Saturday, June 9, 2012

Jamaica: Food Production and Training

“Jamaica: Food Production and Training”
Elder Darrel L. Hammon

One of the wonderful things we are able to do as Welfare Specialists is train Priesthood leaders on welfare principles. And sometimes we travel to do it. In the middle of May, we boarded an American Airlines plane, flew to Miami, and then on to Jamaica where we had two very different experiences.
Chicken project in Jamaica
The first experience involved pigs, chickens, and goats. The Church has a variety of food production projects in Guyana and Jamaica. Elder and Sister Whitehead from Preston, Idaho, were our tour guides and chauffeurs. They are the masters of food production, and the Church has several in Jamaica. We were able to visit just a few.

Loading feed for one of the chicken projects

The morning after we arrived, we rose early and went with the Whiteheads to visit some of the food projects already going. First, we went to ACE Hardware and picked up some chicken feed, about 25 bags. I was impressed with the store. It was like one of our stores in the U.S. They loaded us and off we went to another sister’s home. We dropped feed off and went down the lane to where the chicken coop was. It was poor. Her daughter, her nieces and nephews, and I think a sibling lived down the lane. The homes were just corrugated tin shacks, loosely put together.
Goat project
the gaggle of children
A gaggle of children followed us—nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and a daughter. We took a few pictures, and they had to see them almost immediately. They are definitely posers. I loved it. Afterwards, we talked about these kids and wondered what their lives were going to be like. Education was the solution, but they weren’t in school that day.
The next stop was the “Mustard Seed,” a compound of sorts where they house the disabled and those who are HIV positive. It was a fairly nice compound, surrounded by a fence. We drove back to the chicken pens to deliver the feed. Two disabled young men were there doing something. One of them was in a wheelchair. We delivered the feed, and then we looked around the pens: chickens, pigs, and goats. They had both broilers and layers for the compound.
Elder Whitehead and on of the sisters who guided us
Two Jamaican members. One on the right has the chicken project
We then stopped at one of the sister’s houses to take her with us to help us find another sister’s house. She led us right to it. We dropped off some bags of feed near a shed in the back of her house. She was going to receive some chicks the next day. She then showed us around her garden. She has an avocado tree, a pineapple bush, a plum tree, and banana trees. Plus, she had wild flowers and other things growing in her garden. When I asked her where she was from, she told me her father and brothers came from China and stayed. After this, we headed to Ocho Rios.

The drive was absolutely beautiful! We went through Fern Gully, a gorgeous gully with ferns galore—not just ferns but giant ferns. I wish we could have stopped just to walk through them. I doubt, though, we could have actually walked through them because they were so thick. As we drove through Fern Gully, we wound our way down off a hillside into this gully. Both sides were filled with ferns of all sizes. I was impressed with the number of ferns. Soon, though, we landed in Ocho Rios.

Young cook at Scotchies. Jerked chicken..Yum!
We drove over to Scotchies, an outdoor restaurant that featured jerked chicken and pork. Joanne and I purchased a ½ pound of jerked chicken and a ¼ pound of jerked pork and everything that went with it. We gathered up our food and headed beneath a thatched-roof place and began eating. The food was delightful. After eating everything, we thought we should have gotten another ¼ pound of jerked pork. They cooked it on an open grill, seasoned it with the jerked sauce, and then let it cook and cook. They placed a piece of tin on top of it to keep in the moisture and the heat. When they served us, they just lifted the tin and sliced off a chunk of whatever we needed.

Jamaican flower

After eating, we admired the flowers growing around the place. Incredibly beautiful! We then drove back to Kingston via another direction along the beach for a while and then back into the city. The views were breathtaking. Indeed, Jamaica is a beautiful island. The Whiteheads dropped us off at the Wyndham where we rested until dinner.

Jamaican flower
We met the Snows, the Caribbean Area auditors who had come to Jamaica to do an audit, in the lobby and walked over to a Chinese restaurant. It was delicious. We seemed to have more food than we needed. Ironically, Joanne and I thought we would be full after eating a late lunch with the Whiteheads. But we gobbled down all of the food placed before us. I guess we figured we didn’t want to waste it; so, we ate it all. I was actually impressed with the Chinese food, and it wasn’t as expensive as the lunch in the Japanese restaurant, and the food was way more plentiful.

The second experience was training Church leaders on welfare principles. On Wednesday morning, we went to the mission office and trained President Hendricks, the mission president, Brother Brown, and another counselor on welfare principles. They need to train all of their leaders on welfare principles and fast offerings and wanted us to train them so they could then go out to the branches in Jamaica and train their leaders. We had a great time with the mission presidency.
Jamaican sister, Sister Hammon, and Sister Whitehead
We arose early the next morning in order to catch the early flight to Miami. A taxi picked us up at the hotel. It cost us about $55 for the drive to the airport. He took us through the city without a problem. Thankfully, it was early, and there was no traffic. He told us about a few things along the way, and we appreciated his commentary. Finally, we arrived at the airport where we stood in line and then checked in. Our wait in the airport wasn’t too bad.

Huge tree in Ocho Rios with Elder/Sister Whitehead
The flight to Miami was a good one although short. The Haws picked us up at the airport and took us home where we hurriedly washed clothes and caught up before having to leave again tomorrow for Puerto Rico and a week with Dr. Bob and Sister Shannon Christiansen (For the story re: this adventure, please go to

Thank you, Whiteheads, for everything you do!


Caught in the Web said...

That tree is amazing! Joe and I have a picture of us in front of a tree like that in Hawaii. Gorgeous!

Rebecca said...

That's amazing! What an awesome experience. My cousin just got his mission call to the Kingston Jamaica Mission.

Darrel and Joanne Hammon said...

Rebecca, that is great! Your cousin will love President and Sister Hendricks. They are spectacular!

Thanks for reading our blog.