Building in Jamaica by Edward Hutchinson
Edward travelled to Jamaica for three weeks, using his skills and experience as a surveyor to help with construction work in a disadvantaged area. "…Whilst my experience in Jamaica has only lasted three weeks, I feel as though I have experienced more of the real Jamaica than I would have had I spent three months in any of the holiday resorts."
The Project Partner
Pastor Wenford Henry is the director of the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) which was established in 1984 and operates as an independent humanitarian agency. The ADRA's development and relief work covers five core activities: Food Security, Economic Development, Primary Health, Disaster Preparedness and Response, and Basic Education. Pastor Henry was keen to link up with Projects Abroad in order to help families whose homes have been destroyed by natural disasters such as hurricanes. He was able to learn about British surveying techniques employed by Edward and put this to use on a variety of Building projects. In addition, Edward gained an insight into the construction methods used in a developing country and the preventative steps needed when working in areas susceptible to natural disasters.
Role of the Volunteer
Edward’s role on the building project included the following:
You will work alongside ADRA’s local team to rough cast walls, put in the concrete flooring, work to concrete the pit (for the sewerage) and other related construction activities such as mixing mortar and laying blocks so that this victim can be properly housed.
- Leading a team of volunteers in the assessing of current buildings, available materials and equipment.
- Coordinating the external construction of the buildings, including:
- Rough casting walls
- Installing concrete flooring
- Mixing mortar and laying blocks for external walls
- Coordinating the internal construction of the buildings, including:
- Installing kitchen units
- Completing tiling in all rooms
- Erecting pedestal face basins
- Installing windows (jams and blades) in kitchen and bathroom
- Painting all rooms
- Taking on non-construction related tasks and projects such as fund-raising and organising the purchase of equipment etc.
Benefits to the community
The work of Pastor Henry over the years and Edward’s added help have combined to provide the following benefits to the local community:
- Victims of regular natural disasters now have someone to turn to when their home or business has been destroyed.
- Families who were left without housing have now had new buildings constructed for them.
- The local community now feels that the outside world is aware of its plight thanks to the help of overseas volunteers like Edward.
- New initiatives from the ADRA such as work to improve basic education levels have helped the community and provided a chance for a better future.
"Everything Projects Abroad have organised on my behalf has been done so efficiently and in a helpful manner – the staff are all lovely people! My host family Leon and Estavian have all made me feel extremely welcome. They have been keen for me to travel and see all aspects of Jamaica, taste the food, hear the music and mix with Jamaican people. All of my experiences have been positive and enjoyable. I feel lucky to have been placed with the Stewarts for my stay in Jamaica.
All in all, the whole experience has been extremely rewarding, interesting, informative and challenging. In addition, I have met and worked alongside some fantastic people. I would be happy to recommend the Projects Abroad experience to anyone who wants to try something a little different."