortage of food, but it is not severe. We see God working in many areas. The soil is fertile and we hope to join Him in his work there soon.
Isaiahsixeight is a Christian mission organization which focuses on an extremely poor area of eastern Jamaica. Please visit our web site: www.isaiahsixeight.org.