September 13-17, 2010: Jamaica Classes

This week proved to be an exciting week of education coupled with a fun learning environment.  The students learned about Jamaican Health and Nutrition, Jamaican History, Jamaican Culture, Reggae Music and had time for quizzes over books and lectures as well.  Our guest educators were a delight to have.  They brought a wealth of knowledge.

Our weekdays consist of morning classes from 9:30-12:00.  We have students learning American Sign Language (ASL), Jamaican Sign Language (JSL), and Interpreting.  We break for lunch from 12:00-1:30 daily.  The students walk to town for lunch on their own.  On days when it is raining, we have a few students go get lunch for everyone in a taxi.  Afternoon classes resume at 1:30, and the classes end around 3:30 or 4:00.  The afternoon sessions feature local guest educators on a variety of topics.  Each Wednesday we have “Goshen House,” which is a day spent at the apartment with the Program Director and his family, or a field trip day.

Our speakers range from former Jamaica employees, to college professors, to medical doctors, to the first Jamaican reggae violin player!  We are fortunate to have such talent, skills and knowledge in our presence.

Mr. Hanna, the spouse of our Local Coordinator, spoke to the students on Health and Nutrition.  He served Jamaica for over 24 years in a position related to his topic.  He was a wealth of knowledge and information.

Mark Stevenson, the first reggae violin player, not only lectured on the History of Music and Reggae in Jamaica, but he also demonstrated how the violin accompaniment can be added to reggae and dancehall music.  The students were mesmerized by his musical abilities.  It was fascinating to hear a familiar reggae beat with a violin accompaniment.  It was amazing!

Mrs. Higgins graced our presence on two days.  She spoke on Patois, the local dialect, and the History of Jamaica.  Her lectures were interesting, and she very effectively kept and held the attention of the students.

The students have had a range of foods on their lunches.  Some days they opt to order pizza…

…and other days they prefer to further educate the other students on how to get the most out of a chicken bone.

Some days they prefer to go “out on the town” for lunch…

…while other days they prefer to stay in and work on their Non Manual Markers, or just have a good time.