Travelling by Heart

my journey to Jamaica as a CUSO volunteer


June 2016

Robotics Camp

I’ve been spending almost all my waking moments this week coordinating robotics camp for the youth development students at the YMCA. Continue reading “Robotics Camp”


Safety check

I awoke this morning to the news that one of my fellow Cuso volunteers was robbed at knife point last evening as he left a popular restaurant not far from the YMCA. Continue reading “Safety check”

Zika and the Bubonic Plague

‘If a disease more like bubonic plague were churning its fatal way through Central and South America and the Caribbean, Congress might be more eager to do something about it — for instance, if Ebola got a real foothold there. Or, let’s be honest, if Zika disproportionately affected privileged, wealthy men, as opposed to underprivileged women, Congress would probably also be much more eager to spend money to find a vaccine.

Continue reading “Zika and the Bubonic Plague”

Check(list) your privilege

‘Privilege’ is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot lately. The idea is that there are systems in place that benefit some people or put them at an advantage at the expense or while limiting others. Those who benefit from the systems are privileged.  Continue reading “Check(list) your privilege”

Father’s Day

Unlike Mother’s Day, which garnered all sorts of heartfelt and sincere attention across Jamaica, Father’s Day seems almost non-existent. Except for one person on Facebook wishing her husband a happy day, I haven’t heard a peep about it. Continue reading “Father’s Day”

Intro to Patwa: Urted

Urted (n): A hilarious insult used to describe someone who is thick or not very bright. A derivative of the equally insulting but slightly less hilarious “earth head”, meaning someone who’s head is metaphorically made of earth and thus has no intelligence in it.


“Miss Christine is such an urted she can’t even figure out how to pronounce this word properly without sounding like a total dunce”

Four Months

I’m a few days late posting my monthly reflection, not because I forgot, but because I wasn’t really sure what to say. My update from last month still feels current – I feel settled, happy, and my learning curve has slowed and deepened. Nevertheless, I think it is important to take a moment to consider the impact made by the passage of time, and so I share a few reflections, in no particular order:
Continue reading “Four Months”

Reasons to Go

It’s easy to get locked into “in my world” or “this is the way I see it,” so you have to move your brain to a different time or structure. If you were nine years old and suddenly went to a new environment, yes, you would make comparisons, but your mind would still be in a somewhat spongelike state, as opposed to a judging one. It’s absorption versus critical thinking. I’ve learned to say, “Maybe there are two opinions. If you think differently than I do, let me put myself in your shoes and see what’s successful according to you, and then you do the same for me.” Once we’ve done that, our minds are more open. We already know two solutions, and often we’ll find a third, where two truths can live together.”

–Yo Yo Ma

Jamaica vs Canada

10,991: Area of Jamaica in km²

9,985,000: Area of Canada in km²

32,134: Area of Vancouver Island in km²

2,715,000: Population of Jamaica

35,160,000: Population of Canada

2,464,000: Population of Metro Vancouver Continue reading “Jamaica vs Canada”

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