Saturday, June 5, 2010

UofM Reunite in Jamaica!

It was a pleasant surprise for our SEGH team to meet up with the Business School's Emerging Markets Club working on a coop for women's weaving and the Engineering School's Blue Lab working on a water purification system.

Living with the Hagley Gap Community

So what was it like living with the locals for 10 days in Hagley Gap, Jamaica?

Below are some reflections from our team -

Gap Square.

The square is their version of a downtown, the area in Hagley Gap with stores, eating places, and bars. The music was often blasting (literally to the point where my house shook) during nights and weekends, and families of all ages hung out to enjoy each other’s company. It was the place to meet up with anyone, locals and internationals alike, and a good place to host birthday parties as well.

Swimming Pool.

The swimming pool, or water hole, was a great way to escape the hot sun and interact with the local children. The boys played games like King of the Rock while the girls and boys played Monkey in the Middle. Our team enjoyed heading to the water hole to cool off and gravitated towards one part which reminded us of a Jacuzzi.

Spanish Town Road by Jedi.

This restaurant we went to for our daily lunch is one we all looked forward to for its delicious food and great atmosphere. There were always locals hanging out and Jamaican reggae or movies on. It was a great break from our busy day!


Our host families were great. Jamaican families often rose with the sun and were up by 6:00am. Both families were very flexible with our schedules and were happy to have our meals ready at different times. The food we had during our trip was amazing – fried dough and canned mackerel in tomato, fried chicken, rice and beans, and more! At the end of a long day, we looked forward to going home to dinner and hanging out with our host families.


Fishing in Hagley Gap was available at two nearby rivers. The fish were caught with bare hands under rocks or through a spear. Often the day’s catch could be stored in the freezer for future meals. Our friends, T and Yellowman (both nicknames) impressed us with their diving skills in rushing waters. That same evening, we enjoyed baked fish with jerk spice.

Farm Tour.

Magie’s farm tour was a random and delightful visit. Originally planned for the beginning of the trip, it got postponed to our last day. The team trekked around the farm which had a large assortment of fruits/vegetation that did not seem to be in any order: plums, bananas, oranges, cocoa, sugarcane, grapefruit, rosemary and more. Magie was extremely hospitable, giving us each a sample of every fruit and herbs to go. It was a fun experience eating fresh fruit and traversing through the trees and bushes to see the next part of her farm.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Blue Mountain Project

For information on the Blue Mountain Project, please visit the following link:

Students Going to Jamaica: Emmanuelle Ravat-Francoise

Emmanuelle Ravat-Francoise is a dual degree student pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the Ford School of Public Policy and Master of Public Health at the School of Public Health. She is also working to a achieve certificates in Global Health and Science and Technology Policy. She has previously attended for a Masters degree in International Relations atSciences Po University, Paris and from Sankt Gallen University, Switzerland. As a global health policy student, her interests include the processes of technological development, innovation, and research and development of bio-technologies, medical drugs, and health programs-- specifically relating to issues of social justice and access to those health services in the developing world.

Students Going to Jamaica: Amelia Foo

After four years living in the income security of a cushy cubicle job with Deloitte, I finally decide to leave this comfort zone in Chicago for ten days and join my best friend from college and her fellow grad school friends on a trip Jamaica. Not Ochos Rios, not Montego Bay, not Negril… but Hagley Gap- a small rural community resting near the famed Blue Mountains. Away from the white sandy beaches and black cliffs and tourist resorts, this rural community has been the focus of the Blue Mountain Project, which has worked over the years to develop the community by administering healthcare, building infrastructure, and starting up new businesses. Taking time-off from work is almost a misnomer, given that I plan to work on a sustainability project together with the Students Engaged in Global Healthcare of University of Michigan. I hope that my title as “Consultant” in my current corporate job would manifest the skill sets in tackling issues faced in this rural community, and to continue the efforts of the Blue Mountain Project. As much as I wish to contribute to this community, I sense that this trip would more than anything, be a lesson for me- in living the life of simplicity and happiness, and having the hope that better things can happen when we are all in this together.

Students Going to Jamaica: Karen Tam

Hi! I am Karen Tam and I am a dual-degree graduate student in Business Administration and Public Policy. Coming from a pre-medicine and healthcare consulting background, I came to graduate school with an interest in domestic health policy and management; however, after a summer abroad working in health clinics in rural Rwanda, my interests have expanded to global health. My long term career interests aim to intertwine my experiences and talents in management mixed with my pre-medical knowledge in emerging markets. I am particularly interested in using private sector solutions from corporations to engage the public sector in healthcare. Through the BMP SLP, I want to engage the community and put my studies into real practices to directly impact patient access to quality healthcare services. I will also bring the lessons learned forward to my summer internship with GE Healthcare in Bangladesh. I am particularly excited to be leading this team as everyone truly has a heart of learning and we will be experiencing different cultural, professional, and team challenges together. I cannot wait to see how the next 10 days will unfold.

Students Going to Jamaica: Karen Tam

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. A return to love - Marianne Williamson