Douglas Castle, Jamaica: Where the mountains meet the sea.
From my journal January 3, 2018:
We left Montego Bay this morning at 8:30 a.m. headed toward Ochos Rios on Philip Goldston Hwy. This highway is the main highway that is used to travel between most of the big cities along the Northern coastline.
There is a good portion of the ride where you can look to your left and see the turquoise waters of the calm, majestic Caribbean Sea. The highway is lined with beautiful landscape. Palm trees and fruit trees to the left and rolling hills to the right spotted with beautiful green foliage. This goes on for miles until after we leave St. Annes Bay, a small coastal town with amazing food and the hustle and bustle of people going on about their day. We stopped in St. Anne's Bay for lunch and a quick visit to the bank (well, quick might be a little over stated.)
We ate lunch at a little restaurant situated at the top of a narrow flight of stairs in a two story building on a side street away from most of the people conducting business on foot on the main drag. Lunch consisted of the most amazing jerk chicken with rice and peas and "vegetables" that is literally what we would call cole slaw in the U.S. It was super amazing. And extremely fresh.
Once we were done with lunch we headed back out for our hour and a half journey into the beautiful sweet smelling mountains near Nine Mile, the birth place of the legendary Bob Marley. The ride was full of pot holes and good conversation and seemed a great deal shorter than the time showed it had been. When we got high up in the mountains I could look out of the window to my left and literally see where the Caribbean Sea met the coastline of this beautiful country. Far above any beaches I could see the majestic beauty of this island that I've made my second home. The mountains made their way down to the coast as if they were arms, open...waiting to greet the newest wave of visitors. I really had never seen such beauty.
When we arrived in Douglas Castle residents there came up to the car to greet Dr. Douglas (yes the name is part of the town's name) as they were excited to see the former resident that had departed so long ago to go fulfill her dreams and education in the United States. It had been six years since the last time they saw her. Everyone was so excited she was home that when they saw her in the car they would come over to greet her and see how she was. Even the deaf man, who knew no sign language, but could communicate with everyone by reading lips and making hand gestures. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. There is one road into and out of Douglas Castle. We were on it. I couldn't help but think it felt as if we were the main attraction in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade even though we were the only car traveling through.
We met with the local early childhood school principal and went over how we could best help her community and learn from what they were doing there in regards to education. We assessed the site at which our service learners would be working and talked about where we would house the students to immerse them into the community there. We toured the local church which is currently serving as the make shift classrooms for the children while they construct a new building down the road. As the church is small, and the accommodations are challenging to say the least, there are times when they can not have school because some of the classrooms would be exposed to the elements if it rained. I saw the reason for the hurried nature of the new construction happening as we toured the church.
Then, as quickly as it felt we came into the community, we had to say our goodbyes to make the journey back down out of the mountains to where we were staying in Montego Bay. But not before we made way to Nine Mile so I could pay my homage to the much respected Bob Marley. As a historian who specializes in slavery and civil rights, I can not tell you the magnitude of my gratitude for my tour guides taking me there to see this iconic place. I knew it would have to be an excursion for the service learners as well.
Our journey back ( a different way) took me through different towns with more amazing food. One thing about Jamaica, you will never be hungry there.
Want to see this awesome and amazing place and learn about the community while living there for 10 days in June? Make sure to apply today so we can get you started!!
TRIP BREAKDOWN: 10 Days/9 Nights July 7-17, 2018 ALL INCLUSIVE OF MEALS, EXCURSIONS, TRIP INSURANCE, TRANSPORTATION AND SITE SUSTAINABILITY.
EXCURSIONS INCLUDE: APPLETON RUM PLANTATION, BLUE MOUNTAIN COFFEE PLANTATION, NINE MILE (BOB MARLEY), DUNN'S RIVER FALLS, NEGRIL (RICK'S CAFE)
PRICE: $1875.00 plus airfare $350.00 deposit; payments monthly following.
We visited with AOII at University of Alabama this week and they were AMAZING!! They were awesome at our Kahoot game and asked GREAT questions!! Since they were so awesome we are giving away another COUPON in their honor!!! If you mention "AOII" in the coupon section of the application, we will give you $50.00 off the trip of your choice!!! So hurry and get your savings!! If you are an AOII member you get $75.00 off!!!