So what was it like living with the locals for 10 days in Hagley Gap, Jamaica?
Below are some reflections from our team -
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.
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.
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.