After a week-long service trip in Jamaica, twenty Malden Catholic students and their Campus Ministers returned home with full hearts and many memories.
"It was another amazing experience for us and the young men we brought to serve," said Director of Campus Ministry Mrs. Mary Driscoll.
This year's trip consisted of many service projects and opportunities for relationship-building with the Jamaican people, including working on a farm, at the Mt. Olivet Boys' Home, and a much-anticipated return trip to the Mizpah Primary School.
The major project this year was making round tables and benches out of cement for the children's playground at the Mizpah Primary School.
"The classrooms are crowded, noisy, and dark," said Mrs. Driscoll. "We wanted to make an outdoor space where the teachers could take the children to read, have a snack, or just sit and enjoy the Jamaica sun."
Students worked on the construction of this project throughout the duration of the trip and completed it the day before returning home.
"It was eye opening for us to see such a different educational experience. We don't even think about our school supplies, but even a pencil means the world to them," said senior Ryan Donahue about MC's time at Mizpah. "Working with the fifth graders on religion, history, and math for a few days was the best experience of my life. It was heartbreaking to have to say goodbye."
Also at the primary school, Lancers had recreational time for basketball and other games with the students and helped clean the building's flat roof, which had been covered in years of debris.
Lancers also spent time with children from Mt. Olivet Boys' Home playing soccer, football and basketball, reading stories, or just sitting and talking with the smaller children. Junior Nick Scarpello describes their time at the Boys' Home this way: "From the minute we got there, the kids embraced us wholeheartedly. Within minutes, footballs and basketballs were flying around and everyone was laughing and smiling. It was an honor for me to be able to teach them how to play football, a game that I fell in love with as a kid myself."
Mrs. Driscoll recalls a moment in which the children from Mt. Olivet remembered Malden Catholic from last year's service trip. "It was amazing that the boys recognized the school just from the MC logo on their apparel."
Lancers were also given the opportunity to work with a young local farmer who in the morning works in the field, and at night goes to college. With help from Lancers-in-Action, it took one day to clear an entire field, a project which would have taken the farmer a week to do on his own.
"Every one of us was moved by the love, laughter and joy of the Jamaican people. They have very little, but they welcomed us with open arms and readily shared whatever they had with us," said Mrs. Driscoll. "Campus Ministry is so grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve in Jamaica again this year. Thank you for your support and prayers."
Reflecting on the many blessings of their week of encounter with the Jamaican people, Senior Ryan Heffron put it best: "It was all about the relationships."
Click here to see photos and memories from this year's trip.
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